It’s always a pleasure to talk to Adam King and in this chat, we’re talking all about accelerating business growth. Not all marketing is made equal. Just because it “works” for someone else doesn’t mean it will for you.

So listen on to learn the foundational skills and tactics you need to think about when it comes to your marketing strategy, so that no matter what your business is, where you are, or what you do – you see consistent growth. Consistently, and quickly.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic button. But the right strategy will save you an enormous amount of time and money, and makes sure you aren’t spending months (or years) swimming against the tide. (There’s a somewhat nautical reference for you, Adam.)

Hope you enjoy the episode. Please rate and review, and share with a friend in business to help them accelerate their growth, too.

“You’re not there as a business to be liked. You’re there to be valuable to a very specific group of people.” – @adamTLAF on @AllAboutDigMar with @justchrisbruno #DigitalMarketing

Show Notes

  • Three key growth accelerators [02:27]
  • Why we need a better word than ‘funnel’ [03:55]
  • Every transaction is human to human [09:34]
  • Simplicity + Focus = Growth [16:50]
  • Why doing social media because you “should” is the worst approach [22:23]
  • 3 things you need to know before you can grow [25:36]
  • The four things you need in your strategy document [31:03]
  • Marketing isn’t a popularity contest [35:58]

Stuff We Mentioned

Intro [00:00:02] Welcome to the All About Digital Marketing podcast. The show all about digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, brought to you by Social INK, the digital marketing agency specialising in social media and content marketing for brave brands and forward-thinking SMEs. I’m your host, Chris Bruno, and as always, we’re here to bring you the most actionable tips, tricks, tools and insights to help you achieve more when it comes to your digital marketing. Subscribe to the show and be sure to share with a friend if you found something useful or interesting. You can find all the show notes and more information on

Chris Bruno [00:00:54] Adam, thank you very much for joining me today.

Adam King [00:00:56] Thank you ever so much, Chris, for having me on the show. Looking forward to it.

Chris Bruno [00:01:00] It’s an absolute pleasure. And we have actually met before. I was very lucky to be invited onto your podcast, so thanks for the opportunity. But for those of you out there that don’t know Adam, Adam runs things like a fish. I’m not going to try and do the introductions because I’ve never been very good at them. But Adam, tell everyone a little bit about yourself and Think Like a Fish.

Adam King [00:01:20] Yeah. Well, my name as you say, Adam King. I am, I call myself a captain here at Thinl Like a Fish because well, I’ve got this whole fishing analogy going on. I like to have a bit of fun in business and all the rest of it and I just think is a little bit less boring than CEO or founder. But that’s just my weird sense of humour. So yeah, Think Like a Fish. It’s, we’re a growth marketing consultancy. And I am also host of the Client Catching Podcast that you mentioned, that you were you were on.

Adam King [00:01:44] Where essentially, that’s one of my favourite things to do in a week, interviewing successful service business, owners, entrepreneurs, marketing experts who’ve pretty much scale their business to sort of seven figures or they’re very much on their way to getting there, discovering exactly how they’ve done that. And yeah, sharing that with the audience and hopefully giving them some ideas of doing it themselves.

Chris Bruno [00:02:07] So in terms of when we talk about growth marketing consultant for those out there that probably don’t really understand exactly what that means or how that sort of look or what that looks like, I should say, for a small to mid-sized businesses, growth is obviously imperative. So what are the sort of things that you do when you’re working with companies to try and help them on that journey?

Adam King [00:02:27] Well, when you get to a certain level, you start to realize that the things that have got you there, are not the things that are going to get you to that next level. So a lot of the people that I work with, they come to me having hit this almost like a plateau or a glass ceiling that they just can’t seem to get through. So one of the things that we look at is. Or the way that I work is looking really at three major things. And I call them growth accelerators and they form part of what I call the growth accelerator ecosystem. Now, I know that’s a swear word in your in your world. And I keep saying that I am going to end up owing you and your team a few drinks because. Yeah, we had that conversation. The word ecosystem is a bit of a swear word. But I use it because I don’t like the word funnel. I just don’t like the way that it just doesn’t sound particularly personal. But the growth accelerators that we focus on, it’s three things, its authority, alliances and assets. Because what I found with these is that it actually then simplifies what you focus on and your activities that are all designed to attract clients, open up potential sales opportunities and all that kind of thing. And they are the things that I found over the last 16 years I’ve been doing this. They’re the things that make the biggest difference and have the biggest impact specifically on a business that’s been established for a number of years. But they are, they’re heading that growth plateau. So they need to sort of focus on something different. And be very specific in what they’re doing moving forward.

Chris Bruno [00:03:55] So there’s two bits that I want to pick up on that. The first one is we did talk about the horrible word ecosystem that again, we don’t actually mind it. It was just at the time when that was that was going terribly wrong. But that was for some other reason. The interesting thing, when you say that, is people obviously get stuck into this idea that a funnel is going to change everything. They see somebody online, advertising. “This is the magic funnel, the way to do X.” And I see it for all sorts of things. And we’ve seen examples and I’m sure you have as well, whether it’s you know, “the agency model is dead. If you don’t get this sort of funnel as quickly as possible, your business will go under”. And there’s a lot of sort of scare tactics. And this magic button that with this magic formula, A plus B calls millions of dollars. We’ve spoken about this before. I think this is an absolute crock in terms of “one funnel fits all” is going to make money because I’ve never seen that happen and I’ve never seen that work. What’s your opinion on the side of funnels there just to sort of pick up on the fact that you did say, “I don’t like using the word.” Well, what’s the reasoning behind it?

Adam King [00:04:59] Well, the reason I don’t like the word funnel is it sounds very impersonal. And at the end of the day, the whole a lot of the ethos that I have around what I do, marketing and all that sort of stuff, is that at its core, marketing and business is all about people. And we forget sometimes that behind every single one of these metrics. Right. How many people you get into your funnel or how many clicks you get? How many followers you get? All that kind of thing. That behind every single one of those is a real human being that has problems that they want to solve. They’re struggling with a particular aspect in their life or business, and they actually want a solution for that problem. And the word funnel just to me just feels like right where we’re just going to try and put as many people through this as quickly as possible. And we don’t really mind what happens to the people that fall out. We just want the ones at the bottom, because that’s what that’s the thing that’s going to make us money in the business. And maybe it’s not exactly how it’s seen or perceived or used. But for me, I just think it’s a terminology thing. And that’s why I like ecosystem, because ecosystem to me is not simply the tools and the tactics, but ecosystem to me encompasses everybody and all the people that come into contact with you and your business. Now, that could be your clients. It could be people that never do business with you, but get value from the content and the things that you put out in the world.

Adam King [00:06:25] As I say, one of the big growth accelerators for me is alliances. So that is partners, collaborative partners, all that sort of thing. So the whole idea of an ecosystem is if you focus on the client needs first and you make everything around your business about client need, then you almost stop having to wonder, what am I going to do this week to market my business? Because you flip the question and you start asking questions of your clients, of your market. What are you struggling with? What do you need? And then rather than sometimes thinking, I have to do all this myself or oh, I don’t do that, so I’m not going to worry about it. You start to put the client needs in the centre of everything and those alliances, they become effectively what you can call your upstream and your downstream alliance partners and you realize that your client is only with you for a very specific part of their overall journey in business, in life and all the rest of it. They’re going to have problems before they get to you. Your solution is essentially the answer to a problem that has been created by somebody else solving another problem, which also means, conversely, that your solution is going to cause a problem that somebody else has a solution for but you don’t. So I see it as that sort of thing. You start to almost create your own clients in a way. Grow them. That’s the whole ecosystem thing. It takes on a life of his own. But you become far more of that holistic solution provider to your client, because if they work with you and then they need something afterwards, if you have alliances and partners that you’ve done your vetting and your due diligence and you know what they do is good. You actually then save your client an awful lot of headache and worry thinking, right. I’ve got to now go out and find this particular solution. And I’m back at square one and I have no idea who to go for, whereas because you’ve got your ecosystem and that part of the ecosystem encompasses your partners. In your alliance partners, you have the ability to make positive recommendations, endorsement based on your experience of these people and having known what they like. And actually that just makes their your client’s life a lot easier. And it starts the feedback around it.

Chris Bruno [00:08:36] It’s really interesting, actually, the way you’ve said that. So from our side of things, and I think it’s under the authority kind of side of things. What you’re talking about there. But we know we talk a lot about putting social back into social media. And you’ve mentioned it all there as well. People forget that you’re not doing business B2B. B2B is a myth in the sense of it’s one business transacting with another business. But none of these businesses are robots that are just talking to each other and automatically doing a deal. Both B’s are represented by C. Very much so, actually. You’re really talking about talking to someone, who that person is, how they respond to you, what they believe and how they think. What they need at the time is going to be the most important deciding factor as to whether the B2B transaction goes through. And it’s something that, again, when you mentioned there, waking up in the morning, “I don’t know what to post. I’m no good at writing. I don’t know what to blog about. I can’t do”. All of the excuses. And we’ve heard them all over the years. And, you know, we probably even said a few of them ourselves over the years at certain points. But the biggest thing is that. What does your audience want? What do your clients want? What are the perceived opportunities from their point of view to find and learn more about X Y, understand better about the product, understand how to use the product, better understand why they need the product better, whatever that might be. But that’s absolutely huge. And it’s so simple. Such as asking a question.

Adam King [00:09:57] Yeah.

Chris Bruno [00:09:58] The amount of companies I still see today where brands are literally using their social media platform to just constantly go 10 percent off, 20 percent off. Buy one, get one free. Have a look at this. This is new. Here’s a product. Buy this one. Special offer. And you’re sitting there going. Jesus Christ. Like there’s no value add whatsoever for the audience.

Adam King [00:10:20] Or just you still shouting at me. I almost turned off the camera and left because it just. Yeah. That kind of feels icky doesn’t it. It’s like. If that’s what all the information is being put out there by a business, you’re just going to have people tune out. And there is so much information being bombarded as today and so many advertising messages, so many marketing messages. That like from an evolutionary perspective, our brains have not caught up to the ability to actually process all of this information. So that’s why having an approach that is actually different, that’s why authority is a huge growth accelerator, because it becomes the ultimate social proof. Having something like a podcast, having a platform is huge. Just think about musicians, rock bands, actors, all that kind of thing. Why do they get paid a lot of money? Because they have a platform. They have a stage. And they’re not doing it one to one. Because if they were doing it one to one, they’d just be like they’re playing it to a guitar to their friend in their room, which wouldn’t make them a multimillionaire rock stars that they are that kind of thing. And to me, being able to cut through the noise, as I say, authority or having that authority, having that platform where you’re able to really publish your expertise, show your expertise, add value, but also express your own unique opinion and world view. It’s very, very different from plastering buy now, discount this, blah blah blah, all that kind of thing because people get to know you. I mean, this conversation, we’re having a conversation and. It’s not like where we’re at. We’re not saying by now. We’re not saying discount this. Discount that. We’re having a conversation about something that’s valuable to a particular type of audience. I am expressing my worldview in some of this. I talk about my fishing analogy, for example. I know. I mean, that’s strategically created as part of my messaging because it’s gonna attract the kind of people that have the similar sort of sense of humour. But it’s going to repel those that find it irritating. And quite honestly, I know some people do, but that’s fine with me. And it’s interesting to come back to something that you sort of touched on. It’s that whole the B2B or the B2C or anything like that. And I completely agree. And I remember seeing a talk by Ryan Deiss, of Digital Marketer. And he actually is a very big believer that this does not exist. He calls it H2H, human to human. And I’ve heard it also described as P2P. And everyone starts putting their own letters on everything. Person to person, because it comes back again. It’s all to do with people. And I think when it comes to social media, we do forget, as you say, putting the social back in social media because it is about people and we just forget some for some reason. Often when somebody thinks, oh, this is a marketing channel, all the rules of human manners and decency and decorum just seem to just go out the window. And it’s that’s the reason why it’s like. Right. It is about me. I want it to be all about me. I’m going to shout louder. I’m going to just try and get as many people into my funnel as possible and, you know, bash them down until they, you know, feel that sort of sense of scarcity and fear and all that kind of thing that they’re absolutely like they have to buy. Because if they don’t, they’re their entire world is going to explode. That’s kind of again, coming back to the reason I don’t like funnel. Sometimes it can feel like that because that’s what we think we need to do. It really isn’t.

Chris Bruno [00:13:44] No, I think there’s certain techniques from a sales point of view that have been taken to the Nth degree now and they’ve gone too far. So, you know, everything having that element of fear, of loss, everything having that urgency, everything kind of being pushed in front of people like that. And I think it gets a little bit boring from my point of view as a marketer. I don’t really like that. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its place. So obviously, if you’re doing a Black Friday sale, you can put a timer up on the website because, you know, it’s a sale and it’s got a certain amount of time and it’s not going to be available the next day or whatever else. But I think we have gone down the route of marketers trying to push as many of the techniques and sales as possible and slap it all in, like you said, into a funnel, which is so wide that it’s capturing at the initial stages, or at least it’s being targeted to the initial stages of absolutely anyone and everyone, you know, to. And I’m going to play a little bit on your F2F analogy. So I’m going to go with a fish to fish analogy from your system. So but the idea being, you know, when you talk about that, you wouldn’t go and try and catch a tuna in a small pond in West Sussex, for example, it would be mental. You’re just not going to find that audience there. You’re not going to find that right fish there in any way, shape or form. And I think when you talk to people and they say, well, no, I’ve looked at this and I got it, my funnels are, I’m going to start here and then here I get a little bit less and then here I get a little bit less. And then basically by here, I’m going to get three clients for every thousand that come in at the beginning and you start going, okay, well, wait, before you spend all this time and all this work on this, what would happen if you had real conversations with 20 people on LinkedIn as opposed to trying to get a thousand people from social down to three real conversations at the end of it? And you sort of when you mention that and you kind of twist that around. People kind of look at you, they’re funny because one. Well, aren’t you a digital marketer? Isn’t that what you do? Don’t you create these things? You go, yeah, we can. But I’m not saying that I want to. And to be honest with you, I don’t think it’d get you the same results. We had a conversation literally end of last week. Phenomenal lady. Really, really smart. Super switched on for everything to do with legislations for schools. Now this is a really hyper niche market. It’s for independent schools. Only one thing another. And literally, you know, somebody else has said what you want to do is brand new website brand new that, brand new, that loads of funnels and this that the other and we’re sort of there going by the sounds of what you’ve told us. You’ve got a really, really niche audience. There’s a limited number of them. And to be honest with you, there’s nothing stopping you within the next 12 months for contacting every single one of them individually, one to one. Now, that’s going to bring huge results. I believe, in comparison to trying to do a funnel where you’re going to hit everybody and anybody and then try and shift those down from the ones that actually are at an independent school, who aren’t. And one thing. And when you look at that model and you start saying to people, you can do online offline and you can even bring offline techniques into online. And again, we’re back to being social, using social media in a social way. How do we get as many conversations as possible? And the best possible quality of conversations and I think that’s where people really kind of miss out. And then I don’t know what your thoughts are on that sort of side of things.

Adam King [00:16:50] Absolutely. And I have. Again. A bit of a term when it comes to this whole ethos, this whole approach, or it’s really the core strategy that I work with my clients to implement and I call it the strategy of conversational relationship marketing. And what this really is, it’s a non-salesy, a non-pushy approach to creating conversations with a specific group of human beings that you can either add value to, potentially do business with, or collaborate with, to open doors, create opportunities for each other. And that’s why that whole thing of being simple or having a growth formula, let’s call it simplicity plus focus equals growth. Because when you simplify the things that you focus your time, efforts, money, resources on doing, you get to focus on the things that are going to make the biggest difference. One of those, by the way, is your client. And it just means that you just remove all of the other distractions, because that’s one of the hardest things in the business world, marketing world in general. It’s just become so oversaturated with tactics and it’s overwhelming. So we don’t really know what to do. And some of these ideas around funnels and or the “Just do this one tactic. It will solve all your problems and all the rest of it.” It can be incredibly seductive, especially when you’ve got a million other things to do that comes with running a business. And so we just get sucked, you know, just pulled towards that. Very, very smart people. I’ve been caught by things like that. And I think all that’s a shiny thing over there, I’m going to go and give that a go, because maybe it’s that shortcut. We’re constantly looking for shortcuts. But the truth is, they do not exist. You might get lucky with a tactic. Well done. Can you repeat it?

Chris Bruno [00:18:41] No.

Adam King [00:18:42] Probably not. I actually say sometimes one of the worst things that can happen with your marketing, with your business growth or anything like that is you get lucky at the first go because you don’t learn anything. You have no frame of reference and you don’t know if you can do it again. It just might have been right time, right place or that kind of thing. And then six months down the line, you pretty much bet the house on it. And then it just stops working.

Chris Bruno [00:19:08] Yeah. And I think that’s that’s a really good point. So I think it was with Travis who’s built now two SaaS platforms that have done phenomenally well. And he’s been working on this now for coming up to five years. Asking him the question and just sort of said, so more than five years, I think. I said to him, how many landing pages, sales pages, squeeze pages do you think you’ve written in that time over the two SaaS products?

Chris Bruno [00:19:30] And he went, I don’t know. But, you know, hundreds, if you include squeeze pages and everything else, we’re in the thousands? And that’s the point where I was like that. That’s the key there.

Chris Bruno [00:19:41] That’s why he can replicate the success. And when he does offers or when he does new things, they usually end up working because the frame of reference for his particular business is so, so wide. He understands what’s worked, what hasn’t, but the small nuances of what has and what hasn’t. And, you know, the guy isn’t necessarily the world’s greatest copywriter. He’s not necessarily the world’s greatest developer, but he’s got the understanding and the vision to be able to step back and see his business in what needs to be done. And to focus on those right things based on experience, which again, is what you’re saying when you sign up for that special tactic and you press three buttons and it suddenly works. And you get a client and you go, this is great. What I’ll do is I’ll take all the money from this client and throw it back in. And then you don’t actually realize that it was complete luck. The person just happened to find you through something else or a friend recommended them or something else. And you realize that the two weren’t linked at all, that you missed the point and you don’t actually learn the fact that this is all a journey and a process. You know, there is no. I haven’t found a magic button. And in fact, when we have conversations with clients that are basically saying to me, what’s the one thing I need to do to make sure that I start getting leads, and I’m like that, wow, I don’t know.

Adam King [00:20:50] Well, I can tell you I can tell you the one thing that you need to do to get a consistent amount needs is go back and look at your strategy. What is it that you are trying to do? Because that’s one of the things. Tactics on their own are not going to solve any kind of marketing or growth challenge because done in isolation, as we say, you could get lucky. They may, you know, they might. By the way, every single tactic out there works, but only if they’re done properly and as part of a cohesive strategy that has been thought about and considered, because really the tactics without the strategy, they just end up fighting the symptoms of the challenge. They never get to the core.Tthe real cause, because you know, that the symptom that a lot of people are fighting is essentially, you know, not being able to consistently attract the actual number of clients that they need to consistently generate revenue that they can then use to predictably move to the next level and grow their business. And they fight that  with those tactics where those paid ads with the fancy funnels or cold calling go into every networking event in a 50 mile radius and just thrusting business cards in people’s hands or posting on social media 100 times a day, but just wanting to pull their hair out because they don’t like doing it. And it’s one of those things that if you really think about it, the root causes of that challenge or all of your challenges is having no clear strategy, no consistency, no structure and no measurable process. So go back to the beginning.

Chris Bruno [00:22:20] Yeah, I think that last bit, especially no measurable process.

Adam King [00:22:23] Yeah.

Chris Bruno [00:22:23] We can’t stress enough to people, you know, having some goals, having some KPIs. Don’t worry, you can change that. So if you set them as I want a thousand visitors a day to my web site and 500 leads a month and then you realize that’s not quite as realistic, you can reset them for next month. It’s not a problem. But having something that can help you determine whether or not you’re getting closer to or moving further away from, what you are trying to achieve. And it’s something that, you know, we’ve had conversations with companies that have been spending money for a long time with agency or small agency or somewhere else. And they literally said to us when we asked the question, how’s it going? What are the results looking like? Are you getting the results that you wanted? And they sort of went, what results? Social media. We just do it because we have to stay online and we have to show that we’re on social. So you’ve got no game plan, no goal, no nothing that you’re trying to achieve as part of that.

Chris Bruno [00:23:19] And the room went silent and everyone sort of went, oh, hang on a second, we need to have a chat with somebody, because, you know, we’ve been spending money for nearly two years spending on an agency to do this stuff for us without us, with zero sort of clarity on what you’re actually trying to get out of it. Which is crazy. But you wouldn’t start a business with that idea.

Adam King [00:23:38] Yeah, people are doing things they think they should be doing because they see that’s what everybody else is doing. But that’s one of the worst things you can do. I mean, you know, there is a term in in the marketing field funnel hacking and looking at what people have got out there and sort of analyzing what they’ve done.

Adam King [00:23:53] And there is some merit to it because you actually get to see a decent sort of ways of structuring copy or or good offers. And you can learn a lot from that. However, you don’t see what’s under the surface. You don’t see what’s gone into it. And that anyone that has found that one funnel that they’re away from, from doing everything, you don’t see 100 others that they’ve they’ve tried and launched before. Before that, you haven’t seen a strategic input that’s gone into it, because, again, I try and simplify things and break it down. And if I were to ask you, Chris, what do you need to get to any destination you want to go to? If you’re if you’re. You’re going to Bali, right. So what do you need to get to Bali?

Chris Bruno [00:24:34] I needed to find a flight and figure out some company that would actually take me from A to B to then says,.

Adam King [00:24:41] Go more simple than that. Let’s go even more simple and I’ll give you a clue. You need three things to get to Bali.

Chris Bruno [00:24:46] But this is bad. Because actually now all I’m actually thinking about is Bali. I’m not thinking about marketing, so I need my swim shorts, my dive watch and basically another spare pair of shorts so I can keep diving everyday.

Adam King [00:24:58] Well, I put you on the spot there. So I’m going to put you out in misery cause. Yeah. I don’t want you to want to end this.

Chris Bruno [00:25:04] But what I would say is you need to have the idea of where you want to go. Doesn’t matter what it is where it is. So the inclination that that’s what you are, you’re going to need the means or the resources to be able to make that happen, to get to anywhere else. And then ultimately, you know, you’ve got to have that desire, that wants to understand. I want to go from A to B, let’s say, an understanding that’s a transition of, you know, how do I get from A to B?

Adam King [00:25:28] Yeah, well, I’m going to give you maybe 75% score.

Chris Bruno [00:25:33] Better than school. Here we go.

Adam King [00:25:36] Basically, the three things that you need to get to any destination now. This applies whether you’re going on a trip. But it also applies on how you’re going to go about marketing your business or how you going to go about growing your business. The first thing you need to know is where you are now. What’s your starting point? The second is where you want to get to, what’s your destination? And then the third, how are you going to get there? So with the trip example, it’s what mode of transport am I going to take? Planes, trains, automobiles, that kind of thing. And it’s generally a combination of the two, especially if you’re going to Bali. You wouldn’t cycle all the way there. You’d be a little bit mad. But that’s the on the flip side, if you don’t have any of that to continue, my nautical references, you’re kind of drifting on the open ocean in a rudderless boat. Right. Because if you don’t have any of that, you are literally a victim of the current and you just end up where you end up. And when I bring that back to the way of thinking about marketing and growing a business and all the rest of it, if you don’t have your strategy dialled in. You don’t know your destination, then you don’t know where you’re going to. So you’re just going to kind of end up anywhere. It means that the logic that people are going if they don’t do this, the logic that they are applying is like, we referenced to it earlier as well. It’s a big ocean and there’s a lot fish in there. So surely I can just cast my line in anywhere and. Yeah, I’ll catch a fish. Well, maybe. But you actually don’t know because you’ve been a victim of that current. If there are any fish down there and if there are what kind of fish they are, whether you have the right bait that they are actually going to bite on. And I often say, you know, think of it this way. No matter how much you love chocolate cake, you’re never going to catch a fish with chocolate cake because they like worms right. Doesn’t happen. So, yeah, if you are literally drifting along, then you are just you are relying on luck and hope and you are a victim of that current. And as I say, it’s 16 years of doing this. I can pretty much narrow every, 95% of marketing challenges and problems down to the fact that they haven’t spent the time required to get their strategy and their plan right.

Chris Bruno [00:27:45] It’s a scary number. And I’d have to agree with you, but I’d say 95 percent is probably actually being slightly kind. It’s scary.

Chris Bruno [00:27:54] And companies that are spending real money on Facebook, on ads, on Google and a CEO on content creation, and yet at the same time, you sort of say to them, well, what are the goals? What are the objectives? What are you trying to track? What is, what are the KPI that are important to you? And at that time, you kind of see that people start talking to you about things like engagement, likes, audience size, stuff like that, the vanity metrics that we all kind of gasp at. If you’ve ever done this properly and you’ve looked into this for any kind of amount of time and it actually scares me, I guess I find it quite disconcerting the amount of people. Like with real budgets, like spending real money on this.

Chris Bruno [00:28:33] Yeah, I don’t know anyone of this out there that’s listening to this. You know, give Adam a shout or talk to me as well. I will happily give you a 30 minute call for free or even two of us will jump on just to kind of importantly tell you how much you just need to spend that little bit of time. The other thing I want to say as well, and I’m hoping you’ll agree with me on this. So many people say to me, yeah, okay. So I got to spend all this time doing this strategy. And what happens if it doesn’t work? You know, you’ve set up all these things and you’ve said you’re gonna do it like this and you’re gonna do it like that and then you test it and it doesn’t work. And I’m sat there thinking or saying actually to people straight up. That’s the whole point of the strategy document, because that will then edit. Become better. It will learn. It will become an all purpose kind of living document on the sense of them as you’ve tried, as you’ve tested, as you’ve learned things from it. You’re going to be able to adapt that and you’re gonna be able to change that so quickly that actually suddenly your KPIs are gonna be updated on a monthly basis or a weekly basis depending on how much you’re doing. You’re then going to start changing your funnels ecosystems, what it is that you’re trying to do, how it is that you’re trying to engage with people, but you’re also going to realize what’s actually important. And, you know, when you first set out, you might start with we know we need 100 people coming to see our latest blog article every single week. And then actually a couple of months down the line, you’re gonna realize you don’t actually care. You want to know how many people hit the CTA at the bottom of the blog as a percentage of how many people actually viewed it. That’s gonna be a far more interesting conversion rate for you to track and then to monitor. Would you agree with that in that sense?

Adam King [00:30:01] Yes, absolutely. And the way that I sort of think of it is marketing all of this. It’s, um, it’s a mix of art and science. And the science is. Yes, it’s the metrics. It’s knowing your numbers and all the rest of it. And there has to be you know, as much as I don’t like the word funnel, it is important to measure those metrics and have those metrics. But the art side of it is it’s really knowing what, how to communicate. The words to use. And art is subjective and it’s something that. Opinions will change. Your message will change over time, the things you talk. Because as you say, a strategy is not a navel gazing exercise that is done by marketers that sort of spend all their time sitting in offices, staring at clouds and sitting on big inflatable balls and playing with toys all the time.

Adam King [00:30:49] That’s not what a strategy document is. The strategy document is the single most important thing that you can create in your business. Only if you use it.

Chris Bruno [00:31:00] That’s a very good add on at the end.

Adam King [00:31:03] Right. So yeah, but it’s knowing what goes into that. That sort of strategy document as well. And for me, there’s a lot that goes into it, but I can simplify it down into essentially four things. The first is that destination, that goal. So ask yourself the question. All right. What do I need to have done to be happy with my growth progress that I can realistically fulfil on in the next 12 months? What is that revenue number look like? And then how many clients does that translate into? And then look at your current performance. How many conversations, serious conversations do I need to have where I make an offer to a potential client? And they say yes for that to happen. Now, I don’t know. Let’s say that’s 2 in 10. You know, you speak to 10 people and two of those become a client. Well, that’s a frame of reference. That’s a number you can now look at and think, okay. I could maybe improve on that. But then you’ve got to go a little bit further back and go, okay. How many leads do I need to generate that will create those conversations? And if it’s two in 10 and let’s say you want twelve clients a year at them, I’m bad at maths in my head, but I think it’s like 60 conversations or something like that. So how many leads do I need to generate in order to create 60 conversations? And I do find a lead as essentially anyone that is suffering from the problem that you solve and they self select that they are interested in solving that problem. By passing you their contact details and opting into your ecosystem.

Adam King [00:32:40] So essentially you can deliver them value and most importantly, follow up with them over time and nurture and educate, etc. Build that trust. That’s what a lead is to me. It’s not. A prospect is someone that is educated and nurtured enough to want to have a conversation with you about the potential of solving their problem. So you work backwards and let’s say 2 out of 100 leads go on to having a conversation with that means quick maths in my head. Yeah. Three thousand leads you need to make in a year to make your goal. Now you have a frame of reference and you can look at all the kind of tactics and things that you’re going to do over the 12 months to create those, because that is vital, because unless you kind of understand those numbers, you’re not entirely sure which tactics are going to be relevant for you. Because if you need 10 clients a year, for example, that would dictate one set of tactics. If you need a thousand, you’re going to need an entirely different suite of tactics.

Chris Bruno [00:33:39] Couldn’t agree more. And it’s something that we often have a conversation about. And you sit there and say, how many clients do you need to make this into a super viable business for you? I’m not saying to make it into a unicorn. I’m not talking about that. I don’t think people should focus on any of those sort of tactics and things that Uber does and Air B&B does because you’re just in 90 percent of us, 95 percent of us just aren’t there yet.

Chris Bruno [00:34:04] It’s much more simple than that. But when I talk to people and they’ll say things like, you know, Facebook doesn’t work, Twitter doesn’t work. Videos don’t work. Live doesn’t work because they’ve tried once and it failed. And I’m sat there getting how many people do you actually need to make this into a viable business? You know, if you’re an accountant, if you’re a management consultant, if you’re a digital marketing consultant, if you’re a freelance writer, it doesn’t matter. But for you to be happy, you want to earn X. So. Okay, fine. Every month you want to earn X. And that relates to, like you said, how many clients. And people invariably end up saying things like, well, I need two a month. And you go, well, hang on a second. Now we’re talking. So how many conversations have you had in the last six months and how many of those turned into, convert to clients? And as soon as you’ve broken that down, you’re going, okay. So based on what we’re saying is we only actually need to find the right 24 people in the space of a year to make your business viable. I was like that. That’s what we should be focussing on. So not being afraid to divide opinions. Not being afraid for people to say, wow, I don’t want to work with that guy because he just keeps talking about fish. Or for example, that guy who keeps talking about putting social into social media like what a dumb a**. And that’s fine. I don’t mind that either. I’m not the right fit for 90 percent of the people that I come across that I meet on a daily basis. And I’m okay with that as well. You know, I got a funny way that I don’t edit necessarily everything that comes out of my mouth quick enough to be able to make everybody happy. But again, I’m okay with that. I’m okay having the hard conversations with a client and saying, you know, we were talking about doing this. You said you’d send me that. You haven’t done it. Without that, we can’t do anything. You’re wasting your time. You’re wasting my time. You’re wasting your money and nothing’s going to happen. And we’re not going to get those two clients we need every month to make sure that your business is actually moving in the right direction. And that’s something that’s really hard for so many people to understand. If you’re so vanilla that you’re trying to please everybody, you’ll end up attracting nobody. I honestly believe that.

Adam King [00:35:58] Yeah. And, you know, to continue the, my annoying fishing. But now, as I say, it’s it’s done on purpose. You know, this is part of it. You know, if we were going back to the strategy piece, you know, one of the other pieces that is vital is, is your message and making sure that your message attracts the right kind of people with the kind of things you say, but also repels the one the ones that aren’t the right fit. And that is something that a lot of people don’t really focus on because the value of actually not having everyone attracted to you. It’s not a popularity contest. This whole game is not about being popular. It’s not about being liked. The whole irony of liking things on social media. You’re not there as a business to be liked. You’re there to be valuable to a very specific group of people. And as you say, most people that I speak to service businesses, they couldn’t handle a thousand clients if they came over a year, they couldn’t handle more than five in a month. They would break their business because they don’t have the infrastructure behind them. So the way I kind of look at it is if you are repelling with your message, it’s actually better for you as a business because what is the most valuable asset that you have in your business? I say it’s time.

Chris Bruno [00:37:11] It’s the only one that you can’t many more of.

Adam King [00:37:13] It’s the only one you cannot get enough of.

Adam King [00:37:15] And once it’s gone, it’s gone. And so by strategically creating a messaging and an approach and a strategy that is designed to maximize the value of your one on one time that you spend with potential clients, clients, et cetera, et cetera. You then, that again, it becomes an accelerator of your growth. So sometimes a lot of people say, when I say things like that, they’re like, well, but I want to help people. And especially if you’re a, you know, I don’t like the term, “heart-centred business” or something like that. The whole irony with that term, when somebody goes, well, I don’t really like marketing and it feels icky and all the rest of it. Well, if you’re not marketing and you genuinely help and add value to people, you’re actually going against your value by not doing it, because if you are a heart-centred business. I don’t know how it into heart centred. You know, if you’re that, then by not doing it, by not helping more people. You’re actually not. You know, you’re doing a disservice. And the way that you are able to help more people is by focussing on the value, on the client needs, by producing valuable content in whatever form you decide. I mean, a podcast is one example. It’s the one that I primarily use. You could use video, you could use blog posts. You could, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. It’s as long as you are consistent with it and put it out regularly. And that means that you’re able to help people on a larger scale. But you protect ruthlessly yours and your team’s one on one time to only focus on the people that are. They are aware of the problem and they’re ready to solve it right now. And that will save. That will that will grow your business because the amount of time that you can save, if you said if you save something like just 10 hours a week, it adds up to something like 400 or so working days per person per year.

Chris Bruno [00:39:06] It’s crazy like I and I agree with you as well. Like it’s the amount of. The amount of time and effort people put in sometimes to the wrong things. And again, even having the clarity to understand that because somebody dropped you a contact form request on your website. That to me still isn’t necessarily a hot lead. You don’t know. You don’t know until you actually sort of have that conversation, everything else. But getting somebody on the phone and to talk about something very, very specific, because they’ve seen you, they’ve heard whatever it is or what. However, the medium that you choose to or that you feel comfortable with. At that point, that conversation is ten times more likely to yield something. And I say yield something. I don’t just mean for you, the person selling, but actually in terms of yielding results for them as well. So the hard thing from our point of view and again, I’m sure you’ve seen this and you’ve had this as well, and I think we may have even covered it slightly on your podcast. But it’s this idea that, you know, there’s only so much I can do to help a business. And then at some point they need to start helping themselves as well. And if they’re not willing to or if they don’t actually follow through with certain parts of certain things that need to be done, then there’s nothing I can do.

Chris Bruno [00:40:15] I can go as far as I can. And my dad’s old analogy that he used to talk about was, you know, you could take the horse to the fountain, but you can’t make him drink. And the honest truth is that. It’s exactly that. You know, I can do so much, but I don’t know your business as well as you will. I never will. I need your input to understand what’s going on. I need your points of view on certain industry things that are happening. So as I can then help to create whatever it is that we’re doing or however it is that we’re sort of creating the content behind. But there’s a lot of people actually out there that if you’ve if you’re going and chasing the wrong leads and you’re getting the wrong people, I end up calling it bad profits. You make money, which is great. Happy days. Everyone wants to make money, especially in those early days. And then you realize very quickly, this is the hardest money that you’ve ever had to try and earn.

Chris Bruno [00:40:59] And in fact, it’s the kind of money that you could earn and still go bankrupt earning, which is insane.

Adam King [00:41:06] Yeah, not every not every pound or dollar is created equal from. From a client. And now, Mike, my analogy along that, again, it’s kind of the nautical thing. So I can build you a ship, but I cannot create the wind to move you. And that’s all about the motivation and the kind of thing that you need to sort of bring when you work with any kind of either external provider or if you hire an internal team or anything like that. If you’re the business owner, I’m afraid the buck stops with you. You are responsible for where you are now. That’s one of the hardest things to actually accept when you start your own business. It’s one thing that I completely never really appreciated when I started a business, because when you work for somebody else, you can always sort of, you know, you’ve always got it in your back pocket. You can go, oh, yeah, but it was the guys at the top that made that decision. And it will you know, it didn’t work because of that. But when you are the guy at the top. Everything rests on you, where you are now is a direct result of the choices that you have made. And I say primarily how you invest your time.

Adam King [00:42:10] And if you’re investing your time in the wrong things, the wrong tactics, you’re wasting time on certain things. You know, it means that you’re probably wasting money and in other areas and it just eats away and then suddenly you’re fat. You know, six months, 12 months down the road and you’re looking at this and go and hang on. What? Why hasn’t this worked? And so you’re looking for someone else to blame. It comes back to you when you’re at the top, and it’s a hard thing to realize. But conversely, it’s also empowering because when you realize it’s all about the choices you can make. Starting today.

Adam King [00:42:44] If you make the right choices on how you spend your time, you invest in the right things, you get your strategy right. You build your assets and your systems and your teams and all that kind of thing. That will create momentum, that will have a positive knock on effect in the next month, year, two years, etc.. And that’s how you will grow your business.

Chris Bruno [00:43:03] Yeah. And I think that’s one of the big things that we sell, especially small businesses. You know, if you are just starting out and everything else, you’re completely right. The buck stops with you. It’s up to you what happens next, how it happens and everything else. But at the same time, you’re also the champion for the business.

Chris Bruno [00:43:19] You know, when you are a small business, people want to work with you, not the business. And this is again where this B2B illusion. People have a nice business card and it’s got a logo and they’re direct and they hand it out. Yeah, yeah. Give us a call. Give us a call. It’s you. Ultimately, especially until there is more than just you, it is just you. So just embrace it. Take that on board and use it to your advantage because people who meet you and like you will want to work with you, not necessarily with your company or anything else, but with you. And I think that’s where people often forget that. And again, same thing applies for your social media. Same thing applies. You know, I’m quite vocal in terms of as my own from my own point of view and from my own handles for social media talking on so Social INK’s, channels, for example, I’ve got no issues with people being able to interact directly with me at the same time as the company, at same time as the team. And even I encourage the team to all do it as well. We’re all individuals and people get on better with Gareth or myself, or they get on better with Anna than me, or they’re getting better with Anna rather than Gareth. For whatever reason, it doesn’t matter. But that’s just the way life is. Like we like other people, we dislike other people. We get on better with other people. And especially for a business transaction where we feel like, you know, I’m investing a lot of money. And that’s another thing. I shall come back to the investing word. But you’re investing a lot of money. You want to work with someone that makes you feel good about it, that you feel right, that you feel a good connection with. And that’s what people need to play on. I think more especially in those early stages of companies.

Adam King [00:44:47] Yeah, absolutely. And by way, I’m not mean to any of this stuff either. I mean, up until I think it was around this time last year, I didn’t even have a photo of myself on my website. I’m a natural introvert.

Adam King [00:44:59] The whole putting yourself out there, all that kind of thing. It just made me uncomfortable. And so I hid behind the logo. But once I got out of that mindset and I pushed myself on a challenge myself. The difference has been night and day, putting my face on things and doing live videos, which was a massive hurdle for me, doing any kind of video, starting my podcast, all that kind of thing, putting my actual name out there and my face and all the rest of it.

Adam King [00:45:25] It’s been night and day different. It really is. But so, yeah, I don’t. Anytime I give any tough love. Most of the time I am doing it to myself as a reminder because I’m not immune to it. But sometimes having that objective view and sort of being able to help someone see it. One of my mentors described it very, very well in that, you know, sometimes you just cannot read. Well, you can never read the label of the bottle from inside.

Chris Bruno [00:45:54] Yeah I like that one then. And it is true. And I think that’s something actually. I’ll ask you a quick question on this as well. And then we’ll probably try and wrap up, because otherwise you and I can talk for hours. We’ve we’ve figured this one out the last time we met. Yeah, but this idea of basically I can’t do live videos, I can’t do videos, I can’t write blogs and everything else. You’ve literally just set it there. And my team as well did the same thing. Years ago. I started doing videos because we set up an online TV channel. The first ones I did were terrible. The first podcast we did weren’t great. In fact, we didn’t even have a name when we first started recording this podcast. It doesn’t matter. The idea being no one I know stepped into the ring and was Anthony Joshua and could box the living hell out of anybody else. It just doesn’t work that way. So anything that you’re gonna do, whether it’s live videos, whether it’s Instagram pictures, whether it’s great blog content or instructional videos, whatever it is. Your first one isn’t going to be great and that’s absolutely fine.

Chris Bruno [00:46:50] Understand that. Accept that and then move forward from it saying if this one isn’t great, the next one will be slightly better and the one after that will be slightly better than that.

Chris Bruno [00:47:01] And eventually a year down the line, you’ll be like that. I’m smashing these out that I can jump on. I can have a conversation, I can have a nice chat. I don’t feel scared. I don’t feel this. I don’t feel worried. I don’t care what other people think because I’ve seen good and bad comments now. I can get ove thatr. But it’s a process. You know, none of the YouTube is out there that have millions of followers started and went viral and ended up with two million followers overnight, none of them. So why would the same thing happen to you and why would it happen to a business? It doesn’t. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a process.

Adam King [00:47:30] And anyone that does, you know, blow up, go instantly viral. They disappear quite quickly. I mean, you know, if you’ve ever had a few beers and dance Gangnam Style and that’s all about. But yeah, it’s a similar kind of thing that I help clients understand is. Stop going for the moonshot. Start trying to improve specific areas of a business by 1 percent. And consistently look at improving those areas. By 1 per cent each and every month. Because what that starts to do is have that compounding effect. You know, it’s the whole tortoise and the hare story, all that kind of thing. If you’re waiting around for that lottery win, effectively, you’re going to be waiting a long time. So just do the 1 percent things and do them consistently. And yes, everybody wants things right now. Instant gratificatio,n on demand, everything, all the rest of it. The truth is, it just doesn’t happen.

Chris Bruno [00:48:26] I can remember who said it, but you know, fast is slow and slow is fast. You know, trying to do things, knocking something out and hoping that you’re gonna get some huge result probably is going to work. But actually slowly building, slowly building, slowly building. That’s actually the quickest way.

Chris Bruno [00:48:40] And again, it comes down, we talked about it many times, but consistency can consistently show up and give your audience what they want or give your potential clients what they want, what they need to find out, what they need to understand. And I think that that’s the best piece of advice you can get for anyone. Start at zero. Like every one of us did. There isn’t anybody out there that started at a hundred million followers. No one. They started with zero. And they built up from there. So the same is true for you. Just start.

Adam King [00:49:09] Also if I can add one other thing in there, Chris, as well. Don’t try and do it all yourself. Get help. Get external help. Get coaches, mentors in different areas of a business. If you can’t find them. Try and go and add some value to someone that you could exchange things for. That’s what that’s my whole sort of alliance piece there. It’s, because trying to do everything yourself is insanity. And again, I say this from personal experience because that’s what I did when I was first doing things.

Adam King [00:49:37] I thought, oh, well, I know how to do marketing and I can do all these fancy funnels and all that kind of thing. I don’t need any help. Well, you quickly realize how lonely it can be. And again, that was reminded with that with your saying, a guest on my podcast, he’s South African. He told this America African proverb that if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go with the group. Agreed. So, yeah, you can go fast, but you’re going burn out quite quickly. You need that, you need that support. Whether that is from a group you create. But this really comes back. And I’m gonna bring it right back to the whole putting social back in social. Yeah. Stop. Use social as it’s supposed to be. Build connections, network, introduce people on social networks. When was the last time you went through your LinkedIn connections or your Facebook friends or anything like that and just saw two people and we,t they might be a good fit? I’m just going to tag them in a couple of posts and say, hey, by the way, thought you two because I’ve been speaking with you or whatever it is, you two could do something together or you could help this person out. But another to do that with three people a day.

Chris Bruno [00:50:47] Yeah.

Adam King [00:50:47] Takes five minutes.

Chris Bruno [00:50:48] Well, the impact is there as well. And like you said, you know, having that group or having those people around you, those mentors and what doesn’t, I always try to be careful because I don’t want to sit there and say hire an agency, because obviously that sounds like I’m being very, very much just sort of self-centred.

Adam King [00:51:03] Not everyone needs an agency and you know that. And, you know, that’s fine. Not everyone needs the agency side of things, but they need that kind of understanding of what an agency does, because maybe not ready for an actual agency right now, but maybe they will be in the future. You still need to understand the value of an agency. You still need to understand the process involved. You still have to know and understand your, at least at the basic level, what you want your marketing to do. Know what that goal is, to understand all of that sort of thing. Because, hey, we’ve had a similar discussion. There are some there are sharks in the marketing waters. There are. They exist. And they will take your money and run. Educate yourself just enough so that you’re not going to be taken advantage of by that kind of thing. Because whoever you know, your story, whoever has hired an agency for two years and has no idea whether it’s doing the right thing for them or not, the agency obviously, I don’t know it is, but they were dining out on that for two years thinking, this is great. We just got to, you know, do the things that we’ve said we’re going to do and do the deliverables and all the rest of it. Carry on getting paid.

Chris Bruno [00:52:10] Exactly. And it’s scary. ButI’d also say to people as well. Having, creating your own little group or it doesn’t have the necessary to be mentors, but even people who are in similar situation to you that you can go through this journey with, because I can’t remember who it was on the podcast who basically said, you know, you’re not as alone as you think you are when you’re starting a business. It starts to get very lonely because you think it’s all on me. Everything’s stuck, I’m on it. If I don’t sort this, nothing will happen. Oh, my God. What do we do next month? One thing or another. And actually, you know, looking around you and understanding that you can have conversations and, you know, people I know are very scared to talk to anyone who’s doing something similar to them. Oh, my God, we can’t talk to them because otherwise they buy Adam’s solution instead of ours or something. And you start thinking, why would that have an impact? Like even if you both did exactly the same thing, which most people don’t. Most people have a different point of view slightly. And one thing another, different fits and different audiences. But literally, why would it be an issue for you to have a conversation with Adam? And talk about the good things, the bad things. It’s something you’re struggling with and maybe he’ll ask your opinion on something your strategy is struggling with, but suddenly you have a little network around you of a few different people that you can bounce ideas off, that you can realize you’re not alone. And actually something that might just click in that one moment where they say something, you go, oh, my God, that’s ingenious. I didn’t even think of looking at that. Or actually I could recommend someone, you know, stop doing this Excel accounting stuff, speak to X. She’s a great accountant and I really strongly recommend her, whatever it might be. But that’s kind of the whole principle of business, really, isn’t it?

Adam King [00:53:43] It’s a whole mindset issue, though. That’s an abundance mindset. You need to have that mindset of thinking that there is more than enough out there for everyone. And if it means that one particular client goes to a different competitor’s, that’s fine with me. If it means that I have my client’s needs or best needs front and centre, because it means that that solution was better for them than going with you. That will happen.

Adam King [00:54:07] And yeah, I mean, I’ve got a funny thing you say about the group. I’ve fairly recently set up my own sort of mini mastermind group that there’s no charge for it. You know, I keep it small. We have a Facebook group. It’s called Catching Client Partnership Community. And basically, we are all there to bounce ideas off of each other. Yeah. Get on a call once a month and. yeah, just help each other. We form things like joint ventures. We share content with distribute content for each other. And we just you know, it’s the whole thing of a rising tide lifts all ship.

Adam King [00:54:41] And that is the last nautical fishing reference. I’m going to drop on this interview because it’s one of my favourite because you cannot do this alone. And if you simply have others around you that are on the same path, they get it. Because let’s be honest, most of our friends, partners, spouses or the rest of it, they don’t get it. So surround yourself by people that do.

Chris Bruno [00:55:03] Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And I think that’s a great, great place to probably end this, actually. And I don’t have a nautical themed outro planned for you, I’m afraid. So what I’m going to do that is instead of say, where can people find you online Adam? What’s the best place for them to connect with you?

Adam King [00:55:20] Yep. So the podcast is The Client Catching Podcast. You can check out the interviews.

Adam King [00:55:26] Ironically enough, Chris’ went live today, so his will be on there. So, yeah, check that out. What I will also do is I’ll set up a page for your listeners. You’ll be

Adam King [00:55:41] Yeah. And what I’ll put on there is just really a few of my best resources. I’ve got a master class which kind of goes into this whole idea of the growth accelerator ecosystem and the three growth accelerators. You’ll be able to see a couple of training videos that I’ve done on there which get there that, you know, completely free and all the rest of it and can also get my guide, which is called “How to Stand Out and Attract Clients in a World of Extroverts and Selfies”. And that’s all about sort of being an introvert. My journey as an introvert, to actually having a business that stands out and allows me to open the doors to conversations and relationships and how it’s transformed everything I do.

Chris Bruno [00:56:23] Awesome. Adam, thank you very much. And as always, I think we’ve probably gone much longer than we thought we were going to, but that’s purely because of the fact that we could both carry on talking about this for hours on end. I’m sure this isn’t the last convo we’re going to have, and I’m sure it’s not the last time we’ll be together talking about these sorts of things.

Adam King [00:56:40] It’s secretly, Chris, because I’m insanely jealous about your upcoming trip to Bali and I’m trying to get you to miss your plane.

Chris Bruno [00:56:46] I’ll try and call you a couple of times from Bali. Adam, thank you very much again. And look forward to catching up soon.

Adam King [00:56:53] Awesome. Thanks very much, Chris.

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