“Evangelism is the purest form of sales.”- Guy Kawasaki


Evangelism is the purest form of sales because it is about having the other person’s (your potential customer’s) best interest at heart when you are evangelizing them to a product. There’s no doubt that much of sales is about the benefit; however, an evangelistic approach is about truly believing the product you are selling will benefit others.

How do you find something that excites you instead of just believing in the money it will give you?

DICEE– an acronym for distinguished businesses. Is it

D: Deep

I: Intelligence

C: Complete

E: Empowering

E: Elegance

Show Transcription

[00:35] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host, Kevin Miller, and today we talk with a legend…Guy Kawasaki. I just returned from Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, and Guy was a featured speaker. The Ziglar team and I got to spend half an hour with him just to pick his brain and get to know him better. Guy has a big pedigree. He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikipedia Foundation. He is the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Guy has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA. Today, Guy is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool and a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz. He has over 10 million followers on social media and is just an incredibly unique individual

[01:28] This show has a lot of value, and a lot of laughs. You will get much from listening in. Connect with Guy at guykawasaki.com.

[03:16] OK, Guy, let’s start off with the important stuff. Judging by your Instagram and Facebook feeds…it’s surfing. I’m an outdoor and athletic enthusiast, but have never surfed. Give me your evangelism for surfing.

[03:34] Yes, so surfing — which I took up very late in life — I took up at 62, which is roughly 55 years too late. Surfing — and I came from hockey to surfing because I loved hockey. I play hockey, you know, four times a week, and I surf four times a week. It’s just kind of a third realistic feeling that you can go fast without any kind of battery, engine, anything, and in a sense it’s like skiing or snowboarding, except you don’t have to pay for the lift tickets and it doesn’t have to be winter. I mean, there’s a lot of difference. It’s really if you take it up later in life, like I did, it’s very intellectually and physically challenging because it’s, you know, very few sports you have to have such a struggle to get to the point where it’s fun. So, you know, with skiing or snowboarding you get in a lift and it takes you to the top of the mountain and, you know, you come back down, and in surfing you’ve got to power your way out in order to come back in though. It’s very physically demanding, also mentally demanding, that it takes a long time to figure out where to sit, when to take off, which direction to take off in. It’s completely absorbing and it’s kind of addicting.

[07:31] Next it’s family, is what I see. Not necessarily just your family, but what is your evangelistic pitch for…family?

[08:22] What I figured out is, you know, you never meet people and they don’t have kids and they say yeah, but I have a niece and a nephew so, you know, I understand child raising. It’s like, no you don’t, you have no idea. Those kids you can just send back at the end of the day, that’s not how it is. And then I step back from that is when you meet a couple and they have one child and they’re saying, “We know everything about the child.” No, you don’t. When the adults outnumber the kids it’s still easy; even two kids. When it’s still one on one, it’s when you have to go to the zone; so when it’s two on six, you know, when you’re out there, there are three to one or two to one, that’s when it gets interesting. I’ve got to tell you, you know, I used to be this typical kind of Asian American, your kids have to start violin at age two and after that go to alert calculus at age three, and at age five they have to start a not-for-profit, because if they don’t get into the right kindergarten, they won’t get into the right elementary, they won’t get into the right — if you’re reading it, they won’t get into the right high school, they won’t get to Dartmouth, and there are, you know, their life is ruined. ut I’ll tell you something. By the time you get to the fourth trial, they’re not in the hospital, they’re not in jail, it’s a good day. My kids, they are just the light of my life.

[13:14] You have over 10 million followers over your social media outlets. You are a massive influencer. Where did this start? When did you become the Guy Kawasaki we all know now? At some point you were just an average, young punk…what happened…the catalyst for this journey as King of Enchanting Evangelism?

[14:09] I’m from Honolulu, and I went to school on the mainland at Stanford, and at Stanford I met a guy who, you know, is my lifelong friend, and after — at the time that I was at Stanford, this is the mid-seventies, if you’re an Asian American your parents wanted you to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a dentist. So I at Stanford, I think this course as an undergrad where you go to Stanford Hospital and you walk around the hospital and the first day of that class, I think, it’s, I knew I couldn’t be a doctor, and then the next thing you know I thought, well do you want to stick your head of people’s minds your whole life? Meanwhile, my father was a legislator in Hawaii, so he wanted me to go to law school. So I go to law school, I quit after two weeks — I could not stand it. So I leave law school, I go back and get an M.B.A. Believe it or not, I started working in the jewelry business and the jewelry business, this friend of mine from Stanford brought me into Apple, the Macintosh business. So that’s where I made the counting diamonds kind of being in tech, and at Apple my job was to convince companies to write back software. I was an Apple software evangelist, and then evangelism comes from Greek words meaning “bringing the good news.” So I brought the good news of Macintosh. In Macintosh, people can be more creative and productive. So early in the religion called Macintosh I was a High Priest. You could say I was almost the pope, Steve Jobs being God, of course. So I was evangelizing Macintosh all over the place, and so I got to be well known because of that, as a Macintosh evangelist, and fast-forward a few decades are not pretty well-known in the tech world for Macintosh, I started the software companies, you know, that kind of thing, and then Twitter happened and social media happened.

[17:38] Stepping back and looking at you from 10,000 feet, you seem to be an inspiration virus. Is this just who you naturally are, or who you’ve learned to be?

[18:01] The turning point was reading Zig Ziglar’s book. I did reading as well because when I was in college I really wanted to be in business, and I wanted to start a company, and this is also true after Apple. So, you know, being in Silicon Valley the heroes are Hewlett and Packard, right? They started this company and then Intel started a company, National Semiconductor company. Later on, Lotus Development started a software company, software publishing corp — you know, these kind of things, so these were our heroes, you know — not Tom Brady, who was Hewlett and Packard. And so I started reading this body of knowledge and, fundamentally, a technology is only two real roles; you can either make it or sell it and I wasn’t an engineer, so I had to sell it. And so in that path I started reading books, and it was Peter Drucker, Zig Ziglar, you know, another guy that I came to later, but has been very influential, is Bob Cialdini, he wrote the book Influence, and I read all these books. And so I don’t think, well, it’s an oversimplification to say you’re born an evangelist or you’re born a salesperson. I think you know some people are naturally more outgoing, etc., but I think that evangelists and great salespeople are made more than they are born, and in my slanted view of the world, what makes a great evangelist or great salesperson is the affiliation with a great product.

[22:45] A term that comes up about you over and over is…evangelist. To evangelize means to: convert or seek to convert someone. What do you most want to convert people to?

[23:07] I have a mantra for my life so I don’t believe in mission statements, you know, fifty words long, things about we endeavour to create a world class product that exceeds the expectations of our customers while providing a meaningful return to our shareholders while enabling our employees to self-actualize their life goals. So, I mean, for a mantra of two or three words. So the mantra for my life, it is empower people; I want to empower people, I want to empower people with my writing, my speaking, my investing, my advising, my podcast, whatever it is, and so the big picture for me is I want to empower people and I want to make the world a meritocracy or it doesn’t matter where you’re born, who are you born to, you know, what family, what social/economic status, whatever; it’s a meritocracy. If you’re good and you work hard you succeed, that’s kind of my big picture.

[27:25] You told us that you read Zig’s book, and it inspired you and sold you on selling. And that all of business comes down to two fundamental skills: making something and selling it. Everything else is secondary. And you say, “Evangelism is the purest form of sales.” Expand on that if you will…sales and evangelism.

[27:55] So the reason why I believe it’s the purest form of sales is that much of sales is about what’s good for you. It’s your income, your quota, your boat — you know, your million-dollar roundtable achievement, you know, whatever’s right. But I think that evangelism is a pure form because evangelism is about the other person’s interests, not yours. So when I tell you to use a Macintosh, it’s because I think a Macintosh will make you more creative and productive. Today I’m chief evangelist for a company called Canva. It is an online graphic design service, and why I tell you or ask you or evangelize you to use Canva is because I truly do believe it will make you a more effective communicator to have beautiful graphics. Now don’t get me wrong; if you use Canva or if you use Macintosh, it does benefit me, but the fundamental reason that I’m evangelizing these things is because it’s good for you, not because it’s good for me. And so I think that is the purest form of sales, when you truly have the other person just at heart, and heart first and foremost, and I also believe, perhaps naively and romantically, that if that is true, when all the dust settles it will also be good for you. But if you try to ram down the products and services down people’s throats because it’s your quote, your bonus, your income, eventually it catches up to you. I’m all about, you know, what’s good for you, what benefits you, and this is why I’ve turned down many an opportunity because at an extreme — if Microsoft called me up and said, “Would you become our evangelist for Windows?” I couldn’t do it because I don’t believe it’s good for people.

[32:35] You say you want to teach us how to be evangelists in a secular sense. What is evangelism 101 on how to “spread the good news” about a product or service like you did with Macintosh and still do with Canva and Mercedes?

[32:59] Being a brand ambassador for Mercedes is in the category of, you know, somebody has to do every job in the world and that was, you know, I accept my burden of time being an ambassador.  And every year they tell me, “Well, which car do you want,” and it’s got to be done. You know, I try to reduce unemployment in the automobile business. I believe in the product. It’s a great product; it’s, you know, let’s not go down that hole. We could talk a whole lot about cars and services. I happen to just love cars, and at any given moment I’m always flipping through cars because the Mercedes brand ambassador program, until I arrived it was people like Roger Federer (tennis). They had the first Formula One male driver, and they have drivers and explorers, and, you know, all these, like, totally leading edge all through the wall. You know the kind of people and then there’s me, and I’m the tech evangelist, so… It’s been a really fun thing to do.

[34:50] In your Facebook show “Wise Guy,” you have a piece on how to be enchanting. And you first talk about “Guy’s golden touch.” And not that what you touch turns to gold, but you don’t touch it unless it’s gold. For all of us out here, how do we make our products, services, and messages…enchanting? Gold? Top tier attributes?

[35:38] So I think the big test is that’s a jump to the next curve. So, by this I mean is that this rough if an innovative. Go back in history. There used to be an ice harvesting business — this is 1900, where you go out to a frozen lake or frozen pond and you would cut a block of ice. So that helped people. Now, you don’t have to go get your own ice cooler; you could store food longer. Thirty years later there’s ice two point zero which is now the ice factory. This is a big technological breakthrough; now it didn’t have to be a winter and it didn’t have to be a cold place. Thirty more years go by, and now there’s the refrigerator, and now you didn’t have to be near and, in facot, you could be anywhere and you had your own ice factories called a personal chiller or refrigerator. And so the key here is that, you know, the ice harvest there never became the ice factory, and the ice factory never became a refrigerated company, because most people define themselves in terms of what they already do. So if you say, “Oh well, I’m in the business of cutting blocks of ice,” in the winter you don’t embrace the ice factory. If you say. “Well, I freeze water centrally, put the blocks of ice in the truck and deliver the ice,” then you don’t embrace the refrigerator. If you are Kodak and you say, “Well, my business is we put chemicals on field, if you’re Polaroid we put chemicals on paper. Well then, guess what? Those two companies were solely embracing digital photography like life passed them by.

[40:30] You have said, “If you’re not excited about a particular market, or a particular product, or something,” he says, “you really should find something that excites you, because it’s not just about the money, it’s also about what interests you.” How deep do you want people to go? Believing in the product or service is one thing…but the company, too? It’s people and ethos?

[41:17] I think it’s the total package. But I have to tell you, since that quote and since that writing I’ve had another thought which kind of conflicts this thought, because I’ve noticed something. So with me, I have to tell you, when I first saw Macintosh it was a religious experience, that the scales were removed from my eyes. I started hearing angels, seeing the clouds part, really. First time I stood up on a surfboard it was religious. So that’s the extreme I am talking about, but I will tell you just to be practical and to show you that I have an open mind, it could handle conflicting data points. I can also tell you that it is possible that you go to work for a company and, you know, on a scale of one to ten maybe you’re a six or seven, you’re excited about it. And so maybe you go to work for a company and you’re on a scale of six to seven and you need to work. They go there and lo and behold, you go to this company and all of a sudden it’s just selling tens of thousands of widgets and the reviews are great, people are loving it, and you can’t make them fast enough. Up until you join this company, you couldn’t care less about this widget; it was a job — you go there and and it’s selling like hotcakes, and then all of a sudden, you know, they’re recruiting a lot of great people, and there’s free sushi and there’s all of that at lunch time. They fix your car while you work and you get free back rubs at your desk, and, you know, everything is going great, and all of a sudden you noticed you loved widgets.

[43:57] Where do you see us culturally in regards to being involved vocationally in things we are excited about? What message would you like to give kids heading toward college?

[44:39] What I tell kids now is, over the course of your career you will probably work — for I’ve had maybe even fifteen companies, so I think it was like this — when you’re in college, you’re about to graduate, you think you need to make the perfect decision because you think that this first job is going to make you great, and it’s just not true anymore that, you know, you don’t graduate from college and then you go to work for Goldman Sachs and you stay at Goldman Sachs for thirty years, or you go to work for Procter and Gamble, you stay there for thirty years, or both, or Apple or Nike or anything. You’re going to work in ten, maybe fifteen companies in the next thirty years. And so I think this means that, you know, you can kind of chill out, that the expectation that you work for a minimum of five to ten years at every job, or you look like you’re flaky, it’s just not true anymore. I think that number is maybe a year, you work a year in a company, you want to pass the flakiness test at this point. And so this means that you can chill, and you can explore, and you don’t have to worry that much that you’re tarnishing your LinkedIn profile, it’s a very different world.

 [48:20] In our audience, a majority of small biz owners, solopreneurs, freelancers, independent contractors, coaches, consultants…what is the primary shift you want to help us make from the normal paradigm of sales, marketing, promotion etcetera and into…spreading the good news?

[48:55] I’ll give you a conceptual model. So you draw a graph — vertical line, horizontal line. The vertical line is the degree of differentiation, how different are you, how unique are you. The horizontal line is value, so when you’re far out on the right, you’re very valuable; if you are far on the left, it means you are not valuable. So it’s uniqueness and value and, as a conceptual model, whether you’re a big business, small business, solopreneurs or whatever you are, you want to be in the upper right-hand corner, because in the upper right-hand corner what you do is valuable and unique. So if you’re valuable but not unique, you always have to compete on price because people can get your same valuable things from other people. If you’re unique but not valuable, then you’re just plain stupid, because you’ve created something that nobody cares about. If you’re not unique and not valuable, you shouldn’t be listening to this podcast, you’re just the loser. So the place you need to be is unique and valuable.

[56:45] There you go friends…incredible insight into being an evangelist. Shouldn’t we all be doing work we want to be an evangelist for? Connect with Guy at guykawasaki.com.

Coming up next, we go behind the scenes with Guy in our “habits” show, where we follow the seven spokes of the Ziglar Wheel of Life and find out Guy’s challenges and habits. Some highlights: as you heard in the show, he’s a huge surfing fan, and that’s a great thing he does to stay in shape. He’s resolved to not eat a French fry for three years or drink a Coke for two! Family vacations are a big priority for his family health. He’s a Christian, but doesn’t claim to be a great role model, and separates God from religion. He attributes his career success much…to luck, but he admits to working very hard and working a lot. So there you go. Till then, thanks…