Taking Care of Business | Kate Chernis from Lately

In part one of our conversation with Kate Chernis from Lately, she told us about her unlikely journey from rock DJ to startup CEO.

In the second part of our conversation, Kate talks about the essential connection between body, mind, and business, and she tells us about her efforts to bring human emotion into sales.

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Kate Bradley Chernis is the Founder & CEO of Lately – A.I. that learns which words will get you the most engagement and turns video, audio and text into dozens of social posts containing those words.

As a former rock ‘n’ roll dj, Kate served 20 million listeners as Music Director and on-air host at Sirius/XM. She’s also an award-winning radio producer, engineer and voice talent with 25 years of national broadcast communications, brand-building, sales and marketing expertise. What she learned in radio about the neuroscience of music helps fuel Lately’s artificial intelligence.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Kate Chernis 0:00
I don’t make sure that I’ve slept well or that I feel good that my confidence is in the right place, then nothing’s going to happen, right.

Alexander Ferguson 0:14
In part one of our conversation with Kate Chernis from Lately, she told us about her unlikely journey from rock DJ to startup CEO. In the second part of our conversation, Kate talks about the essential connection between body mind and business. And she tells us about her efforts to bring human emotion into sales. Be so what’s what’s one area where hurdle you had to overcome, that you can share with other entrepreneurs out there?

Kate Chernis 0:39
Are you kidding me? Yeah, so many. I mean, you know, I was just talking about this today, you, you get punched in the face all day long as an entrepreneur, people say no to you all the time. And so sometimes, most of the time, you just are used to that. And so it’s fine. But once in a while it does, it does hurt. I think like, for me, the biggest hurdle has been this is gonna sound so trite, but it’s super true. It’s just to remember to be myself. And I’ve, I’ve learned this lesson, again, and again. And again. In fact, in the very beginning, we were having, we’re having trouble. An entrepreneur, and an investor of mine, actually, you know, really just said to me, just stop, stop this Be yourself. Because I had this. I don’t know, like, thing that I had to walk into a room and be useless, really polite person who was polished, and like, I’m none of those things. Like, I’m just not, right. And whenever I put on something else, some kind of gloss or even I found myself, like, in a teacher student situation, like putting myself lower, you know, I’ve seen that happen to me before. And then I’m like, What the hell am I doing. And it’s just the funniest thing, because my confidence will will tank the, I can see all the success not happening. And I really just was thinking about this recently, how I’ve had a chance, pretty challenging year actually. And all the things that I need to do to make sure that that confidence is like, front and center. Or it’s so important to do like so even little things, whether it’s getting a massage or going for a walk, I remember people telling me this stuff and thinking that is so fluffy. And then you learn that like nothing is more important than that my mind my state of being it affects the whole business. And if I don’t make sure that I’ve slept well or that I feel good that my confidence is in the right place, then nothing’s gonna happen. Right. So.

Alexander Ferguson 2:43
So going forward, where do you see the business in three years? Five years from now?

Kate Chernis 2:52
Yeah, that’s a good, really good question. I mean, we’re poised to be that that SMB tool, right? So I absolutely see us doing that as soon as we’ve figured out how to clobber this other sector, at the moment, which, which we will also be doing, but I certainly see us to be, you know, much bigger. And one of the things we’ve been really thinking about is the sales process and how that works. So right now, most startups do this, where there’s like the SDR, right, a sales development rep, who makes phone calls, smiles and dials all day, cold call, or cold email, and then kind of moves moves people through the funnel like that. And I hate receiving those calls, you hate receiving those calls, we don’t answer them, we hate the emails, they’re all awful, this process is broken. And so as I mentioned, like, we’ve been using our own products to create that warm lead situation. And we’re finding that we have a 50% trial to sales conversion. In that case, try just being like human and empathetic and what other people are experiencing. And so what I’m really excited about over the next few years is, is figuring out how to scale this process, like a new, a new set of sales strategy, because I’m absolutely convinced that that old one is a piece of s. I hate it.

Alexander Ferguson 4:15
Nicely stated. So looking at how to scale a different type of sales process that matches what you own feel, not just the cold email, Hey, let’s let’s talk the rather warm leads using your own dog food as you state in order to then achieve that vision. I guess the main hurdle is probably the scaling effort is to figure out how can you take and scale? One of the questions that you know, we were written before and we’re looking at is the importance of human touch and marketing versus automation. So it’s like how much can you automate and just have it run versus the importance of just a human connection and the value between those two? What can you share in your perspective on the value of those two and how you can scale your efforts?

Kate Chernis 4:57
Yeah, exactly. So I mean, you hit the nail on the head. emotion is everything right? I mean, we know this in marketing, it’s any different with sale you buy from me because you like me or you feel something strong right about the product, maybe I mean, Apple, Steve Jobs, yada, yada, yada. We all know this, right? And that’s the thing that I’ve been working with my sales staff as well. In fact, just this morning, a customer wrote on LinkedIn, about one of my sales team, my sales members, Chris, his signature is, if you love someone hug them right now. And she was saying that she loves that, because it’s so human. And she was talking about what a great salesperson he is, because he’s so human. And he is like, when he does a demo, he’ll do a video, and he’ll drink a cup of coffee pushes the magical button, he’ll just have a sip of coffee. And that’s in 1.8 seconds. That’s how long it takes lately to do its magic. Right? It’s just this little kind of thing, sip of coffee. And yeah, right. I mean, I just love that. That I love that. I’ve created a space for someone like that to be and be successful, and to express themselves. And, and then do it in a way that we’re like, supporting and learning from it. Right. I literally literally today, after I saw that she wrote that and all the ticket was getting on LinkedIn, I thought, I wonder if we should put that in all of our signatures.

Alexander Ferguson 6:23
Amplify, amplifying that own effort. And that is a way to scale. I appreciate that whole point of it’s almost you creating the culture of of, you know, human normal human interactions in the sales efforts versus just here’s our sales process, follow it here in send your emails, that in some ways is an opportunity of innovation in your culture. I will on this last question in our remaining time here. What what how else? Are you innovating? Where do you what podcasts are you listening to right now? What books are you reading? I’d love to know, just for other authors out there.

Kate Chernis 6:57
Oh, this is the worst question. Because I’m not very interesting. So I’ll tell you two things. Number one, read the book value graphics. It’s all about how demographics are older than the way and that if you categorize people based on what they’re interested in versus their age, race location, you actually get a more interesting swath and a more valuable swath of information. Just think about how the country is divided right now in politics, like, I can’t tell you how many people I know who don’t vote like I do. But we all have a ton of the same stuff in common. And so if instead we focus on what we had in common, people will be able to sell a lot more stuff to us, by the way. But the other thing is, so I reread I reread Harry Potter in a circle. Okay,

Alexander Ferguson 7:45
actually just talk I interviewed another lady who, who is actually fiction like Tolkien some of the things one of the things that helped her figure out the future of then how she’s using automation and so it’s like, you know, fiction does is a great way to then innovate and why we’re going to Mars and sci fi like that. Thank you. So

Kate Chernis 8:04
it’s like good versus evil. Right? Sorry. I think

Alexander Ferguson 8:07
this is awesome. Where can people go to to learn more and what’s a good first step that they can take?

Kate Chernis 8:12
Thanks, Alex, love you. It’s dub dub dot try Try lately, calm Keightley from me. So you can remember that?

Alexander Ferguson 8:20
Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live, work and do business? Go to UpTech and let us know



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