"I have always believed if you get a 'NO' in a conversation, you're either asking the wrong person or you're asking the wrong question.”
Steve Sims is a self-described ugly kid from the outskirts of London who wasn’t born into luxury, but holds his place there now. He’s the founder of Bluefish, one of the world’s top personal concierge services, and an expert marketer in the luxury industry. If you want to sing with your favorite rockstar, be serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, get married at the Vatican, or dive to the wreck of the Titanic … he makes it happen.
Steve has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Sunday Times, the South China Post, and more. He’s also spoken at countless events, the Pentagon, and twice at Harvard – and is the author of Bluefishing: The Art of Making Anything Happen.
Today, he joins the podcast to discuss his actionable strategies to achieve goals, share some of the coolest stories of his 20+ year career, and talk about what the world’s most powerful people REALLY want.
- How Steve went from being a bricklayer from East London to a power player among Hong Kong’s global elite.
- The reasons Steve never asked the powerful people in his life for a job – and how he got ahead by never asking people questions that could be answered with a “no”.
- Why what people say they want and what they really want are often miles apart – and how Steve fulfilled one client’s borderline impossible request.
- The universal principles you can apply in your life to make anything happen – and why so many people make the mistake of focusing on getting their feet in the door, rather than becoming irresistible.
- Why Steve believes in the power of moving left when everyone else moves right – and how to use this strategy in everything you do.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal: All right. I am here, ladies and gentlemen, with Steve Sims. I want to give an official intro because I know if you’re like me you pretend to be humble but you of course like the sound of your bio. You go, “Wow.” Like for me, it’s actually when I hear my bio it’s surprising. You ever have that you’re like, “I did all that?” I’m still this insecure kid in a grown man’s body and I feel weird when I hear that I did all these things. All right. So, everybody, listen up. Let me dive in here. So, Steve Sims is an ugly kid from the outskirts of London who wasn’t born into the world of luxury but certainly holds his place there now. As the founder of Bluefish, one of the top personal concierge services and an expert marketer with the luxury industry, Steve has been quoted in various publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, London Sunday Times, South China Morning Post and many more. This guy has been on TV and has been a speaker at a variety of networks, groups, and associations as well as the Pentagon and Harvard twice. You’re paying attention now, right?
You want to sing with your favorite Rockstar? Be serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, walk the red carpet at an A-list Oscar party, get married in the Vatican, dive to the wreck of the Titanic? These are just a few highlights of what Steve provides for his clients. He makes the impossible possible. An entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, Steve is well regarded within the luxury world for his innovation and down to earth personality known for his honesty, integrity, and doing things his way, Steve creates experiences for his clients that they can never have imagined being possible. And I want you to hear some of these stories because I’ve been in the audience at events that Steve has spoken at. I love the guy. I’m blown away by the guy and what he’s able to do. And the title of today’s podcast is The Art of Making Anything Happen because as you know, The Achieve Your Goals Podcast I want you to be able to not only hear Steve’s extraordinary story to fall in love with the guy through his authenticity, his transparency the way that I have but of course I want you to walk away with actionable strategies that you can implement into your world to achieve your goals and, according to Steve Sims, to make anything happen.
Hal: My brother, Steve, how are you, buddy?
Steve: Love that. Floored and just amazed. So, thank you very much for the intro. I appreciate it.
Hal: Yeah. Brother, I appreciate you. I’m looking, I’ve got your book in my hand, Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen and your first testimonial on the back of your first endorsement is from Sir Elton John. Like what? Who has an endorsement on their book from Sir Elton John, right? And that’s followed by Forbes Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Peter Diamandis, Jayson Gaignard, Joe Polish. I mean, the list goes and on and on. So, I mean, I’m excited to introduce you to our audience and I want to hear your story. I’ve heard parts of it before. I want to hear some of the extraordinary stories, some of the things I mentioned in your intro, being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, getting married in the Vatican. You invite me to these A-list Oscar parties all the time. I get your text and it’s like how am I able to make a date work yet but I’m like, “How can I not go to Elton John’s Oscar party with Steve?” You’re a friend that, yeah, I’ll never cease to be impressed by what you’re up to. So, what’s new, man? What are you excited about right now? What’s going on in your world?
Steve: Well, a lot. The book came out last October which I was late prior to release but was certainly not ready for the kind of flood that it created. So, it’s had me booked up. I’m actually booked up on speaking gigs. I think the last one I booked was March 2019.
Hal: Nice. That’s awesome.
Steve: So, it’s just taking me down a whole new path. Now, me and you have known each other for a while but up until last year where I got known a lot more by the people that were buying the book. Before that, I was just this kind of like scary looking dude that would just come to these events that no one really knew what he did and that was actually quite good for me. I was quite happy about that.
Hal: Yeah. Being kind of a mystery.
Steve: Well, you know, I’m not a warm and fuzzy kind of guy and so I like to meet real people. I don’t have time for that, “Hey, how are you? Do you have my business card?” I don’t have time for that. So, I like to meet good people like when we met. You sit down, and you chat, and you get to know someone, and you fall in love or it repels you but that’s how I like to be. So, since the book came out, it’s kind of got me doing more consulting, more speaking gigs, more coaching. And where was I used to coach and consult for like major jewelry companies, jet charter companies, Formula 1 teams, award shows, I’m now coaching and consulting for people that own hat manufacturers. There’s a new up-and-coming jewelry line, a makeup line, a lipstick line. It’s the smaller businesses which I’ve got to meet. Getting married in the Vatican is very exciting but getting these people on their feet in the right format, that’s actually becoming more exciting for me, so I’m quite turned on with my life at the moment.
Hal: Cool. So, yeah, that sounds like it’s more meaningful. The Vatican is cool but in terms of meaningful, seeing somebody that’s trying to make their dream reality and you’re helping them do that, that’s really cool.
Steve: Well, it’s a such a knock on isn’t it? When you send someone to the Vatican to get married, that experience looks after two people and their close friends. If you can get someone to run their business more efficiently, more lucrative, and in a new environment where they’re having fun, it knocks on to the employees, to their family, to their friends. It’s a much wider reach of smiles.
Hal: Got it. So, let’s start with your story. I want to hear your story. I want to hear how you got to be the guy that helps make these extraordinary things happen, being as rough around the edges as you deem yourself to be. Although I know deep down you’re a big warm fuzzy guy, but I want to hear your story and then we’ll pivot into at least one, if not a couple, of your favorite bluefishing experiences that you’ve created for other people but how did you get into this world?
Steve: Well, this is where I lose all credibility now.
Steve: I was a bricklayer from East London that from my entire family and I meant about my granddad, my uncles, my cousins. We all work on the building site. So, I remember one day, and I can remember this literally like it was three minutes ago, I walked up the scaffolding onto the scaffolding line and we were bricklayers and I looked to the right of me and I saw my dad, my cousins, my uncles and right at the end, my granddad. And I’m not kidding you, it was like I saw my family future, my life tree in front of me of where I was going to end up. And you get those moments when something a big aha moment. I remember seeing in the shed at tea time and you have a little break at around 10:30 in the morning on the building site and I’m sitting there with my cup of tea and it was like you do in headlights, I had actually kicked in the nuts, I suddenly saw my entire future in front of me and I was sitting next to my granddad and I remember saying to him, “Did you ever think that you’ll be doing this?” And, of course, a big Irish guy who’s like 68, 69 so I’ve been working on the building side being rained on and he turned around to me and he went, “If you don’t leave today, you’ll be me tomorrow.”
So, of course, your dad owns the company which is only a little bricklayer firm but you’re living in his house so what I do? Like an idiot, I walk up to my dad and I quit and like all entrepreneurs, we know more of what doesn’t fit than quite often what does fit. So, we tried loads of different things. Entrepreneurs are searchers. We’re like gophers. We’re always looking for where’s the next thing? What can we try? Where is the peg going to finally fit the right hole? And I did that, and I actually ended up again, and this is made you giggle, I ended up getting a job as a trainee stockbroker from London in Hong Kong and I talked my way into this job. They were doing a mass employment drive to say that I was more imaginative than anything from Harry Potter was probably an understatement. They actually fell for it and they flew me over to Hong Kong to be a stockbroker. I landed on a Saturday. I got drunk with them on a Saturday and Sunday, did orientation on a Monday, and I was fired on a Tuesday. And so, I ended up as you’ve seen me what God built before, ended up working on the door of Hong Kong nightclubs.
Hal: Okay. Here you go. I could see that.
Steve: Yeah. Of course, you could. And from there, I noticed, and I’ve always kept things primitive. I’m a real primitive blunt instrument and that’s actually been my secret sauce so many times, but I’ve made a conscious decision then at the time that if I want to meet rich people I’ve got to be of value to rich people. There needs to be a reason I’m in that circle. And secondly, if I’m going to do something and invite people over to it, I’m only going to invite rich people because guess what, poor people can’t afford you. So, it’s harsh, it’s cruel, but I didn’t want to be poor so on the door I used to set up that I would get a cut at the door and I would start inviting the new expatriates and the rich and affluent and the young and the hip and the trendy. Never the poor kid that was going to sit in the bar and nurse a beer all night because that was me and I didn’t want me in the nightclub. I wanted the future of me in the nightclub. So, then I started to doing that and then I started throwing these parties in penthouses, on yachts, then I started working for other people on how to get the right community into them. And before you knew it, I was working for I suppose I was a fancy club promoter and then I work for award shows.
Hal: And this was what year are we looking at? What year roughly?
Steve: Oh, this was very early in the 90s.
Hal: Okay. Got it.
Steve: This was pre-email and smartphone.
Hal: Got it.
Steve: So, this is when my invites used to go out on a Friday afternoon by fax and it used to take about two to three hours to be able to send these bloody faxes out. I remember actually we moved the fax machine once into a different room because we were sick to death of the usual like [fax machine noise]. So, we actually moved the fax machine so the poor person that we had doing all the faxes could be out of our earshot.
Hal: So, you didn’t have to listen to that annoying sound?
Steve: Ah, it’s bloody annoying. So, that’s how we used to do it and it just grew, and it grew from there. And that key element of being a value to someone, if you want to be in anybody’s circle, you’ve got to be of value. Now, that means you could make people smile by telling jokes. That could be that you are an intellect, so you like to open up their eyes, whatever, but you have to be of value to the circle. If you’re in a circle now and you’re not giving any value to it, then really are you in that circle or you’re nothing more than just a cling on? So, I started off from the very early age believing that I’m not going to be in a relationship until I could be of value.
Hal: Yeah. That’s one of my self-philosophies that I have in my affirmations has always been that the more value you add the lives of others, the more valuable you become to others, right?
Hal: So, exactly what you’re saying here. So, you got into this world of kind of you were in the nightlife and then you realize that, “Hey, if I want to get ahead professionally, I need to surround myself with and attract and become of value, so I can attract people that can help me get where I want to go and that are in alignment with where I want to be.” So, and then how does that path lead you to start your own company, Bluefishing?
Steve: Well, it was funny because the only time in my life I never asked was when I was asking these people for a job. My thought process was that if I can accumulate a big number of affluent people around me and socialize with them, before you know it one of them is going to offer me a job. That was my thought and again I never asked. I should’ve but I didn’t. But in the meantime, while being of value, they were asking me, they were saying, “Hey, I’m going to London. Can you do something around Wimbledon?” Before I realized it, I was the guy that could and because my eye was fixed over here on getting a job with these people, I never got scared of the requests they had. Had I made it tried to turn into a business at that time, maybe I would have been petrified of the requests. So, for me, some will be like, “Hey, I’m going to LA. Can you get me in the award show?” “Sure. People go to award shows. Why can’t it be you? Yeah. Okay. I’ll do it.” And I got good at being able to get people into things by never asking a question that somebody could answer with a no. That’s been one of my key mantras. I have always believed if you get a no in a conversation, you are asking the wrong person or the wrong question.
Hal: I love it. You didn’t know you’re asking the person the wrong question and there are so many applications for that, right, if you’re a salesperson.
Steve: Yeah. Every single time.
Hal: You’re in front of the wrong prospect. Yeah.
Steve: Yeah. So, I’ve always had that in my head and so, I remember this again vividly, my wife I’ve been with her since we were both in our very young teens and a childhood sweetheart. I remember her walking into the office we had at this stage where we were living in Switzerland and bear in mind every couple of days, I would take all my earnings out and I would go and have lunch with these people, trying, hoping that one was going, “Hey, Steve,” but no, I’ll come back with more business on travel and access and the wild and wacky adventures. My wife actually said to me, “You’re spinning your wheels. Why didn’t you actually focus on what you do well and let’s see if there’s any limp then?” A friend of mine we’re now, and I can be firm on this, we’re now in 1996 and I could be firm on that date, there were no lifestyle concierge firms of this standing around at the time. All the concierge firms were like call centers that were attached to the back of your credit card. There was no VIP pay per year to have a luxury bespoke concierge. They didn’t exist.
Hal: And so, for anybody listening, if they’re clear what is a luxury concierge, so people understand what Bluefish, what your company does?
Steve: So, there’s a few out there but a luxury concierge is a bespoke organization of our standard. You purchase an annual membership. Ours is $5,000 starting and then what you do is you can contact that person to book a restaurant, book a hotel, get you for a meet and greet with the Pope, get you a piano lesson with Elton John. It basically covers the entire gamut of your daily travel and business life all the way through to achieving your bucket list items.
Hal: Yeah. I just want to dive into one of the stories, the one that involved the Pope, the Vatican. I don’t remember all the details but fill us in on – that was one of my favorite and whichever your favorite fits into those. I’m trying to remember but, yeah, go ahead.
Steve: Well, we just had a client contact us one day and he said to us that he wanted to get married in the Vatican and he was only going to get married once and so he thought, “Can I get married in the Vatican and is it possible that the Pope could come in and see us during the service?” So, we had it arranged that we had a chapel inside St. Peter’s where the wedding ceremony was to be organized and then halfway through the ceremony Pope Francis comes in and blesses the couple. And so, it’s that kind of stuff but I think that’s big and that’s brash. That’s very expensive and that’s very wonderful but during this, while I was actually working in Rome, another client of ours actually and I like this quite a bit better, he wasn’t so specific. He contacted us because he wanted a dinner in Florence at an exclusive restaurant.
Hal: Okay. I think this is the one I’m thinking. Go ahead.
Steve: Right. So, when someone wants an exclusive restaurant and nine times out of ten, what people want, what they ask for and what they truly want are miles apart. I’ve noticed that many, many times in my life. So, the guy wanted an exclusive restaurant, one that couldn’t be topped. The best restaurant in Florence. Now, if anyone’s ever been to Tuscany in Florence they don’t do that kind of restaurant. The whole point of Florence is to be sitting there with like 20 other people you’ve never met before sharing bread and drinking wine and passing the olive oil down the table. It’s that kind of Tuscan living. It’s not the precocious New York style of restaurants that we’re used to. So, we had to design and invent something to give him his exclusivity and something that couldn’t be beaten. So, we actually closed down an entire museum at 3:00 in the afternoon, set up a table of six in the Academia at the feet of Michelangelo’s David.
Hal: So, which museum is that housed in?
Steve: The Academia.
Hal: Okay. Got it. Got it. And this is the statue of David?
Steve: Yeah. David. Easily, easily the most iconic statue in the world. Some people will say the Statue of Liberty, but I would definitely say David is probably more well known worldwide.
Hal: And so, this wasn’t a model of the statue of David? This was the actual statue carved by Michelangelo?
Steve: The funny thing is as, I’ve got to tell this story. I don’t know if you’ve heard this element. At the front of the actual museum are these two massive gray wooden doors that very rarely open up. It’s not where the public goes in. It’s usually where they’re bringing statues and artwork in and out. They had these two doors open because we were bringing in all the table and decoration for the dinner table. As it’s happening, there’s all security around. I was talking to this guy that was about twice the size of me and there were all these brass plaques on the door and I said to him just in making conversation, “What do these say?” thinking that it was like donors to the museum and rich affluent families. And they were in different languages and he said, “They absolutely all say the exact same thing.” And I said, “What’s that?” And he said, “No food and drink in the Academia.” And as he said that, there are our people walking in with hot plates and stoves and candles and it was just hilarious. So, we set up a dinner at the feet of David and then we are promised a client that a local entertainer would provide some music during the dinner because when you’re in a museum, it’s deadly quiet.
Steve: Okay. You don’t think about these things unless you’ve done it a bit. So, we needed some kind of music to keep it going long and not make it uncomfortable. We didn’t tell him we’d actually secured Andrea Bocelli. So, just as dinner was just passed the appetizers, we had a string quartet giving some ambiance, I let him know that the local entertainer had turned up and here walked to the maestro, Andrea Bocelli, to serenade and join dinner.
Hal: Unbelievable. I forget at the beginning the story, was it his wife who was the person he was with?
Steve: It was his girlfriend. It was his fiancé that he wanted to do the dinner with and the fiancé’s parents. So, it was only a table of six.
Hal: Yeah. I got it. Well, I think maybe he needed to score some points to the fiancé’s parents and I think after that they’re like, “All right. You can marry this guy.”
Steve: Yeah. I think that’s it. I think those points would’ve been secured with that one.
Hal: Yeah. Unreal, man. Unreal. So, I mean, obviously, the level that you go to like what you’ve done like dinner at the statue of David with Andrea Bocelli serenading you. Most people that’s not on their list of to-dos or the goals they’re working on in 2018. Well, we want to distill and that’s what your book does by the way and if anybody listening has not heard or caught that, Steve’s new book is Bluefishing. His company is Bluefish. This is Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen. So, Steve, what I want to do is let’s distill, what are some of the principles? You talked earlier about I think one of the most important principles which is adding value, becoming of value to the people that you want to connect with, right? In fact, I was coaching a gentleman yesterday, his mother purchased a four-hour meal with me at an auction. So, we fulfilled that yesterday and one of the questions that he had to list all these questions that he wanted advice on business and life and his mom inserted a couple of questions and one of them was, “How does my son who’s 21 years old, how does he find an amazing wife?” And I said, “You become the person that the woman of your dreams would find irresistible,” and I think that’s really the principle that you laid out early on in that I think one of if not the most important principles that who you become determines your success more than anything else. So, in addition to that, what are the principles that are universal that some of which you teach in the book that people listening can apply to make anything happen in their life, whatever their goals may be?
Steve: Yeah. I’ve got a very similar just to continue from that statement. I’ve got a very similar line on that. We all go around to a lot of events now or networking is a very, very easy thing to do now with the amount of opportunities we’ve got. You may not be very good at it but there’s a lot of places for you can go and do networking now.
Hal: I’m not very good at it. What you’re doing?
Steve: I’m not very good at it. I think that’s maybe how me and you just ended up sitting at the table.
Hal: Nobody would talk to us and we were sitting in the back of the room and like, “Hey, you look like…” Yeah. I think that’s how we connected.
Steve: There you go. But I’ve always believed that getting your foot in the door with anybody with the amount that we can stalk people now is actually very easy. You can get in front of most people if you’re pushy and forceful and focused enough. The goal no longer is getting your foot in the door. The goal and objective is to be so irresistible that they don’t want you to leave and that’s the element that people are missing out and people are focusing so much at getting to meet the person, that they are failing to research that once the connection is made how do they start to build a relationship. And here’s the key thing and I’ve said it many times in anything that I’ve ever spoke on, screw Bitcoin. Relationships will provide the best ROI time and time and time again.
So, you want to focus on the relationships and I’ll give an example of how many 300-year-old oak trees do you have in your roller decks for start? Given my age right now, most people don’t have a bloody roller deck, but the point is that when you get an oak tree seed there are a billion ways that that thing can die at that moment. All you got to do is stick it on your desk and not even feed it and it’s dead in a few days. So, you’ve got to plant it, you’ve got to feed it, you’ve got to nurture it, you’ve got to prune it, you’ve got to protect it. You’ve got to keep feeding that thing until it gets to a size like a 300-year-old oak tree that you physically can run a bus into it and the tree will survive. Now, that’s the exact same metaphor for every relationship you have. You’ve got to focus your hardest at the beginning when you’re building up that relationship. Anything can destroy that relationship at the beginning stages. You’ve got to feed it, nurture it, protect it, prune it, keep feeding it, keep loving it, and build up that relationship until it’s a point where you may not have contacted the person for two years, but you can still reach out and go, “Hal, how are you doing, buddy?” and the relationship is strong because you’ve taken your time to invest yourself in that relationship. And sadly, most people nowadays don’t, and relationships is still the only thing that you cannot download an app for.
So, one of my keys is very much focus on your relationships. The other one quite simply is mindset. I’ve got to go relationship, mindset, and then I’m going to go how to activate that. My mindset was actually given to me by my father who is a bigger, thicker blunt instrument than I am, and I remember this man once put his arm on my shoulders, didn’t even look at me and he said to me, “Son, no one ever drowned by falling in the water. They drowned by staying there,” and at the time I was like 14 years old. Now I’m now grown, “What the hell was that?” But it’s amazed me that that mindset every time I’ve gone down, I thought, “Okay, I’ve got two choices, I stay here or I get back up,” and there’s nothing more empowering than getting back up and no one falls over the same way twice, so you learn from all of these mistakes. So, now let’s go into the final one which is the activation. If everyone is walking right, walk left. Now, at the moment everyone uses email marketing. You email blast so much now to communicate with people because, guess what, it’s free. Well, it’s not free if someone is not responding to you and it’s not free if they delete your correspondence or it’s not free if one of the fill-up programs has stopped your message even getting through. So, there are many ways that that free email is actually costing you.
Hal: Sure. The opportunity cost.
Steve: Absolutely. So, why focus on it? If I send out ten texts to someone, even better. If I send out 10 video texts to people like, and I could prove this, you quoted earlier about me texting you about the Oscar party.
Hal: Yeah. That’s right.
Steve: You didn’t say email. You said text.
Steve: And that’s because every single day everyone gets 100 to 2,000 emails. How many texts do you get? And also, when you pick up your phone in the morning and you can see a text alert and you can see the email number, what do you always answer first?
Hal: Yeah, text. That’s a great point.
Steve: Every single time. So, if everyone is sending out emails, knock themselves out. You focus on text. If everyone starts doing text, you start doing recorded voicemail and sending it to voicemail. They start doing that, you start sending letters. Bottomline is go where there is the least noise and aggravation. So, whatever anyone is doing as the marketing trend of today, do the opposite.
Hal: Love it. So, to give our listeners a tool that they can utilize, which email platform or program do you utilize, do you recommend, etcetera?
Steve: Okay. We have these different days throughout the month and this is my entire team and I’ve got concierge worldwide. We have no email Tuesday or no email Wednesday. So, we will pick a couple of days a month where we actually don’t email anyone. Now, I’ll use Constant Contact to send out emails and I use Microsoft Exchange because you want to keep a record of your emails but the way I would do it is I will communicate with you, Hal, and there’s the keyword, communicate. You’re not communicating if you’re just emailing someone. Because out of email, they can’t hear your tone of voice, that passion. They can’t hear any of those things and if you say to me like if you cough now or sneeze I’ll go, “Oh, bless you.” I’ll tell her, “Do you need some water?” We’re communicating but you don’t have that in an email. I sent you an email, I wait a couple of days. You respond to the email. I wait a day. I send you the email. That’s not a conversation.
So, if I’ve got anyone like Florence, like the Pope, anything like that and they email me, I’m on the phone and usually what I’ll do first is I will text you a video of me going, “Hal, I’ve got a request regarding the Vatican and the Pope. When’s a good time for us to chat?” And I will send it to you via text. Then you will come back to me and I will appoint a time. I’ll put it in the calendar and send you an invite so that we’re both confirmed and then they send you a reminder then I will converse with you and only then will I send you an email saying, “Hal, thanks a lot for the chat this morning. These are the points that I’ve got. Am I missing anything?” And you have to do that because you have to protect your ass because you want to make sure that you’re both on the same page. And so, that email becomes one of the final elements of qualifying that you’re both having the same conversation.
Hal: Got it. I love it. I love the personal touch and personal interaction. And like you said, the back and forth communication.
Hal: So, the question I was asking though that I didn’t fully get an answer to is can you recommend the email or the text program that you used to be able to send text messages to your subscribers, your list, etcetera?
Steve: Yes. Sorry. I thought you were talking about the email. The email clients I used, Microsoft Exchange. I’ll just use Outlook and I use Zoho for my CRM but the text one, that’s the beautiful one. Randy Garn and I think you probably know Randy, but Randy Garn owns a phenomenal company called Skipio.
Hal: I’ve heard of that.
Steve: Yeah. Now, that thing is horrible the way it’s so efficient and the way I say horrible because you can actually plug in a text and you can send it to thousands upon thousands of people by the push of a button. But you know the problem? The problem is it’s efficient and as I said before, be prepared for tons of people to come back. I remember once sending out and I’ve got a massive database. I remember once sending out an email, oh sorry, a text and I think it was a text to maybe 2,500 people. Now, if I had sent that out by email then you can guarantee that it probably only would’ve been opened up by about 20% of people and of those 20% of people I would’ve gotten drip responses over maybe a two to three-day period. I send out 2,500 texts, all of a sudden I lost a complete day because everyone was going, “That sounds quite interesting. Tell me more.” And you feel like the asshole if you’re not responding and go, “Hey, sure. I’ll send it to you now.” It was so – so what I do now I learned from that. I literally send out 150 to make 200 texts a time.
Hal: Yeah. So, you can manage the responses.
Steve: You can but the responses come at you thick and hard. The open rate of a text is up until the 90s. The open rate of an email if you’re good, it can be in the 20s but 9 times out of 10 it’s in the low teens to the 10s and that’s Skipio.
Hal: How do you spell Skipio?
Steve: S-K-I-P I think it’s either I-O or E-O.
Hal: Is it two Ps or one?
Hal: All right. Cool. And another program if anybody wants to compare and contrast including you see it but on this ConveYour, C-O-N-V-E-Y-O-U-R, ConveYour.com and I’ll have to look into Skipio but ConveYour is a similar very interactive platform and when you do send a video, it hosted on ConveYour server, so you don’t have to upload it to YouTube. It doesn’t take space in the phone. It plays instantly so there are some cool advantages to it and you can manage the text and Skipio might do this too, but you can manage the text via a dashboard so like we’ll use it for like our event. My Director of Operations, Tiffany, can be on her computer and typing responses with her fingers versus having to use the phone to do it so cool but I’ll check out Skipio for sure. All right. So, we’ve got relationships, mindset, and then activation. Define activation. I know you gave us some tips on it, do something different than everybody else is doing, but how do you define activations? Is that just how you’re implementing or how do you define that word?
Steve: Yeah. I’ve noticed that a lot of people come to me. Now, I’d ended up becoming like a therapist and this is in the business consultant and it’s in the wishful film and bucket list with Bluefish. People will come for you and they will ask, they will tell you something that they want. People are very generous about telling you what they want. I want more clients, I want to go play a piano with Elton John. I want to go to this. I want to do that. People are very generous to tell you what they want. What has constantly amazed me is that they will tell you what they want and then spend the next 60 seconds telling you why it can’t be done.
Hal: Got it.
Steve: And they will tell you, “I want to get more clients, but I don’t have the right CRM. I don’t have this. I can’t get that. I can’t afford that. I can’t be seen with that. I don’t know that celebrity.” It’s almost like we’re spending so much energy on telling you why it can’t be done rather than exerting the exact same amount of energy on the one reason they should. And I’m a great believer that a phenomenal idea with zero implementation is as valuable as dog sh**.
Hal: Tell us how you really feel Steve. Awesome, man. So, unless there’s anything you want to share in between what I’m about to request which is I’d love to wrap up with one more fun story, one of your favorite stories to tell whether that be a Bluefish experience, something from your own life when you made something incredible happen whether it was for you or for somebody else.
Steve: Yes. Knowing you, I think you’re going to like this one because I know the family man you are.
Hal: Ditto, man. By the way, I wanted to mention that. You did say something that I was going to comment back on which is as rough as you are around the edges or you’ve been with your wife since you said high school, right? How old were you guys when you got together?
Steve: I was 17. She was 16.
Hal: Right on. You’ve got how many kids?
Steve: I got three.
Hal: Got it. And last time we connected which is before I had cancer for a year or so ago, but I know you guys were big in the motorcycling. Is that you and all the kids? Do you, guys, all ride motorcycles?
Steve: Everyone but my wife. She is so challenged and would get on a motorbike. We actually had to have a family intervention. She’s so focused and got wrenched that she was the only member in the family that couldn’t ride. She was just hurting herself and there had to be a family intervention to get her off.
Hal: Mom, it’s okay. There are other activities we can do together that are less dangerous for you.
Steve: That was it.
Hal: That’s funny. All right. Cool, brother. Well, yeah, I just want to touch on what a family man you are and, yeah, now share the story. I’m excited.
Hal: So, I had a client contact me and most of my stuff can start to like $50,000 up to millions and quite often it does but I had this client that I’ve been working with for about eight years and he was having one of the pinnacle anniversaries, his 20th anniversary. And he had spent anywhere from $50,000 to three-quarters of million dollars on an anniversary so each year he’d done something a little bit more spectacular. This one year he contacts me. He went, “Steve, it’s the 20th. We’ve got to do something big. We’re going to do something amazing. We’re going to do something impactful,” and it was that last word that twisted my entire mentality. We interviewed him to how he first met his wife and we learned that he used like every young lad courting, he basically stalked to her college and would try and take her to dances and was constantly getting denied and declined by her. And one day what he did was he set up his mom’s picnic rug that she used to have in the car. He set up this tartan picnic rug outside the class where she came out of college. He had a boombox there and he had a hamper with champagne and sandwiches in it and as she came out, now this is in front of the entire college, as she came out of her class, he hits the romancing tunes, pops the champagne and says, “Care to join me?” Now, that cheesy attempt to get her attention and the willingness to put himself completely out there to be ridiculed, that worked.
Okay. So, 20 years later we went through old photographs. His parents weren’t alive anymore, but we went through old photographs to find was there a picture of the old tartan rug. Was there a picture of the hamper? Was there a picture of the beatbox that he had? So, we replicated in a park the original picnic that he had. Now here’s the dumb thing. We had to search high and low to get a working boombox that Run DMC would’ve been happy with. We went through three to get one that was working and get this. How the hell do you record any music on it? Because all of the inserts and all the connections we all got HDMI and little wires. That old boombox don’t have any of that stuff. So, we have to get a cassette. We have to find a cassette for a start, we had to get a cassette, get it recorded with his list of music, and we sent the wife off in the limousine. Now she went off in the limousine on one way thinking, “What are we going to do?” I think the year before we have flown them from Chicago to Paris for a dinner and then back again the following day on a private jet. So, that was what she was used to.
So, she’s gone off on the car and she’s very casually dressed. She was told to be casual. She goes off on one way. We go off on the other, get everything set up and you can’t quarter off a public park. You’re not allowed to do that. So, we had dog walkers with long leads literally doing big circles around this tartan picnic hamper and rug so that no one could interfere with them. And the car pulls up. She steps out of the car. We were all hiding behind the trees. She steps out. She sees him on the tartan rug. He hits the button, some soppy tunes come out, and he pops the cork and says, “Care to join me?” Now, this was 20 years after the first time that he had ever done that. She hit the deck like a sucker spud crying her eyes out. And I’m not kidding you and I’ll tell you this is a grown ass man, I was weeping like a baby. It was so impactful and that was the cue. The whole thing ended up in about $1,600 because we had to buy three of the bloody boomboxes. So, it was very cheap, but it was very impactful, and she could not make it from the car to the tartan rug because she was crying so much. They had to get up and escort her over. And they’ve done other stuff since. That was like five years ago, but you know when I’m in the party with them and they’ve done piano lessons with great people, they’ve been on stage, we put them on a Broadway show once where they were actually in the show, we’ve done some stupid ridiculous stuff of big numbers, that’s the story she always quotes.
Hal: Wow. How meaningful that is. And that got me thinking I’m like how can I do something similar for my… Everybody listening, what’s beautiful about that story too, Steve, is a lot of what you’ve done is so extraordinary and potentially so costly that people are like, “Oh wow, that’s really cool. It’s a fascinating story but, gosh, I could never pay a million dollars to make this or that happen,” but that’s something that everybody listening is like wow the thoughtfulness that went into that, it was thoughtful, it was meaningful. It wasn’t expensive, but it made a bigger impact than any amount of money they could’ve thrown at that particular occasion.
Hal: Beautiful, man. Well, the book is Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen. It is endorsed by Sir Elton John, Forbes, Entrepreneur who I love it, calls you the modern-day Wizard of Oz. That’s a pretty cool endorsement and, yeah, this is a great book. Where’s the best place to get your book? Where’s the best place to follow you, connect with you, etcetera?
Steve: Well, both of them you can hit on the website, SteveDSims.com. It’s got the links on there for the usual suspects, Amazon, Books-A-Million with the audible versions. But also, you can sign up for my newsletter there or just hunt me down on Facebook under Steve D. Sims, Steve Sims and you can also do that on Instagram.
Hal: Cool. And that’s SteveDSims.com. Everybody, that is where to get it and if you want to apply the Art of Making Anything Happen a.k.a. what Steve calls Bluefishing, check out the book. Steve, I love you, brother. Great to have you on.
Steve: Cheers, pal.
Hal: Yeah. You too, man. We’ll talk soon. Take care.
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