Ava Kaufman has the heart of a 17-year-old boy…literally. Just a few years ago, she was a successful businesswoman in Los Angeles, but after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder, life changed dramatically. She lost everything. After going through a heart transplant, Ava founded a nonprofit called “Ava’s Heart Foundation” which provides resources and case management to organ transplant patients and their families – filling a critical void in the healthcare system.
Chad Hendricks is the vice president, owner, and digital marketing manager at Brand Outcomes. He is also the host of the top rated Recruit and Retain Podcast. He is an entrepreneur at heart with a natural attraction to new ideas. He thrives on variety and is driven by consistent learning, generating innovative ideas, and improving workplaces. Chad has a well-rounded background with past experience in sales, accounting, high school teacher, coach, a business owner, and is currently a wanna to be ukulele player.
Good Morning, Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to Episode 600!
Today’s episode is going to be a solocast — where I fly solo without a guest so that you and I have an opportunity to explore a topic with some real depth — and in the process — I can share practical and tactical steps — also with some real depth — that you can take and apply into your business right away to accelerate your business development with more leads and sales.
And we are going to follow that exact recipe today.
But before we do — I owe you a very big thank you. Seriously…episode 600!?!
Seriously…it feels like yesterday when Scott McKain and I recorded Episode 1. And we have had the privilege and honor — that we take very seriously — of being able to serve business owners in 115 countries with our daily episodes.
All of which is possible because of the questions YOU ask me, the feedback YOU send my way where you help us see what we are doing right — or — when YOU push us to go where we need to go in order to get better.
So before we get into today’s lesson — I wanted you to know how much I appreciate you…and how I do not take for granted the generous gift that your time and attention represents.
You make my team and I better every single day — so thank you, Onward Nation — thank you so very much.
So now let’s shift our focus toward today’s lesson…and why I believe so strongly that business owners are going about selling the wrong way.
To help illustrate that…let me share a couple of scenarios that I see happening inside the typical business.
The owner is busy…so he or she doesn’t believe they have the time in their day to do “prospecting” so they hire a junior person, or several junior people, to run point and “get out there and kick up some prospects for us to sell to”.
The owner rationalizes their decision by saying, “Well, if we are going to scale this business…then someone other than me needs to be able to sell what we do.”
And the sales team does what they are asked to do. They research…they call…they follow up…they schedule appointments…and sometimes they make pitches.
And sometimes…they even close a deal or two giving them confidence that the hard core sales process works…and it does from time to time…it just isn’t that efficient or cost effective.
And you know what? That is exactly how I learned some extremely valuable sales skills early on in my career. One of my first positions inside an advertising agency when I was 21 years old was to go through the yellow pages (I know, cringe…the yellow pages!) and then cold call everyone in town…and then go meet with anyone who would listen.
I learned a lot about persistence and tenacity…and we closed some business… but I wasn’t really that effective.
So now let’s also consider another scenario…this time replacing the heaving lifting of hand-to-hand combat — that sometimes prospecting can become — with inbound digital tools designed to advertise and promote your business to a vast audience who doesn’t yet know you — where there is no context of relationship — but over time and if you invest the right budget — you will be able to win them over and they pick up the phone and call you…to become your next big client.
But oftentimes…this is filled with marketing hyperbole because it is not that simple as launching a Facebook ad and connecting it to an email sales funnel…then voila — you have well prepared prospects who are desperate to become your next client.
Logically, we know it takes more than one Google Adwords campaign, or one Facebook ad, or a retargeting campaign on AdRoll to earn the trust of your next client. Digital marketing is great — heck — Predictive ROI…my core business is a digital marketing agency…and we have worked hard to earn our chops in this space.
Relying on a purely digital model is the wrong sales strategy for a business, too. Because…what I oftentimes find is that the business owners who are reluctant to get out and sell are the owners who are the most attracted to an inbound or digital marketing model for what should be a true sales strategy.
So let’s set these two scenarios aside for a moment — and instead — I want you to consider the potential impact on your business if you and your team stopped the aimless prospecting — and paused your digital marketing budget budget — so you could take some time to get really clear on who you wanted to serve.
Where you and your team sat down and made a list of your Dream 50 prospects — the companies you would most like to serve — but for whatever reason — you haven’t had an at bat just yet. And take it deeper that just saying… “Oh, we want to work for Harley Davidson!” Of course you do…and so do all of your competitors. Instead…you and your team need to get laser focused and say… “We want to develop a relationship with Sarah Jones at Harley Davidson because she is the type of business leader we most like to work with and for whom we can create the greatest impact.”
And then instead of unleashing your junior salespeople or a digital armada on Sarah Jones and your other 49 Dream prospects…you first reached out to Sarah personally to begin building a relationship. But not a cold call.
Instead, you will be seeking to build a relationship that is architected to remove all of the friction and uncomfortableness that can sometimes creep into the sales process. You will make Sarah feel valued…and most importantly…she no longer felt like a prospect.
Wouldn’t that be rock solid awesome for Sarah and for you?
And the sales process I just described…is what I call The Trojan Horse of Sales…and it has the potential to change the game for you and your business.
The legend of the Trojan Horse comes from the story of the Trojan War between the Greeks and Troy chronicled in the Odyssey written by Homer near the end of the 8th century BC. The story – which could be fact or fiction – is a great illustration of strategy and subterfuge.
According to the legend, the Trojan War ended in a stalemate because Greece was unable to devise a strategy to circumvent the city walls of Troy. The 10-year battle ended and the Greek army made what looked to be a retreat to their homeland.
The Trojan army investigated and found the beach abandoned. The Greek armada was gone and a large wooden horse was all that remained on the desolate shore.
The Trojans believed the Greeks had left the horse as a peace offering.
They gleefully accepted the offering and pulled the horse from the beach, past their impenetrable city gates, into the city square, and began to celebrate their victory over the Greeks.
However, a little due diligence by the Trojans would have been prudent. Perhaps they would have found the Greek strike force tucked quietly inside the horse.
The Greeks seized their opportunity late that night when they snuck quietly out of the horse and opened the city gates so the balance of their army could enter unencumbered.
The Greeks proceeded to sack the city. The story gave birth to the expression “Beware a Greek bearing gifts.”
The business development strategy for your company, if executed properly, will work in a similar way.
For example, a typical salesperson may have their access to a decision maker within a dream prospect’s company — like Sarah Jones in our example — blocked by a “gatekeeper.” Any sort of sales opportunity is thwarted and the salesperson may be forced to move on to her next prospect.
However, what if you happen to be the host of a top-rated podcast — or a YouTube channel — or a popular blog with a lot of subscribers — and you are getting in touch with Sarah Jones — one of your Dream Prospects — because you would like to interview her about her journey, her secrets to success, and the wisdom she could share with others in her industry or the broader business community?
Well now, you just changed the entire game, didn’t you?
Your podcast — video interview — or article for your blog — just increased the probability of a one-on-one, private, 60-minute conversation with your ideal prospect.
But how did your podcast give you this “All Access Pass?”
Your podcast changed the game because you are no longer perceived as a business owner looking for a new account.
You are now perceived as a journalist and your show is a media channel – a conduit – to an audience the guests on your show want to reach and influence.
It’s as simple as letting the decision maker at your dream prospect wheel the horse past the company’s gatekeeper – and park it right in the center of the C-suite. You now have an opportunity to dazzle your dream prospect with your brilliance and intimate industry and company knowledge during the interview.
Your podcast has done its job. Now it’s time for you to do yours. Sell to Sarah!
And your sales strategy should be a blend of traditional sales tactics like scheduling appointments, making presentations, providing proposals, evaluating your sales team’s workflow in your CRM, and so forth — AND — employing some digital marketing tools, too.
So after your interviews with your Dream prospects, you share the insights and wisdom collected from your guests through research guides, eBooks, webinars, and tag your guests in social media so they can feel the love — and — the appreciation you have for their contribution to your community.
My Predictive ROI team and I call this process creating “Cornerstone Content” and it plays a vital role in the long term success of your Trojan Horse of Sales strategy.
So whether you are comfortable writing articles, recording audio, or being in front of a camera — you should…without a doubt…interview each of your Dream 50 prospects with the result outcome being “Cornerstone Content” that you can share to build your platform — AND — relationships you can build, nurture, and cultivate over time so your Dream 50 prospects truly KNOW you…they truly LIKE you…and most importantly…they TRUST you.
And all the while…you are also sharing your message publicly through your platform…and then an interesting thing begins to happen.
You — yes, YOU as the business owner become known — you begin receiving invitations to be a guest on podcasts, you get quoted in the media, perhaps an agent or publisher approaches you to write a book, you are asked to speak at an industry conference, and on and on.
All of this content forms the foundation of your thought leadership — and it is thought leadership — true thought leadership in today’s world of biz dev that separates the progressive market leading companies from the wannabes.
In a future solocast — I will share some specific strategies and recipes you can use to create cornerstone content as well as how you can plug it into your Trojan Horse of Sales strategy.
But for today…I want you see how the sales process in your business likely needs to change — and how if you put a Trojan Horse of Sales out in front of your business — and get clarity around your Dream 50 prospects — how you will improve your entire sales pipeline from end to end.
I wanted to get you thinking about that.
To take that thought process even further…I am going to share a story of how the strategy of the Trojan Horse of Sales changed every aspect of biz dev for my core business, Predictive ROI — and in the process — took us to a completely different level.
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in the middle of May 2015. I was sitting at my dining room table looking out the front window at my daughter and her friends having fun at our neighborhood playground.
All was well outside – but not inside. I was under a great deal of stress.
We had a just lost a major client. And although every business experiences this pain from time to time, what made this particular loss so painful was that we were overstaffed.
The loss in revenue made our reality even more excruciating.
I had purchased the domain name OnwardNation.com about 12 months earlier but had no idea why. No strategy; I just felt compelled to make the purchase.
Funny how God whispers the seeds of inspiration into your ear sometimes and then just lets them sit until He is ready for them to germinate into some remarkable.
That Sunday must have been germination day. As I sat there at my dining room table, I remembered the OnwardNation.com purchase and made the decision that we would create and launch a daily podcast using that name.
Next, I crafted an enthusiastic, optimistic email explaining that Onward Nation was the solution we’d been seeking to turn Predictive ROI lead gen and sales activity around (mind you, I had zero strategy, only unbridled optimism).
In the email I set an aggressive launch date of June 15th. I closed the lid to my Mac Book, and somehow felt good about the decision (or chaos) that I had just initiated.
Why chaos, you ask?
Well, I should probably share that the decision to create and launch a podcast in 30 days was made in complete and utter ignorance. I knew nothing about creating or launching a podcast.
Sure, I had been a guest on a couple of podcasts such as EOFire with John Lee Dumas and ReLaunch with Joel Boggess. So I knew how to put on a headset and open Skype, which comprised my entire body of knowledge in the podcast world up to that point.
Now let’s fast forward to launch day, Monday, June 15th.
Remarkably, we launched on schedule and the first day of Onward Nation ran smoothly. We aired three episodes on launch day: Episode 1 with Scott McKain, Episode 2 with 10-time New York Times best selling author Don Yaeger, and Episode 3 with real estate mogul Stacey Alcorn.
All three guests are rock stars and Onward Nation was off and running.
Several weeks later, I attended my Agency Management Institute mastermind group. By then, Onward Nation had aired 47 episodes, daily downloads were steadily increasing, and we had scored top rankings in iTunes.
I was feeling proud about our accomplishments. We had gone from zero to 60 in about 3.5 seconds. Not bad.
But we were missing a vital outcome: Revenue!
My mastermind group – all exceptional agency owners from across the country – asked me how I was going to make money from Onward Nation. Excellent question, but I had no idea of the answer. “I don’t know,” I said. “But we will figure it out.”
Then providence set in.
Two of our Onward Nation guests got in touch with me and asked, “Hey, could you do that for me?”
“Do what for you?” I asked.
“Build me a podcast!” they said.
Like any enthusiastic entrepreneur in need of revenue, I said…achem…“Yes, we can!”
So my team and I stripped out the branding and content from the Onward Nation system and replaced everything with our client’s branding, episodes, content – and voila! We launched two more podcasts and earned $26,000 for our effort.
Rock solid awesome!
Now, a smart businessperson would have said, “Hey, we might be onto something here. This could be worth pursuing.”
But I didn’t say that.
Instead, I returned to thinking about how we were overstaffed and needed to grow revenue. Ironic, isn’t it? I often say that if God wants me to get the message, He needs to take out a billboard or hit me over the head with the brick. Subtlety is lost on me.
In late October, one of those clients (Drew McLellan, host of the Build a Better Agency podcast) said to me, “The podcast you built for me is awesome. And Onward Nation is awesome. Why in the world are you not building more of these?”
In my brilliance, I said, “For who?”
Drew rolled is eyes and said, “There have to be more Onward Nation guests who would love to have a podcast of their own!”
He took the lesson he was teaching me deeper, adding, “Look, here’s what you do. You create a Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite package…you charge this much, this much, and this much, and get out there and sell them to guests.”
My team and I immediately got to work creating the packages Drew had recommended.
And then providence struck a second time. On November 17, 2015 — I interviewed Wendy Keller, literary agent extraordinaire, for Episode 106 of Onward Nation. The conversation started out lovely – just what I had envisioned.
Then, suddenly, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach and the air knocked right out of me. Wendy told her emotional and devastating story about the tragic car accident that she and her husband, along with their two children were in while on vacation in Europe.
Her children were killed, she was critically injured, and her life was changed in an instant. My legs felt weak. In shock, I didn’t know what to say.
Wendy had to be the strongest person I’d ever met. After continuing for a few minutes, she paused and gave me a moment to catch my breath. Then we continued the interview. I was captivated by Wendy’s courage, her commitment, and her resolve.
What could stop this woman?
When we finished the interview she turned the tables on me, asking about Onward Nation.
Why was I doing it?
What was the end game?
I told her I was planning to write a book that distilled all the wisdom collected during the episodes of the podcast. I could practically feel her smile on the other end of our Skype connection.
And then she asked me a life-altering question: “Hmm… Why don’t you write a book about how business owners can use podcasting to grow revenue and their business? That’s where the real opportunity is for a book.” Bam. Providence!
Quick side note…Wendy is the one who gave me the idea and push to write Profitable Podcasting…which we released a few short weeks ago…and it became a #1 New Release on Amazon.com in just 18 hours and is currently rolling out to retail stores.
So…back to the story…following the interview with Wendy, my Predictive ROI team made it a vital priority to accelerate the sales of our newly minted Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite packages. We were on a mission to create a bone fide monetization strategy.
Our goal was to grow revenue, and at the same time, create a compelling proof of concept for the system that would eventually become this book.
We grew podcast-related revenue to $223,000 between November 17 and December 31, 2015 and built a sales pipeline of $380,000 during Q1 2016. We scaled our production and sales teams and created step-by-step documentation of our system.
And now we predict $2 million in podcast-related revenue during the next 12 months.
We accomplished this thanks in part to several amazing mentors who stepped into our path. We listened to them, and we did exactly what they recommended — and — we put the Trojan Horse of Sales to work and built a complete business development system around the entire process.
But your story of growing your business, expanding your platform, and building a nation of true fans can be just as amazing if you put the right sales strategy to work for you.
So in my next solocast…I will take this lesson deeper with more of the “How to” — but for now — I encourage you to take some time to consider the “Why” and how the game would change for you and your business if you were open to the possibilities of what the next level of biz dev may hold.
In the coming weeks, I will share our full blueprints or “recipes” for success with you. I will share each and every step we took along the way in complete transparency.
Not a single step will be hidden from you. It will all be here, in plain sight.
So before we go…before we close out and I say goodbye…I just wanted to say thank you again.
Thank you for listening…thank you for making Onward Nation what you listen to and study.
Thank you for making Onward Nation part of your daily routine — please know — I am grateful for your time and I encourage you to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever have any questions, concerns, or feedback on how we can get better.
Let me know what you think of the show — thumbs up or thumbs down. I want to know because that is the only way we can get better.
Until tomorrow — onward with gusto!
Nathan Hirsch is a serial entrepreneur, an expert in remote hiring, and eCommerce guru. Selling online since 2010, Nate has sold well over $25 million worth of product through his eCommerce business. He is now the co-founder and CEO of FreeeUp.com, the hands-on hiring marketplace connecting hundreds of online business owners with reliable, pre-vetted remote workers. FreeeUp is redefining how businesses are able to hire remote freelancers online.
Nancy Bleeke has spent years in the trenches as a Sales Professional, Sales Manager, and Sales Coach. She is the winner of the Top Sales World Magazine’s 2013 Gold Medal Book Award for ‘Conversations That Sell’, declared a “must-read” for sales teams around the world. Nancy’s practical focus since 1998 has been equipping companies to grow Sales, Customer Loyalty, and Employee Engagement through customized Training, Consulting, Assessments, and effective Processes.
Bill Troy is an Inc. 500 CEO who, for 25 years, has helped global brands like Sony, Disney and Nestle see the world from a different perspective. As CEO of Civilis Marketing, Bill and his team help companies initiate and nurture relationships that drive business growth using today’s digital communication tools. He is also the author of the book “CLICKSAND: How Online Marketing Will Destroy Your Business (And The Unlikely Secret To Saving It).”
Yigal Adato is a leadership expert, speaker, and an executive coach to business owners and is on a mission to build a legion of leaders. He dedicates himself to helping business owners master self-leadership skills, make more money, stress less, and have more freedom to do what they love. Yi – gall is also the Founder of “Unlock the Leader” and the host of the show “Small Business – Big Leaders.”
Charles Carroll is an eight-time Culinary Olympian, speaker and Executive Chef of the third busiest country club in the United States – Houston’s River Oaks. He won his first Culinary Olympics gold medal at the 1988 games at the age of 24 & was named one of the year’s Great Country Inn Chefs by the James Beard Foundation in 1993. Charles was personally commended by U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama for his work with U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2013.
Adrienne Garland is the founder of She Leads Media, a media company dedicated to leadership – both professionally and personally – for women, worldwide. The mission of She Leads Media is to inspire, educate and ultimately, to showcase women as the leaders we were all meant to be. You may remember Adrienne and the wisdom she shared during Episode 320. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all she shared during our first interview…I highly encourage you to add Episode 320 to your list of vital priorities.
Lauren Magura is the founder and CEO of Cinematcher – the matchmaking app for film, TV, and digital media jobs and events. She came up with the idea of Cinematcher through her passion for connecting people. Lauren has a background from NBC operations and Universal Pictures in marketing and film. The true dedication of everyone in the industry, and the need for an instant and location-based hiring process to keep up with the massive increase of content creation, influenced her to put Cinematcher into motion.
Charles Dobens is the co-founder of the Multifamily Investing Academy – an educational foundation dedicated to working with new investors to train them in the correct way to acquire, operate and own multifamily property. A Boston-based attorney and founder of Dobens Law, Charles has also acquired over 800 apartment units around the country and works exclusively with investors looking to acquire multifamily properties.
Vince Menzione is the founder of Cloud Wave Partners, a company that helps technology organizations build profitable relationships and execute effective partner strategies to grow their business. He’s an award-winning leader who was in charge of the launch of Microsoft’s cloud offerings & enabled the organization’s transformation to a cloud services model. Vince is also the host of the podcast ‘Ultimate Guide to Partnering’, which focuses on helping technology giants connect & thrive in the rapid age of digital transformation.
Brian Safdari is America’s Leading College Admissions and Funding Expert. He has helped over 25,000 families get their child accepted into their dream college while making the cost affordable. You may remember Brian and the wisdom he shared during Episode 31. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all Brian shared during our first interview…I highly encourage you to add Episode 31 to your list of vital priorities.
Thom King is the founder of Steviva Brands, one of the largest importers, manufacturers, and distributors of clean-label sweetening systems and natural sweeteners that provide consumers with a healthy alternative to sugar. Focusing on simple, elegant solutions that yield a dramatic impact, his work is responsible for food manufacturers creating products that contain 50% – 90% fewer sugars. Part CEO, part personal development work, and part biohacker-info geek, Thom is a self-confessed serial entrepreneur.
Tony Daloisio is the author of CHANGE! THE WAY YOU CHANGE, a principal of The Highlands Group and founder and CEO of Charter Oak Consulting. He specializes in consulting with CEOs and their teams to build capability, implement strategy, and support major change. He has extensive experience coaching senior executives and executive teams to effectively transform their business. He has worked with leaders from Emory University Healthcare, New York Life, the US Social Security Administration, and others.
Bix and Joe Bickson are organizational consultants who have consulted with major corporations, institutions, non-profit organizations and individuals throughout the world. They have helped transform the cultures of some of the world’s most recognizable brands including Microsoft, Ford, Starbucks, and many more. Today, they are regarded as “Future Hackers” – re-imagining management for today’s world by providing leaders with the essential tools required to push past what’s in the way of creating and fulfilling the future.
Meredith Bell is co-founder and President of Performance Support Systems, a global software company whose products are used by business consultants, executive coaches, and Human Resource professionals to help managers become more effective leaders. She’s an expert in helping companies develop the people side of their business and understands what’s required to build the loyalty and commitment that lead to repeat business and referrals.
Evan Hackel is the creator of the concept and the author of, “Ingaging Leadership”. He’s a successful business owner who has started more than 10 companies and is recognized as a thought leader, speaker, and author on leadership. One of his signature achievements was turning around a bankrupt business in four years and more than doubling system-wide sales to exceed $2 billion. He is also Founder and Principal of Ingage Consulting, a consulting firm headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts.
Justin Copie is the CEO of Innovative Solutions and is leading a bold move forward — instilling growth in employees and inspiring change well beyond the four walls of Innovative. Yes the 75 people working at Innovative don’t work for him — he works for them. As CEO and leader, Justin provides safety and direction, safety in voicing opinions, trying new things, and failing, and direction in where to go on the path to success. He serves others in cultivating a culture where people can come to work every day feeling safe and free to do what they love to do, and in turn help Innovative reach its vision.
Lori Ames, a veteran book publicist, is the president and founder of ThePRFreelancer, a public relations agency specializing in publicity, marketing, and public relations for non-fiction book authors. She started her business in late 2010 after her son was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor and believes that her reason for success is very simple - and that’s why she’s been nice to every person she’s spoken to for the past 25 years.
Murray Priestley is a partner at Global Private Partners, a private equity investment firm based in Hong Kong. Since 1988, he’s provided executive level management to a range of businesses. Working from an in-depth understanding of financial markets, information technology & customer service, Murray has bridged the gap between strategy & operational requirements. He’s also the author of two books, including “The Great Business Shape-up” and “The $1 million Pay Day”.
What you will learn in this episode:
How to contact Murray:
John Mitchell nearly owned 12 percent of the Dallas Cowboys and shares the incredible story at the beginning of our interview. Today, John is an entrepreneur and founder of “Think It, Be it” — a human performance company for high achievers that was born out of his fascination of how a person can take science and apply it to their life to substantially increase their chances for success, both personally and professionally. John’s 12-minute a day success formula helps people to gain more self-control and focus to up their game and move to the next level.
Evan Polin is the co-author of SELLING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES THE SANDLER WAY which teaches non-selling professionals how to sell. He is also a certified Sandler trainer who plays an important role in Sandler’s worldwide organization, Sandler Training – the world leader in sales development training programs. Along with his father, Evan co-heads a Sandler Training center in the Philadelphia area.
Christine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach and New York Times bestselling author. For over 30 years, she has helped leaders navigate growth & change. Christine is sought after for providing proven strategies to shift executive behavior to create more positive outcomes, enroll and align teams in times of change, profoundly increase sales, product offerings, and company value. Her coaching, consulting and strategies have created hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue and value for her clients.
Shawn Murphy serves as CEO of WorqIQ, formerly Switch and Shift, an organization that helps leaders transform the work experience to be positive, energizing & optimistic. His debut book, “The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment that Energizes Everyone”, is out now. Shawn was recently named a “Top 100 Leadership Speaker” in Inc.com and has over 25 years’ experience as an organizational and culture change practitioner and workshop facilitator.