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Creating a Podcast as Part of Your Prospecting Process

Marketing Podcast with Steve Gordon
Podcast Transcript

Steve Gordon headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Steve Gordon. He’s the founder of The Unstoppable CEO, where he helps agencies and consultants to build relationships with prospects and close deals without having to sell.

One of his favorite secret weapons in the prospecting process is podcasting. The medium has become increasingly popular over the years, with countless entrepreneurs and executives tuning into podcasts as a source of guidance and information as they run their businesses.

When you create a podcast that becomes a valuable source of information, you position your business as the go-to when listeners need services or products in your space. Plus, by inviting your ideal prospects on as guests, you build one-on-one relationships and demonstrate your value without resorting to typical, icky-feeling sales tactics.

On this episode, Gordon and I speak about the many virtues of podcasting, and he shares tips for business owners who are ready to start a podcast of their own!

Questions I ask Steve Gordon:

  • Does everybody need a podcast in business?
  • What are the positive marketing elements inherent in podcasting?
  • How hard is it to set up a podcast?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How podcasting can open new doors for you in terms of relationship building.
  • How to find prospects to invite onto your podcast.
  • How to use other people’s podcasts to find guests for your own show.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Steve Gordon:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Creating a Podcast as Part of Your Prospecting Process

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Transcript

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions logo

John Jantsch: Hey, marketing today has gotten harder. There’s so many new platforms. How do you reach the right audience? Fortunately, there’s a simple way. LinkedIn can help you speak with the right professionals at the right time.

John Jantsch: Hello. Welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Steve Gordon. He is an author and founder, CEO of Unstoppable CEO. He’s also got a podcast by the same name, and we are going to talk about that today, podcasting and more specifically podcast prospecting. Using your podcast not just as a way to create content, but as a way to actually create clients. So Steve, thanks for joining me.

Steve Gordon: Hey John, great to be here.

John Jantsch: So I, my first question was Unstoppable CEO. You want to unpack the meaning behind that name of your company. I know that doesn’t have anything to do with podcasting, but I’m just curious.

Steve Gordon: Well, it doesn’t, and of course when we started we weren’t doing much of anything with podcasting when we started about 10 years ago. But that came out of a conversation that I was having with a buddy and when I started the business, he was asking like, “Who are you really trying to be a hero to here?” And I started describing him, it’s the business owner that sort of started with the dream and then they scratched and clawed and built it to the point where they really could have a business that sustained their life and then, wham, the world hit them with a curve ball and then they crawled back to the top of the mountain past that and they got hit again and they just kept going and going and going. And he said, “Oh, they’re unstoppable, you mean.” I said, “Wow, that’s it. That’s who we’re going after.” So we named the company that because that’s kind of our way to stay focused on who we’re really serving.

John Jantsch: No, that’s awesome. Certainly, resilience is a key ingredient to doing this as an entrepreneur because you will get knocked down. So it’s just the ones that get up and learn from it are the ones that succeed ultimately. So does everybody need a podcast? I’m going to sort of be facetious a little bit and kind of throw out what I hear and I’m sure you hear all the time, “Oh there’s so many of them out there already. It’s over-saturated. It’s yesterday’s thing.” So I’m playing devil’s advocate for you.

Steve Gordon: Well I heard Seth Godin say that everybody needs a podcast, so I’m going to believe Seth. Yeah, I think everybody needs a podcast in business. And it used to be that we’d say everybody needs a blog. You need a way to kind of communicate with your prospects, your clients, your partners and all that. The problem that I found, John, over the years and, and maybe you’ve run into this too, is that most business owners, A, are really, really busy and B, they weren’t born natural writers. And they seem to be kind of allergic to having to sit down with a blank screen and write something. And one of the things that I think is magic about podcast, one of the many things that I think is magic about it, is all you got to be able to do is have a conversation. And I have yet to meet a business owner that couldn’t do that.

John Jantsch: Yeah, yeah. Or, as you said, you ask them to write 200 words describing their business and it’d be the scariest project you’d give them, but then they would talk for two hours about their business.

Steve Gordon: Absolutely. And easily so. Happily so.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I’ve actually used that as a technique to get content produced for a lot of business owners, particularly in an industry I didn’t know anything about. I wasn’t going to be able to write any content, but I would just interview people, capture the interviews really before we even thought about using the audio content. But I would actually then transcribe that and turn it into a blog post or into an about us page or something. It’s so much easier.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, absolutely. Well we’ve really started thinking about podcasts as kind of the foundational layer for the marketing at a business because of what you just described, you can do so many different things with the content and you can repurpose it in so many ways. So if we start with that as the foundation, it gives you this really great capability to do two fundamental things that I think are important. One is it’s a great platform for building relationships and two is the byproduct, you get this like great content out of that that’s a byproduct that you can just send out to everybody that you ultimately want to do business with and nurture them and keep them interested in you and keep you top of mind.

John Jantsch: Yeah. When people had the same sort of pushback with blogs, I don’t know, 10 years ago I was telling people, stop calling them blogs. It’s just content. It’s just content that your customers, your prospects need, search engines need, all these things. And I’ve gotten to calling podcasting just audio content because I really think that’s maybe a fuller way to look at it.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, think so. One of the things that I really didn’t fully understand when I first got into it was that you’ve got this platform that you’ve created and people will listen to it. Even if a lot of people aren’t listening to it. Let’s say you’re a small business, a local business, and all you’re doing is recording these conversations and you’re sending them out to whoever is in your local community that you want to stay in touch with. Even at that, it is so easy to invite someone on and get them to happily say yes and then begin to build a relationship with them. I started actually my first podcast, I took inspiration from you back way back in 2012. I was listening to John Jantsch on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and thought, “I need one of those.”

Steve Gordon: And we started one and I went and interviewed 50 marketing and business experts all over the world. People I would never would’ve been able to meet otherwise. But because I had a podcast, they were open to sitting down and having a conversation with me. And that worked really well. We got new business out of it. Big mistake I made is I didn’t have a team behind me. So after 52 episodes I got busy and couldn’t keep up with it.

Steve Gordon: But those relationships are probably some of the most valuable relationships that I have still to this day in business. In fact, when I wrote my first book in 2014 I went back to that group of people, 15 of them. So small percentage, 15 of the 50 said, “Yeah, I’ll help you promote the book.” And that took that book from nothing … I mean, we had a tiny little email list of a thousand people and within short order, that book was in the hands of 5,000 people that I never knew.

John Jantsch: Yeah. People who’ve listened to this show for any length of time, know that I call it my dirty little secret. I started podcasting, not because I wanted to build some podcasting empire, it just gave me an excuse to have conversations with people I wanted to have conversations with. And what I found was that we talked off air about … or maybe that was on the recording already about my friend Seth Godin, who has been just a great ally and promoter of all things Duct Tape. And he was one of my first interviews. And I guarantee you if I sent Seth an email even 10, 15 years ago and said, “Hey, can we get on the phone for about 20 minutes so I can pick your brain?” It’d be like delete, even as nice as he is.

John Jantsch: But when you send an email to that same person and say, “Hey, I see you have a new book coming out, I’d actually like to interview you and promote that book.” Well, all of a sudden you get a lot more attention. You’re a member of the media. Even now that podcasts are so mainstream, people still react that way, so I would keep doing this just because I get to have great conversations with people like you.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I tell you, it’s my favorite thing to do in my day when I go to work. If I see that I’ve got podcast interviews it’s great because I know number one, I’m going to have fun doing it. Two, I’m going to make some really great relationships and when we’re coaching a business through this process of strategically how to use their podcast, we usually will tell them, “Look, you want to have two kinds of audiences that you’re thinking about here. You want to think about, from a a referral standpoint, who are the relationships that you want to nurture or start where they’ve got influence over your potential clients? And go out and invite those people and interview them.

John Jantsch: And then I think a strategy that’s under utilized is to look at who are the clients you really want to do business with, maybe those strategic clients that would be really hard to reach any other way. They’ve got all of the gatekeepers up and all that. Well, if you’re kind of approaching it as … we call it being a success journalist for the industry. So you go to an industry leader and say, “I’m interviewing all of the industry leaders about how they’ve become so successful. Would you like to share your success story?” You’ve just parachuted over all the gatekeepers.

John Jantsch: That’s right.

Steve Gordon: And now you’re going to build a relationship with that person without being a salesperson, you know?

John Jantsch: Yeah. And I’ve gotten pushback over the years with people kind of saying that, “Oh yeah, well you’re an author and you interview these people that are authors and whatnot, but my little business that doesn’t make sense.” And you just hit the nail on the head. I mean, if you want to work with mid market size company CEOs in your town, start interviewing them because, hey, it’s great content. I mean if that’s the market you’re in, you may actually have a conversation with somebody who says, “Well gosh Steve, tell me about what you do.” But even if you don’t, their peers are going to see that content, they’re going to want to promote that content for you. So it just has so many really positive marketing elements, doesn’t it?

Steve Gordon: Oh, it does completely. And it’s really fairly easy we found to take the interview that you have and at the end of that, you usually have some time scheduled once the recording stops and extend the conversation a little bit. And so, John, you’re familiar with Strategic Coach, right? Dan Sullivan?

John Jantsch: Oh sure. Yeah. [crosstalk 00:10:16].

Steve Gordon: So you’re probably familiar with the Dan Sullivan Question, right?

John Jantsch: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Gordon: So it’s a great little book. If you’ve never read it, go get the Dan Sullivan Question. And at the end of a podcast interview-

John Jantsch: Takes about 10 minutes.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, it’s a 10 minute read. The question sounds something like this, “Hey John, if we were having this conversation three years from today, what would have to happen for you to feel happy with your progress?” And then you just be quiet and you listen to them and they’re going to tell you what their goals are in the future.

Steve Gordon: And if you’re talking with a referral partner or with a potential client, they’re basically giving you the roadmap for how you can come and add value to them. And so you need that raw material and then usually what we’ll say is something like, “That’s really great. You know, I interview lots of people on this podcast. I bet that if I think about it a little bit, I’ll have some connections that can help you get to this goal that you just told me about. Would you like to get together on Tuesday for 20 minutes and I’ll have some connections for you?” And they always say yes.

Steve Gordon: So now you’ve got a second meeting and you come back with those connections and with some ideas and if it’s a prospect and you’ve really thoughtfully targeted who that prospect is, chances are I’ll bet one of those ideas might be working with your company. And it’s a real easy thing to say. It’s just, “Hey John, I’ve been thinking about all those things. You told me that goal you had and I think we might be able to help get you there. Would you be interested in talking about that?”

John Jantsch: Yeah. I want to go back to one of the things you said is that in that conversation they will tell you ways that you might be able to add value. You did not say ways that you might be able to sell to them. And I think that’s a really key distinction, because a lot of people just go in, sell, sell, sell, and they don’t listen to “How can I add value?” Because you’re right. That in the end is all people care about, is receiving that. So I think that’s an important distinction.

Steve Gordon: Oh, it’s really critical. I mean, selling is all about friction, I think. And adding value, they pull you along. There’s no friction.

John Jantsch: Do you know there are over 62 million decision makers on LinkedIn? Yeah. And even small and medium-sized businesses are making the most out of LinkedIn ads. They’re using LinkedIn to get their voices heard and their messages to resonate with the audience. And it’s not just about awareness either. LinkedIn ads are driving traffic and engagement. If you want to check it out, try for yourself. LinkedIn is offering a free $100 LinkedIn ad credit to launch your first campaign. Simply visit linkedin.com/ducttape. D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E. That’s linkedin.com/ducttape. So there’s some terms and conditions that may apply, but I urge you to go check it out for yourself.

John Jantsch: So, not intentionally, but you jumped ahead to one of the questions I wanted to ask. So let’s back up a minute and maybe let’s just break down the steps. We’ve kind of made it sound really simple, but let’s break down the steps for people. So we talked about why they would need a podcast. How have you found in today’s world is the best way to find prospects. So let’s say they know who their ideal client is. They have decided they’re going to do a show focused on that ideal client. How do they find those prospects?

Steve Gordon: Well, chances are they probably already know who they are. Most business owners have an idea. So you start with the list you have. And then when we’re working with a business to kind of go through this process, we help them really get clear on who their ideal client is and kind of create a profile there that’s not anything revolutionary. That’s kind of marketing 101, but then from there we take that and we’ll help them build out that list based on that profile. And we call it the target 100 process. And so we want to have a list of around a hundred people that’s always a working list that we’re inviting to to come and be a guest on their podcast.

John Jantsch: All right, so what if I don’t know all those people. I mean maybe I’ve got a couple of clients, I’ve got a little bit of a network. I’ve been in an a BNI group or something like that, but I want to go bigger. LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Are you a fan?

Steve Gordon: Yeah, it works great. We use that. We use the web. One of the secrets, if you want to go bigger and level up is to go look at other people’s podcasts and see who’s been interviewed. And those people you know are going to be interested. They usually have an audience, so if you’d want to sort of level up … We’ve got one client who’s doing this right now. He’s had a local virtual CFO business and wants to take it national and so he was actually an officer in his BNI group. Well that will only get him in his town. It won’t get him beyond his town. So he’s now going through and we’re getting guests booked who have audiences and looking at who’s been on other podcasts to do that. And it’s just so easy.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I’ll tell you another benefit that once you’re doing this for a while and interviewing a lot of people for a while, at least in my case, I had a book come out recently, and I just went and looked at everybody I’ve interviewed the last three years. And I sent them all an email saying, “Hey, will you help with the book?” Well, lo and behold, 75% of them have a podcast now. So it kind of filled up my podcast schedule just from people that I had booked. And I think that that’s probably something people can expect as sort of that reverse kind of strategic partnership arrangement almost.

Steve Gordon: Oh, it absolutely works. You mentioned something earlier, in the beginning you said, kind of being a little devil’s advocate that, “Aren’t there too many podcasts? Isn’t it’s saturated at this stage?” One of the really interesting things that we’ve discovered is that there are an awful lot of podcasts listeners, particularly business owners, and so many of them are curious about how this whole process works. And when you ask them for an interview and they don’t have a podcast, but they’re a podcast listener, they are suddenly fascinated by it. And they’ll jump at the chance and then they want to ask you everything about how it works. So you really become a leader to them in a really interesting way.

John Jantsch: I record this show in my little office in Kansas city and I have a full glass front on my office and people walk by and they they’re absolutely convinced I must be a radio DJ or something. So they sit there and stare. All right, so I’ve got my list of prospects, I know what my show’s going to be about. I’m really pumped to go out and start spreading the world. How hard is it to set up a podcast?

Steve Gordon: That’s where everybody tends to fall down. Now it’s getting easier. So there are services where you can kind of go and get it set up and they take care of a lot of the basic technical details. But our recommendation is that you build a team to do it because your job as the business owners just to show up and talk. You want to be able to engage with the person that you’re trying to build a relationship with. That’s the fundamental reason you’re doing it. And you’ve got other things to do. Most business owners I know don’t have any extra time. And so you becoming an audio engineer and a copywriter and the marketing tech person and all of that is I think kind of foolish. So get a team, whether you get an internal team to do it, whether you get a bunch of freelancers that you want to manage to do it, whether you get a team like ours or one of the many others that is now in this space. But do yourself a favor and get, get support.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And when you say team, a team can mean somebody that gives you three hours a week. It doesn’t have to be, “I need to hire these five different individuals.” I mean my podcast is just that, I do generally invite my guests, I do the interviews and once I hit stop, I don’t touch it anymore. But the person that takes it over is in New York city and does all the work virtually and in about, I want to say, two hours an episode. So I mean it’s relatively inexpensive and as you said, your time is probably better spent going in, cutting another deal for your business, as opposed to doing this.

John Jantsch: But the benefits long term are worth the investment of that time. All right. You touched on this, but I want to hit it just a little bit again because I think when I talk about this idea of it being a great prospecting tool, there is a danger in somebody getting somebody on the phone and then just immediately selling to them. And so I’d love it if you’d kind of go over again, so we’ve done the interview, it’s been a great conversation. How do I sort of elegantly make that transition to talking a little bit about what I do or asking them about what they need, because I think I could see people fumbling that.

Steve Gordon: Well, yeah. I think that’s probably the one spot where you could make the biggest mistake with it. I have this principle. I learned it from a good friend of mine who’s very, very successful in the life insurance industry, probably one of the top guys in the country. And he talks about this idea of purity of intent. And so anytime I’m approaching anything that’s related to marketing or sales, I’m kind of getting myself in this place of purity of intent. And for me what that means is being 100% focused on the person that I’m with and how do I add value to them? That’s critical.

Steve Gordon: So you have this interview, you’re already adding value to them because you’ve invited this business owner on to promote themselves. Okay. And you’ve ended the recording and now it’s really easy to say, “Wow, John, that was amazing. I learned so much. I had no idea you were into all those things. I’m really curious, where do you see yourself in three years? What has to happen between now and three years from today for you to feel really happy with your progress?” Which is the Dan Sullivan question we talked about earlier. And they’ll tell you where they’re going and then you just need to listen and say, “Wow, I could help. I could help him get there quicker or I could help him get there easier.”

Steve Gordon: And it might be making connections. It might be you can help them from a business perspective. But I always like to give space. So I said before, I said the thing we always teach our clients to do is just say, “Hey look, would it be okay if we got together on Tuesday, or pick whatever day, for 15 or 20 minutes. I’d like to think about it a little bit.” And that way you get some space so that it doesn’t feel like you’re suddenly turning the tables. And if you’re coming from this place of purity of intent, it works.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So you have written a book on Podcast Prospecting that you want to tell us about it and how people can perhaps get that. And of course, as always, we’ll have any links in the show notes.

Steve Gordon: Yeah, absolutely. So, John, we’ve put up a page just for Duct Tape Marketing listeners where they can get … this is my newest book. It’s my fourth book and the title is Podcast Prospecting. So if they go to unstoppableceo.net/dtm, there they’ll be able to get a free copy of the book. And if anybody wants to talk with me about podcasting, I’d love to brainstorm a little bit how they might be able to do that in their business.

John Jantsch: Awesome. And as I said, we’ll have that in the show notes and I know a lot of people that would love to get that, and I appreciate the gracious offer to our listeners. So Steve, thanks for stopping by and spending a little time talking about Podcast Prospecting and hopefully we’ll see you soon someday out there on the road.

Steve Gordon: Thanks, John.

How to Train Your Referral Partners in Just 2 Steps

Have you ever met someone at a networking event and hit it off?

You schedule a time to meet over coffee or lunch…

The meeting goes fabulously well. You both leave agreeing to find “mutually beneficial” ways to help each other, and then…

Crickets.

Your new partner is suddenly whisked into the witness protection program. She’s incommunicado.

What started out with so much promise, turns out to be a dud.

Why Referral Partners Fail You

In my 20 years in business, I’ve found that almost everyone I meet is well meaning. If they say they want to help, they do intend to help.

Yet, they often fail to follow through.

The Unpaid, Untrained Sales Force

Stop and think for a moment what you expect from referral partners and clients when you ask them to refer. You’re really asking them to do your prospecting for you.

For most businesses, prospecting–lead generation–is the single most difficult activity in the business. If you think about it, that is the business.

How can we believe that a virtual stranger will effectively prospect, when our paid, and expensively trained sales force struggles to do it?

What Causes Partners to Disappear

Your new referral partner wants to help. It’s just that she’s got to make sales herself. Plus, she’s got a family. And, maybe some friends.

In other words…a full life and a full plate.

Then you arrive in her life and she truly wants to help, but life intervenes.

If Only You Were Easier to Refer

Part of the problem your partner faces is that you’re simply too hard to refer. She’s not exactly sure what you do, or who she should refer.

And, your “first encounter” with anyone she might refer is going to be some form of call or meeting–a sales meeting.

Sales meetings are scary. Nobody likes to go into a sales meeting. They might get sold something!

Sales meetings carry implied sales pressure. You know it. Your referral partner knows it. And the referred prospect knows it. So, it’s often easier to “go dark” and avoid the situation.

We need to make referral marketing easier…

The Answer: Train Your Referral Partners in 2 Steps…

Step 1: The Johnny Carson Method

You might be old enough to remember Johnny Carson–the host of The Tonight Show before Leno, before Conan, before Fallon. Johnny had a knack for introducing people to everyone he knew.

He’d just sit them down on his couch and ask them questions…

And let 10 million people watch it all on TV.

There was never any “sales pressure” to go see a guest like Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy show after he appeared with Carson.

But lots of people did. Spending lots of money.

Johnny was the tastemaker for his audience.

Why Interviewing Your Partners is Perfect Training

Your ultimate goal is to get your partner to share you with anyone and everyone who might be a prospect for you.

But before you can get there, it helps to build some trust. Show your referral partner how to easily get you in front of everyone they know.

You do it by first “introducing” them to everyone you know, through a simple interview.

See, if your referral partner is interacting with your prospects, there’s a good chance they have some expertise or wisdom that your clients would appreciate and value.

An interview takes little time–20-30 minutes. Almost no technology–a phone and a free conference line will do. And, you don’t need anything more than a handful of questions (your partner can provide them) and the ability to have a conversation.

In an hour of your time, total, you can prove to your new referral partner how easy it is for you to share them with everyone in your network.

Just have a valuable conversation, record it, then email a link to the audio to your network of clients, and partners, and prospects.

You’ll be shocked by the feedback

When our clients use this technique the first time, they’re surprised when their own clients call and thank them for sharing the interview.

(The goodwill you create with your own clients is a bonus!)

It’s important that you pass that positive feedback to your referral partner. It’ll make them feel great about being interviewed.

It also validates the fact that people like and value this type of information sharing because…

Step 2: Now it’s time to put their training into action

Once you’ve shared how much your clients appreciated hearing your partner’s interview, with the partner, it’s the perfect time to suggest “turning the tables.”

Say…

“I’m so glad I was able to share your knowledge with my network. They really benefited. I’d like to return the favor. I think your contacts might get a lot of value from knowing more about [insert your area of expertise].

I’d love to have you interview me, so we can help your people the way we’ve helped mine.”

Nine out of ten referral partners will jump at the chance. If you happen to come across the tenth one, well…you’ve just learned a lot about that partner.

How to “control” your interview

There are three things you’ll want to do to ensure you make the most of your interview.

  1. Write your questions. Don’t settle for a free-flow conversation, and don’t put any extra work on your partner. Write questions that, when you answer, give the listeners “ah-ha” moments.
  2. Do all the logistic work. Again, don’t put any work on your partner. Write the cover note/email. Bring lunch to their office and offer to help them send the email while you both eat. Get creative…just don’t make it “homework” for your partner, or it’ll drop to the bottom of their to-do list.
  3. Put a lead generation offer at the end.Doing the interview is great. But a big mistake is omitting any next-step call to action. The best offer in these interviews is to offer what I call a Referral Kit™ (an educational marketing piece).

That gets interested prospects to raise a hand and identify themselves to request your Referral Kit.

But wait, there’s more…

There’s one little hidden benefit of this process…

After you publish your first interview or two, your other partners will want in. Your opportunities just multiplied!

Here’s how to put it all together

So, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Let’s review the process…

First: Offer to interview your referral partner to share their expertise with your network. Distribute the interview to your clients, prospects, and other partners.

Second: As soon as you get positive feedback from your network, share it with your partner and “turn the tables.” Suggest they interview you to share your expertise with your partner’s network.

Rinse. Repeat.

Watch as your list of interested prospects and network of effective partners grows.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Referrals.


About the Author

Steve GordonSteve Gordon is the author of Unstoppable Referrals: 10x Referrals, Half the Effort. Over 7000 people downloaded his free Referral Blueprint for Professional Service Firms.
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