Marketing Advice from One Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Jan 2, 2024

Happy New Year!

I’m becoming convinced that NCIS’s beloved Leroy Jethro Gibbs is one of the most savvy business and negotiation experts in all of modern television.

Yes—I know he hasn’t been on the show for many seasons. It’s a travesty. But Tiffany and I are currently rewatching (in season 6) and loving every minute of it.

In a riveting episode, Gibbs’ beloved lab rat — Abby Sciuto — is summoned to a mysterious location, ostensibly by the FBI, to continue work on a classified project that is in danger of being halted by the mysterious disappearance of its previous owner.

Gibbs is very protective of Abby. And he’s not happy about this.

He confronts the mysterious leader of the project, Mr. Jones, about Abby’s involvement, suggesting — ahem, demanding — that Abby be released at once.

Mr. Jones has a different idea.

Agent Gibbs, I appreciate your concern for my missing colleague, but that’s exactly why Miss Scuito has to stay here right now. You have to trust me on that.

To which Gibbs (rightly) replies:

“I don’t trust you—I don’t KNOW you!”

It was a passionate moment.

But also a pertinent reminder.

There’s lots of talk in marketing about “know, like, and trust.” Some distill that down to “know and trust,” suggesting that one does not need to LIKE you to do business with you. They simply have to have a sense of who you are and feel like they’re not going to be screwed in the deal.

Gibbs shaves off a layer and creates a logical connection: How can one TRUST someone they do not KNOW?

And here lies one of the ways we tremendously overcomplicate business.

People can’t find out how to do business with you if they don’t know that you exist.

So it’s a simple question as we kick off 2024: Have you told people you exist to serve them in the marketplace?

Came a related thought from one of my students in our Student Center:

This leads me to the last thing, I want to put things out quicker. I was listening to this episode of Steve’s podcast last week, and it really got me thinking. I’m a perfectionist. It takes me a minute to put things out. I left my job over a month ago and I have yet to look for clients. I’m so busy trying to get my business straight and get processes in order. I need to just do it. I already have a website. I already have my prices. I’ve been in business since 2019, and I’ve been doing the subscription model since 2022. I really don’t be putting myself out there because I’m so focused on getting everything right. Mistakes are going to be made and I just need to DO things instead of constantly getting things in order.

Yesseriebob. That’s the secret.

DO things.

TELL people you exist.

CELEBRATE your current customers, and watch them bring more.

People will do business with you if they trust you. And people can’t trust you until they know you.

Make yourself known in 2024. That’s my challenge to you.

If you’re not sure how to make yourself known in the marketplace, or you’re struggling to think through that process, I’ve got good news: The VERY FIRST member call of the New Year happens today at 4:00pm EST — and I would love to see ya there and help you through it.

Here’s the link to join up before then: