Monday morning is here, and your list of prospect calls is staring you in the face. Your business coach tells you, “Put aside the discomfort. Pick up the phone and start calling.”
Is there anything worse than “Hey, Paul, it’s me. I know we haven’t spoken in months, but we serve the same clients so I thought I’d reach out to see if you could refer me some business.”
Or the cold call, “Hey, Business Owner, I noticed you are spending heavily on pay-per-click and yet you don’t rank organically. I’d love to come talk to you about your website.”
Your aversion to those awkward calls leads you to put your prospect list aside and tackle other mundane Monday tasks instead. While your pipeline goes dry.
The agency owner who likes making sales calls is a rare bird indeed. Many of us are good at marketing, but when it comes to the actual sales process, it’s not as easy.
What if you had a vehicle to help you push past your procrastination, a tool that would make all sales conversations less icky because they start with you adding value.
Enter the podcast.
Podcasting is More Than a Brand Builder
Most people think of podcasting as a great brand builder. And don’t get me wrong, a podcast is spectacular at doing just that (and a whole host of other things – like increasing thought leadership and creating high quality marketing content).
But there’s a hidden power in podcasting that many agency owners aren’t capitalizing on: the podcast’s ability to open doors to difficult-to-reach prospects.
What if your Monday morning looked like Zach’s instead?
Zach is an insurance agent who sells cancer insurance. His prospects are insurance agency owners who might not sell this type of coverage. To get in front of them, Zach has created a podcast that focuses on attracting millennials to the insurance industry.
His week starts with calls like this, “hey, Bob Agency Owner, I’d love to interview you on my podcast.”
Easier call to make, right?
By the way, in Zach’s first interview, he spoke with the owner of an agency with 50+ employees. That agency has a life and health division, but it doesn’t sell cancer insurance. Within 2 weeks, the owner of the agency was referring business to Zach. Without the podcast conversation, he might still be trying to get a meeting with the agency owner.
Very few people will say no to an interview. In fact, it can be argued that many will get an ego boost just by being asked.
In a recent podcast episode, John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, spoke with Jake Jorgovan of Outbound Creative. Jake says he focuses on the top 25 prospects he wants as clients and suggests interviewing them as one strategy to get in front of them.
John says, “…if you want some impetus for starting a podcast, Jake just gave it to you. A great reason to start a podcast is to interview your top 25 dream clients. It would be great content and it’ll open the door at least, because that person’s going to respond to ‘I want to interview you’ a lot more than, ‘I want to come tell you about our company.’”
That’s because you’re providing value first. There’s no conversation around sales, you’ve simply set up a conversation, one that is designed to highlight your prospect and their business.
One of our clients is a management consultant/executive coach. He was lamenting the fact that he’s competing with all these other fly-by-night coaches in the digital space. His ideal client is a CEO with annual revenue exceeding 7 figures. And yet, those who answer his ads or download his freebies are all solo-preneurs, not nearly ideal.
“We need a way to get in front of these people, and you can’t reach anyone by phone these days,” he complained. We helped him build a podcast to do just that.
Generating sales through podcasting involves a lot more than just landing the interview with your ideal client. The real magic happens in two places, during the interview and the follow up.
When your prospect agrees to be interviewed, and you find yourself in front of him or her, it’s crucial that you capitalize on this time. Most of the interviews I do for my agency podcast, Small Biz Power, are done in person. I use simple mobile podcasting equipment and meet my guest at his or her office. Often, I get a tour of their office and spend a significant amount of time getting to know them and how they work before we hit record.
Recent episodes of the Small Biz Power podcast
My interview questions are strategic. They always include something about marketing and how my guest gets the word out about his or her business.
When we’re done with the interview, I explain our process and even mention that I’ll be sending a free gift so they should keep an eye on their inbox (more on this in the Follow Up section).
This inevitably leads to a conversation about my business and the kind of work we do for clients. In a recent podcast interview, I hit “stop” on my recording device, and the business owner immediately asked what I did and how it could help his business. That led to follow up discussions, and we’re currently in the proposal phase.
If the conversation doesn’t naturally go that way, I call upon something they said during the interview about how they market their business.
“You mentioned that you do a lot of events to help people get to know you. Have you considered Facebook advertising to promote those events?” Leave them with a nugget that demonstrates your expertise. You’re not in pushy sales mode, you’re still in value-providing mode. Give them something that gets them thinking about how you can possibly help.
The Follow Up
So many people create podcasts that end with the interview. If you want to use podcasting as a true tool to grow your business, your follow up sequence is just as important as the conversation.
Our executive coach client wanted to offer his podcast guests 2 free hours of coaching. His email sequence includes that “free gift” in a thank you email that goes out just one day after the interview is recorded.
For my podcast, I offer guests a competitive search rank report using UpCity, complete with a video walk through of their results. I offer them the opportunity for a follow-up conversation should they want to discuss further.
Because your podcast doubles as a great marketing tool, you should also capitalize on your guest’s online footprint to help you spread the word about it.
Our follow up series also includes an email when the show goes live, an email with pre-written social media and images for easy sharing, and an email with ideas on other ways to promote the interview.
All of these touches are strategically designed to help you stay top of mind with your guests.
Power Up Your Business with Podcasting
In the last few months of honing this strategy, several of my podcast interviews have led to deeper conversations about the services my agency offers.
Our executive coach is finding a door to his ideal prospects where there was only a window before.
If you have a sales team, podcasting provides a simple way to help them book more appointments.
So go ahead, make that list of your top 25 prospects, and start looking forward to Monday morning’s calls instead of dreading them.