Can you turn your passion project into your only career focus? And if you do — will content monetization negatively impact your love for what you create, or can you keep loving what you do even when it becomes your primary job? Four-time returning guest David Mammano joins Onward Nation to discuss how he found his love for podcasting, and how he was able to chart a new career path with podcasting as his main focus — in spite of naysayers who tried to warn him away from it. And — he shares how going through difficult times can be a powerful teacher, if you look for the lessons and silver linings.
David Mammano is no stranger to challenge, having once built a successful business before losing nearly everything. As the host of “The Gonzo Experience” podcast, David has spoken with many other business leaders who have shared their own stories of overcoming challenges and coming out the other side stronger and better positioned for success. These stories became the backbone of his book “Crash and Learn”, where David shows readers that we aren’t defined by our failures but by what lessons we learned from them. David collected the shared wisdom of his podcast guests to demonstrate that retaining optimism through difficult times is a crucial business skill, and that even the most difficult of experiences holds lessons we can draw from them that can only benefit us in the future.
Speaking of David’s podcast “The Gonzo Experience”, during his interview David shared how he first discovered his passion for podcasting, and why he decided to make the difficult — and scary — decision to double down and make his podcast be his primary business focus. By focusing on helping others and adding value, David was able to attract an appreciative audience. The size of David’s growing audience opened up the opportunity to pursue content monetization through sponsorships to fund his work. Even though David had a number of people telling him that going all-in on podcasting was a mistake, he recognized that their words of caution stemmed not from concern for David but from their own fears. When he shut out the voices that were telling him he couldn’t do it — his own internal voice included — he was able to prove those voices wrong.
David Mammano is most recently known for being the host of The Gonzo Experience Entrepreneur Podcast. He is the author of business and college planning books, a TEDx speaker, a three-time Inc. Magazine 5000 Growth Company winner, and a professor at the University of Rochester.
He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and also a graduate of the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s Program (an executive education program offered through the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)), a board member for the Western NY Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a local board member for Junior Achievement.
David’s most recent book Crash and Learn: Lessons in Business quickly rose to the top of the Amazon bestseller lists. His other books are Make Love in the Workplace, and 101 Things You Can Do to Become an Outstanding Young Adult.
During the last 25 years, David Mammano has been a serial entrepreneur – starting seven businesses from scratch. He now uses those experiences to interview the world’s most interesting entrepreneurs. Each interview is aimed at helping entrepreneurs be their best in all areas of their life.
As a prolific speaker, David is an internationally requested speaker at entrepreneurial, business, sales, and higher education events.
David is most proud of his family in Victor, NY, including three children, Gianluca, Melania, and Alessio.
William S. Burroughs famously said, “When you stop growing, you start dying.” We all want our businesses to keep growing, but sometimes we hit obstacles and roadblocks during the scaling process — and the solutions we used to get us where we are often don’t work to get us where we want to be. In this episode of Onward Nation, FreshBooks CEO and co-founder Mike McDerment shares how his business, which started out with six team members in his parents’ basement, has grown to millions of users in over 160 different countries. And — he shares key lessons on scaling a business he learned during that remarkable growth journey — lessons that can help you fuel the growth of your own business.
Mike created the software that would become FreshBooks after growing frustrated when he accidentally saved over a past billing invoice. That’s when he decided to create a better tool for small business accounting. The tool proved successful — and Mike’s focus shifted to this new business opportunity. One of the important decisions Mike made early in the life of FreshBooks was to walk away from venture capital funding. At the time, Mike was concerned that the need to offer a return on investment could stunt progress in scaling a business — and so for years, FreshBooks was self-funded. Ultimately, this put the company into a great position now that it is in the pre-IPO stage because it allowed FreshBooks to remain more nimble without being beholden to outside investors during its critical growth period. While Mike believes venture capital isn’t always a bad idea, it wasn’t the right choice for FreshBooks.
During FreshBooks’ remarkable period of growth, the company reached several key milestones and breakpoints. Each time, Mike and the team had to adapt to change and learn new, critical skills directly tied to scaling a business. For example, early on everyone reported directly to Mike — but eventually, the team grew enough that managers needed to be added. As Mike said during his interview, it was important to identify when these breakpoints happened and to adapt the business to continue scaling through them. And it is an ongoing process — as the business grows, the things needed to keep it moving change. Ensuring that everyone is aligned with your mission and values is critical, and if a team member isn’t in alignment with their role, it is important to address the situation honestly and clearly. As Mike said, every business problem is a people problem at its heart. Getting the right people in the right seats can help you overcome any obstacle.
Mike McDerment is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing and collecting billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.
Everyone faces the feeling that they aren’t good enough at some point in their lives. The Imposter Syndrome can be debilitating; it can prevent you from making the progress you want for your business and can allow you to convince yourself that you aren’t good enough — so how do you get past it? In this episode of Onward Nation, bestselling author and business, relationship and mindset coach Tommy Breedlove discusses his own battles with The Imposter Syndrome and shares how focusing on others — rather than himself — became the key that unlocked his potential for authenticity, vulnerability, and self-love.
Tommy spent three years working on his book, but once the draft was finished he was left with the hollow feeling that his words didn’t mean anything. Tommy surprised everyone (including himself) by starting over from scratch, but this time he was committed to pouring his passion and authentic self into his words. He felt a drive to help others — and that drive broke him out of his own limiting beliefs. Needless to say, Legendary was a huge success, and Tommy attributes this success to the fact that he allowed himself to be vulnerable, open, and honest. Tommy had to realize for himself that his words had value for others and that he had something profound to offer the world — and this realization formed the backbone of his book. Too many of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, but Tommy believes that these feelings can be conquered by allowing ourselves to love the people we are and the contributions we have to offer.
The act of writing Legendary was transformative for Tommy, but even he was surprised by the benefits he received from writing his book. Legendary became a huge credibility-building tool that led to coaching work and other business opportunities for Tommy. The book became Tommy’s cornerstone content — and it all came about because Tommy was able to beat The Imposter Syndrome and achieve a personal breakthrough, by seeking to serve others. The lesson here is that generously offering your expertise can only pay dividends and open new doors and form new relationships. Mindset is the backbone of success, and believing in yourself is an important ingredient in achieving the goals you have set for yourself.
Tommy Breedlove is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of the book, Legendary, and Atlanta-based business, relationship, and mindset coach who is regularly featured keynote speaker at global events. He serves clients and audiences by empowering them to build and live Legendary Lives. He guides them to build a lasting legacy, work in their zone of brilliance, obtain financial confidence, and live with meaning and balance.
Oftentimes we fall into the trap of doing things the way we do them because it’s how we have always done them. But it’s the creative business solutions — not the same old strategies — that have the potential to create new opportunities and even disrupt entire industries. In this episode of Onward Nation, health insurance company Hooray Health founder and CEO Shane Foss shares how identifying the unmet needs of America’s millions of uninsured employees formed the basis for his company’s mission to reinvent health insurance from the ground up, and he explains why thought leadership has proven to be a powerful tool to build credibility and get his message out.
For Shane, the “aha!” moment came when he saw firsthand the challenges that uninsured workers were facing in getting access to basic healthcare. Shane began questioning the status quo and wondering if there was a better way to do things — and this train of thought ultimately culminated in the formation of Hooray Health. Shane identified an underserved group and then innovated cost-effective solutions to help them gain access to necessary healthcare services. He saw the problem and then built and iterated on solutions to address it, without falling into the trap of becoming too attached to the solutions his company created. This allowed Hooray Health the flexibility to find new angles and opportunities and to adjust based on the needs of their clients rather than getting too locked into their business model.
At every step during the process of building Hooray Health, Shane was told “you can’t do that” or “that will never work”, or “you’ll never find an underwriter willing to take the risk”. Shane might easily have listened to the naysayers, but he kept going. Eventually, he was able to put all the pieces together and offer low-cost, practical healthcare plans that empowered part-time workers and other overlooked segments to attain healthcare while protecting themselves from predatory billing practices. Shane and his team put together creative business solutions that allow them to meet the needs of an otherwise untapped market — while simultaneously creating profits for their business and looking after the needs of their clients. None of this would’ve been possible had Shane just accepted the conventional wisdom of health insurance at face value.
With over 20 years of tenure as an executive in the medical industry, Shane Foss became frustrated with how under-served Americans were with the current healthcare options. He set out to make a change and in 2018 achieved this goal through launching Hooray Health, an unconventional health insurance company dedicated to providing affordable basic and urgent health care alternatives to high-deductible health plans.
Through Hooray Health, Foss and his team focus on offering peace of mind to lower-income individuals and families who face medical challenges, while also providing business owners with an affordable way to reward and retain employees. Partnering with companies like Sedera, Ameritas, and Aflac, they have been able to add critical services and supplemental plans giving immense value to employers and individuals.
Throughout his professional experience, Foss has negotiated complex, multi-million-dollar contracts, worked in device sales management, created business strategies, and optimized P&L. He holds an MBA from Rice University’s Jones School of Business, a BS from the University of the Incarnate Word, and a Surgical Technologist Certificate from the United States Air Force.
Negotiation is a powerful skill — especially in uncertain times. With the pandemic disrupting so many existing business agreements and contracts, renegotiating these arrangements can be the key to salvaging them. But how do you start tough conversations? In this episode of Onward Nation, encore guest, lawyer and expert negotiator Kwame Christian shares key business lessons on negotiation and conflict resolution that can help you survive and even thrive in uncertain times. As the pandemic and the effects of social distancing have made certain obligations difficult or impossible to fill, finding new, mutually beneficial solutions is important.
The secret to great negotiation lies in a few key skills: being proactive, authentic, and empathetic, and being prepared to ask key questions and carefully consider the answers you get. Kwame says that expressing empathy and understanding with your negotiating partners’ position can help you generate goodwill and trust, and it can also help you find new solutions that satisfy all parties involved. By showing that you understand their perspective and recognize their expectations, you can find common ground and shore up your agreements with them. We can’t control the impact that the pandemic and social distancing requirements have on our businesses, but we can often find alternative solutions.
One of Kwame’s most important business lessons in his career is the power of the magical question, “what flexibility do you have?” By asking this question, you are passively assuming that the other party has room to negotiate, priming them to your way of thinking. This question often catches others off guard and encourages them to be more willing to bend. In return, Kwame says it is important to be willing to bend your own expectations and work toward common ground. Almost anything can be negotiated, Kwame says, as long as you’re willing to ask.
Kwame Christian, Esq., M.A. is a business lawyer and the Director of the American Negotiation Institute where he puts on workshops designed to make difficult conversations easier. As an attorney and mediator with a bachelor of arts in Psychology, a Master of Public Policy, and a law degree, Kwame brings a unique multidisciplinary approach to the topic of conflict management and negotiation.
His TEDx Talk, Finding Confidence in Conflict, was viewed over 160,000 times and was the most popular TED Talk on the topic of conflict of 2017. He also hosts the top negotiation podcast in the country, Negotiate Anything. The show has been downloaded over 350,000 times, and has listeners in 181 different countries.
The mentor-mentee relationship is about more than just learning from a more experienced, seasoned business professional. When done correctly, both parties can reap incredible rewards and discover new opportunities. These trusted relationships can lead to new business introductions and even new business ventures for both the mentor and the student. In this episode of Onward Nation, encore guest and “Original Shark” on Shark Tank Kevin Harrington discusses the broad benefits that make these relationships so rewarding, he discusses how to find and how to use a mentor effectively to get the most out of the relationship, and he shares stories of his own experiences both as a mentee and as a mentor to others.
Before you can learn how to use a mentor effectively, you have to find the right mentor that fits your business and its needs. As Kevin explained during the interview, the best way to find the ideal mentor is to explore your existing relationships with the lawyers, accountants, and other professionals you’re already working with. Your professional network knows your business and your values and can potentially connect you with a great mentor who would be a good fit for your business and its current challenges. As Kevin suggested, ask yourself who you write checks to and start mining those relationships.
Once you’ve formed a relationship with a mentor (or as a mentor with a new mentee), be clear and upfront about your expectations. As the mentee, it’s your job to prove to your mentor that you are their best, most attentive student. Respect the wisdom your mentor is willing to share, and take action based on their recommendations. If you “don’t have time” to follow their guidance, why should they spend the time mentoring you? Learning how to use a mentor effectively is about listening, communicating, and then following through. If you put in the effort, the rewards both you and your mentor will discover may surprise you.
As an “Original Shark” on the hit TV show Shark Tank, the creator of the infomercial, pioneer of the “As Seen on TV” brand, and co-founding board member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, Kevin Harrington has pushed past all the questions and excuses to repeatedly enjoy 100X success. His legendary work behind the scenes of business ventures has produced more than $5 billion in global sales, the launch of more than 500 products, and the making of dozens of millionaires. He’s launched massively successful products like The Food Saver, Ginsu Knives, The Great Wok of China, The Flying Lure, and many more. He has worked with amazing celebrities turned entrepreneurs including, like Billy Mays, Tony Little, Jack LaLanne, and George Foreman to name a few. Kevin’s been called the Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur and the Entrepreneur Answer Man, because he knows the challenges unique to start-ups and has a special passion for helping entrepreneurs succeed.
Good Morning…I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation.
One of the things that I love most about my role at Predictive — is that every single day — I have an opportunity to talk with, work alongside with, and teach and share with business owners just like you.
They might own a marketing or advertising agency as I do, or they might be a rockin’ awesome business coach, or maybe the owners of a consultancy — and they too love being in the trenches being helpful…sharing the best of what they’ve got with their audience…and as a result…they’ve started to — or have already — built a nation of true fans.
All of the what, why’s, and how to’s for build a nation of true fans is what we’re going to focus on in today’s solocast.
I’ll map it out in full transparency — and as always — please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I’m happy to help.
As you’ll hear in a few minutes — your first step in building your nation of true fans has nothing to do with the actual content delivery platform — channel — or the type of cornerstone content you create — but has everything to do with the value and helpfulness of what you will be creating, sharing, and delivering to your audience, because your nation of true fans will be built on a foundation of valuable, super helpful content that your audience can use to be better at their jobs everyday.
Your nation of true fans will know your heart and that your intention is to help them grow, to learn, and to be better. It never feels like a transactional relationship.
They don’t feel like you’re trying to monetize them.
Do they spend money on your services and what your team provides — yes — your true fans do. And the rest of your audience are there just for the golden nuggets — and that’s 100 percent okay.
So let’s begin walking down this path — you and I are going to take a look at strategy and tactics for how you can build a nation of true fans from the cornerstone content you are creating on a consistent basis. The way you win long-term is by creating content that develops and nurtures long-term relationships with your audience.
These relationships are what Wired Magazine founder Kevin Kelly calls “True Fans.” And in my opinion — true fans represent your ROI Scorecard’s ultimate vital metric.
To paraphrase Kelly — any business owner can create a solid revenue stream around a community of approximately 1,000 people when they are “True Fans” of what the company sells and when there is a connection between the company and its fans based on the value provided. In this solocast — I will illustrate how a consistent effort toward creating consistent cornerstone content can create a nation of true fans for your business, too.
Your nation of true fans will be fans of you, fans of your point of view, and fans of the helpful content you create and share. Your fans will support you because of the sacred bond you have built with them and because you consistently delivered massive value through your content.
Okay — now let’s get dialed in on building your nation of true fans: a sense of community, collaboration, and profitability around your business.
And could there be a more critical time than right now to do this for your business, Onward Nation?
If you get this right — it will be a super helpful strategy to not only help you come roaring out the other side of this recession — but — this strategy will help you future proof your business for years to come.
Let’s begin by breaking the phrase “Build a nation of true fans” into its three core ingredients. The first is “build”, the second is “nation”, and the third is “true fans.”
Ingredient #1: Build…as in your platform.
How would you begin to “build” a nation of true fans? You’d begin with selecting the form of cornerstone content where you intend to share your insights and wisdom with your audience — or eventual audience.
Whether that’s a…
The platform you choose is irrelevant from a tech perspective. Any or all of the above can help you build a nation of true fans. The tech behind it all is relatively easy. Is there a learning curve? Sure.
Will you feel at times like you are trying to fly the space shuttle with so many knobs and buttons to push? Sure. How does Facebook Live work? What time of day should I create a story on Instagram? What kind of camera and mic are best if I want to be a serious YouTuber?
All of these are tech questions — and within an afternoon with your best friend Google — you can solve those problems and find the answers as long as you don’t let the fear of the unknown become paralyzing to you.
So let’s shift our focus away from the tech — and instead — focus on the value you will be providing through those channels?
What’s your story?
How will you serve your audience?
How will you make what you are doing so valuable to their business or life, that they actually consider you to be indispensable?
How will you become so consistent in the help, advice, recommendations, and over value that you are providing on a consistent basis — that you BUILD deposits in their emotional bank account?
They begin to trust you — they begin to like you — and then because of them liking you and trusting you…they move even closer to you by truly KNOWING you.
So, your first step in building your nation of true fans has nothing to do with the actual content delivery platform and has everything to do with the value of what you will be delivering — because your nation of true fans is built on VALUE.
And if you get that right — the actual platform — or your conduit through which you share your value — will fall into place — and it will feel less stressful because the value you were called — put on this Earth to deliver — will then be in the driver’s seat.
You, Onward Nation — will become unstoppable.
Will there be profit to be made for your business because you built a nation of true fans? Of course. To date — Onward Nation has helped Predictive ROI generate over $4 million in revenue and we feel blessed and honored about that result outcome. And we believe that this result outcome was made possible because we never placed ourselves first. Ever.
Now let’s shift our attention toward Ingredient #2: “Nation.”
And I want to make sure we address this because we live in a world where bigger lists, bigger subscribers, massive downloads, huge customer lists, etc. etc. etc. is what attracts headlines and massive attention.
You don’t need an email list of 100,000 people. You don’t need to have a podcast that gets a million downloads a month. You don’t need to have a customer list with 20,000 prospects on it.
Nope. You don’t.
That’s not your Nation.
What you need — realistically — depending on the size of your business is somewhere between 100 to 1,000 high-qualified prospects.
That’s it…100 to 1,000 of the very best prospects who precisely match your client avatar — in fact — your knowledge with some of these people is so deep that you can boldly claim them as your Dream 25 prospects.
If you need a refresher on why your Dream 25 matters — go back to Episode 308 of Onward Nation — and I map it all out — how to figure out who your Dream 25 is — and — how to romance your Dream 25 so they understand how important they are to you.
To take this point deeper — I want to share a very tangible example of a company that grew from zero to become a multi-billion a year company — yes — billion — with a capital B.
My mentor, Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine…decided to interview my friend Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel and to share the interview on the SUCCESS CD that rides along with the magazine.
During the interview with Darren, Cody shared several personal stories of very humble beginnings — and how those stories — helped shaped the kind of company Advisors Excel has become.
A company packed full — wall to wall — of incredible people — a team whose sole focus is to deliver more and more value every day to the financial advisors around the country they are there to serve. And Advisors Excel team does it masterfully well. They have BUILT their platform — a platform that is indeed built on a solid foundation of value.
But…did they build this platform by trying to serve the 60,000 financial advisors located in the state of Florida alone?
How about all of the financial advisors up and down the west coast?
Did they focus on spending large amounts of advertising dollars trying to reach everyone they could with their message of value, value, value?
Not at all.
Instead…they meticulously selected 1,000 of the very best financial advisors who they wanted to earn the opportunity to serve. Yes, Onward Nation, Cody shared with Darren that they built a list of 1,000 financial advisors — just 1,000 — and then they went to work to deliver more value than another other insurance marketing organization in the industry to the 1,000 advisors they wanted to work with.
The 1,000 advisors became their Nation…and advisors outside of the Nation didn’t exist. Advisors Excel was solely focused on being the best they could be for this small group of prospects.
So what was the result outcome?
Well, in year 8 of the business…they reached over $8 billion in revenue. $8 billion, Onward Nation.
When they are the right prospects — you don’t need 10,000…you actually only need a small number to make your business amazingly successful and profitable. 1,000 people — who you can love on — who you can support — who you can add value to — who then in turn are excited to do for you some of what you already shared with them.
Okay — now let’s move to Ingredient #3 — True Fans
We’ll begin by taking the number 1,000 — deeper — because it is a magical number and a vital priority for your business.
According to Kevin Kelly, if a business created a base of customers who were more like fans — 1,000 True Fans — then that business could become sustainable and profitable by simply focusing on the needs of its true fans.
And if you visit the Show Notes for today’s solocast…you will find a link to Kevin Kelly’s blog post as well as the long tail curve he created to illustrate the 1,000 true fans strategy.
Kelly describes “True Fans” as customers who will help you mobilize and move your business onward to that next level. They are true fans of you — true fans of your message — true fans of your business.
They will support you because of the sacred bond you have built with them.
A bond that was built upon — and continues to be built upon — the foundation of the value you create, you deliver, and the value you share with them on a consistent basis.
Whether you do that every day — every week — no matter what the schedule — no matter what the rhythm — the fact that you are consistent is what is important.
According to Kevin, “A True Fan” is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to visit your location.
They will buy the super deluxe version of your product even though they already own the standard version, too.
They have a Google Alert set for your name.
They have bookmarked your website.
They come to your product announcements — or — ribbon cutting ceremonies for a new office location.
They come to your book signings and ask for you to sign their copy.
They cannot wait for your next webinar — your next podcast episode — your next event — your next release of whatever.
And the best way to increase sales for your company is to connect with your True Fans directly…so you need to have a platform built on value…see? We keep coming back to that foundational truth.
Onward Nation, 1,000 true fans is a very reasonable number. As Kevin explains in his brilliant blog post… “if you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable.
Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating.”
The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. And you do that through building your platform — delivering value — and making sure you are using the right conduit so it reaches your 1,000 true fans on a consistent basis.
Again…it doesn’t matter if you use a podcast, blog, write a book, video series, or some other form of cornerstone content.
What’s important to identify is not the form of content where you’re most comfortable — but — the platform your fans use the most. What’s the best conduit to them?
For me — it’s this podcast, the books I write, the annual research we do, the webinars where I can teach longer form, and the videos we share every Sunday.
But there is also another piece to True Fans…and that are the concentric circles of “Lesser Fans.”
This segment of your audience will not purchase everything you produce, and may not seek out direct contact, but they will buy much of what you produce.
The processes you develop to feed your True Fans will also nurture Lesser Fans. As you build your nation of True Fans, you will also add many more Lesser Fans.
And as you are building…don’t avoid…don’t miss the opportunity to go deep…to develop intimacy with your audience…with your true fans.
Onward Nation…that’s one of the reasons I ask for feedback so often.
My team and I legitimately want to get better — but — I also want to hear from you — to get to know you — to learn from you — and to deliver even more value so Onward Nation becomes — and hopefully remains — your most favorite podcast.
Okay…you now have a tangible recipe for building your own nation of true fans — and when you do — your nation will become this amazing, awesome, wonderful, beautiful, incredible community of people who are generous with their feedback and help guide your business in the right direction to deliver value.
Consider Kevin Kelly’s lesson as you build out your cornerstone content. Ask yourself how you can continually add more and more value like Cody Foster and his team at Advisors Excel.
Because when you build your nation — and focus on being helpful not transactions — your business, your team, and your life move onward to a completely new level.
So with that…I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today.
It’s always an honor to have you here. 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 from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. That’s how we get better.
Remember — now’s the time to double down — all of the data is on your side.
Until next week — onward with gusto!
Jonathan Silver is Founder and CEO of Affinity Solutions. Affinity is the authoritative source of truth for news outlets, not-for-profits, research firms, and businesses in the US and the only source for purchase insights that can be analyzed by demographic, geographic, lifestyle segment, and political affiliation. Jonathan’s vision is to transform data insights into experiences that improve people’s lives.
What you will learn from this episode:
Sean Ammirati co-founded mSpoke, which was the first acquisition of LinkedIn. His next startup was Peak Strategy, which was acquired by Morgan Stanley.
Today, he focuses on being a partner at Birchmere Ventures, where they invest in seed-stage SaaS and marketplace startups. Since its start in 1996, they’ve invested in 135 companies with 51 exits. Sean also teaches entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.
What you will learn from this episode:
Jacob Morgan is a four-time bestselling author, keynote speaker, and trained futurist who explores leadership, employee experience, and the future of work. He is the founder of FutureofWorkUniversity.com, an online education, and training platform that helps future proof individuals and organizations by teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the future of work. He is also the host of the weekly podcast The Future of Work, where he talks with top-level executives and bestselling authors about everything related to the future of work.
What you will learn from this episode:
Cate Stillman, founded Yogahealer.com in 2001, a $1 M+ revenue a year business. Cate is a leader and author in the field of Ayurveda, Peak Performance, and Habits (titles: Body Thrive; Master of You); podcaster with 2M downloads, and global community builder. She runs Yogahealer with her remote team (10 contractors + 40 work studies), so she can ski, surf and run rivers with her family in the Tetons and Mexico.
What you will learn from this episode:
Tim Cameron-Kitchen is a Digital Marketing expert and Head Ninja at Exposure Ninja. Exposure Ninja works and consults with businesses in every imaginable market around the world, helping them to increase their website rankings, traffic, and profit. Tim has been working in Digital Marketing since 2005, setting up Exposure Ninja in 2012.
Tim’s five bestselling digital marketing books, online courses, seminars, and the Exposure Ninja podcast, teach tens of thousands of businesses each year. Tim is a regular speaker at the B2B Marketing Expo at London’s Excel and at private seminars and workshops.
When he’s not Ninja-ing, Tim’s trying to persuade his son Luca to come to the cricket with him, going to the gym with his wife, or fixing the destruction caused by three cat children, Ninja, Samurai, and Shinobi.
What you will learn from this episode:
Chris Prefontaine is the best-selling author of Real Estate on Your Terms: Create Continuous Cash Flow Now, Without Using Your Cash or Credit. He’s also the founder of SmartRealEstateCoach.com and the Smart Real Estate Coach Podcast.
Chris has been in real estate for over 25 years. His experience includes the construction of over 100 single-family and duplex homes (mostly in the 1990’s and selectively to date), has owned a Realty Executives Franchise (Massachusetts 1994-2000) as broker/owner which maintained high per-agent standards and eventually sold to Coldwell Banker in 2000. The 2000’s included coaching ½ million and higher REALTORs® in order to scale & automate their business throughout the US and Canada. He also participated (and still does selectively) in doing condo conversions (multi-family homes to condos) and “raise the roof” projects (converting single-family ranches to colonials in growth neighborhoods).
Chris has been a big advocate of constant education and participates regularly in high-end mastermind groups, as well as consults with private mentors. He runs his own buying and selling businesses with his family team, which buys 2-5 properties monthly, so they’re in the trenches every single week. They also help clients do the same thing around the country.
Chris and his family team have done over 80 million in real estate transactions. They mentor, coach, consult, and actually partner with students around the country (by application only) to do exactly what they do.
What you will learn from this episode:
Fernando Angulo is Head of Communications at SEMrush. He has been with SEMrush since the beginning of the company’s marketing efforts and has built its all-star marketing team. Being one of the most recognized faces of the brand, Fernando is speaking at 50+ top conferences worldwide each year. Fernando specializes in B2B search marketing, e-commerce, influencer marketing, and trained marketing teams of companies such as Expedia, T-mobile, Prestashop, and Bing.
What you will learn from this episode:
Menlo Innovations CEO Rich Sheridan became disillusioned in the middle of his career in the chaotic technology industry. He had an all-consuming thought: things can be better. Much better. He had to find a way. Why couldn’t a workplace be filled with camaraderie, human energy, creativity, and productivity?
Ultimately, Rich co-founded Menlo Innovations in 2001 to end human suffering in the workplace. His unique approach to custom software creation is so surprisingly different, that 3,000 people a year travel from around the world just to see how they do it.
His passion for creating joyful work environments led to his bestselling and widely celebrated book, Joy, Inc. – How We Built a Workplace People Love. His highly anticipated second book, Chief Joy Officer, came out December 4, 2018 and will continue to prove that a positive and engaging leadership style is actually good for business.
What you will learn from this episode:
Good Morning Onward Nation – I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host.
Thanks for coming back — it’s an honor to have you here, Onward Nation — and this episode is going to be a solocast…where it’s just you and me…taking a deep dive into a topic where I’ve been answering a lot of questions in my daily calls and meetings with business owners just like you.
In addition — several weeks ago — we aired Episode 936 which was my interview with Shay Rowbottom — one of today’s foremost influencers on how to crack the LinkedIn code in order to gain more visibility and to build community.
And the feedback we received from you, Onward Nation made me think it was time to focus a solocast around LinkedIn — but in a super specific way so that you could walk away with specific strategies and steps for filling your sales pipeline with an abundance of right fit prospects.
My thought is — that if you and I could have that type of strategic yet tactical discussion…and we could do that in August…you’d have one more arrow in your lead gen quiver and be ready to make the remainder of 2020 as fruitful and profitable as possible.
So that’s what you and I are going to cover in this solocast…how to effectively use LinkedIn like a pro so you and your team can generate a steady stream of well-prepared prospects so that you have a full pipeline as we step into the final 4-months of the year.
Before we dig in…I want to first make sure that we have a brief discussion around expectations.
Generating leads is not hard work…in fact…it is simple work…especially when you have the right recipe to follow, which I am going to share with you in full transparency in this solocast.
But…just because the work is simple does not mean it is easy.
In fact, I can almost certainly guarantee that you or someone on your team will be frustrated at the beginning because you don’t see immediate success.
You may even pound your first on your conference room table and wonder why the results are not better — or — you may get upset at your sales team for what seems to be a lack of productivity.
The key is — to get out there and start testing for yourself the recipe that I’m going to share with you in this episode.
You need to get as many at bats as you can. And if you strike out — to realize that that’s okay — that that’s too be expected — and you get up, dust yourself off, and you step back into the batter’s box to get ready for another swing.
Because the more at bats you have — the more opportunities you have to make adjustments — to make improvements — and to perfect your swing.
Case in point…let’s take a look at Derek Jeter…arguably the greatest New York Yankee to ever wear the pinstripes.
Jeter is a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer with his long list of impressive accomplishments including five World Series Championship rings
But…what most people don’t know about Derek Jeter is that of all players in Major League Baseball history, he is number 12 on the all-time list of total strikeouts.
In fact, Jeter struck out 1,840 times during his 20-year career.
To say that another way…there have only been 11 people in the history of baseball who struck out and failed more often than Derek Jeter.
So in baseball terms, Jeter failed 1,840 times – but yet – he continued to get up there – to take another at-bat – and he kept on swinging.
And through it all – he recorded 3,461 hits, which is 6th all time and he finished 11 of his 20 seasons with a batting average of .300 or better.
A Hall of Fame resume to be sure.
He never got up to the plate – struck out – and then headed back to the dugout and said, “Well, Skipper — I guess I don’t have what it takes to play ball after all. Thanks for having me but I’m hanging up my cleats.”
To minimize your strikeouts — I’m going to coach you through the right recipe for success…so that you not only have the ingredients you will need…but…you will also have the process so you know what ingredient to blend in and when.
That way — all you need to do is follow the recipe and then rinse and repeat.
First…some quick words as to why we love LinkedIn as much as we do…and why it should be the cornerstone of your lead gen strategy.
There are approximately 706 million LinkedIn members — yes, 706 million.
And according to research done by Hubspot — LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter at generating leads. And 79% of marketers see LinkedIn as a very good source of leads with 43% of marketers saying they have sourced at least one customer from LinkedIn. And B2B marketers shared with Hubspot that 80% of their social media related leads came from LinkedIn.
Next…want to guess the average number of LinkedIn connections for a CEO?
Because if 930 is the average — some are higher — some are lower — but you tend not to get 930 connections by accident — you work at it — so if someone has 930 connections — it is likely intentional.
Meaning, LinkedIn is a platform that he or she values — and a place where they spend time — that is great news for you.
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 706 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 930 connections on the platform.
All of that speaks to your opportunity of finding and connecting with the prospects who can fill your sales pipeline, Onward Nation.
Okay — 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.
I’m going to share the full list with you — and then we will go back and dissect each one.
Ingredient #1: Improve your LinkedIn profile by adding video / audio clips, value proposition, etc. to your Summary.
Ingredient #2: Import your existing email list in LinkedIn and send connection requests.
Ingredient #3: Build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s advanced lead gen tools like Sales Navigator.
Ingredient #4: Send InMail messages to your top prospects — and be sure to speak the language of your “client avatar.”
Okay — 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 making sure your LinkedIn profile is not just good — but that it is excellent — dare I say optimized.
Why does this matter?
Because when you send InMail messages as part of Ingredient #4…the very first place your recipients — your prospective clients will go to learn more about you — is your LinkedIn profile.
And if your profile 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 if you look like you don’t care — they won’t either — and they won’t respond to you.
Maybe your InMail was just spam — you are ignored — and they move on.
Or, if you take 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 #4 — 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.
And — at Predictive ROI — my team and I have been experimenting with long-form LinkedIn posts…typically about 800 to 1,000 characters…with a bold headline that includes a search term…and we have seen Google indexing this content and ranking well in search results.
So — you’ve undoubtedly heard people talk about “optimizing” your LinkedIn profile for search…yep, it’s a thing.
Okay — this is going to sound self promotional…and hopefully you know me well enough now to know…that I’m only mentioning this to give you a good tangible example.
Go to LinkedIn and look me up — send me a connection request…and you will see illustrations of each step I just shared with you.
Now on to Ingredient #2 — import your existing email list into LinkedIn and send connection requests.
To make sure we’re on the same page here — I’m talking about taking your email list — the list you communicate with often — consisting of customers, prospects, your full community of email subscribers — 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 or more.
And the next time a prospective client checks out your LinkedIn profile — they may see the larger number — and for some people — the larger the number — the more impressive and more credible.
Second…your number of 1st-degree connections in LinkedIn impacts the number of prospects you will be able to see during Ingredient #3 of this process — when you use LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool.
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. Rock solid awesome!
Now, here’s what’s interesting. My nearly 27,000 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 26,000 1st connections theoretically extrapolates out to a total network of 680 million people when considering 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree connections.
Yes, 680 million…which means I can roughly see just about everyone in LinkedIn.
I can search through a huge number of people during Ingredient #3 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. And unfortunately, LinkedIn does not make this process very intuitive or easy. But — hang with me…here’s how you do it.
Click the “My Network” tab in the main navigation. You will then be taken to a screen that on the left side reads “Connections” at the top left column all the way down to “Hashtags” as the last open in the left menu.
Click on the first option…”Connections.”
From this screen — this is where it gets wonky.
On the far left…you should see an option that reads… “Your contact import is ready. Connect with your contacts and never lose touch.”
And you should see a button underneath that reads “Connect”.
Next you will be taken to a screen that shows a list of a whole bunch of people from your contact list, etc. that are on LinkedIn…and LinkedIn is offering to send a bulk connect request to them.
Click the little check box in the upper left — and then the blue “Add Connections” button and by doing so — you will invite hundreds if not thousands of new people into your network.
Awesome…but we’re not done yet.
The next screen will give you a list of people who you know who are not yet using LinkedIn…and LinkedIn is asking you for permission to email them on your behalf to entice them to join LinkedIn.
To me — that feels a bit yucky — so I recommend that you click the “Skip” button.
Okay — then finally…we have almost arrived to what I actually wanted to show you.
When you skip the last step…you will receive a screen with a headline that reads, “Didn’t see anyone you wanted to invite?”
Well — at the bottom…in hard to read gray text…is a link that reads “Done for now.”
And when you click the “Done for Now” link…the magic happens.
You will be taken to a screen where you can do several things…you can connect LinkedIn to your email service and it will pull out your list of contacts for you…awesome.
Or — from this screen…you can also upload your email list and send connection requests to all of them instantly.
Okay, back to lead gen and Ingredient #3: How to build your prospect list using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Tool.
Sales Navigator is a premium version of LinkedIn — but and my guess this happens to you a lot, too — I am often offered the opportunity to upgrade from the Free version of LinkedIn into one of the premium versions several times of year.
And when we have a major biz dev push or campaign taking place — we definitely make the upgrade. But for maintaining your profile and sharing your thought leadership content — LinkedIn’s free version works just fine.
So let’s do a quick tour of Sales Navigator.
From within this powerful tool…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.
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…and no…LinkedIn does not offer any sort of automated CRM functionality.
This is tedious work — I get it — 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 I’m going to assume you did all of the work you needed to do up to this point. You 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 the Advanced People Search tool with the resulting outcome being — a highly targeted prospect list — perhaps the most targeted list you and your sales team have ever had.
So now what?
Ingredient #4 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:
In today’s show notes — I included an actual InMail message — a template — you can use to create your own.
Please use it.
My Predictive ROI team 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 our free Resources Library at PredictiveROI.com/Resources you will be able to download our free workbook on how to create your ideal client avatar.
Having and mastering this knowledge is a must in writing effective InMails.
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 Champion and played again this year for the title but lost to Clemson.
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.”
Don’t give up
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 — 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.
Remember — now’s the time to double down. The data is on your side.
Onward with gusto!
Robbie Kellman Baxter has been advising entrepreneurs on business strategy for 20 years. Her clients have included solopreneurs and venture-backed startups as well as industry leaders such as ASICS, Netflix, Electronic Arts, and The Wall Street Journal. She has worked with nearly 100 organizations in over 20 industries on growth initiatives.
A sought-after writer and keynote speaker, Robbie has presented at top universities, associations and corporations, as well as to corporate boards and leadership teams around the world. Robbie has created and starred in 10 video courses in collaboration with LinkedIn Learning on business topics ranging from innovation to customer success and membership.
As the author of The Membership Economy: Find Your Superusers, Master the Forever Transaction & Build Recurring Revenue, a book that has been named a top 5 Marketing Book of the Year by Inc.com, Robbie coined the popular business term “Membership Economy”. Robbie’s expertise with companies in the emerging Membership Economy extends to include SaaS, media, consumer products and community organizations.
Prior to launching Peninsula Strategies, Robbie was a strategy consultant at Booz-Allen, a New York City Urban Fellow and a Silicon Valley product marketer. Robbie received her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and graduated with honors from Harvard College.
What you will learn from this episode:
With over 20 years of real estate experience, Chad Heeter is building a family-run real estate investing company based in beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado.
Chad Heeter grew up in a Kansas City real estate family. At 7 years old, he was pulling weeds and picking up trash around the 30+ rental properties that his dad owned. Soon, he was promoted to mowing lawns and painting. Years later, Chad continued on his own, purchasing and rehabbing his own rental properties. After his wife, Elizabeth, passed away in 2017 after 16 years of marriage, Chad needed to focus on raising his children on his own. He decided to get back into real estate investing, something he could manage while the kids were in school.
Not long after, Chad was introduced to Chris Prefontaine and the National Property Team. He’s proud to be connected to this incredible group of investors who are working to build win/win relationships by solving problems that many home sellers face, as well as helping home buyers achieve their dream of owning a home.
What you will learn from this episode:
Mark Willis is a man on a mission to help you think differently about your money, your economy and your future. After graduating with six figures of student loan debt and discovering a way to turn his debt into real wealth as he watched everybody lose their retirement savings and home equity in 2008, he knew that he needed to find a more predictable way to meet his financial objectives and those of his clients.
Mark is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, a two-time #1 Best Selling Author and the owner of Lake Growth Financial Services, a financial firm in Chicago, Illinois. Over the years, he has helped hundreds of his clients take back control of their financial future and build their businesses with proven, tax-efficient financial solutions. He specializes in building custom-tailored financial strategies that are unknown to typical stock-jockeys, attorneys, or other financial gurus.
As co-host of the Not Your Average Financial Podcast, he shares some of his strategies for investing in real estate, paying for college without going broke, and creating an income in retirement you won’t outlive. Mark works with people who want to grow their wealth in ways that are safe and predictable, to become their own source of financing, and create tax-free income in retirement.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
A marketing strategist for over 30 years, Susan Baier founded Audience Audit in 2009 to help organizations understand their best audiences based on attitudes and needs rather than just demographics or purchase behavior. She develops custom segmentation research for marketers and agencies around the world, supporting their efforts to create marketing initiatives that are more relevant, more efficient, and more impactful.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
B. Jeffrey Madoff is the founder of Madoff Productions, based in New York City. Madoff is considered a storyteller and incisive interviewer. He has used those talents to help position major brands such as Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Radio City Music Hall, Harvard School for Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to name a few.
Madoff began his career as a fashion designer. He was chosen one of the top 10 designers in the U.S. then switched careers to film and video production. He has since expanded his reach to include teaching, book and playwriting, and theatrical producing.
He is an adjunct professor at Parsons School for Design, teaching a course he developed called Creativity: Making a Living with Your Ideas. Every week Madoff has a conversation with a guest from a wide variety of fields, from artists and entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and business leaders. A book about his class, entitled Creative Careers: Making a Living with Your Ideas, is being released June 16, 2020 by the Hachette Book Group.
Madoff has been a featured speaker at Wharton School, NYU Steinhardt, North Carolina State, SXSW Brazil, Vision Summit, Rise: Barclay’s Bank Accelerator, XRB Labs, Mastermind Group, Google Next and many others.
He has written and is producing a play based on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, Lloyd Price. Its world premiere will be at People’s Light Theater in May of 2021.
Madoff graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in philosophy & psychology. Madoff was also on the wrestling team, which combined with his academic studies prepared him for a life in the film and theater business.
What you will learn from this episode:
Mike Makredes is from Fresno, California. He has been in sales all his professional life, and currently working in the Ag industry for the largest melon, broccoli, and corn grower in the US. He handles sales for over 12 million cases ($150 million) of produce per year.
What you will learn from this episode:
Good Morning Onward Nation — I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host. Thanks very much for taking the time — please know — it’s always an honor to have you here.
Today’s episode is going to be a solocast — where it will be just you and me exploring a topic with some real depth. And this episode is Part 2 of the solocast from several weeks ago that I entitled, “How to Market Your Way through the Crisis.”
If you missed that episode — click here to listen to Part I.
I will start off with a quick refresher of the highlights from Part 1 and then we will take a deep dive into what I wanted to share with you today so that you can continue marketing your way through the crisis — and — to put yourself in the very best position possible to come roaring out the other side.
In Part 1 — I shared a number of 3rd-party research sources that showed the importance of not freezing in place as a result of the crisis…how to keep you imaginative skills running at full capacity…and…that the companies who came roaring out of the last 6 recessions where the ones who made progressive decisions and were not prevention-focused.
The progressive companies smartly reduced operating expenses in order to boost financial efficiency — and — 75% of the companies did not reduce the workforce because they realized that to do so…would mean cutting into the muscle of the operation and would negatively affect their ability to come roaring out…when the economy was on the rebound.
Instead — the progressive companies doubled down by making significant investments in R&D, marketing, equipment, facilities, and a variety of other strategic investments. I shared multiple examples back in Part 1…Episode 933 in case you want to look it up in your listening app…and again…the link is in today’s show notes.
We also took a deep dive into the forms of marketing where progressive companies made their investments. Because what they didn’t do was spent loosely on advertising or other sorts of broad promotional tactics. Instead — they focused their efforts around strategies that would help them build trust in their brands…plant their flag of authority even deeper in the niches and industries they served.
Which was super smart and synced up perfectly with the recent research study that my Predictive ROI team conducted alongside our research partner, Susan Baier, founder of Audience Audit. There is — without a doubt — a direct financial correlation between your authority position and financial ROI.
And much of that is due to the critical importance your prospects and clients place on TRUST.
So let’s peel this back a little bit more so we can explore it.
We are entering the era of the authority. While you may already be tired of the phrase of “thought leader”, the truth is there aren’t that many of them…and there are even fewer occupying that status in the niches you and your team serve.
Thought leaders don’t write content that any other agency, coach, or consultant could claim. Thought leaders don’t write about anything and everything — and thought leaders don’t compete on price.
And their time — your time — is now. Why am I saying that so definitely?
For the last 20-years — the global PR agency, Edelman has conducted research that examines who and what consumers trust and how that trust influences buying behaviors.
I shared some of the results of their special March study during my Market Your Way Through the Crisis webinar several weeks ago…
But if you weren’t able to attend — you can find the free replay here and I also included the full slide deck…all 199 slides that I used. No email required — happy to share it with you and your team.
Some of the biggest takeaway’s from Edelman’s research is that consumers assign a high level of trust to people they believe are “just like me.”
When you think about how ratings, reviews, and influencers affect their audiences — you can see the power of that belief.
Now — it’s also important to not get hung up on the fact that the study involved 33,000 CONSUMERS from 27 countries.
First off — that’s a huge sampling of people — and second — even if you are selling B2B — which my guess is you are — people are people…so if people put this much emphasis on trust in their personal lives…you better believe they behave the same way while at work making even larger buying decisions.
But — here’s what’s interesting.
Edelman’s research isn’t about celebrity influencers. Edelman is documenting the rise of the common man and woman influencer. It’s noteworthy because it gives statistical validity to the idea that real people as influencers and the impact they can have on behalf of their business.
The research asked participants to rank what attributes made an influencer believable and trustworthy. The relatability of the influencer was nearly twice as important as the influencer’s popularity. In other words…when consumers see themselves in an influencer, they were far more likely to follow and trust that influencer.
So — it’s not about having a million followers…it’s about being someone you can relate to and connect with.
For this very reason — if you’ve been avoiding putting together a content strategy where you share your depth of expertise in your niche — I recorded this solocast just for you — so that you rethink that decision.
Onward Nation — the data is all on your side.
Now — let’s continue to peel back the curtain to get a look at some of the attributes of someone who is a true authority.
If you were asked to think of an authority on any subject, who would come to mind? What about them designates them as an authority? What’s true about them? And what does someone have to do to earn and keep the title of authority?
My co-author of Sell with Authority, Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute, and I would argue that there are 10 Truths to someone being seen as an authority.
Let’s do a quick review…
Truth #1: They have a focus area or subject matter expertise.
Truth #2: They don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying.
Truth #3: They have a public presence where they share their expertise.
Truth #4: They don’t stray from their area of expertise—think specialist versus a generalist.
Truth #5: They aren’t equally attractive to everyone. In fact, they probably bore most people to tears.
Truth #6: They’re significant—which is different from prolific—in terms of content creation.
Truth #7: They don’t create any generic content that someone with far less knowledge or experience could have just as easily written.
Truth #8: They’re perceived as an educator in some way.
Truth #9: They have a passion for their subject matter.
Truth #10: They have a strong point-of-view, which is the foundation of all of their content.
A true authority has something specific to teach us, and they want to be helpful or illuminating.
They’re eager to share what they know because they have a genuine passion for it, and they don’t fear giving away the recipe to their secret sauce (or so it’s perceived).
That confidence and generosity are contagious. Their expertise is something specific groups of people (their sweet-spot prospects) are hungry to access.
So Onward Nation — to call them an expert, a thought leader, an authority, a sought-after pundit, advisor, or specialist…doesn’t matter. They’re all words for the same thing — a trusted resource who has earned that trust by demonstrating and generously sharing the depth of their specialized knowledge over and over again.
Now — let’s hook this back to the Edelman research for a moment.
Want to know what made an influencer even more compelling to the research participants?
The one attribute that ranked higher than the trust we have in “people like me” is the trust we have in highly educated experts. The only three groups of people we trust more than people like ourselves are company, industry, and academic experts.
Because experts are often afforded the highest level of confidence and trust because they have a depth of knowledge in a specific industry or niche.
So why in the world wouldn’t you capitalize on that, Onward Nation?
Instead of writing generic content that look like every single one of your competitors, which is what many agencies, coaches, and consultants do because it’s so much easier and they feel compelled to create something and don’t want to invest the time necessary to go deep, deep, deep.
Or — they feel that they should be paid to share their smarts and don’t want to just give it away for free.
My hope is that as we get started in this solocast — my words are serving as a very loud battle cry for you. My hope is you see that now is the time to share your smarts and to double down on being helpful to your niche.
Now is the time for you to jump into the trenches alongside your prospects and clients — who are just as concerned as you are about everything going on — and to begin giving away the best of what you’ve got — and when you do that — you will build so much trust that it will be difficult for you to contain it.
There’s a huge upside for you and your team to do this now. As I said earlier — there are very few thought leaders (and even fewer in the niches you serve)…which means if you can still be one of the early adopters if you commit and boldly step out into this strategy right now.
Okay — now let’s turn our attention toward Part 2…how long will this effort take — and — how do you go about doing it?
Drew and I are often asked, “How long does this take?”
The answer is yes.
Meaning — we can’t give you a precise time frame for you because it’s different for everyone.
There are many factors, including:
The consistency of your content creation
The quality of your content — are you saying something fresh or just repeating old news?
The amount of time and effort you spend promoting your content
The hunger of your audience. Some are starving and will gobble up everything you share, others will only consume the tastiest of offers
But — building your authority position is clearly not a get rich quick scheme. At a minimum, you should count on it taking six months to a year before you reap any significant benefit from your efforts.
By year two — you should be dancing a jig at how well it’s working.
And by year three — you should be well-established as the authority you are.
On occasion — a single podcast episode, video, or book will catapult someone into the spotlight and earn them a huge payout. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
Don’t count on being the exception or you risk being super disappointed and it could derail all of your hard work.
So — I’m going to make an assumption here…that all of the data I have shared with you during Part 1 of this solocast…as well as the 75-minute webinar that I taught several weeks ago…along with everything shared up to this point in this episode has shown you the very significant upside to you doubling down and building your authority position.
If so — awesome — so let’s turn our attention toward some of the key things you will need in order to make that happen.
There are three essentials to building your authority position.
And they are: 1) narrow niche, 2) a strong point-of-view, and 3) being findable in multiple places.
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Narrow is Gold
The first essential in creating an authority position is recognizing that the narrower your audience, the better. It allows you to be quickly discovered and identified as someone your target audience needs to pay attention to, all because you’re speaking their language.
Ultimately, this means you can build an audience much faster. Once you’ve built the audience, and you genuinely know them and what they need, you can provide additional value by creating products and services you can sell.
If you choose to keep serving everyone as a generalist, you can still absolutely monetize a more generic position of authority (say you’re a business coach, for example), but if you want to get to this more quickly, you need to be ruthless in terms of focus.
I agree — it seems counter-intuitive.
Most business owners focus on quantity in terms of audience. Many believe they need a massive audience to hit their sales and financial goals.
But — the data shows that this isn’t true.
You’re actually in a much better position if you’re in front of the right micro audience where nearly everyone is aligned with your ideal client avatar. Would you rather speak directly to 100 of your right-fit prospects…who are perfectly aligned with your ideal client avatar — or — be on stage in front of 10,000 people where there is zero probability that any of them are your prospects?
And yet, when it comes to business development, most business owners toss out a huge net, hoping that the right species of fish will swim in so we don’t go hungry.
Intellectually, we get it, yet our choices often suggest we’re still focusing on quantity, not quality.
Here’s the reality — you don’t need a million downloads to get your podcast sponsored.
You don’t need to speak at 50 conferences to have someone walk up and ask you some questions that lead to a proposal.
And you don’t need to be on the bestseller list to use your book as an amazing biz dev tool. You just don’t.
Most agencies, coaches, and consultants get this completely backward.
They create broad, generic content as opposed to something that captures the interest of their ideal prospects.
The content is fluffy and doesn’t invite anyone to ask questions or lean in to learn more.
But if you were to hone in on your specific audience and ignore the rest of the world (remember, one of the traits of an authority is that most people could care less about their content), the audience does lean in. They do ask questions, and they will eventually put you on a shortlist of prospective partners to consider.
And when you do it exceptionally well, you will be the only one they consider.
You Need a Strong Point-of-View
Here’s what we know for sure. Your industry (no matter what it is) and the world around us are both experiencing change at an unfathomable rate, and it’s only going to get faster.
How you communicate nowadays, at best, is on the fly.
But the one thing that will not change is that unique cocktail that defines our authority position.
It’s the combination of our area of expertise with the strong point-of-view we apply to that area of expertise. Our point-of-view is what we know to be true, and it’s this truth that defines how we approach the work and how we add value.
For example, Predictive ROI’s point-of-view is the most agencies, coaches, and consultants go about sales in the less productive, most painful way possible. They get thwarted by gatekeepers at every turn. As a result — they cannot build long-term relationships with their Dream prospects.
When we layer that point-of-view, on top of our knowledge and expertise around how to grow an audience, nurture leads, and increase sales by helping our clients Sell with Authority, it’s easy to see how and where we can be of help. It tells us who to serve and how to best serve them.
That’s evergreen. You and your team should have a similar combination.
You need to have an opinion about the work you do on behalf of your clients. You need a strong point-of-view about the marketplace, your audience, or your product or service.
As you fight for a prospect’s attention, you must differentiate yourself.
You’ve got to plant a flag in the ground and claim ownership. You need to stand out against the sea of competitors. That authority position—your area of expertise plus your strong point-of-view—becomes the flag you plant.
It’s you laying claim to what is uniquely yours—the ability to serve a specific industry, niche, audience, etc., because of what you know and what you believe.
It holds you firmly in place no matter what else changes. It becomes part of your differentiation equation. And you need both halves of the whole.
Without the point-of-view, even industry-specific content becomes claimable by others. Granted, it narrows the field, but there are certainly others who work in the same industry or niches that you do.
If you can take your content (blog posts, white paper, podcast interviews, etc.) and swap your competitor’s logo for yours without anyone noticing, your content isn’t as unique to you as you’d like.
That’s what we mean by claimable.
But don’t get too finite about this. I’m not suggesting you’re going to create an authority position no one else can replicate.
Odds are, no matter what your authority position, a handful of others could claim it, too. But that’s your goal—a small handful, rather than every competitor out there.
Just to be clear, your point-of-view is the truth you overlay onto your niche or industry-specific expertise. It’s an insight that influences the work you do.
The ideal scenario for building your authority position is one in which you have the one-two punch of a point-of-view paired with that narrow audience or topic area. That’s a powerful combination.
You can carve out a more superficial authority position with just one of the two elements, either a point-of-view or niche expertise, but the consequence is, if you’re going to only include half of the one-two punch, you’re going to share your unique position with more competitors.
At some level, you probably already know what you point-of-view is — but you don’t recognize it as such. Odds are, you either take it for granted because you talk about it so often, or you just need to dig a little deeper to find the gold in what you’re already teaching, talking about, and using to build the recommendations you make to clients.
You just have to peel the onion back several layers to get to something that’s genuinely different enough that you can own it.
You Can’t Be a One-Trick Pony
Essential number three is that an authentic authority is not a one-trick pony.
Meaning — you can’t create content so narrow it only works on one channel. An expert doesn’t have just one book. Or just a podcast. You can’t place all of your bets on one horse (or pony).
The problem is that whatever pony you rode in on is not going to be the popular pony forever, and you can’t rely on all of your prospects consuming that specific channel.
You need to be more findable, which means you need to have your authority-positioned content in more than one place. If you’re going to build an authority position — you have to answer the question, “How does my point-of-view come to life across multiple channels?”
Your goal is to create the impression that you’re everywhere. The good news is that it doesn’t take that many channels to make that happen. You need a cornerstone channel and some cobblestones.
When Drew and I wrote about cornerstone content in our book, Sell with Authority, what we meant was content that’s big and meaty, so it can be sliced and diced into smaller pieces of content—what we call cobblestones.
The definition of cornerstone is that it is the first stone placed. If you were constructing a building, you would carefully set that first stone because you know all the other stones will be set in reference to the cornerstone.
When you take that cornerstone content and break it up into infographics, quote cards, blog posts, tweets, guest appearances on someone else’s podcast, etc., that’s your cobblestone content. The combo of your niche expertise and your unique point-of-view should be woven into every piece of content you create.
In some cases, it will be overt, and in other cases, subtle. But it should always be present to some degree.
Some experts or influencers try to be everywhere, but that stretches them pretty thin pretty quickly.
All you need are a few channels spot-on for your audience that you consistently feed with new content. You need a single cornerstone and at least two or three cobblestone channels. From there, you can use your social media channels to spotlight both.
Just remember, your cornerstone is the primary channel through which you consistently deliver useful content that helps your audience do their jobs better. And it needs to be meaty enough that you can slice and dice it into multiple cobblestones.
Think of the cobblestones as info-snack-sized pieces of content like a quote graphic featuring your podcast guest that someone might stumble upon and be interested in enough that they are led to your cornerstone content. New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer shared the importance of info-snacks during Episode 305 of Onward Nation.
You need both cornerstone and cobblestone content.
But you don’t need dozens.
Cornerstones, by their nature, require a much more significant time investment. Which means you don’t have time to create too many.
Far better to do one exceedingly well than to stretch yourself too thin, and better to be consistently present in a few places as opposed to occasionally showing up everywhere.
And — you want to build something you can sustain for the long haul, and unless you’re going to make being an authority your full-time gig — it’s better to start with one.
Your cornerstone, and at least a few of your cobblestones, need to be built on media you own and control, not on someone else’s platform. That might be your website, a book you write, research you conduct, or your own podcast series.
You can use channels like Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to highlight your efforts, but your cornerstone content shouldn’t be housed there. You don’t want to go to the effort of creating content only to have some third party (like Facebook) decide to take it down or charge people for accessing it.
While you don’t want to build your cornerstone content on a media channel you don’t own, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to be on other people’s channels.
If your cornerstone content is targeted and tied to your point-of-view, and you’re consistent in creating smaller pieces of content from that cornerstone, you’re going to get noticed.
That’s all you need to get invited onto other people’s channels.
One of the key elements about being an authority is that you don’t want everything to remain on your owned channels. You want to leverage other people’s spheres of influence, and when you appear as a guest on their show or whatever channel they own and control, now they’re endorsing you, telling other people how smart you are, and introducing you to an entirely new audience.
That amplification expands your audience exponentially once you have built the foundation that earns the invites. But they will roll in, in a variety of ways.
You’ll be invited to:
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
On occasion, your cornerstone channel will shift. This shouldn’t be because you’re getting bored or are indecisive. It should be driven by your audience, reactions to your efforts, and potentially, media consumption trends.
The content itself doesn’t shift, but how you deliver the content might.
When I started executing this authority strategy for Predictive ROI, book writing was my cornerstone channel. I was creating a lot of content for publications and was being published in publications like Forbes, The Washington Post, Inc. Magazine, and other media about once a month.
And much of that content was sliced and diced off of my books on search engine optimization and social media that I wrote while I was teaching at the university.
But then in May 2015 — when we ran into revenue challenges at Predictive — and that pushed my team and I to launch the Onward Nation podcast as part of our pivot.
And the growth of the podcast quickly eclipsed my written content and took over as our cornerstone content channel. And then we have added some cobblestones into the mix with our YouTube channel, weekly emails for our community, as well as conference presentations. And — we’ve even worked the cornerstone content process backward…with several episodes being instrumental in helping me write our bestselling book, Profitable Podcasting…and after 3-years…is still one of the best selling podcasting books on the market.
For a complete breakdown on how to create cornerstone content — I encourage you to go back to my solocast in Episode 676 of Onward Nation.
Okay — let’s come full circle and bring this in for a landing. Nothing about this recession has been — or will be easy. To come roaring out of it on the other side will take a lot of hard work, discipline, and generous spirit in doubling down to be helpful.
But if you do — the data is on your side. If you take this time and commit to building your authority position…you will put yourself and your business in the best possible position when the sun begins to shine once again.
This is the time, Onward Nation for you to grab hold of those silver linings — they are there — if you’re willing to look hard enough.
Thanks for taking the time to be here and for sharing a portion of your 86,400 you have today…with me.
I’m grateful and I look forward to you being back for our next episode.
Until then — double down — and onward with gusto!
As I was mapping out and thinking through this episode — I wanted to be sure the content would be super helpful as you continue to navigate your way through the choppy waters that COVID has created for all of us.
Because what’s especially challenging about COVID actually isn’t just the uncertainty — it’s that the uncertainty…is a continuously moving target.
We’ve all seen so much ebb and flow to what is taking place — and because of that — your team, your clients, your audience, your vendors…all of your stakeholders…are looking for guidance. And…dare I say — they’re also looking for leadership. In fact — some are desperate for it.
Because of that — I invited bestseller author and leadership expert, Steve Farber to come back for an encore interview.
Steve and I are going to focus this conversation around how his Extreme Leadership principles can help you and your team navigate your way through COVID — or any crisis for that matter — and come roaring out the other side.
And what I love about Steve is he asks the tough questions — and those questions are asked out of love — but they also might make us squirm a bit in our seats.
And sometimes getting uncomfortable is the point.
Because here’s the reality, Onward Nation.
The data is clear…if you and your team double down and make progressive decisions…if you invest in the right areas while ensuring your operating as efficiently as possible…you will find the silver linings to COVID and you will come roaring out of this recession just like other companies have done after the last 6 recessions.
The silver linings are there — IF — we’re brave enough to look for them and courageous enough to step into them. All of which requires Extreme Leadership from you as the business owner.
That’s why Steve Farber is here.
What you will learn from this episode:
Before he became a company president, John Robertson was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force who oversaw an $8 billion program. Today he coaches C-level executives on how to take advantage of the coming future tsunami of artificial intelligence.
What you will learn from this episode: