Christopher Lochhead’s new book, Play Bigger, is an absolute game changer. If you have a product, service, message or business, and you want to be number one in the category where you serve, you need to stop what you are doing and listen to this show and reorient around the counsel. As I am, and we at Ziglar are! More important than the quality of what you offer and even your brand, is understanding the category your business is in, and designing around it. You’ll need to listen in to fully understand, but it will excite you like nothing else. Folks, this is a new movement. Find Christopher at www.legendsandlosers.com which is the name of his incredible podcast. And thanks to Freshbooks and Paypal for supporting this episode!
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Here are some of the highlights:
Christopher discusses his Ziglar story and describes the impact Zig had on his life as a young sales professional.
What the quote “You can’t be a legend without first being a loser” really means. You’re going to fall over, everyone does, but it’s the legend who gets back up.
On his early retirement: “Entrepreneurship was not a way up for me, it was a way out.” He aims to help entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Category design is for people who want to be the next Zuckerberg, and for solopreneurs.
How Tim Rhode differentiated himself by designing a category for how he evaluates realtors. He conditions the market to think differently about how you see a realtor and went on to become the #1 realtor in the country.
Most entrepreneurs create businesses in existing markets. Chris explains why this is crazy and outlines a better strategy.
Why Zig is a great example of an intuitive category designer with his category: “Automobile University.”
The Froto Exercise – We, as entrepreneurs, need to move people from what to what.
The unspoken speaks louder than the spoken. Why Apple is the category king of iPads. “It seems like these Surface Pro iPads are down.”
[00:00] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, I am your grateful host, Kevin Miller. This is episode 479 and, friends, if you have a product, a service, an idea, a business, this show is an absolute must-listen. And I’ll tell you up front, you’ll want to share this with absolutely everyone you know who also has a product, service, idea or business. Christopher Lochhead is a business legend with Silicon Valley as a playground, and the strategy in his new book, titled Play Bigger, is one of the most significant business messages I’ve heard…ever. It stopped me in my tracks. I’ve sent the book to countless people over the past 90 days. Just yesterday I heard from a friend who is CEO in a revolutionary health insurance product that they stopped cold and are rerouting all their efforts around Christopher’s strategy. It’s big news, folks, and is as relevant for your solopreneur business endeavor as it is for Apple, Google and Uber. Strap yourself in!
[01:55] OK, folks, the message of Christopher and his co-authors in Play Bigger eclipses how good your product or service or message or business is. And it eclipses your brand. I’ll tell you what it is, but you’ll have to listen to grasp it. It’s about Category Design. Uber, for example, is not a billion-dollar business because it’s revolutionary technology or a legendary brand. It created a new category of getting a ride on demand. You can create a new category and dominate it, no matter what you do, and Christopher leads off the interview telling you how.
[02:31] But, quick story: I was at a small conference for top thought leaders and companies in alternative medicine in San Francisco. One of the speakers was one of Christopher’s three co-authors and partners, Dave Anderson. He spoke on category design, and we all received the Play Bigger book in our goodie bag. I read it on the plane and, like my friend I reference, am completely strategizing a massive, new business around defining a new category. Three days later I had the book out on my desk, using it as a workbook for a business plan, and got an email from an agent asking about interest in interviewing Christopher. I said, “Are you kidding me? I have the book out on my desk and…yes!” About 30 days later I had a two-hour consultation with Christopher, getting his help, and now I get to call him friend. So…stop what you are doing, get ready to take notes, and also, go buy Play Bigger immediately and subscribe to Christopher’s incredible podcast, Legends and Losers. And connect with him at legendsandlosers.com.
[05:04] OK, folks, so Ziglar Family CEO Mark Timm and I bring you…Christopher Lochhead so you can start playing bigger!!
[05:12] Christopher, I often don’t have much history with our guests, so it’s great having you here after having gotten to know you a bit, and benefited from your expertise!
[05:24] Thank you, Kevin, It is an absolute thrill for me to be on The Ziglar Show.
[05:32] The first thing I want to know is, how was your latest surf session and how is Poo Poo?
[05:38] Thank you for asking. You know, unfortunately, it has been a week or more since I surfed. Some people will think that surfing is a summer sport, and my session was great.
[07:55] You have your own story of how Zig Ziglar impacted your life, will you share that really quickly??
[08:05] My relationship with Zig is he is my uncle. Zig has no relationship with me. I actually feel like he is my uncle. The reason I feel like this is that I am someone who was thrown out of school at 18. I started my first company at 18. I couldn’t afford to attend the seminars, and like that, so I bought Zig’s books and started reading. I was the travelling guy, so I started to hear the tapes and then I heard Zig Ziglar.
[10:38] Your podcast is titled “Legends and Losers,” but you clarify this on your Facebook page by saying, “You can’t be a legend without being a loser.” Tell about that statement:
[10:54] I’d love to. We recently had a three-times Super Bowl champion in San Francisco. He was talking about how many failures he’s had. And he tells story after story like that. So the reason that show is called Legends and Losers is because a legend was and continues to be a loser. Because we learn by losing.
[14:06] You have retired at a relatively young age, and now are devoting yourself to entrepreneurs…what is the primary thing you want to offer them?
[14:24] Yes, I have dedicated my back of the life to make a difference for the entrepreneurs. Most companies are dying in our country, rather than been created. I am somebody for whom entrepreneurship is not something theoretical. I am somebody who, like a lot of entrepreneurs, has nothing, no opportunity, no education, no money, no relationship, no nothing. An entrepreneur is not a way up for me, it is a way out for me.
[15:56] So now to the book, Play Bigger. The tagline is, “How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.” The first sentence on the inside cover says, “Winning today isn’t about beating the competition at the old game. It’s about inventing a whole new game – defining a new market category, developing it, and dominating over time. You can’t build a legendary company without building a legendary category. If you think that having the best product is all it takes to win, you’re going to lose.”
[16:25] Now, you use a lot of stories and analogies with Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Uber and other giant-killers. You play at a high level. But here at The Ziglar Show, we have a lot of coaches and consultants, realtors and independent contractors, solopreneurs, mom and pop shops, small biz people in the service industry, and small businesses of 10-50 people. How is this message applicable to them?
[17:02] Category design is pickable for the entrepreneur who wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. And so the concept of scales — I can share a quick story if you like. A dear friend of mine, Tim Rhode, has a very similar background like mine. He ultimately ends up in real estate. And he thinks, “How am I going to do business? How am I going to differentiate?” So the first decision he makes is that he wants to differentiate on the level of seriousness of buyers. So he created a tagline which says, ‘Call Tim Rhode and start packing.”
[20:50] In the book you write, “Too many good companies with good products fail to make a dent in the universe because they can’t find their place in the universe.” So, in my own head, I immediately worried…, “Do I know my company’s place in the universe?” How do you know?
[21:32] Most entrepreneurs, most salespeople, most business people of any kind make an unconscious, unquestioned, uninformed choice to compete in existing markets. Attacking an existing market is lighting your money on fire.
[28:40] A big point you make, that is contrarian to much thought in business, is specifically NOT saying your product or service or message or category is better. It’s just different. One of my favorite stories you use in the book is about Uber. I’ve become a fan of Uber and Lyft for getting anywhere when traveling. I’ll never use a taxi again, and it’s hard for me not to say with a resounding whoop…Uber and Lyft are dramatically BETTER than a taxi service. So explain this more…not better, just different. Are you saying we, as the purveyor, don’t need to say we’re better, because the marketplace will do it for us?
[32:17] So, it is ok to say to the consumer it is better, but we need them to get the difference. It is better for you to get the difference. Often in life, the unspoken is louder than the spoken. So when we compete on better, the unspoken is the category king in the market today. This is why Pepsi will never, ever catch Coke. So, my point is that the point of reference every time is the company that designed and decorated the category.
[34:58] So when we compete on better that is what happens. We are comparing ourselves to the category king. They are what’s present, not us. So that is better, that is comparison.
[37:38] My point is, when you truly get on beneath, what most legendary innovators of all time have done, they did not compare themselves to the king before. They consciously told the world how they want the world to think about them, and specifically a problem and a solution. And, as such, they moved the world from whatever their definition of the thing at that time to the innovator’s definition. And that is not any form of marketing that people call marketing. That is teaching the world how to think about something.
[47:12] You say, “We’re in an era when the category king wins big and everyone else goes home.” What has caused this…era?
[47:28] Yes, just to put fine points on it. We did research on the book, and one of the things we wanted to understand was what percentage of total value created in any given market, i.e., to say market cap or valuation in any given category, goes to the leader? And the tech world takes 76%. Every market behaves more and more tech market because our ways of communicating with each other are the same ways we spread information. And so, the fact is that the information can be spread so wildly, whether it is good or bad.
[53:11] I have a question for you. We are seeing a lot where things are repeating themselves, what is old is new and what was new is old now. So, you see some category disappears but then you wait a couple of decades and you see those categories come back. So what advice do you have, you know, to watch the category completely disappear and how to see it come back?
[54:20] Yes, of course, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So it seems to be a lot for a market to see how it changes in time. But, more important is for entrepreneurs and innovators to wrap their brains around a problem. And there are two kinds of problems. There is a problem that we know we have: that is, the one way to use that innovators and entrepreneurs can meaningfully imagine. The problem is called “personal transportation.” And they re-imagine the new problem and context. Another is a problem that we didn’t know we have.
[58:14] You say a category king literally owns the problem it is solving. And that, in many ways, the problem is the category. I think most of us in business are aware of what problem we are solving for people, or desire we are fulfilling. But how often do you see a company, whether a person, business, or a Fortune 500 company, not keying in well to the marketplace on this issue…the problem they are solving?
[58:38] The biggest problem in business today is too many solutions without a problem. So every entrepreneur, every salesperson, every CEO, forgets that customers don’t buy drills, they buy holes. And so it is a complete disconnect.
[1:00:50] You mentioned brands. You also say, “Brands don’t make a category king. Category design does.” I think the vast majority of us are used to thinking brand is first, foremost, and everything! Are you finding people, even the experts, struggling to reorient themselves to this?
[1:01:07] I am a huge fan of branding. Categories make brands like no other ways around. Your brand matters to the degree of which your category king of a category matters. Category only matters as long as the problem they solve matters. And as long as the problem changes, the solution changes.
[1:04:19] You mentioned Froto again. So I have to mention that on page 72, the three questions are:
- Can you explain to me, like a five-year-old, what problem you are trying to solve?
- If your company solves this problem perfectly, what category are you in?
- If you are in 85% of that category, what is the size of your category’s potential?
[1:05:55] I think what’s really happening here is category designers, as they work on Frotos, they imagine the possible. They are filtering the vision of the future based on the Frotos, through the lens called the past. The category designers say, “If people thought this instead of that, what would happen?”
[1:14:05] You are helping us further Zig Ziglar,.because I am using this book marked up dramatically. I am using it. It is a workbook. Probably stop everything and do this exercise: How are we different? How do we categorize? By making myself answer these, it is significant.
[1:14:45] Thank you, guys. Your family and my uncle Zig gave me a lot.
[1:15:58] Thank you again, Chris, for giving us so much, thank you for this message. We brought you here because we know that our audience will use it and will benefit from it. So, thank you so much for being with us today.