Andrew has an engineering mind that can take complicated stuff and make simple. When he's not on a stage somewhere in the world, or training new franchisees for a company or running a webinar from his office in Southern NZ, you'll find Andrew twisting the throttle of a motorcycle or feeding the chickens with his children on their little farm, or snow skiing in the USA, or running down Oreti beach on a summer's evening, or swapping stories at dinner with friends over a nice Merlot. Wherever he is, and whatever he's doing, he'll be giving it 100%.
World’s Best Business Coaches
Brad Sugars Interviews Andrew Johnston
Brad Sugars: Hi and welcome to this week’s edition of World’s best business coaches. As you know I get to travel the world, well I don’t travel that much I use zoom so I get to technologically travel the world and meet all the greatest business coaches in the world. This week we travelled to the southern-most part of New Zealand. Andrew Johnston welcome to the call today and thanks for giving us your time.
Andrew Johnston: Thanks Brad. It’s great to be here. Fantastic.
Brad Sugars: You know when we travelled to New Zealand, it’s a wonderful part of the world but it’s like you’re at the bottom part of New Zealand. The business owners there seem to love what you do. Their testimonials rive but you also been with people around the world so I want to know a little bit more of how you do it and all that but if I can just start by asking how did you decide to become a coach? How did you fall into business coaching?
Andrew Johnston: Well Brad I got really bored by being an engineer for 18 years in New Zealand and Europe so I started businesses and that’s when I started using some of your stuff and someone said to me “You know a lot about this, you should teach others what you know” and so I kind of fell into action coach and I haven’t looked back since. Its been fantastic.
Brad Sugars: You know, it’s a lot of fun coaching. There must have been some of the clients over the years, how many years have you been coaching now, is it 15 or 16 years?
Andrew Johnston: Not quite yet. Almost.
Brad Sugars: So in all that time there must be one or two clients that stand out, you go, these were the real fun ones, these are some I had a lot of fun helping and learning to grow with.
Andrew Johnston: Yeah. I’ve had tons of those types of clients. This one guy, I still work with him it’s 11 years now and its been so much fun watching his family, you know, his kids grow up and he owns a supermarket and we’ve doubled the revenue of the business and you know the profit ology by five times and the cool thing is being involved with his family as well and getting to know his kids. And his kids now are 20 and 21 and they’ve become good friends of mine as well so it’s really a neat thing.
Brad Sugars: Yeah. It’s funny. One of the things I love about clients that have been around that long is you get to see their kids start businesses as well and it’s like one your clients talked about the fact that their kids are now businesspeople because of you. Tell me more about how that happens.
Andrew Johnston: Well, what has happened in several occasions and that one as well is that the business owner would find me before approaching session and say, next session could you make it with Adam and talk to him. He’s got a business feature he’d like to do. So he’d use the coaching session to get me to talk to his son and get him on the right path and it’s kind of an * experience but it’s a fantastic result with that as well because when they’re so young, they’re so eager and they soak everything up and they have a fantastic start with that and such a great start from that with great coaching from a business coach.
Brad Sugars: Actually, it brings out an interesting point. Some of your clients they all love you but some of them say he’s super tough like there’s time you’ve kicked their backside really hard and made them do stuff but tell me more about those or is it one particular client you remember doing that to?
Andrew Johnston: Well, I have a little bit of a saying that the more I kick their back the more they’ll love me because most people don’t do what they need to do to achieve what they really want to achieve and why I do that is because I see the potential in people, I see a lot of people sitting on a box of dynamite ready to go off and they don’t light the fuse so it’s tough sometimes for me to push them really hard and kick their back but I do it for their good and the results from that is just phenomenal. They thank me later, let’s put it that way.
Brad Sugars: I know at the time most of them don’t thank us as coaches. Now when you think about coaching, what are some of the most favourite areas you like coaching in. is it sales, is it marketing and leadership? What are your favourite areas?
Andrew Johnston: A couple of my favourite areas, I love the sales conversion, teaching business owners how to convert because it can be a very fast implementation, very easy to teach and a little tweak can make a big difference, you know in conversion because most business owners actually have a lot of inquiries coming in but they don’t work with them very well. So I love, and of course you know this very well because I’ve talked to a lot of other coaches on this and they love finding the extra profitability in the business. So I’m really hard on that and I’m really teaching other coaches how to do that as well.
Brad Sugars: Now, let’s go back to conversion. What are some of the top two or three things that the business owners watching us here today can implement in their business to get better conversion rates?
Andrew Johnston: Look, the first thing is to work out, you know, when you get an inquiry it’s mostly by email, phone or walk-in. what is the next step and how quickly do you a. respond to the enquiry and how quick do you get back to them because normally in a lot of businesses the sale is not made in the first enquiry but that response time is crucial and people nowadays are expecting instantaneous response on everything and it’s no different with sales. And if someone could out-maneuver you by being quicker on response time. So that’s all part of sales system which steeps at looking at response time and making sure that they are all as quick as they need to be and happening consistently and I find that makes a huge difference. Probably a good example is any trade bets business. You know they take the enquiry then they get busy and it’s like a week before they get back and they lose sales.
Brad Sugars: Another thing your clients mentions is you make them measure their results a heck of a lot in sales and in particular marketing and sales. Give us more of an understanding as why a) you do it and b) how do you get them to do it so that they get results from it.
Andrew Johnston: Well there’s an old adage, you know, I’ve heard it from you several times, what you measure will increase. So what you measure you can manage and I find that as soon as I start measuring it because your mind is now set on it so the numbers will start increasing. So that’s one reason to do it. The other reason is that it gives you some goals like if your conversion rate was 1/5 about 20% then we can say okay lets aim for 2/5 you know, that would be the first step and then 3/5, I like to get the conversion rate about 80%. So you know, when you go from 1/5 to 2/5 you will be doubling the business because you’re getting double the amount of sales and inquiries. That’s very very powerful.
Brad Sugars: I find that phenomenal thing and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons you get great results with the client. Most of them don’t like measuring though. How do you convince them that they need to or even get them to try for the first time?
Andrew Johnston: Look, I’ve hardly found a business owner that wants to measure stuff. They normally just want to get on and do the business but I had some big conversations with them around where they want to go with the business and what are the things that need to be improved and how can we improve them if we don’t have a starting point and we’re not monitoring it along and it’s, I don’t know if I can give you the specific details of those sorts of conversations but it really is through talking through the importance of it and convincing them that you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to watch numbers and you’ve got to be focused on increasing the numbers. It’s no different from trying to lose weight or training for a marathon. You’ve got to watch how many minutes you’re doing and how many laps you’re doing and track it all to get the good result at the other end.
Brad Sugars: Yeah. And one of the things big on your clients is education. Getting them to keep learning and keep growing. Coaching I guess, part of coaching is education but helping them learn seems to be a hard priority for you. Explain to me why you do that and how that impacts the results you get.
Andrew Johnston: I’m a true believer that there’s no end point to how much we can learn and even the amount of time I’ve been in business and then being in the action coach business I still feel the curve’s quite steep. I still feel there’s a lot I can learn in a lot of areas and I’ve passed that to clients. And a lot of clients don’t want to learn in terms of reading a book or don’t want to waste their time but I work with every business owner to try and get them to start reading even reading a chapter of a book, you know table of contents and pick a chapter that’s relevant to something that we’re doing and get them started. And when they get started it’s quite interesting how their goals would change because now they realize there’s some education behind them. They can really go bigger and go better and go harder and they ask me questions of course. It’s fantastic.
Brad Sugars: It’s phenomenal how business owners, I mean I think I always used to say that you know, you grow to your level of incompetence it’s like if you don’t know what you’re doing you can’t grow any further than that. That’s a big challenge to a lot of business owners. I guess one of the other things I enjoy that your client says, I can’t put it into words other than it’s like you’re their best cheerleader. It’s like you believe in them more than they believe in themselves and that seems to have a big impact. Tell me more about how that happens and is that something that you stumbled across or is it something you’ve always done?
Andrew Johnston: People have called me a motivator or an enthuiser and I think that that ties in with the cheerleading and I think that’s important because as adults we don’t get a whole lot of encouragement from, you know, sometimes from spouses, sometimes from your peers, sometimes from your brother-in-law, actually it can be negative especially if they’re not in business and they don’t understand then they don’t get it. So I honestly do see the potential in my clients and when they have a win we celebrate. We go like, I really pat them in the back because I think being in business is fantastic. I couldn’t work for anybody else now. I’m psychologically unemployable but it also can be hard and so I think I know the importance of encouraging your clients to keep going and keep learning and keep going for personal best in their business.
Brad Sugars: Yeah. Business is often a really lonely thing, I mean that’s why even for us at action coach it’s why we get our clients together all the time. It’s why we build a community among business owners and stuff and not only for business owners but you as a coach. The level of community that you get to be a part of and I think that’s phenomenal but actually let me just touch on that for a little bit more. When you see clients come together because I think this is really important for business owners to get community. When you see them come together, what do you see happening? I know what I see happening. I’d like to see if it’s the same in New Zealand as it is in here in Vegas.
Andrew Johnston: Look. One plus one equals eleven I think. The business transforms that we do nowadays, you know, you started those a few years ago in Australia I think is the first place, you just see the bars, you see them come alive with energy, you know. They learn from the coaches, they learn from the speakers but they learn from each other, they make friends. I’ve seen people coming back from the ones in Australia four or five years later and they’re friends with those business owners that they met four or five years ago and you’re right about the learning. It’s sort of a take to it as well because there’s not a lot of business owners out there who are really proactively looking to grow their businesses, there’re just sort of a status quo and so when you get those guys that we coach in a room together, you’ve got a lot of people with the same mind set in this amazing community with all these amazing clients and other clients and amazing coaches.
Brad Sugars: Yeah. I spoke to one was it just yesterday and he came back from one of those conferences and he said my staff didn’t recognize me. He was a medical doctor and he said my staff didn’t recognize me, you know, some of them have been with me for more than 20 years and I come off bouncing off the walls and excited and they’re all like “hang on, what did they give you out there?” I mean it’s amazing how when someone sees an Andrew they just get “wow, this could actually work for me” because a lot of business owners have tried a bunch of things and a bunch of different aspects but how do we explain to someone that there’s twenty plus years of business coaching in our organization and a thousand different offices in 59, just opened 60th country. It’s pretty hard to explain that. How do you explain that first step to people because e I’d like to get your perspective on?
Andrew Johnston: Well that’s part of why I love being in action coach you know rather than, I couldn’t imagine doing this by myself, I couldn’t imagine being in any other organization because the community is so powerful where we can reach out to coaches and we even have a coach in Lebanon that was the first one so we can reach out to a coach in Lebanon and say hey did you ever coach this business and with this challenge and so within a few hours we can have a lot of input from other coaches that really help us and I express that to business owners when I first meet them and say when you work with me as a business coach you don’t just get me, you get a thousand other coaches from around the world and the input. And it’s kind of hard to explain the abundance and you and I know the abundance in our organization that I could email any coach in our organization and say could I have a thirty minute skype call with you to talk about this and he would give me a bunch of ideas and respond quickly and, it’s just phenomenal.
Brad Sugars: Yeah look, I’m super proud Andrew when I see the team of coaches nowadays that run action coach and the way they do things. I’m amazingly impressed. When you go back and let’s just think back for a little bit. Think about a business owner thinking about hiring a coach, most of them are a little bit scared I guess are they that expensive or think it’s expensive or that sort of stuff. How do you get someone to understand the value or the power of coaching?
Andrew Johnston: You’re right off. Most people I’ve talked to are nervous about it and nervous about the investment and you know, we have the talks and show them that the chance we have for business profit and show them the systems we have and I think they get the fact that it’s a big organization, we’ve done this for a long time and we know what we’re doing. We’re number one in the world so for the last 22 years or so and I think they understand, you know, we have the guarantee as well so you know, that takes away a lot of doubts as well. But I’ve never heard a client say that was a waste of time or a waste of money. They always say, man I wish I had done this earlier. That’s the key phrase I get “I wish I had done this earlier”.
Brad Sugars: I distinctly remember meeting a guy who I talked to maybe five or six weeks earlier, he was a painter and he knew one of his competitors who took us on as a coach and he’s like “I just have to. This guy started and he used to work for me, now he’s got about 20 guys working for him, I’m by myself still” and it’s like if we could get to them please for your own sake just. I’ve never met a client yet who didn’t win bigger after coaching than the coach won’t have it. Let’s flip that over just for a second because some of the people watching this interview will be able to comment about also becoming a business coach, not just an action coach but a business coach in general. What’s your advice to people wanting to be a coach because it’s not just for everyone? You’ve got to love to help people to start. What else do you say to anyone who wants to be a coach? How will they be successful?
Andrew Johnston: So, I’ve seen a lot of coaches coming through our organization and I know most of them, I know there are over a thousand in our organization and the common things that I see, yes you’re right they absolutely want to help people but they want to learn and grow themselves. So they want to become better at everything themselves and we see a lot in their social media and stuff well then action coach, we see it with the running marathon and that sort of stuff. People are wanting to do better not better than the next person but personal best. I don’t think the background, whether you’re an engineer like me or an accountant or whatever it was, I don’t think that’s important as their whole attitude of wanting to learn, wanting to help people, wanting to grow and embrace it.
Brad Sugars: We’ve got school teachers, nurses you know, CEOs of fortune 500, we’ve got everyone that’s a coach and I think you’re right. It’s that desire in them is more than the physical skill.
Andrew Johnston: I remember I was at a seminar with you and you said on stage “We’re here, we’ve even got engineers as business coaches” and I’m an engineer and I thought wow.
Brad Sugars: We can get engineers to be successful, it’s the thing. You know ultimately Andrew when I look at the testimonials from your clients simple things come through. Number one, you care about them massively. Number two, you help them get results, well, push them to get results as some of them say but number three I think it’s your dedication to growing your business and their business that keeps it going. I just want to say congratulations on all the results you’ve gotten that your clients love you, we’re very proud to have you as part of the team and I just want to say thanks for your time and again today it’s been really valuable for me.
Andrew Johnston: It’s my pleasure Brad. Thank you too.