un·con·ven·tion·al / adjective/ “not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed”
When Nathan started with Revival Soy there was no advertising budget and he was VP of Sales and Marketing. His plan? Affiliate marketing. Revival Soy was a small company with no brand id and no track record.
First, he identified other “outlets” that had the same audience as his customer base. The first company was ediets.com. They had an email database of over 4 million emails. After weeks of calling and emailing he finally reached a decision maker. The contract was signed and Ediets.com agreed to send out a stand-alone HTML and they got 50% of the gross sale of the first order.
Ediets.com sent out an email on Friday morning. By Monday morning Revival Soy had doubled in size and wrote ediets.com a check for $200,000. For the next 2 years, ediets.com sent an email almost weekly. This one contract lead Nathan to be able to secure other contracts with dot coms.
Sometimes it just takes thinking outside the box.
The next identified potential customer base were Christians. Nathan learned of a religious organization called the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) and yearly convention was coming up in CA, so off to CA Nathan theirwent.
The NRB convention was huge! The reception of Revival Soy wasn’t. The brand wasn’t known and the affiliate marketing program wasn’t a proven concept with ministries. What to do? When faced with the problem you have several options: spend a lot of money (which Revival didn’t have), build an organic following (which takes time and no guarantee) or find an out of the box solution.
Nathan’s solution was targeting the 700 Club – The Christian Broadcasting Network with an affiliate marketing agreement. Nathan graduated from Regent University (founded by Dr. Pat Robertson) in 1998 with his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Nathan called CBN and made some inquiries but got bounced around to various departments. He finally landed with the internet department who was interested in the email campaigns. Based on the success of the campaigns with ediets.com and other dot coms CBN.com was willing to test the affiliate program. It worked.
The next target was getting on the 700 Club TV program. The estimated viewers in the United States were tens of millions of people every day. Nathan assumed getting into this door would be a piece of cake. He had a proven track record with CBN.com and the affiliate marketing program contract had been vetted and approved by CBN legal counsel.
It proved to not be a piece of cake. Over the next 6 months, Nathan got bounced around to various departments but couldn’t find the gatekeeper to the TV program. While on a trip to CBN Nathan randomly meets John Rea in the CBN gym. John was a beast. He was in his mid 50’s, a former Navy Seal, a triathlete and just happened to be the head of security for Dr. Pat Robertson.
John and Nathan immediately struck up a friendship. Both John and Nathan were upfront, open and honest about their current needs. John needed a sponsor for his triathlons and Nathan need to get through the gatekeepers at CBN.
The deal was struck between John and Nathan. Revival Soy would sponsor John’s triathlons and John would help Revival get around the gatekeepers. Revival Soy purchased John a titanium bicycle and John informed Nathan of Pat Robertson’s approaching birthday. Nathan asked John what was the oldest piece of workout equipment in Pat’s personal gym. It was his workout bike.
? And a Revival Soy protein bar beside handlebars “Hey John, if Revival Soy buys Dr. Robertson a new workout bike could you arrange to have it placed in his personal gym? With a Happy Birthday sign on the of it?”
Within 3 weeks of this bicycle being placed in Dr. Robertson’s gym, a contract was executed. Over the next 3 years, CBN sold over $25 million of Revival Soy products and received back over $3 million through the affiliate marketing partnership.
Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know, right?
Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH)
When Nathan started his buy here pay here car lot the journey was an interesting one. The model of a BHPH is simple. The dealership purchases a car for $3,000 and sells it for $5,000 and takes $500 down, leaving a balance of $4,500. This means the dealership has $2,500 hard dollars on the street with a $2000 profit per car plus interest. The problem was for every 10 cars sold Nathan had to have $25,000 dollars to cover the difference.
Nathan went to various banks and got a no. The traditional floor plan models didn’t work because you have to pay off the floor plan within 3-5 days of selling the car. That’s when Nathan approached a small community bank and pitched the idea of lending him $2,500 dollars on each deal. The bank would be first lien holder and Nathan would sign as personal guarantor of the promissory note.
Over a four-year period, Nathan was able to build up over $750,000 of credit with the bank. At one point, he had over 500 cars financed through his lot. Over a 7-year period he sold over 7,000 cars. How?
Because he didn’t take no for an answer or that the traditional model of “this is how it is done” meant it couldn’t be done. Nathan’s approach to issues is HOW can it be done.
Time and time again, Nathan has helped others come up with solutions to their problems; find better ways to do things; or see the picture from another angle. Once you can do this, you can grow your business and take control.
Digital Media Summit
The National Religious Broadcasters is one of the largest gatherings of evangelical Christian ministries in the world. They come together to share ideas, glean from each other and grow the Kingdom. Nathan has been attending the NRB convention since 1998. He became involved with the NRB Internet Committee and eventually chaired the committee for three years.
how people are reached but just 10 years ago many ministries (and businesses) weren’t paying attention. The internet’s best use was changedAs we all know now, the internet has searching google.
This made the process of educating others very difficult. It was a challenge, and one thing Nathan really enjoys is a challenge. In 2009, permission was granted to bring Lee Brenner from MySpace.com to NRB. It had taken 4 years to get permission and there was massive concern about how it would be accepted by the NRB members. Nathan gauge of success was measured by the room being packed with over 800 attendees. The event was a smashing success.
Unfortunately, it would be another 4 years before the NRB Digital Media Summit would take place. The NRB board kept voting no. Nathan offered a compromise. A test to show the board it would work. The compromise was accepted. The NRB Internet Committee would host the Digital Media Summit the day before the convention started. The NRB Internet Committee was responsible for handling all aspects of the convention: audio, lights, promotion, sponsorships and speakers.
The following year the Digital Media Summit was the talk of the convention. The NRB Internet Committee stepped up and did it all as volunteers and Nathan was able to secure speakers from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Being able to land these speakers was a God thing. Just 6 months earlier Nathan had met Katie Harbath from Facebook who agreed to speak and invite Twitter and Google.
What can you learn from all this? Just because the answer is no doesn’t mean you should stop asking. It just means you should change the question or provide a suitable answer to your question.