Today I’m joined by Joel Landi and his wife Julie. Together they run The Performance Group, an executive coaching company.
They focus on experiential learning and the principles of neuroscience to create concentrated experiences that deepen their client’s learning process so they can apply their new skills in their life to create a clear path of tangible and lasting growth.
Joel has more than 25 years of experience coaching, mentoring, and consulting with a diverse range of clients from top CEOs, to professional athletes, Navy Seals, and even surgeons.
Before The Performance group, Joel was a Minister at the International Churches of Christ in California, New York, and Florida. When he realized he was ready to change career paths and jump into the world of coaching and consulting, he knew he needed to establish himself as an expert in his field.
That’s when he decided to write a book.
In this interview, Joel and Julie share how they landed their first client who was a CEO of a $100 million company, the exciting speaking engagements he’s been invited to, and how long his journey was with his book from concept to book launch.
Let’s get into the interview!
JOEL: We compete in four areas, primarily conflict resolution. We get invited into companies and we solve problems with executives.
Along the way, we’ll do some informal inventories and assessments to get an idea of the culture of the company and their style of leadership, conflict management style. We want to not only get to know the leaders but the managers and employees as well.
By the time we finish solving the conflict, we really know the company.
Now we’re talking about and planting seeds about how to shift culture so that they can be more collaborative which leads to a better quality of life. We focus on developing people that can’t promote people or get more money.
At the end of that, we go back into the leadership suite and we talk about an influential leadership model.
Julie and I also developed this concept of experiential learning immersion. We call it the Rewired Experience, which is named after the book.
It harmonizes all of these best practices like how to create an accelerated learning experience for someone so that you can shift their thinking and help them achieve the desired outcome in a very concentrated small amount of time.
We’ve had some wild success with the rewired experience. We just worked with a couple from the East Coast and they had a fantastic experience with us. That’s the really fun part of the company.
It’s not that the four pillars and the other pieces are not fun, but the weekend immersions are really dynamic and out of the box.
We take people to the race track, we take people down these very aggressive mountain bike trails, paddleboarding, etc. We do all of these fun things to get people to shift their thinking and get a little bit of what they would normally think is their comfort zone. This allows them to adopt some new ways of thinking to address limiting beliefs so they can drive a different outcome.
I’m going to turn it over to Julie so she can really explain what we do.
JULIE: The essence of our company, Rob, is really to bring people out of conflict and into contribution. Our four pillars are the steps to that process. When we started our business in 2013, we were trying to figure out how to create an audience. At that time we had both switched careers, transitioning radically from one job to another. We go more in depth about this transition in our book, but we had no real network.[socialpug_tweet tweet=”The essence of our company, Rob, is really to bring people out of conflict and into contribution. @coachjoellandi” display_tweet=”The essence of our company, Rob, is really to bring people out of conflict and into contribution. @coachjoellandi” style=”2″]
We had no case studies and we had no authority in the space that we’re now in. That’s where the book came into play.
When we wrote our book, we were able to share it with those who are in high-level positions, who are our target audience. It gave us immediate credibility and a level of trust that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve solely based on our resumes.
I’ve learned that there is no faster way to becoming an authority figure than to teach. You can spend tons of time getting your MBA, focusing on building that resume, etc. but writing a book puts you in a position of teaching. It puts you into an expert position, which gives people the ability to trust you. It has opened so many doors for us.
ROB: I love that. You recently told me about the first big deal you landed, which was with a CEO of a $100 million company. You got this massive contract which leads to this incredible referral network you now have. Can you share some of the details of that?
JOEL: Absolutely! It’s actually a great story. I friended someone that Julie had reached out to on Facebook and wound up immediately setting up a coffee meeting two weeks later. I saw that we both had a huge common interest: we both love and race motorcycles.
When we met I remember thinking about how humble and unassuming he was. He eventually shared that his company was worth $100 million and that he was, and still is, the CEO.
He told me about some of the challenges he was facing another branch up north. At the time I had my book with me, of course, and I told him that I knew we could definitely come up with several ways to work together.
I suggested that he read the first four or five chapters of the book to get a feel for our approach and if he thought we could help solve the problem. It ended up being a great fit.
From that one cup of coffee, we landed a huge contract and opportunity to help him and his company resolve their conflicts.
The COO of that company, who actually works in the Santa Barbara area, asked if we could do a 14-month coaching program. We’re still in the midst of that program and it’s getting better every month.
I think that whole situation is certainly a testimony to how the book opened an incredible door for us, just from that one hand off.
Since then, we’ve worked with three more companies, four managers, and eighty employees which have resulted in several hundred thousand dollars worth of income. All because of that first meeting with that CEO.
Going back to what Julie said, I think we have a great resume, but without a contemporary social footprint, and little social media interaction, the book was a fast track opportunity to show people who you are and what you know.
On top of that, the book became a bestseller. That’s something you can’t force and that totally speaks for itself.
ROB: I love that.
So obviously someone who runs a hundred million dollar company is going to be willing to sit down on various occasions and have a cup of coffee, but I would say it’s safe to assume that most aren’t necessarily interested in getting into a six-figure contract to go mountain climbing. Right?
There has to be a huge layer of trust for a CEO to be open to those experiences. There’s an authority you guys have built for yourselves so that those CEO’s feel comfortable handing the keys to their kingdom over to you because that’s in essence what they were doing with you.
JOEL: That’s absolutely true.
I have two other great stories for you.
One of the many benefits of becoming a bestselling author are the invitations to speaking engagements.
We got asked to speak to a 120-year-old company, worth over $270 million. Our book opened the door to speak to their national sales force of about 90 people.
The fun part of that was getting to the hotel in Orange County, California the night before and as I was waiting for the elevator, the doors open and the first person inside says, “Hey, you’re one of the speakers for tomorrow!”
It was my own kind of rock star moment. That was the same energy we received when we walked into the room the next day. People brought books up to us to sign after we spoke which I could never have imagined happening. It was so fun.
The second story happened recently. We were meeting with a gentleman in his mid-fifties who is now a successful practicing attorney, but he was previously an actor for a long time. He was on a huge TV series.
We had been talking for about 2 hours, which was supposed to just be a 45 min talk. He asked me what I thought was the next best step was for him. We were able to make a great plan with actionable steps.
At a prior meeting with him, I suggested he read our book and identify three things that resonated with him, then we can meet again the following week so we can figure out a plan based on what connected with him from the book.
We had met 6 times before I gave him the book, but after he had a chance to read it, he was ready to work together. I’m sure people who have gone through this book process with you, Rob, have had similar experiences. The opportunities I’ve received because of the book are incredible.
ROB: Oh, Dude, I love that. Thank you for sharing.
These things seem so simple, right? Obviously, it’s a complicated process in one sense to invest the time, money and resources to get a book done, and even when you have a book done it’s very easy to leave it on the shelf and forget about it.
It’s important to have a plan with your book, because when you do… it’s magic.
You guys have done this. You made the relationships, you got the referrals, and you created magic within these CEO’s companies. And like we’ve both said, without that layer of trust and credibility, you would never have had those opportunities.
One idea for how you can use your book: send them as gifts to people you’ve already worked with and given your book to so they can give them away to their friends. Books make great gifts, especially to those with friends in their space.
JOEL: I have one more thought for you about that I think will have meaning and relevance for your audience. I’m sure there are many of you who have heard the statistics about how many companies fail, but I truly believe with a combination of determination and altruism, you can develop the relationships you need.
With the right frame of mind, there are great people out there who can help you. We have been so fortunate enough to meet so many wonderful people who really want to do the right thing.
There are times throughout the business cycle where it may not be necessary to bring more people on, and for many entrepreneurs, it may just not be part of your game yet.
Regardless of the size of the company, if I could have written the book and has it as a front end offer as we were developing our business, it would have changed the game.
I just want to tell any entrepreneur out there that if you’re in a good position, you have a solid business model, a decent social footprint, and maybe even a small team and things aren’t going how you think they should be, write a book.
If I had done this two years ago, we would be in a much different place now. We’re totally happy with where we are now and I think it’s easy to wish for maximum impact, but I wouldn’t wait any longer if you haven’t written a book.
ROB: I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I think it’s easy as an entrepreneur to get caught up on the next shiny object, or whatever is popular at the moment rather than completing a project that will build the most credibility and trust within your space.
I’m so honored that you both are apart of the Best Seller Publishing Community.
JULIE: We’re honored to be apart of the community! I want to share two quick thoughts. First, I think at times our book can come across as somewhat male-centered, but we work with many women as well. It’s important to us that we work with anyone who needs help, regardless of their gender.
Second, in addition to allowing us to become authority figures in our space, the book has enabled us to charge more, without having an extensive resume. It’s sort of catapulted us into this higher ticket space.
People ask me about that a lot. How did we get to the point where we could charge our clients so much? I always tell them, it’s because of our book. We wouldn’t have even been able to ask for $10,000 a month for one client if we didn’t have it in our back pocket.
ROB: I understand what you mean. I think a lot of people wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for $10,000 for one month of consulting. It took guts for you guys to do that and now you’ve grown your business and it’s doing phenomenal.
Congratulations. The sky’s the limit.
It seems to me that for you guys, the most powerful tool you have is connecting with the right individuals who will lead you into their network. It sounds like you have a sort of spider web if you will.
My suggestion to you would be to find a way to systematically continue to put the book into the right audience’s hands. Like I said before, gifting books to clients you’ve already worked with is a quick and easy way to spread it.
One other suggestion I have for you is to make a list of the top 100 people that you’d like to connect with, then send your book to them as an introduction with a handwritten note. You could then follow up with a telephone call or of course an in-person meeting.
I think you’d be able to make a ton of connections this way because you’re not asking for anything. You’re not asking to be a speaker or a consultant. You’re just making a connection and because of that connection, you’ll find out what the problems in their lives and businesses are.
JOEL: That’s a great idea.
I think my audience would like to know how long it took you to go from concept to a finished book and how long it took from the book launch to your first contract.
JOEL: Concept to book launch probably took about 8 ½ to 9 months. After the book launched, we had converted a client within 3 months. Landing our first client was so exciting.
ROB: Earlier you mentioned that you both transitioned from a totally different career path. Can you talk a bit more about that?
JOEL: Coming out of graduate school, my focus was clinical physiology. I worked with cardiac patients in hospitals. After that, I took an administrative position but I had way too much energy to be an administrator so I looked into the military.
It was in the military, where I worked as an officer, that I began to really understand and refine my approach to leadership and developing other people.
Those experiences laid the groundwork for my next calling into the Christian ministry, specifically within conflict resolution. I focused internally with families and married couples. I think that set the foundation for my knowledge of the intricacies of how to help partners.
When I look back at my path and all of those careers, I know everything helped prepare me to perfectly launch the performance group I know run because it’s the culmination of the best experiences I could have had in leadership and development.
It was very easy for me to make the adjustment into our company and then the book was really the icing on the cake.
I don’t think that a CEO of a $100 million company would be terribly excited to hire a Christian minister to help with the conflict resolution of their company, regardless of their faith.
Having a book gave us the credibility we needed. All the knowledge I have gained throughout my different careers gave me the experience I needed.
ROB: That’s fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us today.
Where to Connect with Joel & Julie