Transcript: Thanks Allan. This is David Brower with your 20 Minute Podcast. Our special guest today from Brooklyn, New York, is Joe Apfelbaum. He’s the CEO of Ajax Union, a B to B digital marketing agency based in Brooklyn. He’s a business strategist, marketing expert, certified Google trainer, and the list goes on and on. The things that got my attention most, Joe, though, is you’re proud of your purpose and your beautiful, amazing kids. Welcome to the show.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I am proud of my purpose and my beautiful kids. Thank you.
David Brower: Outstanding, and you are everywhere. Internet-wise, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn. You’ve got two websites. You’ve got places where people can find your books and articles, and written contributions, your courses, podcast interviews. You’ve even got a marketing strategy bootcamp. I mean goodness, gracious. How did you get involved in all of this wonderful motivational and training stuff?
Joe Apfelbaum: They say if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. I say if you’re out of sight, you’re out of your mind. If you want to grow your business, you got to get in front of people. Using social media, using the internet is the best way to do it. My goal is to be able to do this myself for my own brand and for my company, but also for my clients. We’ve serviced over 1100 companies over the past decade, and we’ve helped many of them be able to grow from just a little start-up to companies that are doing hundreds of millions in revenue.
David Brower: Wow, that’s fantastic. On your AjaxUnion.com website, I love the hook. ‘Your marketing sucks. We can help.’
Joe Apfelbaum: Your marketing does suck. Most people, their marketing sucks. If you Google anybody’s name or anybody’s company name, you’re going to see that they are not doing things. They are not doing the basics, and that’s why … when I look at websites, I usually roast them for people because people love … constructive criticism when it comes to their business.
David Brower: No question about it, no question about it. Has that been … has that really been the … what’s really taken you to all these high levels is understanding people, and of course, marketing, and get them thinking in the right directions?
Joe Apfelbaum: For me, it’s going to be always about adding value.
David Brower: Okay.
Joe Apfelbaum: What can I do to add value to your life was the biggest thing that allows me to be able to move forward and do the things that I needed to do. You see, progress equals happiness. I’m always looking to be able to progress as a human being. I lost 95 pounds. People ask me how I did it. I wrote a book called ‘High Energy Secrets.’ I put it on Amazon. It’s selling really, really well. I learned how to become a networker over the past five years, and overcame my fear of networking. I started a master class called the Networking Master Class. I’m teaching people how to go from a Schmoe to a networking pro.
Joe Apfelbaum: For me, it’s kind of like what I do. I’m a strategist. I’m a marketer. I’m very curious. I’m very creative. I’m using my strengths and my passion that drive me to always find a better way of doing everything.
David Brower: You’re also a selfie master. Tell me about that.
Joe Apfelbaum: When I started networking, I took this class. I remember where it was, it was like an online class that said you have to figure out a way for you to really stand out. One of the things that I was always afraid of on social media is putting my own photo online, because I thought people would judge me. I have a beard. I have a yamaka. I felt all … I was judging myself for the way that I looked, because I did look different.
David Brower: Gotcha.
Joe Apfelbaum: What I didn’t … What I felt comfortable with is taking a photo together with somebody else because all the focus is not on me. I decided I’m going to start taking selfies with other people, and especially with CEOs, and executives at companies. I made a goal to do 1,000 selfies with 1,000 CEOs about four years ago.
Joe Apfelbaum: I got on stage with Gary Vaynerchuk and I said, “Hey Gary, can I do a selfie with you and the 700 CEOs behind us? Because I have a goal to get to 1,000 CEOs, and I’m not going to do it one-on-one.”
Joe Apfelbaum: He said, “Yes.” I went on stage with Gary Vaynerchuk at an EO event in Philadelphia, and we did it. Since then, I’ve just been hooked because it’s very, very unique to get up and do selfies with somebody. It also makes me remember the conversation.
Joe Apfelbaum: If I have a conversation with you, and it’s memorable, and we’re together, what I’m going to do is I’m going to say, “Hey, can I take a photo with you?” Then what I can do later is send a postcard to the person, or I could post it on social media. Then people can see who I’m meeting, and see the interactions that I’m having with people. Not that I’m just saying that I’m a networker, but if you have 1,000 selfies with 1,000 CEOs every year, you’re automatically a connector.
David Brower: Automatically, and I got to think that the people that you’re taking those selfies with, it’s a meaningful experience for them, too, because nobody’s taken the time or the … [chutzpah 00:04:48], if you will, to do that approach.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yes. Nobody’s taken the time or the chutzpah to do it, because it’s uncomfortable to say, ‘Hey, would you want to do a photo with me?’ What are they going to say? I’ve had one person; one person out of the thousands of people that have taken selfies, he said, ‘No.’
Joe Apfelbaum: The reason he said ‘no’ to me is he said, “Because I have to ask my agent.” He was a famous. He’s like, “I can’t just do a selfie with you, because it has to look a certain way and it has to be a certain way, and I don’t want to get in trouble.”
David Brower: Gotcha, gotcha. There are so many things on your AjaxUnion.com site listing what you do, about you, careers, testimonials, a great blog, account-based marketing, strategy and execution. Man, there is so much for people to just absorb initially, and to get the feel for what you do and how you like to operate. Of course, that’s going to make them reach out to you sooner, I would think.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah, and I want people to figure out what they want. What do you want in your life? Do you want to set goals? Do you want to network better? Do you want to improve your marketing? If you want to improve your marketing, you can check out all the things I’m doing at Ajax Union. If you want to improve your own personal development, then you want to go to my website, JoeApfelbaum.com where I have a group where I do 1,000 minutes of mojivation, and I mojivate people and teach them what are the things that you need to do in order for you to have an extraordinary life?
David Brower: Fantastic. Top of Mind Networking master class, just looking at that and the five, six, seven, eight, nine … eight, nine. Nine different modules that you get people involved with. Has that been a huge success for you? I would think it is, the way it’s laid out.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah, it’s massive. It’s a massive success, because most people are afraid of public speaking, but then people are also afraid of networking.
David Brower: Right.
Joe Apfelbaum: There are more people that are afraid of networking than public speaking. People don’t speak about networking, because they don’t understand networking. I created a nine hour class called the networking master class teaching you how to stay top of mind and how to network. I just finished my master class work that I started in Q1, and people are just ecstatic. Ecstatic with the knowledge and the information that they have that allows them to network not just in person, but also online; teaching them how to prepare an elevator pitch, and how to know what to say when you’re calling somebody that you’ve never spoken to before, and how to identify how to leverage your existing connections on Linked In and on Facebook to be able to recognize, to be able to strategize, and to be able to prioritize to make the time to build up your relationships. Everything that we get and everything that we do in life is all based on relationships.
David Brower: Absolutely, absolutely. The ‘How to Network Like a Pro,’ and of course, that’s on the JoeApfelbaum.com slash courses, slash networking. You’ve got … I mean, everything, obviously. You’re a brilliant marketer, because everything is laid out just perfectly, easy to read, easy to follow, easy to grab your attention. Just the first three steps of identifying, leverage, and growing. Those three steps alone have to make it simple for people to go, ‘Okay, I think I could put my toe in the water with this.’
Joe Apfelbaum: Absolutely, and for me, the key is that everything that I do, I have to simplify it. If I don’t simplify it, it’s not going to work. When I’m coaching people one-on-one, I take them through the breakthrough maze. The breakthrough maze is a three step journey of awareness, strategy, and accountability. In my business, at Ajax Union, there’s also a three step process that we take people through when we do sales enablement and account-based marketing. We take people through strategy, assets, and execution. We have a very clear map of where they are right now and where we want to take them. It’s usually three steps.
David Brower: On your Ajax site, you’ve got strategy, technology, and tactics. Each one of those detailed out, bullet point, if you will, just very, very clean, very, very simple to understand. Somewhere along the line, people are going, ‘Okay, this looks simple to me. Let’s see if it really is.’ Of course, you make it simple but you also will help them be even more successful than they probably hope when they first started.
Joe Apfelbaum: Absolutely. My goal is to be able to identify where you want to go, because the success is very individualized. I just spoke to somebody that has the Uber for fixing homes, for doing … like housework.
David Brower: Okay.
Joe Apfelbaum: We were talking, and we’re having a conversation. He has a subscription home maintenance business, which you pay $79 a month, and you get unlimited home maintenance. I’m like, ‘That’s amazing. I hate when my wife calls me and starts making me crazy to change a light bulb. I could just have her call you guys.’
David Brower: Right, right.
Joe Apfelbaum: So $79 a month, or … if the sink gets stuck, and the toilet gets stuck because my daughter decided to throw her rubber ducky and flush it down the toilet, and now everything’s overflowing, and it’s schmearing everywhere, or if the oven stops working, or whatever it is.
David Brower: Right.
Joe Apfelbaum: I know that it’s covered and because I have a lot of moving parts in my house, and we have three floors, this is a great service for me.
Joe Apfelbaum: He said, “How do I grow my business, Joe?”
Joe Apfelbaum: I said, “Where do you want to grow it to?” You know what he said?
Joe Apfelbaum: He said, “As much as possible.”
Joe Apfelbaum: I said, “As much as possible is not going to allow you to succeed. The reason why 96% of business owners are doing less than a million dollars in annual sales is because they don’t have a plan. They don’t have a clear strategy. They haven’t set goals, and they haven’t set smart goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, relevant, and time-bound. If you don’t do them, it’s just not going to work.
Joe Apfelbaum: I sat down with him and I broke down how many clients he needs, and what he’s willing to invest in each client.
Joe Apfelbaum: Then he said, “I got to go back to my investor and figure out if I can actually grow my business at the rate that I want to grow it.”
David Brower: Wow. You got his attention in a big way because he didn’t know what he didn’t know.
Joe Apfelbaum: You don’t know what you don’t know, and once you know what you don’t know, now you have to start making these big decisions to say, ‘Hang on a second, am I even prepared for this level of growth?’ That’s why we do this marketing boot camp where we teach the people how to create your own marketing strategy, because not everybody wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars for us to create it for them, and to do all the research. They can do the work themselves, so we have a three hour boot camp where they can go online, and they can watch the videos, and do the handouts. You can actually have a written documented, digital marketing strategy for your business in just a matter of hours; where most people don’t have this. They’re just basically doing SEO, or they’re doing random acts of marketing on social media, and hoping for the best.
David Brower: As they used to say in the old days, the shotgun approach never works, no matter how many times we try it.
Joe Apfelbaum: Unless you’re going after a specific bird.
David Brower: Yeah.
Joe Apfelbaum: Or a specific type of thing, so then you need to bring the shotgun, but you need special bullets and they have to go a special length. You need to know what you’re doing; but if you’re just spraying and praying, that’s not going to work.
David Brower: That’s not going to work. Absolutely right. You deal with businesses of all sizes because the marketing goals, the techniques, the abilities to lay out a plan, the abilities to have the opportunity to success, have success, I assume it’s not really much different from small businesses to large, because you have to have a plan. You have to work the plan.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah, so we can work with businesses at any scale. We could even work with entrepreneurs. The best clients that we work with are typically ten million to a hundred million dollars in annual sales for our most expensive products; but we have a very entry level Linked In plan, where for an entrepreneur or a person who’s just starting out in their business, or they have a small business, and they want to network … What we’ll do is we’ll go into their own Linked In accounts and we’ll connect them with hundreds of people in the right demographics. Then, we’ll get them on the phone with those people, because people are too shy to network, so we’re going to get you on the phone.
Joe Apfelbaum: Let’s say, for example, you are a contractor in this case. This contractor wants to meet real estate agents. He wants to meet mortgage brokers. He wants to meet insurance brokers. What we’re going to do is we’re going to connect with 5,000 real estate agents, 5,000 insurance brokers, and 5,000 mortgage brokers in his target area. Then, we’re going to set up calls with the ones that are willing to get on the phone with him for five minutes. We’re going to give him a script with what he needs to say to them to actually build a relationship, and what he needs to do as a follow-up, and what he needs to send them as a message, so he stays top of mind with them. Then, we’ll let him do his thing, because now he’s busy having conversations, networking conversations to get referrals.
David Brower: You’ve taken the fear out of it for him.
Joe Apfelbaum: We’ve taken the fear out of it because we help prepare. Preparation is the best thing that you can do in order for you to be successful in anything. I prepared for this podcast by doing hundreds of other podcasts, so all the things that I’m saying, the way that the words are rolling off my tongue, is not because I just woke up yesterday and decided to do a podcast. The first time I did a podcast, I was terrible. After me doing them over, and over, and over, and practicing, and writing them down, and after I wrote my book, and after I wrote hundreds of articles and thousands of hours of video online, I’m able to elicit emotion, and to be able to connect with you the listener in a way that most people can’t do, because I’ve prepared.
David Brower: Well, and the other thing that comes across quite easily for anybody, I would think, who’s listening to this, your passion about everything that you talk about, everything that you mentioned, everything that you think about. I mean, your passion is through the roof. If people can’t pick up on that energy of that passion that you have, man, I don’t know where they’re at.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah, and the most important thing is when you’re connecting with somebody, talk about what they’re excited about. Talk about what interests them. I know somebody who’s very into politics. All I have to say is the word ‘Trump,’ and they throw the lid. They go crazy, right?
David Brower: Right.
Joe Apfelbaum: They love it. I know somebody else that’s very into philosophy. I talk about the meaning of life, and purpose, and your inner voice in your head, and suddenly the guy gets all passionate. He’s alive. His eyes open up. His head starts shaking. Before you know it, I’m his best friend.
David Brower: Oh my god.
Joe Apfelbaum: If you want to learn how to talk to anybody, there are little tricks for big success in relationships, but you have to do the reading. You have to practice it. You actually have to be interested in other people. Zig Ziglar once said that people are not interested. People don’t care about you unless they know how much you care about them.
David Brower: Beautifully said, absolutely right. I’m looking at your … B to B marketing strategy boot camp. Again, as everything else on your various links and sites, very clean, very understandable, very easy to follow. Has that been very successful? I mean obviously it has, but successful for small businesses, businesses of all sizes?
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah, we have a … we had a company that’s doing 20 million dollars in revenue that took the boot camp. They were really happy to be able to have something organized that they can show to their team, and work with their team. We had a little start-up that sells chocolate online that was able to create a clear plan for her to be able to grow her chocolate business, and she thought she was going to be able to get to 20 million dollars, but she quickly learned under the goal section that she doesn’t need to be at 20 million dollars in order for her to get to her business goals. She actually just needs to be at $500,000, which is very doable in the next two years, and then she would be happy and she doesn’t have to take all the risk and all the loans that she needs to take in order to get to 20 million, because she didn’t even make the calculation to begin with of what her goals need to look like.
David Brower: Wow. On that page, you’ve got a link, ‘Help me with my marketing strategy.’ If somebody, like the entrepreneur, like the chocolate lady, for lack of a better term and I mean no offense, if they want to get that basic Linked In analysis and help, and assistant, and a lift up, how do they get to that?
Joe Apfelbaum: Right now, the way … We’re actually proactively reaching out to people and using it one-on-one to get people on there. We don’t want random people to sign up. We have certain industries that we’re targeting, but if you connect with me on Linked In.
David Brower: Yeah.
Joe Apfelbaum: If you search for me, Joe Apfelbaum on Linked In, and you send me a message telling me you’re more interested in that, I’m going to take a look to see if it’s a good fit for you. I’ll have a quick conversation with you, or somebody in our team will have a quick conversation. We’ll determine … because we only want to do it for people that it makes sense, and that we’re actually going to have success.
Joe Apfelbaum: The reason we’ve had so much success is because we don’t take on every single person that wants to spend money with us. Sometimes somebody will come to us and say, ‘I got $3,000 a month to spend with you, Joe.’ I see I’m not going to be able to successful with him, I’m not going to take his money.
David Brower: You bet.
Joe Apfelbaum: I got to a certain level of success that I only want other people that will scream from the roof of how amazing I am, because I’m very selective with who I take on.
David Brower: Then, that creates the … I mean, this goes back generations, but the … word of mouth just has to explode, the way you operate this.
Joe Apfelbaum: That’s the key. Yeah, that’s the key. By the way, I have a 30 day money back guarantee. That means you take the course. You watch everything. You have all the sheets, and you finish, and if you’re not happy, I will give you every single dollar back to you. I won’t even question you.
David Brower: Unbelievable.
Joe Apfelbaum: That never … I have never had anybody ask me for a refund, never.
David Brower: Good for you, good for you. Social media folks to connect with Joe, and learn more about all the things he has to offer businesses of all sizes, Facebook.com … O-E … Oh no, it’s Joe. Joe Apfelbaum, A-P-F-E-L-B-A-U-M. Same for Twitter, Twitter.com, Joe Apfelbaum, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn. Two websites, JoeApfelbaum.com and Ajax …
Joe Apfelbaum: Union.
David Brower: I can’t even talk, AjaxUnion.com.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah.
David Brower: The fonts are too small on my computer. Books, articles, written contributions, courses, podcasts, and of course, the B to B marketing strategy boot camp, which is Go.AjaxUnion.com/BootCamp-info. The easiest way to get to Joe is JoeApfelbaum.com and AjaxUnion.com. Between those two sites, people can really get an idea of what you do, how you do it, your authenticity is obvious. Your passion is obvious. Man, you got some stuff going on. This has been a thrill for me to talk to you.
Joe Apfelbaum: Thank you. This is really, really cool. If anybody wants to know how to ten X their energy, and have the levels of energy that I have, I wrote a book on Amazon called ‘High Energy Secrets.’ Go get the book, it’s a short little quick two hour read, and you will learn the techniques of how I take my body and my mind to the next level, and have this level of energy.
David Brower: And you lost 95 pounds in the process.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yes, yes.
David Brower: Tell me that’s not healthy, folks. Check it out, the name of the book one more time?
Joe Apfelbaum: ‘High Energy Secrets.’
David Brower: Terrific. Joe Apfelbaum, thank you so much. Have a continued success. I know you got some things coming up pretty much every hour of every day. You obviously treasure your beautiful, amazing kids, too, so your balance and your passion speaks for itself.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yeah.
David Brower: I appreciate you very much, man.
Joe Apfelbaum: Thank you. We’ll be in touch. All the best, bye.
David Brower: Thanks, Joe. That was great.
Joe Apfelbaum: Yes, that was great. You are such a great interviewer. I appreciate you very much.
David Brower: Well, thank you. That’s very generous. I appreciate it. I’ll drop-
Joe Apfelbaum: Is there anything that I can do to add value to your life? Anyone that I can introduce you to, or anywhere that I can take you? Do you live in the New York City area?
David Brower: I do not. Even though my phone number comes across as New York.
Joe Apfelbaum: Right, I saw that.
David Brower: I live in Colorado.
Joe Apfelbaum: I love Colorado.
David Brower: Yeah.
Joe Apfelbaum: I love Denver, yeah.
David Brower: I live about 30 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, so just north …
Joe Apfelbaum: Perfect.
David Brower: North of Denver. Yeah, life’s good, man. Life’s good. I will keep your offer in mind and look at some of your stuff very seriously, because I’m fascinated by what I don’t know.
Joe Apfelbaum: Okay, great. Thank you, and you let me know when I should promote this on social, so we-
David Brower: Absolutely right.
Joe Apfelbaum: … Okay.
David Brower: You got it. I’ll dorp you a note.
Joe Apfelbaum: All right, thank you so much.
David Brower: Thanks, man. Take care.
Joe Apfelbaum: All the best, bye.
David Brower: Bye.
Joe Apfelbaum: Take care, bye.