Episode 25 – Spot Misinformation About Amazon Selling + Learn Ninja Strategies About Product Sourcing For Amazon
In today’s e-commerce environment with all of its untapped opportunities, many sellers agree that it’s a great time to sell on Amazon and to thrive on this huge platform. However, the current proliferation of misinformation about selling on Amazon (sometimes just innocently misguided and sometimes purposely malicious) have caused undue fear and confusion with sellers.
If you’re one of the many sellers who are not sure what information is authentic and what information is misleading and downright wrong, this podcast may give you the guidance and comfort you need to keep going and find the authentic information you are looking for.
For this very reason, Helium 10’s Success Manager, Bradley Sutton, welcomes Amazon leader Tim Jordan of Hickory Flats to help Amazon sellers weed through all of the misinformation floating around to help you prosper with confidence. And as a bonus, Tim also shares some ninja strategies about product sourcing to help you with product research and product validation.
In episode 25 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Tim discuss:
- 00:45 – Self-Described “Experts” Who Spread Misinformation About Selling On Amazon
- 02:20 – Examples of Misinformation And The Negative Effects On Sellers
- 08:40 – Misinformation About Selling On Amazon – The Ever-Changing Amazon World
- 10:15 – Ways To Avoid Misinformation About Selling On Amazon
- 11:40 – Changes In PPC – Tim’s Approaches To PPC
- 14:55 – Bradley’s Approach To Scaling Your Business
- 16:00 – How To Spot False Information About Selling On Amazon
- 18:20 – Ways To Spot Authentic Information
- 22:10 – Helium 10’s Efforts To Remain Transparent
- 24:00 – Examples of (Non-Malicious) Misguided Information
- 28:10 – Little-Known Sourcing Opportunities
- 31:30 – Reverse Engineering Promising Product Opportunities
- 32:15 – Turning BOFU Clients Into Fans Of Your Product
- 33:40 – How To Contact Tim
- 34:45 – Tim’s Favorite Helium 10 Tools And WHY
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Today, Tim Jordan’s going to help us tune our nonsense meters when it comes to misinformation about Amazon out there. He’s also going to help us with some Ninja strategy about product sourcing in 2019 that includes things we haven’t even thought about sourcing in Central America.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, everybody? This is Bradley Sutton, and this is The Serious Sellers Podcast. I have a kindred spirit with me today, Tim Jordan from Hickory Flats. Tim, how’s it going?
Tim Jordan: Good, good. I’m glad to be here.
Bradley Sutton: I’m happy to have you here because sometimes, we really connect on some things. You and I have very similar opinions on things that we see out there, and I want to hop right in because you’re similar as far as I go – as far as getting pissed off. Sometimes, when you see gurus or software companies, marketers – all these people use their position, whether it’s their position in Facebook groups or whether it’s their position as an influencer in the field, and they literally influence other people but with things that could potentially harm them. So, I wanted to talk, first of all, a little bit about that today. I know some things have had pissed you off lately, over the past year. And let’s just talk – you a little bit, me a little bit – about these kinds of things that really annoyed us out there.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. Well, I’ve got a big list and—
Bradley Sutton: How long do you have today?
Tim Jordan: So, last night, I was actually talking to Manny about this, and Manny said, “Tim, you got to take it down a notch – let us get this recorded cause this is good stuff.” What’s sad to me is the opportunities for eCommerce, well, the opportunities for entrepreneurship have never been greater than they are right now – ever in the history of the world. Thousands of years of commerce and only the past 15 years have we been able to literally sell things to anybody, anywhere with our cell phone. Right? So the opportunities are amazing and they’re unprecedented, and there are so many good options for people, but there’s also a lot of people being taken advantage of. And sometimes it’s not malicious. Sometimes it’s just “naivety ”, but a lot of times it is malicious too. Because there is such a demand for information and tools and tactics and opportunities. And I think that humans by nature are trusting. And when you combine that with the fact that there are some really good marketers and there are some really good influencers who know how to speak a message even if it’s not a hundred percent accurate, we wind up with this just rash of misinformation. The misinformation doesn’t bother me, but what really bothers me is when people are spending money, spending time and losing those things, they’re losing their money, they’re losing their time, they’re getting discouraged, they’re getting depressed, they’re getting all these terrible emotions, which shouldn’t be related to entrepreneurship. This should be fun and exciting. It should be stressful, but it shouldn’t be some terrible feeling. And, that’s what’s happening because of some of the nonsense that’s floating around out there right now.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. There’s always going to be crazy people out there, but they can spew off whatever they want. But then, as you said, it really affects me is when I see people listening to it and making bad decisions because of it. We’re not going to eradicate stupidity in the world – that’s going to be around for a while. But I hate it when people use their position and then start influencing people, and then they lose money. It’s just a bad thing. So what are some things that you’ve seen lately that you have on your mind?
Tim Jordan: So I’ll give you an example.
Bradley Sutton: I don’t even know you were talking to Manny last night. So I’m curious.
Tim Jordan: It’s constant. So, one of the things that I hate seeing right now is people following these bandwagons of “Me too” products, right? Now, here’s the thing. Let me back up a second. I was talking to an influencer once, and this person has a humongous community that has a humongous coaching program. They threw a big conference, and I’m literally talking to this person in their house.
I said, “Dude, I think that some of your information is not accurate.” I said, “I think you’re leading people astray,” and he looked me dead in the eyes, and he said, “You know what, Tim, you’re right, but I can’t sell right.” He said, “If I have to make it seem easier, but nobody buys it.”
He says, “What if I throw up a Webinar and a course and say, ‘Hey, guys, this is really tough and you’re really going to have to work very hard and you’re really going to have to find a unique product opportunity.’” He said, “Nobody’s going to buy my course.” He said, “What if I get up and say, ‘Hey, look at all these people that did it and look how easy it is. You click three buttons and become a millionaire.’” He said, “That’s how I sell courses.”
You are kidding me? I know that you took on you sold 2000 courses over the past three months, and you’re doing it knowing that it’s not good information, and it infuriated me. And right now, I see so many people that are falling into that. I see it, not just courses, but also with software. I see software tools that preach that it’s easy and maybe the methods worked 5 years ago, but they don’t want to come back and say, “Hey guys, this changed.”
And let me talk specifically about you guys in Helium 10. I remember a year ago the CPR method was stuff. The blog rhythm for giveaways and everything. And I was, Helium 10’s blowing up because it is selling so much stuff and the method works and it’s great. And then I remember when they changed the algorithm, and it stopped working as well. And I remember the first thing that happened is I sat back and I said, “Let’s see who changes their tone.” And there are a lot of software companies that didn’t change it, but you guys started to change it. I remember Manny getting on Facebook posts and saying, “Hey guys, it’s still working. Sometimes it’s not quite as effective. We’re watching it, we’re adjusting, we’re changing, we’re keeping track of it.” And I was finally someone does this. But the problem is the people that are selling that same method and attaching their tools to it are essentially writing information that’s 3 years old and they’re still selling. So why would they stop their revenues? So instead of challenging themselves and saying, “Hey, I’m going to figure out a better way to make it work,” what they’re doing is saying, “Hey, we’re just going to keep riding this as long as we can.” And it infuriates me because if someone’s going to have a bad business tactic like that, that’s one thing. But the problem is that I see people that are suffering from it. I see people that are hating their 9-5 jobs. They’re struggling to make their house payment; their wife needs a new car. And they need to have a car payment. I just need $500 extra a month. That’s all I need. We’re suffering here. This is all I need. I’ve got $2,000 in the bank and what a blessing I have to be able to spend this $2,000 on my first private label product because that’s what this software said in this YouTube video and what this course said. Now I’m going to be able to buy my wife a new car or make my house payment on time, and it doesn’t work. Your lies and this deceitful information that’s causing people to make decisions with their money that affects their livelihood. You can’t play with this. You can’t screw around with people’s emotions, because it screws around with their lives. And I can’t tell you how much I see this. We used to have a prep center – right – up until about 6 months and we used to do a lot of international shipping.
Bradley Sutton: You sit up until about 6 minutes ago.
Tim Jordan: 6 months ago.
Bradley Sutton: Whoa, okay.
Tim Jordan: So this isn’t something I see in Facebook Groups, guys, I saw this. People were getting shipping quotes and there, hey, I got a container, I’ve got a container, I’ve got to get a container. What’s in it? They’re hooded baby towels. What the drivel that was two years ago. What are you doing? And I can’t really say that I’m just going to piss him off and hurt their feelings. But people are doing the same thing constantly. And I see them spending the money and I see them get frustrated cause 4 months later, 5 months later, they’re calling the bank and saying, “Tim, I got to liquidate this stuff. It’s been sitting in long-term storage. I can’t sell it. I don’t know what I did everything. I did everything that that tool told me to do. And I did everything the YouTube video told me. And I’m sitting on $10,000 worth of stuff, and I’ve missed two house payments, and I’ll let it go for half.” I want to cry about it because it infuriates me so much because I see people suffering.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. It’s a shame. We’re making progress, I think because I remember there was a couple of courses out there actually. I don’t know if it was the FTC or somebody came down and find them a whole bunch of money or they’re in jail or something where now I think people are thinking a little bit more before promising “get rich quick” schemes, and it was specifically in Amazon course. I have never talked to those people. I don’t even remember their name. I hadn’t even heard of them before I read this article. I see them on CNN or something. But yeah, now I see people being a little bit more cautious when they say, but at the same time, there’s still 90% of the people who’ve been saying nonsense. They keep doing it, and as you said, people are actually suffering, and we don’t read too much about that stuff. We just hear the glitz and the glory, but we don’t hear the stories about people missing house payments because of making bad decisions. But that’s the consequence of bad information out there and people just trying to make a buck at the expense of the common individuals like us. And it’s a sad thing.
Tim Jordan: Let me back up a little bit because I got fired up. We’re not even 8 minutes into this thing and I’m already hacked off. I will say that not everything is malicious, okay. There are people out there that have put out great content that is not applicable anymore. And they’re not bad people. They’re not trying to cheat anybody, but their personal experience is what they’re speaking from. And what I mean is that 4 or 5 years ago, you could buy anything off Alibaba and sell out of it. It was easy. And there are a lot of people that made a ton of money; they’re screenshots are legit; their bank account statements were legit. They’re sitting on $2 million profit from doing things a certain way. So they’re actually trying to do the right thing and help people. “Hey you can buy $300 or $400 course, I’m going to teach you how I did it.” They’re not necessarily malicious, but they’re not doing it anymore and things have changed. So I do it to take a step back, and I don’t want to call out everybody and call everybody a liar, but keep this in mind folks. When you’re listening to information: the Amazon world changes every 6 months, every 4 months sometimes. I know people that have been in it for 8 years and I tell them Amazon years, they’re 90 years old. These things are moving so fast. It’s dog years, right? So, do keep this in mind. If you see somebody’s bank account statement, you see their seller accounts statement, and you see there even they’re A cost on their PPC. There are PPC gurus out there, they’re thousand dollars a month, I’ll set up your PPC, check mine out. And they’re A cost is 0.6% on a high-rate product. Well, that happens when you’ve been selling that thing for 4 years. So just keep in mind that information needs to be consistently updated, constant. It needs to be very applicable to today. And if you’re not engaging in information from people that are in the front lines selling products, they’re not going to know that. And that’s another thing that pisses me off as these guys that quit selling products. I know people in really high up positions in the industry, in organizations and coaching systems that literally have not sold a product in three years.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah.
Tim Jordan: And, man, that fires me up because there’s no way they can learn. That’s why a hickory flats, literally half of our business, it’s selling products if not more. We launched over 40 products in Q four last year. That was insanity. Nobody was sleeping. It was crazy. But, we know exactly what works and what does it based month to month.
Bradley Sutton: That’s so important. Even myself, when I started work, I stopped doing Amazon consulting and started to work here at Helium 10 full time. I was worried. Things on Amazon are changing so much and I got to figure out a way to stay in the game. So, I connected with a lot of my former partners. Let me use your account sometimes. I need to run tests. I used to do a giveaway, so even just giveaways alone, I’m constantly doing at least 10 a month – just getting in people’s accounts and helping them out with it. But the double purpose is because things are changing so much now. At least I have some visibility because you’re not keeping up to date with what’s going on in Amazon Seller Central, especially with PPC. How much PPC has changed in the last few months. Your information is stale. So speaking of PPC, this is a completely changing gears, and we’ll get back to our pet peeves in a little bit, but with all these changes in PPC, how has Hickory Flats change your strategy? Are you guys using product targeting? Are you guys using the dynamic bidding? What are you guys doing differently in 2019?
Tim Jordan: So I’ll be honest with you, I can’t answer that question really well. The reason is there are things I’m really good at and things that there are actually better people than me yet. And we actually have members of our team now. I have some partners. One of them is Kate Ames. If you guys want to see some amazing PPC trading free on YouTube, check out Kate Ames. She’s a Boss. So right now, here’s the answer: we test everything constantly. Every day, we have two or three people in our PPC accounts changing it. And let me back up and also say this: On our operations side, we have three entirely different PPC plans. Okay? We have a test plan, we have a launch plan, we have an operations plan, and everything that we do is different in those. So for instance, I know that in dynamic targeting, we’re going to do that a lot in the launch phase, in the operations phase. But in the test phase, we don’t use it whatsoever, right? We even use it for negative keyword research, or where we can target ASINs, competitors ASINs. We’ll even use that across the board for all three but for different reasons. So for instance, let’s say on our PPC test plan: we want to find out how many people are searching for a wooden sword. Alright, toy wooden sword whatever that’s just laying on my desk right here. Toy wooden sword. We’ll actually find the number one listing of toy wooden sword, and we might find that it’s a Harry Potter sword. Okay. Or a Dungeons and Dragons, or Game of Thrones sword. So when we run our test to PPC, which is really all that we’re looking for is impressions that cost per click to check how competitive each keyword is. We actually run the ASIN’s specific targeting on the three top listings that are coming up to find out how many impressions are specifically coming because someone selected Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, you know what I mean? So then we can find out, “Hey, if we’re getting impressions for Wooden Sword, we find out that based on the number of clicks, we can run an algorithm and say, yeah, the wooden sword has a lot of searches.” But to be honest with you, 90% of the people are clicking on the ads because of the three name brands. So even though there’s a lot of impressions, we don’t want to run with this. Does that make sense?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, absolutely.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. Well on the other side, if we’re in full-blown operations, that’s usually when things are kind of autopilot a little bit. We’re not going to be as aggressive as we would in the launch phase. So, in the launch phase, we’re willing to pay a dollar a click to start hammering and get some our competitors and then we want to jack that thing down over the next three months and let it kind of ride in the operations phase. So to be honest, I’m not in there every day on the operations side. I’m more of the tactical PPC guy, but I can tell you that we’re in there every day. And that it changes constantly, even among the categories, the niches. And we are in three specific categories of the types of PPC that we do.
Bradley Sutton: I like that. There are two things I got from this, and I hope our listeners take note of this. The first thing is don’t be a jack of all trades, master of none. Do you guys notice? Tim has a big operation and it wouldn’t make sense that he is the main PPC expert, and a lot of people think that the same about me. Oh, Bradley has a lot of experience on Amazon. He knows a lot about keywords and stuff, and so they’ll always ask me PPC questions, and I’ll be straight up. When I was a consultant that wasn’t my thing. It was mainly the launch. It was mainly listing optimization. We had other guys do PPC, so once you start scaling your business guys, don’t try to just keep your hands in everything, because there’s no way you’re going to be able to become an expert in everything and do it at a high level. Build your team out and have specialists work on certain aspects of the business while you still at least know a little bit of what’s going on. It says Tim is completely clueless as far as what his team is doing on PPC. And then here, the second thing I got from this is that’s a cool strategy that says a three-phase strategy for your PPC. I hadn’t heard of that before, so that’s something that we might consider too. So that’s pretty cool. Let’s see.
Going back now, let’s go back to the pet peeves. Too much nice stuff right now. We’ve got to get back to the mean side of things here. One thing: false advertisement. There are people out there who they do these things where it’s false scarcity, use this coupon now because it’s going to go away. And then it’s going to go away at midnight and then two weeks later my buddy Liron is always calling people out for that kind of stuff. But, then at the same or– the Webinar’s filling up, and really that room is empty. But the thing is, for Helium 10, we do webinars a lot, and we’ll say something like, “Hey, it’s about to fill up with a thousand people.” But that’s completely honest, because one time, I remember one of the last webinars that Manny did, I think it was for the Helium 10 Elite Launch. It was actually not 1000 but 2000 people. And then I was on a call at the time, so I couldn’t hop on at the beginning, but I still want to hear whenever Kevin and Manny get together. I always, of course, like to hear it. So I just hopped on the user side, going to try and connect to the Webinar and hear me as a Helium 10 employee. I got locked out because the room was full. But then at the same time, you have another person saying the same thing, and it’s complete nonsense. How does your nonsense meter work? So how can some people sift through the good ones and the bad ones out there?
Tim Jordan: That’s tough. That’s a lot of questions here. I can get those spidey senses, but even I get duped sometimes. I’ve had people that have invited me onto a webinar or a podcast and know supposed to be this and this and it wasn’t. So, I’ll say this: “If any of you had been duped, and you’ve bought something thinking it was in me all summer, you followed a guy cause you thought they were such and such. Don’t take that too personally. Alright. Don’t beat yourself up. We’re all humans. We all screw up. I’ve been taken advantage of plenty of times in my life. It’ll happen again plenty of times coming up my life”. But here’s what I would say is make sure that you’re not repeating the same mistakes. So learn from your mistakes. But here’s the short answer. What I would always say to do is measure twice, cut once. Okay. My grandpa always said that if you cut the board too short, you can’t fix it. So measure twice. Cut once. So, if you’re interested in figuring out how to do Facebook ads for Amazon products, don’t just look at one person — look at six or seven people, measure all of them, and figure out what works best for you. And there’s not always an answer to which is the best one, because some people have different learning styles and some people are going to resonate with me, but go out and get a good sampling and just kind of use your gut instinct. I will say that there are enough people in this industry that are authentic, and I’m a very hypercritical guy to myself. I’ve got this weird thing, we’re going to Vegas next week and we’re going to be hanging out Bradley. And all these people are measuring me, want to hang out and it makes me feel uncomfortable. Why do these people want to hang out with me? So I’m kind of hypercritical, but I am very authentic. I do know that. That’s one of the things about me and I know that people are attracted to authenticity and I’m attracted to authenticity. So figure out in your spidey senses, not what someone’s screenshot shows, but figuring out do you feel they’re authentic? So a classic example. I think that we have some of the best produced YouTube footage ever. We have epically well done YouTube videos, and we put our YouTube channel nine months ago. And as of this morning, I think we had 670 subscribers. That’s terrible. But it’s still really good information. And the same thing with our Facebook group and our Facebook page. They have very, very low numbers, but our engagement rate is nearly 50%. So what I would say is when you’re out looking at these guys, don’t look at the guys with big numbers, look at the guys that are authentic, because if someone comes in as oh our webinar rooms filling up fast, and it’s not there are not any comments. Lock that at the back of your brain. If this guy is going to lie about this, is he going to lie about something else? The scarcity thing, don’t immediately jump in and buy a program. Your coaching course or anything. What’s the word? Of course, he had immediately by course. Wait and see. See if that little thing keeps coming. Maybe they’re just good marketers because that does work in marketing. But, do I want to trust these guys? So look for the authentic guys, and I’ll say this, “Don’t believe the numbers that you see because guys, there’s some nonsense going on.” There’s a really big influence in the industry. I won’t mention his name, who’s getting his lunch eight right now, and I don’t even think he realizes it. And he had one of his lead employees leave there recently. And, this employee came to me and apologized, and said, “Tim I was in this organization. I have to apologize because this influencer confused you. Literally taking information from your website, copy and pasting text from your website to build out his own services to try to replicate yours.” But he was stealing customers. And I’ll tell you this about him. He has this army of VAs that go on Reddit and search for other people asking questions about Amazon FBA courses and trashes theirs and then pumps his up. These aren’t affiliate sellers. These are literally full-time VAs that all they do is trash other people and pump them up and you can’t make any connection to him. She said, but I’ve seen their paychecks. They get paid for this. So, there’s also some influencers out there that do some crazy stuff. They’re stealing people from other people’s groups since spies into Facebook groups, and they’ll private message you and say, “Hey, join this group.” So when you’re looking at things, oh, this guy blew up from no group to 100,000 people in his group in 12 months. He must really know his stuff. Just take that with a grain of salt because there are ways to manipulate that. So don’t look at the size, don’t follow the bandwagon, don’t look at this audience growth. Look for authenticity. I would rather follow somebody or be in a group with a lot of smaller numbers but higher engagement rate and more authentic people. And just keep in mind that if it happens once, it’ll probably going to happen again.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. Switching to the tool space. It’s similar. See who’s transparent and who’s not. Helium 10 and obviously I work here, so I know what we’re doing and what we’re not doing. And we’re very upfront with our things. We don’t have a lot of proprietary algorithms or hidden calculations and stuff. We’ve got estimated search volume that’s something that’s estimated, but we say what it’s based on. It’s based on all the historical information that Amazon had for a while based on recent trends, etc. Then we don’t have a lot of these made-up scores. We’ve got the Magnet IQ score, but you mouse over it and literally says exactly what it’s calculated right there. Even the CPR formula; that’s a pretty complex formula. The entire formula as is in Microsoft Excel is actually out there on the Internet right now. It’s not we try and hide it. So guys, when you hear tools just trying to hide behind different things say, “oh yeah, this is from Amazon.” I talked about in the latest Webinar, you could do anything and say it’s from Amazon. I could say that Cerebro is from Amazon because it’s technically checking where somebody is ranking on search results. So that’s technically from Amazon, and maybe I’m not lying. But what good is that when you hear people try and market certain unknown metrics and they say it’s from Amazon, that’s how you use your nonsense meter. If you’re on Facebook, call them out. Liron does that all the time. And, I love it. Liron has no chill. He’ll just go and call people out as it is. But guys, make sure that your nonsense meter is on. Because for most people out there, it’s not. They see somebody has X number of followers. I liked him saying, oh, this guy’s from a group was 100,000 followers. So he must know what he’s talking about, and that’s just a big mistake. You guys are setting yourself up. What about just on, that’s kind of the macro level, but the micro level, what kind of things do you see misinformation where people might not necessarily have a hidden agenda? A lot of this stuff we’ve been talking about is because of the hidden agenda — they’re trying to make money. They’re trying to make a buck, they’re trying to take advantage of people, but at the same time, I personally see a lot of misinformation where they don’t have ulterior motives, they’re just misguided. And then just spread it. My example is for the last year, that’s actually how I got discovered at Helium 10. Everybody for years keeps saying, “oh, giveaways don’t work.” Or, you get a penalty, you can get suspended if you do a giveaway. But, those people don’t have a hidden agenda. It’s just because they’ve heard of what kind of things do you see on the micro level that where it just pisses you off when you see people talk about it?
Tim Jordan: The biggest one that I see is the way to search or to select products. On a micro level, this is one of my biggest pet peeves, and let me say this: we as entrepreneurs are extremely hypercritical. I told you about myself, I’d beat myself up all the time. And that’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have a higher rate of anxiety than almost every other profession in the world because we connect our personal success to our business success. So for business fails, we’re failures. We do that and it’s a fallacy. We shouldn’t be doing that. But because we as humans and especially as entrepreneurs doubt ourselves, we a lot of times are very timid to jump in water that we’re not familiar with. Okay. So let me explain what I mean. If I am sitting on $5,000 that I want to invest, and I’ve watched all these courses on Amazon products and someone is telling me that “hey, four people are selling 3000 of these hooded baby blankets a month right now and they’re making a good profit on it.” It’s very easy for me to say, “okay, they’ve tested the waters. they’ve already jumped off this cliff and they know how deep it is.” So imagine this, you’re standing on this cliff and you’re 50 feet up and there’s water underneath you and the water is dark. You can’t tell if it’s 6 inches deep or if it’s 500 feet deep. And by not doing that depth, it’s scary to jump in cause you may die if it’s 6 inches deep, you’re going to crush yourself, right? Or maybe deep and warm in your front. So what we do is we look at those guys have already tested the waters on the hooded baby towels. Surely I can do it too. So I’ll get a smaller piece of the pie. But if I can come in there and spot number 5 or 6 and then we hear these things that encourage us. If my pictures are better, I can compete. Oh, if I just do more giveaways, I can compete. Now I’m getting more confident because somebody else’s tested the waters. And I see people make this mistake all the time. They followed me-too product trends. They follow what other people are doing and they’re basing their decisions on somebody else’s success. And if you’re going to get behind them in that gravy train, you’re going to be the freaking caboose. Right? So what we teach as far as identifying products is we consistently launched products that are not on Amazon. We’re using offsite places. We’re using Pinterest and Etsy and Crate Joy, and subscription boxes, and we take groups of entrepreneurs several times a year to China and to Central America, and we teach them how to find products that are not on Amazon yet. And we teach them to source products and a lot of times they’re scared. “Tim, I’m holding this product that I’ve found. It’s handmade leather in Central American. It’s amazing, but it’s not on Amazon.” That’s awesome. Let’s go to Helium 10, or search volume for the specific item. We reverse engineer what someone else does, have something unique. And it’s scary. It’s scary to launch your first thing on Amazon when nobody else has proven that it can be sold. Now we use data and we have metrics. We have a reasonable belief that it’s going to sell, but it’s scary. So not even a malicious, but this is one of my pet peeves: people don’t trust themselves. People aren’t competent enough in their own spidey senses, their own intuition, their own ability to sell a product and market it and write great listings and take good photos and then launch it correctly. So what they do is they backed down and they just decide, “okay the next product that I’m going to select to launch is something that somebody has already tested the waters, cause I don’t know if that water 6 inches deep or 50 feet deep, but I am not going to be the first jump off the cliff and find out.” And I see that as one of the most consistent and cost, and most expensive mistakes that people are making right now. But guys, the information is there. You don’t have to follow somebody else’s listing. There’s plenty of search volume. And testing and test by five of something and test it with PPC and see if it works. And be the first to launch on Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I like it. We only have a couple of minutes left here. So actually, you touched on something I wanted to touch on or two things there. Tell us in a couple of minutes a little bit about sourcing in Central America because before you said that statement about two minutes ago, I doubt many people have ever heard the phrase sourcing in Central America. They think China, maybe India, maybe Pakistan or Indonesia, but Central America. How do you source in Central America?
Tim Jordan: Yeah, so what was happening when I was struggling with private label at first. I was buying the same rubbish products like somebody else was — emergency car hammers and all this rubbish. And now we eventually figured out how to do it in China. And, in 3 weeks I’m taking I think 25 people to China and we’re going to do it. So I’m not saying China doesn’t work, but what I also started looking at was away from Amazon, because let me challenge you guys, stop being Amazon sellers. Okay? I’m going to make that really quick, but this is my point. Don’t be an Amazon seller. Be a product seller that uses Amazon as a platform. Okay? So when I got that into my head, I started thinking, we don’t have to follow the same vocal Amazon FBA sourcing thing to Alibaba, to China, and all that stuff. So I started looking at what other companies are doing and I’m looking at inexpensive items to sell for a lot of money. And I found Tom’s Shoes. Tom’s Shoes, T-O-M-S. It’s a $1 pair of canvas shoes, but they sell for $60 a piece. And Bradley, why do they sell for $60 a piece?
Bradley Sutton: I don’t know.
Tim Jordan: Because of the story. If you go to Tom–
Bradley Sutton: Those are those ones where they donate part of it to a charity.
Tim Jordan: Listen this is my point. you didn’t even know the name and the brand, but you know the story.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay.
Tim Jordan: Alright. So here’s what they do is they say, if we buy a pair, we give a pair. So if you buy this dollar pair of shoes for 60 we’ll give a pair to a third-world country in Africa or Haiti or Central America. It went bananas. People started going ballistic over it. Alright? And what we figured out, I’m watching this, and I realized that they hit on the secret to turning their sales funnel into a megaphone, takes it a sales funnel. As we throw a PPC as it all this stuff, but people are kind of filtering down to click find out on our buck. But when you have such a cool product that it creates a hero out of the consumer. The consumer will literally flip that funnel into a microphone and broadcast out for you. It’s free advertising. So now we’ve got these people that are wearing Tom’s shoes. Hey Man, I got a new pair of Tom’s shoes. I’ve got 12 pairs on helping people. Awesome. They don’t have to go out and blow it up on Instagram. Somebody doing it for him. So that’s piece one. Piece two, we figured out what you can reverse engineer. So the first product that I want him to source elsewhere, I’m looking all over Amazon at page one of this highly– the huge search term is covered up in ceramic, and stainless steel and plastic items, and, this is ugly, my wife wouldn’t want this in the house? What if we made out of wood? And I can go later in the story of how this stuff started in Central America, but basically my personal story down there, but I was, hey, let’s find a producer to make this out of wood and handmade and beautiful and the plastic ones from China for three bucks and I can source these handmade beautiful woods for three bucks in Central America. I don’t have to worry about the trade war. I don’t have to worry about duties because of the North American free trade agreement. What happens is I brought this in instead of competing on a $12 out of my level take one. We listed ours for $29.99 and we took some really good photos and we told him a little bit of story, handmade, fair wage, fair trade, all that good stuff. And guess what? No giveaways, no coupon codes. A month and a half later with a fact, we’re on page one. Let’s order 2000 more units and right now we probably have 30 new, all made in Central America. And what’s really powerful is one, we can be the highest priced item because people are buying is the impulse buyer or gift purchase. Two, we have the data guys, you can reverse engineer, you can look at what’s selling on page one, or in different material and reader of use and buy a sample of it and say, hey this fake leather iPads sleeve is selling crazy cause they’re all 13 bucks. Let’s sell a $50 one and by that come down to Central America with this will take you to artists, and as you can meet with them, we can make them out of the nicest vegetable made leather organic you’ve ever seen. And now you got a $60 item. Are you going to sell 3000 units a month? Probably not too expensive for a piece of 500. That’s ridiculous. Now the third thing is important, but you can quit being an Amazon seller and you can step off of Amazon. We have products that consistently– I go on hashtag one of our brand names on Instagram. We have 40 people hashtag for the past 10 days. And we didn’t ask them to because we’re turning the people at the bottom into speakers. Right? So, now, one of the biggest description boxes in the country consistently buys the products from us and puts them in the description boxes. This is the way to do it. You get a nicer product, you get a story. I have people interview me for our brand in a– I don’t give him, I let somebody else in our team directly, but we’ve made some articles and stuff that I remained anonymous. You guys get to track down the stuff that we’ve reversed engineered, steal ideas. But, you’re– hey, tell us the story of your brand’s not your products. Just tell us a story of your brand and what you’re doing with the communities and how this is such a unique item. And then people go to buy our products. So, we do sourcing trips and we do this mastermind retreats down in Central America. You check them out on our paycheckreflects.com, but here’s what I would suggest to you. Quit thinking inside the box, start finding– it could be a flea market in the US with some hillbilly sitting on a flipped over a five-gallon bucket and his overalls and making something and it’s got the coolest product ever and it’s– I didn’t know that exists. Just start thinking outside the box and sourcing different ideas elsewhere because there are a million products out there, but if we stick ourselves in the– we’re an Amazon seller box and we’re consistently seeking Alibaba China when it’s a big world out there, there’s a lot of opportunities. There’s a lot of products that aren’t on Amazon. There’s a lot of products can help you get off of Amazon too.
Bradley Sutton: Love it. There’s some gold in there guys. If they want to find out more. You said hickoryflats.com any other places they can find you?
Tim Jordan: Yeah, hickory-flats.com. We’ve got a small Facebook group and page, it’s called Private Label Legion. We’re pretty hardcore specifically a lot of product development type stuff. So, check that out. So just go to Facebook, hit Private Label Legion, like the page for following the group. You can check us out on YouTube. You can find it just by searching Tim Jordan or Private Label Legion, all popup.
Bradley Sutton: How about the YouTube guys, they don’t have enough subscribers on there. Come on now.
Tim Jordan: So we’ve been doing 9 months slaving away and we got 670 subscribers. Subscribe. We’re doing YouTube releases about 2 or 3 videos a week right now. We just doubled down on a bunch of equipment. We’ve got full time. We’re blowing this stuff out and it’s free information for you guys. So YouTube Private Label Legion, Facebook group, check it. Check us out in there. It’s a small group, but it’s got a massive engagement, right? Because we’re serious about what we do. We kick all the nonsense out and I said, we take what we do seriously.
Bradley Sutton: Alright, last question of the day. Favorite Helium 10 tools and why that your team uses?
Tim Jordan: It’s hard to say, but I’d say Cerebro and or Magnet because you can’t use them separately. So all we do is, we check it now. In fact, we use them. So together I can remember Magnets, the search volume and Cerebro is to reverse ASIN, right? So Magnet, what we do is we’ll find something in Central America, we’ll find something on Pinterest or Etsy. We’ll hit it with Magnet and then see what the search volume is. And then we go to the top ranking items under those some keywords on Amazon and then Reverse ASIN. So I literally have two screens pulled up at all times. We’re doing research and we have magnet pulled up on one. It’s Cerebro on the other and Amazon and my middle screen and bounces things back and forth. So Cerebro and Magnet guys, you got to use it to find unique product opportunities. That’s the only way you’re going to survive, how we’re going to grow and show you’re going to get an eight times multiple for your business when you go to sell it, cause you’re going to have something unique that nobody else has.
Bradley Sutton: That’s great. Alright. Thank you very much Tim, and thank you for coming on the show. We’re definitely going to have you back and I will see you in Vegas.
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