Michael Dunn is the Global Brand Strategist and Chief Creative for D U N N — an independent marketing consultancy specializing in inspired thinking, creativity and content-driven brand development. Over the past 15 years, he has worked in a variety of senior-level executive and creative positions throughout the world in advertising, marketing, merchandising and public relations, gaining experience and racking up successes on both the agency and client sides of the business. Michael is currently working on the book “Brains, Beauty and Belief: How Brands Work and Why You Should Care.”
Our special encore guest today is Christine Kloser. She is an international speaker on the topics of transformational authorship and transformational leadership and is the author of thirteen books, including the best-selling and award-winning books, Conscious Entrepreneurs, Pebbles In The Pond, Get Your Book Done, and this is the 10th anniversary of The Freedom Formula and she is releasing an updated version. She has trained 70,000 writers in more than 125 countries, teaches her signature Get Your Book Done program online, and facilitates transformational writing retreats throughout the year. Now...you may remember Christine and the wisdom she shared during Episode 432. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all she shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 432 to your list of vital priorities.
Good Morning Onward Nation – I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to Episode 715 – this week’s solocast.
I am excited about you and I will cover today because it addresses a gaping hole that exists inside most businesses.
And that hole is the lack of qualified leads flowing into a the sales pipeline -- or -- potentially the lack of a sales pipeline altogether.
Here’s the most recent data…of the 28 million small business owners in this country – over 43 percent of them cite “growing revenue” as being their top challenge in their company.
That is over 12 million business owners in this country, Onward Nation.
And yes, the challenge to grow revenue can be complex – there can be a myriad of factors or obstacles in the way.
But, in my over 20+ years of experience in owning five different companies – and having interviewed over 700 of today’s top business owners – I will say that the inability to generate leads – or to generate high quality leads that consistently flow into a well-defined sales pipeline represents the most significant challenge to building a scaling a business.
So that is going to be where we spend our time together today.
We will focus on how to effectively use LinkedIn to fill your sales pipeline like a pro. Today’s lesson will provide you with the tools, resources, and the step-by-step you and your team can take and apply right away to begin building momentum with your lead gen.
Before we dig into the tactical step-by-step…I want to first make ensure that we level set around mindset.
Here’s what I mean.
Generating leads is not hard work. In fact…it is straightforward and very little tech…especially when you have the right recipe to follow.
But…just because the work is simple does not mean it is easy.
In fact, I can almost guarantee that you will be frustrated at the beginning, you may even pound your fist on your desk and wonder why the results are not better, and you may get upset at your sales team for their lack of productivity.
I am sharing this with you so that when it does happen – instead of getting frustrated and thinking that success will always elude you – I want to you to say to yourself, “Ah, Stephen said that I would think this right.” And then push forward.
Because pushing forward, whether we are talking about generating leads, or pursuing your life’s passion, is what it takes to be successful. As Vince Lombardi once famously said, “The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
But, if you remain focused on continuous improvement – refining your recipe — you will be successful.
This is a long haul – it requires data collection – testing – adjusting – testing again – scaling – making mistakes – testing again.
So let’s dig into the recipe and all of the ingredients.
First…some quick words as to why I love LinkedIn as much as I do, and why in my opinion, it should be the cornerstone of your lead gen strategy.
There are approximately 500 million LinkedIn members — yes, 500 million. Hugely valuable community.
Next…want to guess the average number of LinkedIn connections for a CEO?
Because if 933 is the average — some are higher — some are lower — but you tend not to get 933 connections by accident — you work at it — so if someone has 933 connections — it is likely intentional.
Meaning, LinkedIn is a platform that he or she values — and a place where they spend time — that that is great news for you.
And yes, you should be reaching out to the CEO — the top decision maker at your prospect client — but that can be a topic for a completely different solocast.
Okay, next…some additional insight into why you should care about LinkedIn…27 percent of all members are between the ages of 30 and 49…and another 24 percent are 50 to 64 years old…and 13 percent are over the age of 65.
So to say that another way…over 64 percent of LinkedIn members are over the age of 30…and 38 percent of total members earn $75,000 or more per year.
Bottom line…there are 433 million people on LinkedIn…64 percent of them are over the age of 30…and 38 percent earn more than $75,000 per year…with the average CEO having 933 connections on the platform.
All of that speaks well to your opportunity of finding and connecting with the prospects who can accelerate you biz dev, Onward Nation.
So let’s press forward by reviewing the seven ingredients within our recipe.
Our recipe for how to effectively use LinkedIn to fill your sales pipeline consists of seven core ingredients, and they are:
Ingredient #1: Improve your LinkedIn profile by adding video / audio clips, value proposition, etc. to the Summary.
Again — we will get tactical here in just a minute — and I will give you tangible visual examples within today’s Show Notes for each ingredient.
Ingredient #2: Import your existing email list in LinkedIn and send connection requests.
Ingredient #3: Export your LinkedIn connection list and import into your client’s email list.
Ingredient #4: Personalized thank you message sent to each new connection
Ingredient #5: Build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search tool.
Ingredient #6: Send InMail messages to your top prospects — and be sure to speak the language of your “client avatar.”
Ingredient #7: Create and send consistent nurturing email campaigns with exclusive content just for your LNKD connections so they feel valued to be part of your growing community.
Okay, now that the high-level view of the forest is complete — let’s dive in and go tree-by-tree so you can see all of the tactical ingredients of this recipe.
Ingredient #1 is all about getting ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is not just good — but that it is excellent. Why does this matter?
Because when you send InMail messages as part of Ingredient #6…the very first place your recipients — your prospective clients will go to learn more about you — is your LinkedIn profile.
And if it is sparsely populated with value propositions, your connections count is low, you haven’t taken the time to include a quality profile picture, you have zero recommendations, etc. — then it looks like you don’t care — and they won’t respond to you. Maybe your InMail was just spam — you are ignored — and they move on.
Or, if you have taken the time to include audio and video clips, Slide Shares of recent presentations you delivered, links to articles you have written recently, blog posts, recommendations from current clients — it not only takes advantage of all the profile building tools that LinkedIn provides you — but — you also visually demonstrate your thought leaderships and expertise to your prospective clients — and that is a very good thing.
Now when they receive your InMail message as part of Ingredient #6 — they move from skeptical questions like “Why did she send me this?” to “Oh, interesting…they would like to talk with me? Awesome.”
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your personal landing page and it needs to be excellent — just like everything else in your business.
If you would like a tangible example — check out what my team has built for me on LinkedIn…look me up…send me a connection request…and you will see illustrations of each step I just shared with you.
Let’s move on to Ingredient #2 — import your existing email list into LinkedIn and send connection requests.
To make sure we are on the same page here — I am talking about taking your email list — the list you communicate with often — consisting of customers, prospects, maybe even vendors — people with whom you have a relationship — and then uploading that list into your LinkedIn account and inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
First…when you increase your number of LinkedIn connections — your network and credibility grows. Instead of having several hundred connections — you move to several thousand. And the next time a prospective client checks out your LinkedIn profile — they may see the number — and be impressed.
Second…your number of 1st-degree connections in LinkedIn impacts the number of prospects you will be able to see during Ingredient #5 of this process — when you use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search. To cement this into place — let’s quickly review what LinkedIn defines as 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree connections.
A 1st-degree connection on LinkedIn is — let’s say you are listening to this solocast — you like what you hear — and decide to send me a connection request on LinkedIn — and by the way — you should totally do that — anyway — when I receive the request — I personally accept it.
And so you and I become 1st-degree connections.
Now, here’s what’s interesting. My nearly 24,000 1st degree connections instantly become your 2nd-degree connections. And all of my 2nd-degree connections become your 3rd-degree connections.
Again, why is that important?
Well, back to my connections…my nearly 24,000 1st connections extrapolates out to a total network of over 20 million people when considering 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree connections.
That means…I can search through a huge number of people during Ingredient #5 in finding our ideal prospects we might want to reach out to.
So, Onward Nation, building your number of 1st-degree connections is essential to your success on LinkedIn — and uploading your email list and sending out connection requests is a quick and easy way to boost your connection count — and the size of your network — with a couple mouse clicks.
Here’s how you complete the step. Click your “My Network” on the left side of the menu and then you should see an option on the right side of the screen to import your contacts.
Then click “Add Contacts” and you will see a screen with options to connect LinkedIn with your email service
Definitely do that — as well as the option to upload your email list and send out a massive number of connection requests all at one a couple of clicks.
In the testing that we have done here at Predictive ROI over the years -- is that about 30% of your recipients will accept your mass connection request within the first 72-hours. So this is an efficient way for you to boost your number of 1st degree connections -- nearly immediately.
Moving on to Ingredient #3: You should export your LinkedIn connection list and import into client’s email list.
This might seem a bit backwards after you just uploaded your email list into LinkedIn — why am I now recommending that you reverse the process and export the list back out and import it into your email list?
A couple of reasons:
First…LinkedIn is the only social media platform that gives you the ability to export the contact and profile details of your connections — and that is just plain awesome!
Second…the email address someone used when getting onto your email address may be different than the email address they use within a professional community like LinkedIn — so you should have both inside your email list.
This gives you the ability to cross-pollinate — ensure your high-quality email content that you will be sending (ahem — only high-quality content here, Onward Nation) — will be able to reach them via LinkedIn posts — as well as via email.
And third…there may be some hundreds of people who connect with you via LinkedIn — and not know how to signup for your email list.
No problem…if you are importing and exporting on a consistent basis…you will solve that problem to ensure you are fully covered.
Okay, onto Ingredient #4. Do you feel the momentum starting to build, Onward Nation?
You just beefed up your profile so it is ready to be checked out by the highly targeted prospects who will soon be coming your way. And then you expanded the size of your network so you have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or maybe even millions of people you can sort through to find the right prospects.
Rock solid awesome!
With ingredient #4…I recommend that you send a personalized thank you message to each new connection — and — that the message includes something of value — and — it is a personal message. Not one of those automated messages that feels like a heavy-handed sales pitch as soon as you connected with someone.
Ugh — those are awful and I tend to remove someone as a connection as soon as I receive one because I feel as though I got duped into a sales pitch.
Yack. We will not be doing that with Ingredient #4.
No...instead I recommend you send something personal — a warm hello and thank you — some personalized context so he or she knew that the message was just for them and then a link to the video.
Now, here is a little scaling secret, Onward Nation — you — you personally — do not need to be the one who sends each of these messages.
You can and should delegate this to a member of your team — maybe even an unpaid intern on your team — and my team at Predictive ROI has been blessed to have worked with 24 rock star interns who were assigned this project as well as other front line — forward facing activities.
And if you’re thinking “unpaid interns — he is out of his mind — there’s no way we could recruit unpaid interns in this market.” Let me just say…we have worked with interns who were students at Duke University, Ohio State, Purdue University, University of Northern Iowa…and many other schools around the country — all unpaid.
If you want our recruiting recipe — go take a listen to Episode 137 — because I share all of the step-by-step of how we do it in full transparency.
Okay, back to lead gen and Ingredient #5: How to build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s advanced search tools.
With these tools, you will be able to search through your entire network of connections using several powerful filters, such as:
And then you can take it deeper and make your searches more refined by including your prospect’s years of experience, their function within their particular company, seniority level, what they are interested in, company size, and so forth.
And if you are looking to upgrade to a premium membership -- I am a big fan of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator because of the additional granularity in data that can be pulled as well as how leads can be categorized and some of the reporting actions or reminders you can put into place. Sales Navigator is not a CRM but it is definitely getting closer to that.
Okay, by taking the time to get specific about your prospect — you leverage LinkedIn’s database — to deliver back to you a list of prospects who match your criteria and you eliminate the time wasting of sending direct mail to a purchased list and hoping for a better result outcome than the last campaign.
So let’s say that in your first attempt — LinkedIn returns a list of 100 people. You can then click on the profiles of each person (see — Ingredient #1 is really important) and from their profile — you can better determine if he or she is a good fit for your lead gen efforts.
If yes, add the person and their details to an Excel or Google Sheet so you can keep a running list of who you have reached out to.
I get it -- this is tedious work — I completely understand — but — it is also where the rubber meets the road in the success of your business and it will fill your sales pipeline.
Okay, so if you have worked you way through all of the ingredients, you will have built a solid profile — you expanded your LinkedIn network by leveraging your email list — and being smart — to also reverse the process and cross-pollinate your connections back into your email list…and now…you have mastered LinkedIn’s search tools with the resulting outcome being — a highly targeted prospect list — perhaps the most targeted list you and your sales team have ever had.
Ingredient #6 is next.
Crafting your InMail message and sending it to each of the people on the list you just created. There are seven sub-ingredients, if you will, that make up the InMail message…and they are:
Please use it.
My team at Predictive ROI has sent thousands and thousands and thousands of InMail messages on behalf of our client’s lead gen efforts — as well as for our biz dev — and the template we included in today’s Show Notes is the resulting outcome of all that testing and hard work.
You will dramatically shorten your learning curve by using the template.
One last point about the InMail and the template you will see in the Show Notes — there is a reference to “speaking to your client avatar.” And yes, we have a recipe for that, too.
If you go to Episode 208, I explain in full detail how to identify your client avatar — how to speak directly to him or her — and how to deliver value in the process.
Having and mastering this knowledge is a must in writing effective InMails.
And now we have arrived at our final ingredient…Ingredient #7…creating and sending consistent lead nurturing content to LinkedIn connections.
When you export your LinkedIn connection data — and then import into your CRM like InfusionSoft, etc. be sure to add the emails to a special list tagged as “LinkedIn Connections” or something else that lets you know these email addresses are super special.
This list represents your MVPs and your goal should be to create content just for them — exclusive — and then share it with them — letting them know it was created just for them — and that your connection means something to you — your connection is important — that you value their opinions — that you want to hear from them and how you can do better — and that you share your insights and expertise along the way in such a context that you are providing value that can be incorporated into their business straight away.
So that when you do reach out to them to explore the potential of a business relationship — you are not reaching out to a stranger with a cold call — you are reaching out to someone who already knows you, already likes you, and may already trust you because you offered tremendous value first — and that is an awesome way to begin a business relationship.
Before we close out for today…I’d like to leave you with a couple of important thoughts.
Now that you have learned the recipe – and have seen the typical result outcomes – there are two questions you and your team need to answer.
First…how will we take immediate action based on what you learned here today?
How will you apply it right away to fill your pipeline?
And that leads to the ultimate question.
Are you committed…or are you just interested in having a steady stream of well-prepared prospects flowing into your sales pipeline?
Being committed means knowing exactly how much new business you are seeking, from what sources, and having a strategy in place to fill the pipeline to get it.
Let me share a quick story about Coach Nick Saban from the University of Alabama – who, in my opinion, represents the epitome of being committed.
Alabama is consistently one of the top-ranked teams in college football each year. They were the 2015 National Champions and won the title again at the close of the 2017 season.
Coach Saban’s reputation is one of precise detail and process.
And once he uncovers a “recipe” for success…he uses it over and over again.
But he also freely shares his secrets without fear that his competitors will be able to duplicate his results.
How is this possible?
Case in point…my good friend, mentor, and three-time guest on Onward Nation, Don Yaeger, interviewed Coach Saban as they considered writing a book together.
During one of Don’s visits with Coach, he asked if there was a secret formula or recipe that gave Saban an edge to recruiting the best talent out of high school year-after-year.
Coach told Don that his recipe is simple. He committed himself to watching every single play that any of their 85 scholarship athletes every played while in high school.
Every play…so he could evaluate talent, effort, and other qualities.
Let’s just think about the magnitude of that for a minute.
Alabama has 85 scholarship athletes…who likely played at least 2-years of high school football…at 10 games per year in high school…and many high school players play both offense and defense during a game, so let’s call it 100 plays per game.
All totaled, Coach Saban watches film on 170,000 plays to make his recruiting decisions.
It is an overwhelming number, right?
How could anyone do that? But Coach Saban does.
And the resulting outcome is that Alabama is consistently the best on the field each year.
So Don asked him, “Coach…aren’t you worried that if we put your secret recipe into this book that people will steal it from you?”
And Saban looked at Don and said, “Nope…not worried at all. Because no one is going to be willing to put in the same amount of effort that I am willing to commit to our success.”
So my hope is that you don’t leave this solocast thinking – yeah, I knew LinkedIn could do that. My challenge to you is…but is your business doing it?
And as Tony Robbins says…“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
So I hope you will decide to put this sales pipeline-building recipe into action and then please drop me a line and let me know about your success.
So with that said, Onward Nation…
I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today.
It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.
However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
I look forward to being back with you again tomorrow as we spend time learning from another one of today’s top business owners.
But until then -- onward with gusto!\
Our special encore guest today is Jill Schiefelbein. Jill helps business owners increase sales, enhance product experience, and retain customers. Her first business, Impromptu Guru, helps people improve their presentation and public speaking skills. She created a YouTube series that was syndicated by Entrepreneur Network and brings in thousands of new viewers each week. She’s a video partner and a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. Her latest book is entitled, “Dynamic Communication: 27 Strategies to Grow, Lead, and Manage Your Business.” Now...you may remember Jill and the wisdom she shared during Episode 453. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all she shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 453 to your list of vital priorities.
Jane Mosbacher Morris is the Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET, a socially-inspired business connecting ethical producers around the world with consumers and businesses seeking to make a social impact. TO THE MARKET works with large corporations such as Macy's, Levi's, Capital One, UBS, Experian, General Mills, and many more. Her written work has been published on platforms ranging from the National Defense University to Refinery29.com. She is the author of the forthcoming book, “Buy the Change You Want to See: Harnessing Your Purchasing Power for Good”.
Our special encore guest today is Melinda Emerson. Melinda is the founder and president of the Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm with notable clients including FedEx, Verizon, Xerox, and American Express. She is also the host of #Smallbizchat, the longest running live chat on Twitter for small business owners. Melinda’s small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online and she was named the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes Magazine. And the author of the new book, “Fix Your Business”.
Our special encore guest today is Mark Faust. He is an expert on growth strategy, sales, and performance improvement. For the last 27 years, Mark has run Echelon Management, a growth consulting firm. He is an advisor on company boards and he has conducted hundreds of sessions for dozens of the worlds largest companies including John Deere, Apple, Bayer, IBM, P&G, and over four dozen third-generation family owned companies and many start ups.
Good Morning – I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and host of Onward Nation. And welcome to Episode 710 – this week’s solocast.
Well, this is a solocast with a twist.
If you have been listening to Onward Nation for a while now – you know that sometimes I take an interview where I was a guest on someone else’s show – and we essentially re-air it during my solocast.
I do this from time-to-time for several reasons.
First...doing this is an excellent opportunity for you to hear me in the hot seat per se. Someone gets to fire questions my way – and in the process – I get to share perspectives, insights, opinions, or strategies that I might not normally think to share during an interview with one of our Onward Nation or one of my solocasts.
Second...by doing this I am able to introduce you to another host who I think has some chops – someone who has an interesting point-of-view – or someone who I enjoyed talking with.
Which is definitely the case with Stephanie Scheller. Stephanie and I met through an introduction from Dave Denniston – and Dave was my awesome guest on Episode 244 of Onward Nation.
Following Dave’s intro – Stephanie invited me to be a guest for her YouTube series. I said yes, for a couple reasons.
One – I knew it would be a lot of fun and I am always game to talk with someone about building and scaling a business.
Two – I knew it was going to be a video interview, and like I shared a couple months ago, being excellent on YouTube this year as a company is one of our vital priorities for 2018 – so the interview would be another asset that would help us do that.
What I enjoyed about my time with Stephanie is that she asked great questions about my story, how Predictive ROI landed on and decided to go deep in all things voice and video to help our clients win, and we even dug into trends behind podcasts...and whether or not it was getting harder and harder to stand out.
I shared my insights from the perspective of someone who has owned five companies – and – interviewed nearly 1,000 of today’s top business owners – and hopefully Stephanie’s audience found the strategies and recommendations helpful.
So for today’s solocast – I wanted to share the conversation I had with Stephanie...with you...because there may be a nugget or two in there that could be helpful in your business.
And lastly, the reason I wanted to share this interview today is because it is another tangible example of how one piece of content can be transformed into another piece of content pretty easily.
Here’s what I mean.
Stephanie and I connected on Zoom and recorded a video interview. She then posted the content to her YouTube channel and shared it with her community.
Then Dallas Hendrickson on my Predictive ROI team, grabbed the video file and stripped out the audio portion of the file, and now we are going to re-air the audio within the middle portion of this episode of Onward Nation.
All I am doing right now is giving you an introduction so you have context as to why – instead of just jumping into the interview with Stephanie and it potentially being confusing.
In addition, we will likely transform the interview with Stephanie into a blog post, social media posts, a LinkedIn article, and it will become a feature in our weekly email.
And you have similar opportunities with the cornerstone content you create – or could create – on a daily basis.
You don’t need to create everything from scratch – it doesn’t have to be perfect – but it does need to be helpful to your audience.
If you focus on being helpful, being generous with your expertise, and meeting your clients and prospects where they need you – then you will be successful in building your own nation of true fans and growing your business.
So ultimately, I wanted to share this interview with you as a tangible example – a recipe – that you could take and implement into your own biz dev strategy.
I hope you find what I shared with Stephanie to be helpful. Especially in the areas of voice and video – how they are growing – and why I believe so strongly that you, too, need to be there as part of your biz dev strategy.
There is so much happening right now with voice that it is becoming difficult to keep up with. All of a sudden, my Predictive ROI team is building Alexa Skills and Flash Briefings that are connected back into the podcast content for clients, and all of that is tied into a product or service rollout.
My mind starts racing with all the possibilities. Wow.
So if you want an overview of how voice is changing the game of biz dev, I encourage you to go back to last week’s solocast, Episode 705, where I break down some of the latest tech and trends.
And more importantly – how you can drive your business forward if you begin taking action around these opportunities.
So with that said...I want to say thank you, Onward Nation.
Thank you for taking time to be here – thank you for sharing your feedback, opinions, and insights with us for over 700 episodes.
You are rock solid awesome!
Please know – I appreciate your time and attention so very much – thank you for helping us get better each and every day.
And I am thrilled that we crossed another milestone with 700 episodes – and we are continuing pushing forward and doing an even better job in how we look to serve you the best going forward this year.
I wish you a wonderful rest of your week and look forward to having you back tomorrow for another great interview with one of today’s top business owners.
Until then...onward with gusto!
Anne Bahr Thompson is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Onesixtyfourth — a boutique consultancy that integrates cultural shifts and a social conscience into brand development. Anne was named a 2018 Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the pioneer of the Brand Citizenship movement and has more than 25-years of experience as a global brand strategist, including a former executive director of strategy and planning and head of consulting at Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy. Anne is also an accomplished researcher, speaker, and the author of the new book, “DO GOOD: Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit.”
Lee Caraher started Double Forte in 2002 as a new kind of communications firm designed to provide the best service in the business. Lee has managed multiple offices and hundreds of people of all ages and was named in the 40 under 40 by PRWEEK Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medieval history — which she finds useful every day. You may also remember Lee and the wisdom she shared during episodes 180, 269, 523, 669, and 680 of Onward Nation. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all that Lee shared during our earlier interviews...I highly encourage you to add her episodes to your list of vital priorities.
Rob Dube is President and Co-Founder of imageOne, the leading organization in Document Lifecycle Management, which is well-known as an exceptional company, receiving local and national recognition for its multi-award-winning culture, including being ranked as one of the Top 25 Small Businesses in America on the 2017 list of Forbes Small Giants and one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Rob is also the author of “donothing™: the most rewarding leadership challenge you will ever take” and organizer of the donothing™ leadership silent retreat.
Susan Berkley is one of the most listened to voices in America. She’s a top voice-over artist and telephone voice for Citibank and many others. An internationally known communications expert, Susan is the author of “Speak To Influence: How To Unlock The Hidden Power Of Your Voice” and her latest book, “The Persuasion Code.” She is president and founder of The Great Voice Company and provides training in persuasive speaking techniques for business and sales professionals worldwide, as well as training in voice-over technique. A former radio personality and frequent media guest, she has been featured in on ABC News, CNBC, To Tell The Truth, and in The NY Times, The LA Times, and Business Week.
Good Morning...I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and host of Onward Nation – and I’d like to welcome you to Episode 705...this week’s solocast.
In case you’re new to Onward Nation...a solocast is where you and I take a deep dive into a topic...just you and me...without a guest.
And this one-on-one opportunity provides the necessary time to really explore a topic with some depth. And during a solocast, I typically share my point-of-view – when relevant – on trends my team and I are watching play out with business owners every day in the marketplace.
Or, I may share the most important lessons I am learning during conversations with other owners either during our Onward Nation episodes – sometimes during the recording or behind-the-green-curtain discussion I get to have – or – when I am out on the road teaching at conferences, or the new tools and tech I am learning about during mastermind sessions, or weekly check-ins with my accountability partners.
So these solocasts are the place where I can share all of these points with you – and hopefully – I am able to share them in a practical and tactical way that the information and ideas serve you, your team, and overall, are helpful as you work toward building and scaling your business.
So for today...I am going to explain why I believe so strongly that “voice” represents that next opportunity – that next patch of fertile ground – for significant business development.
Let’s start off with some context around the word “voice” and what it covers. And then we will dive deeper into what, in my opinion, likely represent three of the most significant business development opportunities for you as it relates to voice – and how you and your team can win if you were to add a voice-centric strategy to your overall biz dev plan.
Okay, so what do I mean when I say “voice” and why does it matter?
The term “voice” today is being used to essentially encapsulate all voice-activated or operated devices, apps, and Internet of Things accessories that you may have in your home or office. So for example, if part of your daily routine while you’re coffee is brewing is to say, “Hey Alexa, give me my flash briefing,” you are using voice to get information.
Or, maybe part of your daily routine is to say, “Hey Google...dim the kitchen lights to 50 percent,” you are using a voice command to get a desired result.
Or, let’s say you are working on a research report and you grab your iPhone X and say, “Hey Siri...what is the 52-week high for Disney stock,” you are using voice to pull data from a search engine.
Or, maybe you want to listen to your favorite podcast and you say, “Hey Alexa, play the Onward Nation Podcast,” and the most recent episode begins playing.
And over the last couple of years, we have seen a real proliferation of voice-controlled devices or VCD for short...to the point that we are seeing a category emerge with a real acronym...VCD...voice controlled devices. And we as consumers are responding and voting with our wallets.
To help illustrate this...I want to share some of the trends and data points we are watching really closely here at Predictive ROI.
According to Techcrunch...the Echo Dot was the best-selling product on all of Amazon during the 2017 holiday season.
Amazon did not release the actual number sold, but they did confirm for Techcrunch that tens of millions were sold.
According to comScore...the number of U.S. households with smart speakers grew by 49 percent from June to November 2017. And smart speakers currently consist of Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and others. Amazon Echo continues to be the market share leader but Google Home is gaining ground quickly.
Here’s a market share estimate that shows Amazon with 88 percent market share in 2016. Their share dropped to 52 percent in 2017.
It is also important to realize that the overall market is exploding and that Amazon is still selling millions of Echos – and – from an software perspective...Amazon provides buyers with a library of over 30,000 Alexa Skills that can be verbally installed so that Alexa can perform certain tasks for you, as compared to Google Home’s library of less than 1,000.
But, Google’s major advantage is its dominance in search. Right now, when you ask Alexa to search for something online, she is only able to search the topic using Wikipedia, which is not as comprehensive as using Google, which comes native as part of Google Home.
This provides Google with a huge advantage to penetrate more and more areas of our home.
A results of a recent Google survey estimated that 72 percent of people who own a voice-activated speaker say that their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.
But the market share competition for voice controlled devices is not being waged just by Amazon, Google, and Apple. Samsung is expected to get into the smart speaker space – and according to Forbes, Spotify has been rumored to be preparing the release of their smart speaker.
And, Spotify is about to conduct a $1 billion initial public offering for their stock, so the stakes are high that they execute their products strategy carefully so they can diversify revenue beyond being a music subscription service – otherwise – the company would not be worthy of such a lofty valuation.
So let’s shift our attention away from devices and think about search and how we as consumers are being to use search engines to find what we need.
According to Branded3 and data collected from IBM, 25 percent of searches on Windows 10 taskbar are voice.
According to a report in Search Engine People, 20 percent of mobile searches on Google are made via voice command. And according to comScore, 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults already execute voice searches multiple times per day, and the forecast is that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be via voice.
Onward Nation, I have even read reports predicting that by 2022, our computers will no longer come with keyboards because your laptop will essentially become a voice controlled device.
It blows my mind to think about that – but – the data does seem to point in that direction.
And what about podcasting as part of growth – is it still a growing category? And I get the fact that for me to have a bullish voice in this area makes me seem biased...so let me share some data from Edison Research.
They are the leaders in collecting and sharing the growth related data in their annual report, which you can download here.
Podcasting...even though it may seem like it is exploding right now...by the numbers...is growing at a slow and steady clip. There does not seem to be a podcasting bubble – instead – the data seems to indicate that there is some significant upside potential and we are just beginning to scratch the surface as more and more listening channels come online making the content that much more accessible.
24 percent of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month – up from 21 percent 12 months ago.
And 40 percent of Americans have ever listened to a podcast...up from 36 percent 12 months ago.
The awareness of the term podcasting increased to 60% up from 55 percent 12 months ago.
And 15% of Americans said that they listen to podcasts on weekly basis up from 13 percent 12 months ago.
See what I mean?
Slow and steady growth – even though – sometimes it can feel like every business owner on the planet has podcast and everyone is listening...the reality is not that.
In fact, there are only a few podcasts – there is a lot of room in the market especially for really good content – and there is still a lot of blue ocean out there with growth potential.
And we are seeing this steady growth as smart phones become more and more sophisticated, podcasters are developing their own apps so their audiences can find their content with just one tap or click, and their continues to be a proliferation of channels where the content can be accessed.
For example, when we launched Onward Nation on June 15, 2015...705 episodes ago – yay! – you would have been able to listen to our episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, and our website.
That was it.
Now...you can listen to our episodes on iTunes and Stitcher as well as Amazon Echo by asking Alexa, you can find us on Spotify, on CastBox, on iHeart Radio, and on Google Play. And I am sure we will see more and more channels come online as the competition for subscribers and downloads continue.
Lastly...we are also seeing large brands beginning to make significant investments in voice as part of their overall marketing strategy.
According to AdAge, and what might be an industry first, JPMorgan Chase recently appointed VaynerMedia as its agency of record for “voice marketing” as the financial services giant looks to amplify its strategy around the nascent practice.
Onward Nation, there are a number of reasons why I think this news is significant – but most of all – brands have been resisting for years and years the naming of an agency of record for any part of their business.
Because awarding an agency with that title anoints them with a high level authority – certainly at the strategy level – above all other agencies. It is typically reserved for something very significant – and it is rarely used in today’s advertising world.
Instead, brands are breaking up with agencies, slicing and dicing responsibilities across many agencies where they think they can get the best pricing, etc.
So for JPMorgan Chase to make the bold move toward voice and to do it such a way that named Gary and his team as the agency of record – is huge.
Huge kudos to Gary – major win. We are definitely witnessing the fulfillment of some of the predictions he made during Episode 42 of Onward Nation.
Okay, let’s bring this full circle...all of this combined is why I firmly believe that the momentum we are experiencing around podcasting – and more macro – what we are experiencing around voice – is just the tip of the iceberg and all of this exciting momentum represents a myriad of opportunities for you and your team to plant your business development flag.
So let’s take a look at four business development strategies that in my opinion, you and your team should seriously consider. These are not pie-in-the-sky ideas that you might be able to implement if we go keyboard-less computers in 5-years.
Hosting your own podcast is an exceptional opportunity for you share your point-of-view with your customers and prospects, to be helpful to them as they work hard to grow their businesses, and to grow your audience and influence. Once you launch your show...be sure to get your content into all of the major distribution channels like Spotify, Alexa, CastBox, iTunes, Google Play, iHeart Radio, Soundcloud and the myriad of other channels were podcasts live today.
If you want a complete list of what we consider to be the big ones...go to PredictiveROI.com and click on “Podcast” and you will see a long list down the right side of the site with links to each channel.
A podcast will also provide you with numerous monetization opportunities from developing business relationships with your guests, to promoting products and services to your audience, selling sponsorships to third party brands who want to pay you to access your audience and many more.
If you’re consider launching a podcast – or some other form of cornerstone content – I highly recommend going back to Episodes 676 and 659 so you and your team can refer to all of the step-by-step tactical plans I included in each episode for creating and monetizing your cornerstone content.
Okay, once your podcast is launched, and your episodes are available on Amazon Echo via Alexa voice commands, then I recommend you give some serious thought to building your own Alexa Skill or Flash Briefing.
At the time of this recording, we are about 2 weeks away from launching a beta version of our Predictive ROI flash briefing where we will provide helpful insights from our guests that were not aired during their actual episode – a collection of behind-the-green-curtain conversations – and the daily Flash Briefing would be the perfect channel for sharing that super exclusive content.
In addition, we may also include research points, the answers to FAQs, and other ways we can be helpful to business owners who may be looking for resources on how to gain clarity around their point of view and use cornerstone content to share their thoughts and wisdom with a larger audience.
A key point for you to consider as you map out your Alexa strategy is that Alexa can do more than just straight responses to specific questions. Alexa can also be configured to access and pull data from sources like Google Analytics – all of which is possible by making the correct API calls.
If you log into your Amazon account, you will be able to access the Alexa Skills Kit so you and your team can begin reviewing all of the technical specifications involved in the process.
One of the most interesting features for Alexa Skills is how you can require that someone who enables the skill – also “links” their account. Which means they have to accept granting linkage to their Facebook account which then you as the marketer have access to their email address and Facebook messenger.
So...if you build a rockin’ awesome Alexa Skill, it can not only help you be helpful to your audience – but – the Skill can also build your email list.
Say you are struggling to think of how you might host a podcast – or – the thought of you interviewing your dream prospects as guest makes you uncomfortable – but – you also recognize the power of voice and you happen to have a rockin’ awesome blog that you have spent the last several years building out.
Voxsnap is a recently launched service where you can provide them access to your written content – and they will convert it into audio files for you. Voxsnap has a stable of professional voice actors who will read and record your blog content and then give you back a professional sounding mp3 file of your content that you can then share via iTunes, etc...all of the podcasting channels we discussed earlier.
So if writing is your preferred way to create cornerstone content, and you are uncomfortable with the thought of recording audio, continue writing with excellent and then leverage the power of voice through Voxsnap.
And lastly, you and your team need to get up to speed with the changes voice is having on search engine optimization. I mentioned earlier how comScore predicts that nearly 50 percent of all searches in just a few short years will be voice activated – and that means we need to create different content – and serve it up to Google differently if we want to continue driving organic traffic to our websites.
And with voice search...there seems to be one vital priority at the moment and that is to create and optimize content so that it is worthy of becoming the “Featured Snippet” in the search results.
The featured snippet is the content that is ranked so high in the search results that Google tends to put it inside a box and it is typically the answer to a question you may have asked when searching.
So why is the featured snippet so important to voice? Because Google tends to highlight featured snippets in the voice search results and read them to you audibly.
So, if you score a featured snippet ranking for your content – you will not only be served up to searches who are using Google the traditional way – but you will also be served up first to voice searches and your content will be shared with them audibly.
Come on...how cool is that, Onward Nation?
So...how do you score a featured snippet ranking? Well, I will likely dedicated a future solocast just to this topic because as you might imagine – it is a deep one all by itself.
But for now...I will share several quick guidelines.
First, you need to begin creating content for your website that is focused on answering “what,” “how,” or “why” questions from searchers. “What” your product or service does, “how” your team solves problems, and “why” you and your team believe so strongly in supporting the industry through your annual research report on trends, etc.
So you need to think creatively about matching your content with the intent of voice search so that they sync up.
Second, Google has shared data about how searchers who are using voice are also using long keyword strings – or what is often referred to as long-tail keywords. Gone are the days of someone going to Google and searching for a single keyword but instead of searching for a solution to a problem.
For example...the deep dive solocast that I record that will focus on voice search might be entitled: “Okay Google, how do I optimize my website for voice search?”
Because I will want anyone who is struggling with that topic to find my solocast.
So you need to think of your keywords from a long-tail perspective but also from a question and answer or solution perspective.
And third, I would highly recommend you and your team doing some research and testing using Schema.org – often referred to as Structured Data. With Structured Data, you will have more opportunities to tell Google, Bing, etc. what your content page contains – to label it – identify it and to make it easier for them to index and rank.
Recent studies have shown that of all the content pages in the same that were ranked by Google with a featured snippet, over 40 percent of the pages were using Structured Data as part of their optimization recipe.
Again, I will record a separate solocast on voice search engine optimization to share all of our steps in full transparency – but for now – if you and your team begin reviewing your content from the perspective of those three areas, you will likely be ahead of 95 percent of your competition.
Okay, there is one final reason why I am urging you to immediately consider voice as part of your business development strategy.
Because if you truly want to be a thought leader – and you want to leverage your thought leadership so that it serves you in attracting new clients as I have shared with you in past solocasts, then you cannot be a one trick pony.
Here’s a quick video snippet about why I think that is the case.
Your content cannot just be available on your blog...or just your YouTube channel...or just your podcast...or your latest book. Your content needs to be available across multiple channels and you reaching your audience and being helpful in multiple ways...and voice gives you that exceptional opportunity.
With voice...you have the opportunity to no longer be a one-trick pony.
With voice, you can create new content and then transform it into written content.
Now, with the launch of Voxsnap, you have the opportunity to take your written content and transform it into voice.
There is so much opportunity today to take one piece of cornerstone content and to transform it into many different spokes – and unfortunately – if you are not doing that – you are missing out on significant business development opportunities.
So with that said...I want to say thank you, Onward Nation – thank you for taking time to be here – thank you for sharing your feedback, opinions, and insights with us for over 700 episodes.
Please know – I appreciate your time and attention so very much – thank you for helping us get better each and every day.
And I am thrilled that we crossed another milestone with 700 episodes – and that feels wonderful – but I think we are just scratching the surface in how we look to serve you the best going forward this year.
I wish you a wonderful rest of your week and look forward to having you back tomorrow for another great interview with one of today’s top business owners.
Until then...onward with gusto!
Our special encore guest today is Thor Conklin. He is an entrepreneur, profitability consultant, and host of his daily podcast, Peak Performers. The first company he created was a global risk management consulting firm that served the private equity community. His top 15 clients had a combined revenue of $12.7 billion and operated in over 100 countries worldwide. Now...you may remember Thor and the wisdom he shared during Episode 493. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 493 to your list of vital priorities.
Russell Whitney is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a recognized worldwide leader in the business, real estate investment, and financial training fields. Over the past 15-years, he has traveled the world speaking to audiences and has spoken alongside luminaries including Robert Kiyosaki and Tony Robbins always spreading his message of how to take immediate action to achieve financial goals and dreams by following his easy-to-follow, step-by-step process. It was during that time he met his success coach, mentor, and eventual business partner, Kevin Harrington, one of the original sharks on “Shark Tank.” Today you can find Russell speaking at events all across the country, giving his students the tools, guidance and knowledge they need to be wildly successful in their fields.
Our special encore guest today is Daina Middleton. She is the CEO of a leading national to local marketing company, Ansira. Prior to heading up Ansira, Daina served as the head of global business-to-business marketing at Twitter as well as successful leadership positions at Performics, Moxy Interactive, and 16 years at Hewlett Packard. Daina is also the author of two books: “Marketing in the Participation Age” and “Grace Meets Grit.” Now...you may remember Daina and the wisdom she shared during Episode 397. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all she shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 397 to your list of vital priorities.
Brandon Bruce is the chief operating officer and co-founder of Cirrus — an all-in-one sales productivity platform that connects Gmail and Outlook with Salesforce. Since launching the business in 2011, the company has grown to $12 million in annual revenue, 65 employees, and was ranked #41 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies in 2016.
Our special encore guest today is Kathy Kolbe. She is the global leader in discovering and accessing the power of human instincts. She is an acclaimed theorist, bestselling author, entrepreneur, educator, organizational strategist, consultant and speaker, and is the founder of Kolbe Corp and Dynamynd, Inc. Now...you may remember Kathy and the wisdom she shared during Episode 466. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all she shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 466 to your list of vital priorities.
Our special encore guest today is Bill Jelen and he is the host of MrExcel.com and the author of 54 books about Microsoft Excel including “Excel Gurus Gone Wild”, “Pivot Table Data Crunching”, “Power Pivot Alchemy” and “MrExcel Live”. Before founding MrExcel.com in 1998, Jelen spent 12-years “in the trenches”, as a financial analyst for the accounting, finance, marketing, and operations departments of a publicly held company. Since then, his company automates Excel reports for hundreds of clients around the world. The website answers over 30,000 questions a year for free for readers all over the world. You may remember Bill and the wisdom he shared during Episode 131. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 131 to your list of vital priorities.
Andie Kramer is an attorney and partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery where she heads its Financial Products, Trading, and Derivatives Group. She’s an influential voice in her field, praised for her significant contributions to tax policy. Andie was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal and along with her husband, Al Harris, wrote the book Breaking Through Bias – Communication Techniques for Women to Succeed at Work.
Today’s episode is going to be different from any other -- in fact -- it is fair to say that today’s episode will be another powerful lesson on how outward success is an inside job. Our special encore guest today is Bobby Albert and he is the CEO and President of Values-Driven Leadership, LLC, which is focused on teaching others the growth enabling potential of building foundational values into company culture. He is also author of the book “Principled Profits — Outward Success Is an Inside Job,” where he pinpoints specific, time-tested principles that can supercharge any enterprise. You may remember Bobby and the wisdom he shared during Episode 399. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 399 to your list of vital priorities.
Today’s episode is going to be different from any other -- in fact -- it is fair to say that today’s episode will be another powerful lesson on why you shouldn’t try to be everything to everybody. Our special encore guest today is Bobby Klinck and he is an online entrepreneur and intellectual property attorney. He helps businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs harness the power of their intellectual property rights. He is also the founder of Your Online Genius, LLC, which helps entrepreneurs protect their online businesses by giving them access to the information and resources they need. You may remember Bobby and the wisdom he shared during Episode 498. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 498 to your list of vital priorities.