I’ve been looking forward to this conversation with Michael Sciortino for a very long time. He has over 30 years of experience in the area of marketing, is a keynote speaker and trainer and is the author of ‘Gratitude Marketing.’ He comes to us with a wealth of marketing information and he shares some incredible techniques with us today.
He didn’t get into writing his book like many authors do. Instead of writing a book then developing a seminar and teachings/trainings around it, he started with the seminar first. He put all the tools he’s used for years and what he’s learned from others around the country and tested everything out on live seminar attendees. The feedback and experience he received from this was massaged into a user-friendly format within the book.
‘Gratitude Marketing’ is about recognizing and developing meaningful, memorable relationships with the people that you want to work with for the long-term. “I’m about building long-term relationships and you do that by being concerned more with what the customer or client wants than what your agenda might be.”
Mike is a masterful client-relationship builder and he tries to establish new working relationships by asking the prospective clients about their practice, their clients and their approach to business. This warm caring attitude will lead the prospective client to choose him as the logical choice because of this. Two of his favorite words to get them on his side are “tell me.” “Tell me about your goals… your objectives… what you want for your kids… what you want to do when you retire.”
Gratitude marketing comes naturally to Mike, but some clients or prospective clients don’t see the value in building interpersonal relationships. For these people, Mike asks them what they’ve done in regards to marketing their product. He finds that most traditional marketing speaks at people. Gratitude marketing engages and connects with people. You meet them where they’re at and build a deeper connection through this process.
Expressing gratitude isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a consistent practice that can accomplish The 3 R’s:
- Retention – it increases client retention. It costs 7x more money to find a new client than to retain a client.
- Referrals – by far the best marketing strategy is to cultivate a consistent referral program. Client referrals cost effectively doubles your business.
- Revenues – taking care of retention and referrals takes care of revenues. “Ultimately, people and clients work with people they like, know and trust.”
An incredible expression of gratitude to your current clients that helps to build relationships and which leads to referrals and more business is to personally hand-write three thank you cards every day. There’s always somebody to show gratitude towards, and taking the time to do this is the greatest habit you can build that will be so much more valuable than you could ever imagine.
But, all the gratitude in the world won’t help if you don’t have a business worth sharing with others. Mike’s a big believer in “we don’t get what we don’t ask for,” but clients are only willing to refer if you give a service that’s referable.
Mike dropped some incredible nuggets of information and some actionable steps we could all jump at right now to improve our businesses no matter the industry. I’m thankful for the time that he gave to me and the podcast today.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- How building long-term relationships nurtures trust within clients and leads to more business
- That moving your focus away from the numbers and to the relationships will lead to more than just financial success
- How writing the book has surprisingly transformed Mike’s own life
- An exclusive asset retention idea not presented in his book
- Plus much more…
DON’T STOP HERE…
- Learn more and connect with Mike: LinkedIn | ph 985-705-1824
- ‘Gratitude Marketing’ Book: Website : Amazon
Pete: Hey, Mike. Thank you for joining the show. I greatly appreciate you taking time and I’m so looking forward to this conversation.
Mike: You know what, I am too Pete. I think we have very similar stories and we worked with a lot of the same people,I think in the industry.
Pete: I think you’re true to that. My first question that I always ask is can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?
Mike: Sure. You know, I’ve been in the financial services business since the mid ’80s. The best way I like to answer that is I like to go back to the initial conversation that I had with the editor when we started to write the book and she said, well, tell me Mike, she says, “Is this a how to book or is this an inspiration book”. My answer to her was yes. She says, well, it’s either or. I said no, it’s really isn’t because as you’re going to see this is a how to but it is full of a lot of the encouraging methods that I’ve used throughout my career.
Now, Pete, what you got to understand is I really, as you do, understand the struggles that financial advisers faced: The struggles of acquiring clients and the struggles of retaining clients. Heck, when I started in the business back in the mid ‘80s, the dollar was at 776 to age myself a little bit. Now, at the 17,000 plus that it is today and the reality of it is I know what it takes to dial the phone 300 times a day. What I found very quickly is I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. What it really caused me to do was to find memorable meaningful ways to connect and acquire clients.
Pete: You are the masterful client relationship builder. I’ve read your book. I’ve absolutely enjoyed the heck out of it. It applies to financial services. It actually applies to across all industries. Anybody can pick up this book and walk away with some really great nuggets and we’ll talk about some of those. Myike, I guess, my question is did you just wake up one morning ago, man, it’s a beautiful day here in Louisiana, I think I want to write a book.
Mike: You know Pete, I’ve heard a lot of the stories as to why people wrote a book and my journey was a little bit different because what many people do is they write the book and then once they write the book, they put together seminars and presentations and everything else. I did it the opposite if you will. I actually, as I mentioned before, all the years I was in the business, I used these tools. This is nothing that I just decided to put in a book. These were ideas I got from the most successful in the industry around the country as I traveled from city to city. I decided that you know what, before we leave this place, we have a song in this and it’s a song that has to be sung. It was one that I felt very passionate about so what I did is I actually went out and put together a seminar first. I went and visited advisers that I worked with and said hey, what do you think? What would you add? What would you take out? Then, I tested it. I gave the presentation in a number of settings and I got feedback. With the working of the editor, we were able to massage this and put in a format that’s very easy to use and very easy friendly.
The way I designed this book, Pete, is very much like a restaurant. When you go order in a restaurant, you got four choices. You got to tell them what the appetizer is. You got to tell them what salad you want, what entrée and what dessert. I took the ideas and I put them in four areas: Fun, personal, mindful and seasonal. You can go pick and choose as you see fit with the ideas that fit your style or fit your business. But one thing I can tell you is that these ideas are proven and it worked.
Pete: I ask the questions you were talking about that it popped in my mind how we met. Actually, we had never met but when I get back from Christmas vacation, there was this package in my office. I opened it up and it says book. I went to the Amazon and I go, did I order this one night? No, I didn’t do that. Where in the heck? Then, I opened it up and on the inside cover it says Peter, well, gratitude is often unexpected. It’s always welcome. Adam wanted you to have a complimentary copy to help you further build your business in the New Year. Make today extraordinary and happy holidays, Mike. I mainly got this weird goose bumps. What? It literally just blew me away. Now, I picked it up and I read the first chapter and a half in full transparency. I set it down and I said I got to read this. I got to read this and I’m bad at this. I didn’t pick up but when we met to speak in a university in Pittsburgh after we introduced ourselves, we had that conversation. I started from the beginning and I think I was done in two days. I mean I just devoured this thing and it is on my to do list to read again because there’s so many tips and nuggets in here that it’s wonderful.
Mike: Yeah, Pete. We share a similar story because when I sent you the book, you did something that a lot of people don’t do and that is immediately you reciprocated and sent me a copy of your book. I got the same thing that you did. I read the first couple of pages. I literally put it on the stairs up to my office and it sat there until I went to Pittsburgh. I came back from Pittsburgh. I read the book. I outlined it. I have four pages of legal pen outlined and what amazed me were the similarities between your message and mine. You know the importance of listening. A mentor told me a long a time ago when I started in the business. He says Mike, you’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason. When I saw that in your book, I said oh, my goodness. Let me keep reading. We talked about stories and how stories are the gifts we give others. They’re kind of a way we explain things and the pieces of the puzzle that connect us, if you will, with other people.
The part that really resonated with me was throughout your book, you talked about the importance of relationship with the audience and that’s what gratitude marketing is all about. It really is all about recognizing and developing meaningful memorable relationships with the people that you want to work with for the long term and not just for one transaction. So, I’m about building long-term relationships and you do that by being concerned more with what the customer or the client wants than what your agenda might be. You get the direction, if you will, by being the guy who asks the right questions. I know that’s something that you teach and you promote and that certainly have been a part of my business for years.
Pete: It’s an important piece of my business. That’s how I’ve grown my business and as you write in your book and thoroughly believed and that we’ve both not transactional business. We’re the long-term relationship business. In order to do that, we’re going to have trust with our clients, with our customers. We have to have trust and respect with them, which leads me down this one path. But financial advisers, finance people or accounting people tend to be dated driven and live by the data and won’t take any non-data into the calculation, into the process of coming up with an answer or delivering the product. I believe that data is part of the answer but there’s a lot more that goes into it than just the actual analytical side of it. I always say there’s qualitative and quantitative information that you need to use in order to make the decision. I think your book brings that out in so many ways.
Mike: You now, Pete, when I was in the business as we discussed in Pittsburgh, a lot of my clients were CPA’s and accountants. The way that I would establish the relationship as I go into the office, unlike other managers or representatives that would walk in and just want to get into a sales pitch, I would sit down and say, hey, tell me about your brackets. Tell me about your clients, tell me about the type of clients you have, tell me what you do. How you approach your business because one thing that I found is that if you want the heart to prompt the mind to do what logic tells you, a warm caring attitude is vital. So, I got them to think not about just the numbers but about the long-term impact that they held on the client and I would share with them all types of little tricks.
A couple of my favorite words are tell me. Mr. client tell me about your goals, tell me about your objectives, tell me what you want for your kids down the road, tell me what you want to do when you retire. Tell me, tell me, tell me. Once they revealed to me what they want and recognized it’s all about them, it’s not about us, once they tell us what they want, then I’m able to suggest strategies in which they can deepen those relationships. I got to tell you, you talk about gratifying. Certainly, this is a wonderful business financially but I’ve gotten so much satisfaction out of walking into an office where there’s a fellow who might be a CPA and my son’s a CPA. So, I totally understand the way the business works. But to take someone who’s used to a practice where he is totally obsessed and totally focused, if you will, on the numbers and showing him how he can have an impact within 18 or 24-month period, actually make more on the free side of the business on the investment side than on the accounting side, that’s pretty gratifying. I’ve got some long-term friends as a result of these relationships that I’ve helped them for.
Pete: So, how do you convey to someone in the financial services community who might not see the value of gratitude marketing, of building relationships? Is there a way that you’ve been able to have them change their opinion, change their mind or see it in a different perspective?
Mike: There is and what I start with is I start with asking what they’ve traditionally done in terms of marketing and what I found is that traditional marketing speaks at people and nobody likes that. Gratitude marketing engages and connects with people. In other words, what we do is we meet people where they are and I convinced them that expressing gratitude is not a onetime thing. It’s a sound way of doing business and it’s the consistent way of running your business.
Showing appreciation, what that can do for your business is three things and I referred to it as the three R’s. First of all, it can address client retention, increase client retention. Now, when I look at the statistics and the studies in the business today, they tell me that it takes seven times more money to acquire a new client than to retain a client. For my money, I’m going to try to retain clients and take care of them. Number two, client referrals by far the best marketing strategy in my opinion. In the 30 plus years I’ve been in the business is to cultivate a consistent referral program. What that’ll do for you is that it will very cost effectively allow you to double your business. Think about it Pete. If you get every client to just give you one referral of person similar to themselves, you’ve doubled your business without a lot of money in a lot of outlet. The third R is revenues. I want to help them increase revenues. How do I do that? Well, if I take care of the retention and I take care of the referrals, the third one’s going to take care of itself because ultimately, people and clients work with people they like, they know and they trust. So, everything that I tried to help them with in gratitude marketing is to nurture that culture of trust, a huge component. I know you’re big on that as well.
Pete: Very much so. Can you give us some examples of how you institute gratitude w ith your clients?
Mike: Yeah, it’s funny because you often hear it said that it’s not rocket science and when I tell it’s not rocket science, it’s not. You mentioned there my biggest point with it and that is well gratitude is often unexpected. It’s always welcome but my second point is that the appetite for a sincere thank you is unlimited. Let me give you an example. I had an adviser that I actually worked with for over 30 years. He came to my website and he inquired into the gratitude marketing community. He actually asked me to give him a call, which I did. I called him and we spoke for about 10 minutes and he said Mike, I gotta tell you. He says, there was an idea in your book that was really a wakeup call. Here’s the guy who’s been in the business 30 years, one of the top guys in his firm. I said I got tell you I’m curious, which one was it. He said it was the thank you note. He says Mike, when I started in the business, I used to handwritten thank you note every day to clients and I stopped. He says, since I completed your book and put it down for the last two weeks, I took your suggestion and I’ve sent three thank you notes a day. I said wait a second let’s do the math here. What you’re telling me is that you sent three notes a day times five days a week. So, week one, you sent 15 notes. Week 2, you sent another 15. So you’ve sent a total of 30 notes. What’s the ripple impact on your business?
Now, Pete, if we need to stop there that would be a great story. Here’s the rest of the story. Today, not a lot of people take the time to write personal notes. They used email. Here’s the statistics. According to the U.S. post office, the typical American household waits two months for a personal letter. Have we just identify an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself, absolutely. That’s what gratitude marketing is all about. It’s how do you connect in ways that may be obvious to many but they aren’t executed. It’s all about consistency of execution overtime.
Pete: Talking about in your book, you make a reference on how you get referrals. There’s something that you do that helped you get referrals. I believe that was in chapter 8 or something like that.
Mike: It’s funny because is what I’ve done is there’s a number of ways and I’ve broken it down into the books so that it’s easy and I tell folks I said look, there’s three ways you can do it. You could do it passively. You could do it one at a time or you could do it proactively. In the book, I give them some examples about for example, I have four placards if you will that I’ve seen as I’ve traveled through offices through the years and these are the four that I have found that the adviser used them got great results. One, for example says the majority of our new clients were referred to us by clients like you. We appreciate your thoughtfulness, very simple and very passive.
Our practice continues to grow by referrals from our clients. Many thanks for your trust and confidence, very simple. This can either be in the reception area. They can be literally on the back of your door and as the client opens the door and lock out after the appointment, they see this. I’m a big believer. We don’t get what we don’t ask for and the majority of clients are very willing to refer if you provided the service that makes you referral. I don’t know about you but if I’m serving somebody and I’m providing a way for them to reach their goals and objectives. I would be doing them a disservice by not asking for referral because I don’t want them to be going on that trip around the world by themselves. I want them to have four of their friends with them and how can that happen? Well, if they are able to work with the adviser. It’s a win-win scenario.
Pete: The one that I really like and I’ve actually employed a version of it is when you say in the book that is if someone gives you a referral you make a donation to their charity.
Mike: Oh absolutely. You know what, I am a big believer in that. It’s interesting because I’m going to go off and just to [inaudible 00:17:37] just for a second because when I wrote the book, never in my life that I envisioned the doors that it would open up. I thought that this was going to be a tunnel vision financial services book. I have had people from all industry just a couple of weeks ago. I spoke to one of the largest charities in the world that called me to talk about gratitude and the suggestion I made to them is listen guys, I’ve got an idea that if you will implement this, I think I can incrementally increase your donations and it’s this. Talk to your clients. Ask your clients what they’re going to be giving to their clients as gifts for Christmas. Then ask them what their budget is. Once they give you the number, say how would you like to make a donation to this charity on their behalf and then what I find advisers then do is they send out a Christmas card with a little note in that says Mr. Client, on your behalf, we’ve made a donation to whatever the charity may be. When the client gets that, wow, that’s a huge wow and that’s what gratitude marketing tries to do. I tried to create wow moments so that clients feel more comfortable with the relationship. It all starts with that caring attitude and that’s how I utilize that referral idea.
Pete: Yeah, I read that. I sat back and reflected and I just started this year when I was at the Washington Society of CPAs speaking there on April. I have been talking to the person who heads up their educational foundation and I said Kimberly, here’s what I’m going to do. For every class that I teach at the Washington Society of CPA’s, I’m going to donate 50 bucks to your foundation. You would’ve thought I said 5,000. Her jaw hit the floor and she says, are you kidding me? I said I taught too. You got a hundred right now. I’ll send you the check when I get home and I’m due to be back out there in June and teach two more. I said that’s $200 donation. Why are you doing that? I just want to help. I want to help the profession and I want to help profession in the State of Washington with your educational foundation because I used to send on the Ohio CPA foundation and there’s more than just one so now, I haven’t publicized, well, I guess, I am now. I haven’t publicized this wherever I go, I’m going to give at least a $50 donation to the charity of whoever’s sponsored me that day. I love the idea. It’s another way of giving back to the profession as well as building a stronger relationship with your clients.
Mike: Pete, I got to tell you. You really got me going now because that’s my mission and that’s my passion. It’s to help as many businesses build robust, stable, sustainable businesses by simply using these basic ideas. You know what it boils down to? I look back through my career and I was just on the phone this morning with a gentleman who I’ve kind of mentored throughout his career. As matter of fact, he was talking about wanting to use my book and giving out to advisers, which obviously I was very much in favor of. But we talked about the fact that you got to do the things you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do on so that the day comes when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them. The way that happens is by doing the little things, paying attention to the little details. Just Monday, I had a review from one of the most popular bloggers in our industry and basically, he ended up the review as a four-page review by saying you know, what’s Sciortino’s book all about is consistent execution. What I want to be is I want to be the guy who works with the adviser, with the business and helps hold them accountable because if they will follow these proven formulas, they will get the success that they desire as an example.
Pete: You know, like you said, it’s not rocket science but I think it’s creating a habit and I talked about this in my book and I talk about it a lot. They say it takes 21 days to start a habit but it takes a lifetime to maintain it and that the part that we don’t put at the end of it. It takes a lifetime to maintain it. Visual stimuli are just constantly doing it. I’ve got a posted note that just going up on my computer screen, three thank notes a day so I can create that habit. I mean I create the “yes, and” habit by my cufflinks that I wear. One says yes and one says and. We’ve all been on a diet before and we’ve all started New Year’s resolutions. We’ve quit. Why I haven’t because we haven’t kept the stimuli in place and follow through to your point. I really don’t want to write this three thank you notes today. I’d rather do something else. No, write it, get into the habit of it. It will pay off big in the long run.
Mike: You know Pete, I think about success stories and one of the most revered management consultants is a fellow by the name of Peter Drucker. He attributed his success to the fact that he wrote 12 thank you notes a day. Here’s the thing. Three a day, I’ll give you four weeks of vacation. That’s 720 notes a year. That’s 720 opportunities to show off and differentiate yourself from the competition. I’ve trained sales folks in the past that I’m paying and they said who would write on to us? You mean to tell me that you can’t sit down each day and find three people that you’re thankful for something. It’s going the extra mile and that’s what creates robust sustainable businesses. This is not a one shot strategy. This is a long term. Heck, it took me 30 years to refine the strategy. But now, I have refined. I’m on a mission to tell as many people about it as I can and as many industries because I know that if they utilize these strategies, they will make a difference in people’s lives and that’s what you and I are all about.
Pete: Right. I want to throw something at you because I do a lot of presentations on networking and some years ago I was speaking to a group in Cleveland. There’s about 100 and some people in the room but I made the point of sending thank you notes, sitting down, handwriting the thank you note. This one woman stood up and said, I would throw it in the trashcan and I started laughing and we all started laughing. I said okay, why would you throw it in a trashcan? Let’s just say she is probably about 20 years younger than I am and she goes because it’s cluttering up my desk. Now, if you send me that in an email, I could properly put it somewhere where I could read it later but I like my desk nice and clean so you just cluttered it up, I would throw it in the trashcan. I’ve asked that question to a number of different audiences at different age groups and I’m finding that the younger generation, the millennial, or the young access, they’re more inclined to accept an email versus handwriting.
Mike: Well, you make a great point. But let’s think about where we’re fishing here. Let’s think about the CPA’s. Let’s think about the financial advisers out there. The baby boomers are the ones that have the money. The baby boomers are the ones that are going to be the beneficiaries of this huge transfer of wealth over the next 15 to 20 years. How do the baby boomers like to be addressed? It goes back to we got to meet our client age wise where they are. Okay, I’m a guy where, Pete, if you call me and said Mike, I’ve got a 30-page report. Would you like me to send you a hard copy or would you like me to email up? You know what I’m going to tell you. Pete, send me the hard copy. You know why? Because I’m going to take this yellow pen and I’m going to mark it all up. The reality of it is it’s a differentiator. You’ve got to know who are clientele is but I would rather have a client tell me, you know, don’t bother sending me those anymore. At least I know I’ve differentiated myself.
Pete: Exactly and that was a little bit to my point on a sidebar after the session was over. I asked her and said doesn’t this make a difference? My name is now in front of you and you could if you didn’t want me to do that, you could always tell me, hey, I’d appreciated if you just send me an email. So, she said, yeah, you’re right but I want to have a little fun in your expense. Well, I said well, thank you.
Mike: You know what, Pete, there are so many ideas out there. This is why I’ve divided the book the way it is. You know, it’s funny because my biggest challenge was how do I narrow it down. I mean I’ve literally have boxes of ideas but you know what’s been amazing to me is that ever since the book has been written as I’ve traveled around, I have gathered so many new ideas and I’ve got one that I’ve got to share with you. It’s not in the book but it was the most amazing asset retention idea that I’ve ever seen. It made me pause and realized wow. This company really gets the lifetime value of a client. Once again, it goes back to that long-term relationship. It’s not about the revenues that your accounts could’ve provide me this year. It’s about the fact that on average, my client stay with me let’s say, 9.8 years. It’s this year’s revenue times 9.8, which is a big number. So, let me set the stage. I’ve been travelling all day, connection through Chicago and a taxi ride to the hotel in January in Minneapolis. Now, for a guy from Louisiana to go to Minneapolis in January, it was a big meeting so I couldn’t miss it. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the Marriott. I got a smiling face behind the reception’s desk and she hands me this chocolate bar. I’m like wow, it’s probably nice but let me tell you, Pete, it wasn’t an ordinary chocolate bar. This is what it said. Mr. Sciortino, we appreciate your business. Thank you. So, let me say this. If the millennial don’t like the thank you card, try a chocolate bar or talk to me and I’ve got a thousand other ideas that we can work with. The reality of it is you got to do things that are different and it’s not the cost to the idea, it’s the thought that matters. What had really made me realized is when you personalize an experience, that’s when people get that deep connection. What a lot of businesses miss is that like rats on a treadmill. Let me spend money on marketing sales, marketing sales. If they would spend more time taking care of the clients they have, my goodness, life would be so much grander.
Pete: Well said, well said my friend. Mike, we could talk for an hour or so but what I think I want to do is begin to wrap things up because I want to do a follow-up podcast with you. Because I’ve a feeling between now then, either there’s going to be a new book out or this one’s going to get a bit little thicker or you’re going to have more stories. I don’t want it all to go away-
Pete: But what I would like to do is I’m doing this thing called as I get towards the end of the podcast, I want my audience get to know you a little bit better.
Pete: They know you by the book but I do this thing called a 10 quick questions. This is all off the cuff. I know that you live in Louisiana. How far out from New Orleans?
Mike: I live 40 miles north of New Orleans across at one time was the longest bridge over water in the world. Now, we’re number two, 23 miles straight across the Causeway.
Pete: Okay, so, this should be very easy for you. First thing, Mardi Gras or the Jazz Festival.
Mike: Well, being that my son and I now ride into Mardi Gras parade each year, now, you got on a real attention here Pete because a lot of people say that Mardi Gras is the greatest free show on earth. I would suggest that it’s one of the greatest displays and expressions of gratitude on earth because what you got to understand is Mardi Gras is totally funded by the members of the crew. The city and the government don’t pay for it, we pay for it and my son and I ride every year with one goal in mind. That’s to put as many smiles on kid’s faces as we can. That’s yet a whole another podcast on how we do that but understand down here, we throw bead stuffed animals everything off the floats. It’s an amazing time, an amazing time.
Pete: Wow, I’m blown away. We did not talk about any of these questions before. Knowing the area and New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite places. I think I’ve been there at least 14 times in my lifetime with another 14 more to go. Second question, Drew Brees or Anthony Davis?
Mike: Drew Brees, I mean you talk about a gentleman that conducts himself with class. I grew up in a timeframe where they were so bad. The people used to put bags over their heads if you remember. But the reality of it is there have been two quarterbacks in the history of Saints that are just class X. Archie Manning who was amazing but Drew Brees has conducted himself with class, has put the team on his shoulders. Drew Brees is more of a person, more of a gentleman off the field than he is on the field. I can’t stand up about the guy and I’ve never met him. Maybe, I need to send him a book. I don’t know.
Pete: I think you should send him a book. I really think you should send him a book. At least not through Anthony Davis. He’s a graduate from the University of Kentucky.
Mike: I probably should have brought this stuff by telling you that I’m not an NBA fan. So, I know who he is and from what I can see, he’s done a nice job but I’m more of a football fan and [inaudible 00:32:58] understand.
Pete: So what your favorite Cajun meal?
Mike: Oh man, you got me going there. Now, you want to talk about a long podcast. We could go on and on and on. It’s tough for me to name a favorite because our food down here is so unbelievable. The most difficult challenge my wife and I have when we travel is finding places that cater with the care of the people in the restaurants as they do down here. It’s absolutely amazing. Let me say this Pete. I’ll make this deal with you. When you come down, we won’t have to choose. We’ll go out to a couple of different restaurants. We’ll try a couple of different meals and once we tried the charbroiled oysters of the Trout Meuniere, I’m going to let you answer that question.
Pete: I’ll get to that in a moment but there’s one place every time I’m in north I have to go there first and I’ll tell you that here in a minute. What’s your favorite city visit?
Mike: Favorite city to visit, you know that’s great. We loved Italy and absolutely love Italy. My wife and I have been very fortunate and that we’ve been there several times. We love Rome. We love Venice. We love going down the Sorrento but if I had to pick a domestic city, the closest that I found to New Orleans in terms of the food, the climate and the people is Charleston, South Carolina.
Mike: Charleston, South Carolina, which just happens to be the home of our infamous publisher. It actually has nothing to do with that. The people there are fantastic. The food is fantastic.
Pete: I agree. I’d never been to Charleston until putting this book together for the Vantage Media and I immediately, immediately fell in love with the city and the food. Next question, Dixie beer or Abita beer?
Mike: I got to tell you, there are some diehard Dixie beer fans here but Abita is not far from me. They actually brew it probably about 15 miles north of here. You know what, I will answer that by saying cold.
Pete: Here’s one for you, Court of Two Sisters or the Gumbo Shop?
Mike: I probably would be on the Court of Two Sisters more than to The Gumbo Shop. I would say Court of Two Sisters.
Pete: The Gumbo Shop is the place I go to first and foremost, I go in, I get a bowl of gumbo, the combination plate, and a Dixie beer. I’ve been doing that for years. I actually have the cookbook from the Gumbo Shop. Actually, my friend, I make a pretty mean gumbo. I make a pretty mean gumbo, I do.
Mike: Okay, well, I love it. I think I’m not going get much better than that. I really don’t. As a matter fact, I just had some last night Pete.
Pete: I have to make some. Next question, Neville Brothers or Harry Connick, Jr.?
Mike: You know, Harry Connick, Jr. has done a spectacular job. Once again, what a great ambassador for the city. He’s done a lot. I know after Katrina, he came back a lot out there. He actually started a Mardi Gras crew, the Orpheus crew which parades the Monday before Mardi Gras. But he’s given that a lot to the city but certainly, you’re giving me tough questions because the Neville Brothers have done a wonderful job as well. It’s just such a fine line difference here Pete. I got to tell you. You couldn’t have pick anything culture than those two.
Pete: Alright, we’ll move to favorite movie.
Mike: Favorite movie, oh my goodness. That’s really tough. I am a big Rocky fan. I got to tell you that but there are so many, boy. You catch me on the spot here. Since I get off this call with you I know I’m going to say, boy why did I have to say this one but suffice to say, I really like that. I like the tenacity. I like the perseverance. I like the consistency, which is what it takes.
Pete: Here’s one, Jimmy Fallon or Johnny Carson?
Mike: Johnny Carson. Here’s the thing. I’m glad you brought him up because one of the greatest gratitude markers in the world, Johnny Carson. Why? Because he engaged and connected in a way that you wanted to spend time with him like an old friend each night. How many people stayed up until midnight each night and the next the morning and say why I stayed up and watch Carson last night? I know I got to go to work today, right? Because of the way he connected with people and I got to be honest with you. At this point in my life, I’m not staying up that late watching Fallon. I get up very early so I probably stayed up and watch Carson a lot more than I do Fallon.
Pete: I’m a big Carson fan and I’m also a big Fallon fan but I don’t stay up and watch Fallon. This thing called Hulu, I get on in the elliptical in the morning and I’m watching last night or a couple nights’ episodes of Fallon. All right. Last question, what’s the one thing on your bucket list that you would like to accomplish first?
Mike: It’s something I’m not going to be able to accomplish in the next week, the next month, or the next year and that is to take everything I’ve learned and just to help as many people. The whole process of writing this book, Pete, for me has been transforming in that I thought initially that I would just going to share an idea or two with people a story that can help them in their lives. But you know what I found is that it is so broad in my perspective because as you mentioned earlier, I’ve realized just how much gratitude transcends all industries that deal with people. I can’t answer that fully because I don’t know what God has in stored for me tomorrow to be quite honest with you. All I know is He’s laying the path, He’s getting it ready, and I’m ready to help Him do what we need to do.
Pete: I will say that’s probably the best answer I’ve ever had on that question. So Mike, tell our audience one is how they can contact you, your website, what you’ve got on your website and how they can get your book?
Mike: Sure, they can contact me, phone number 985-705-1824. They can go to my website, which is gratitudemarketingbook.com. Order the book. Once they order the book and have a chance to read that book, what I would appreciate an Amazon review. I would appreciate sharing that book with the organization and hey, I am open for speaking and will get on a plane and go anywhere that folks are open to the message. You know, the reality of it is that we’ve got so much to give back to people and as I said that’s a huge mission of mine so I’m a big believer in sharing is caring. Give me the opportunity to share.
Pete: Mike, I can’t thank you enough for taking time. This has been a wonderful conversation. It’s made me think in a couple of different directions and I’m sure it’s making in the audience think about things just a little bit differently today for a better tomorrow. So thank you again my friend.