Welcome to Modern Sales

Why Service Providers Need a Podcast with Simon Thompson

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Having a podcast is one of the best medium to show your expertise. But do you know that podcasting is also a great channel to increase the quality and number of your leads? Learn from Simon Thompson as we discuss why podcasting is a great fit for service providers like you.

You can check out Content Kite here: www.contentkite.com

For more information on remote selling and a complete list of links mentioned in this podcast, visit this remote selling article on our website.


Why Service Providers Need a Podcast with Simon Thompson:

Full Transcript

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners, and salespeople, looking to have more and better conversations with your perfect clients. You’ll get a healthy scoop of psychology, behavioral economics, and sales studies to help you create win-win relationships. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, and I’m pleased to welcome you to Modern Sales.

Liston Witherill:
Hey, there, Liston Witherill here, with the liston.io show. Thank you so much for tuning in. Once again, why do we say tune, when it’s a podcast? Anyway, not the radio, but a podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

Liston Witherill:
And before I get into it with today’s guest today, who, I think you’re really going to like, because we’re going to talk about podcasting itself, but before we get into that, I do want to make you aware that I am running a sales training so that you never drop another lead.

Liston Witherill:
You always know what to do next, and you can optimize it, and train other people how to be good at sales, within your own consulting company. It’s exclusively for consultants. You can check it all out at consultingsalesbootcamp.com, consulting sales bootcamp.com.

Liston Witherill:
Enough about me. Today, I have a very special guest, and that guest is my friend, Simon Thompson. Simon, tell me how you are.

Simon Thompson:
I’m very well, Liston, thank you very much for having me, a pleasure to be on with you.

Liston Witherill:
You got to see me go into full broadcaster mode. You’re like, “Is this guy on crack or something? Is he okay?”

Simon Thompson:
Yeah. It was like, “This is weird.”

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. And so it is, but thank you so much for being here. And Simon, you run a company called contentkite.com, and you help people build their content strategy. But in particular, you’re very focused on podcasting. So can you tell everybody a little bit about what it is that you do, and how you got into this?

Simon Thompson:
I started out my career in media/advertising/marketing, probably six or seven years ago, and started in print media, which is, as you know, a fairly uninteresting form of media, especially the way I was doing it. So I was working for a construction magazine, and they were selling hexagonal screws, and really specific kind of back end stuff to architects and builders, that you would just never ever seen in a building. So not the interesting type of architecture magazines, like, the real boring ones.

Simon Thompson:
So, to cut a very long story short, I had a series of jobs that eventually worked me into more of a, well, more exciting content roles. So I was working on projects for L’Oreal, Nike, Nissan, [inaudible 00:02:42], a few others, and that would range from text to audio to video. And eventually, I moved from Australia to America, started my own content agency. And for the last two years or so, we’ve been focusing more or less on text content.

Simon Thompson:
And just recently, we’ve launched this podcasting service, where we focus more on podcast content and audio content. And that’s just kind of a sign of the times. That’s just how we see the content landscape going. And that’s why we’ve decided to focus in there.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So now, this is off script. I’m already going off script and throwing you curveballs. So I have lots of reasons why I like to listen to podcasts. But tell me why you think podcasts in general are such a powerful medium to deliver content.

Simon Thompson:
So let me preface this by saying that I’m not going to sit here and say, that podcasts are the end all be all of content, and you should only focus on podcasts. I’m not saying that. There is a place for text content, or blog content, and there is a place for video content. What I really love about podcast content is just, how engaging it is. And I don’t want to sound overly fluffy when I say engaging.

Simon Thompson:
So what I mean by that is, when people listen to podcasts, they generally listen quite intently, and they listen to the whole thing. So the stat is that 85% of podcast listeners will listen to all or most of an episode. Whereas, as you know, as everyone I’m sure knows, when you’re reading a blog post, or you’re watching a video and you’re on your computer screen, you’ve got e-mails, Slack, notifications going off left, right and center. There are just distractions everywhere.

Simon Thompson:
Whereas, when you’re listening to a podcast, you’re usually maybe at the gym, on a commute, out for a walk. It’s usually all you’re doing, or all you have to concentrate on, anyway, so that’s why I really like it.

Liston Witherill:
I was going to say exactly that the last thing you said, I think you’re totally right. Not having a screen is a big advantage in terms of me, the owner of the podcast, delivering it to you, dear listener, listening to this right now. But you’re probably doing laundry or going for a walk right now, or like Simon said, on the bus, or on your bike, or in your car on your morning commute.

Liston Witherill:
It’s a medium that allows you to fit it into all of the normal things that you do in your life, without disrupting those, but really enriching those. And so, Simon, one thing I neglected to mention is that you specialize in podcasts for agencies and B2B service providers. Of course, that’s why I asked you to be here because that’s exactly who I’m speaking to. And you helped them generate leads, raving fans and strategic partnerships.

Liston Witherill:
So I have some questions about how you do some of that stuff, but I’m wondering… Service providers, B2B service providers, agencies, consulting companies, that’s a big group of people. Who within that group is this perfect for, and who should just run away from podcasts altogether>

Simon Thompson:
Basically, any business that creating content is good for, which I would argue is, every business, than podcasting should work for. And the reason that we personally specialize in working with B2B service providers, consultants, agency owners, is because, outside of that benefit of creating content, and having a really engaged audience, and all of that good stuff, is actually the second hidden benefit, which is, well, it particularly applies to people where relationships are incredibly important. And that benefit is well, just that, the ability to build relationships.

Simon Thompson:
So if you have a weekly show, think of it this way. Every guest that you bring onto your show as the host is going to know, like and trust you. They’re also going to view you as somewhat of an authority, just being a host of a podcast. That’s just kind of a psychological thing that our brains do. So if you’re in an industry such as B2B, where relationships are really the name of the game, then think of what you could do with 52 very strategically built relationships throughout a year. It’s really quite powerful.

Simon Thompson:
If you actually stopped to think about that, and get deliberate about it, it could be potential clients, it could be influencers, who could push your message to their audience. It could be referral partners, basically, anyone who can benefit you in some way. And you also get some great content for your audience, and you give them exposure. It’s kind of a win, win, win. Everybody wins. That’s why I really like it for that audience, in particular.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. And you know, of course, I deliver a sales training, and sales coaching. And one thing I get asked a lot is, “How do I follow up with people? How do I do this in a way that doesn’t feel like I’m desperate, and I’m just nagging?” And to that I always ask, “Well, are you desperate, and are you nagging?”

Liston Witherill:
So one way to get away from that trap, obviously, is to create valuable stuff that we can give people in. One of those things is a podcast, just like this one, or whatever you, once again, dear listener, I’ll break the third wall again, whatever you have in your head, that you can get out, and is valuable for your target audience to know, that podcasts then become something that you can e-mail, that you can directly share with them, that you can send to your whole entire audience and newsletter. You can post it on LinkedIn.

Liston Witherill:
There are so many wonderful uses of it, and so, I think it stretches far beyond just the contained medium that it’s in, and it starts to bleed into other ways, where we can follow up and nurture other relationships beyond the one we just made. But let’s come back to that point.

Liston Witherill:
I believe what you’re saying is, I do a podcast, I have a guest, and that guest could be a relationship that is in some way meaningful to me. Is that right?

Simon Thompson:
Yeah, that’s correct. And I’d probably preface this by saying, don’t go into it with the mindset of, I just want to have this person on my podcast so that I can leverage them later, and you’ve just got this ulterior motive. The way that I would like to think about it is, “It would be cool if this person could help me out in some way or another. But along the way they’re going to provide a ton of value to my audience, and I’m going to provide them something.”

Simon Thompson:
Because by the way, you are providing them something by having them on your podcast. You’re giving them exposure, you’re giving them perception as an expert. People pay PR agencies pretty good money for this stuff, and you’re giving it to them for free. So everyone’s kind of winning. So I wouldn’t think of it necessarily in evilly stroking your cat and going, “Yes, I’ll have this person on my podcast, so I can sell them something later.”

Liston Witherill:
That’s how I think of everything, so, that’s the only way I see the world.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah. But there are a number of ways that you can start to think about it a bit more deliberately, and just get strategic about the people that you’re having on your show, that’s going to be, cause the best result for everyone.

Liston Witherill:
I would bet, that some people listening to this right now are thinking, “What do I talk about? What about the technology? How do I structure it? How do I make it seem natural?”

Liston Witherill:
I have a lot to say about all of those things, but I think, if we can just focus on the business side of it. So if I have someone on, and I agree with you, I mean, there’s lots of different ways that we can engage.

Liston Witherill:
So, for instance, the first time that you and I met, Simon, someone told me that I should talk to you, because you are marketing to a similar audience. I had no ulterior motive, other than I was just curious to trade notes with other people doing similar things, and we became immediate friends. I was like, “I have to talk to this guy more.”

Liston Witherill:
That was one of those things, where I just knew that there was a probability that we had stuff in common. I didn’t know what would come out of it, but I think that’s an important mindset to have.

Liston Witherill:
Now, I’m wondering afterwards, I already know what I’m going to do after we hang up, but let’s say, I have a new guest on who I’ve never met before. What is your approach, or what would you tell a client of yours, to do next, so that they can maybe nurture this relationship, or maybe even see if there’s a sales opportunity there?

Simon Thompson:
I think the really key thing is to not be too, I don’t want to use the word “aggressive,” but let’s go with that. You don’t want to be too aggressive about it. What I mean by that is, you don’t want to create the impression that all you ever had was this ulterior motive, where you want to sell them something, or you want to get something out of them.

Simon Thompson:
So from mine, and people may disagree with me about this, but if you’re a B2B service provider, there’s what you do in the value you can provide, and then, there’s the trust factor, and the relationship factor. And I would say that the trust/relationship factor is actually more important than the value you provide. Because let’s face it, whatever it is that you do, someone else is probably doing it, as well.

Liston Witherill:
No way.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah, yeah, like, may even-

Liston Witherill:
You’re not the best at making podcasts in the entire world? There are other options?

Simon Thompson:
I know. It’s crazy, right? But what’s going to make someone choose me over someone else is they liked me, hopefully, and they think I’ll do a good job. And they trust me, and they’ve seen what I’m putting out there. So the key for mine, is to just lead with that trust/relationship. But you also need to have a mechanism in place for them to know what you do. So that if they know someone who could benefit from your service, or if they need your service themselves, then you’re going to be the first person they turn.

Simon Thompson:
So, a few ways where we can do that, tactically. For mine, just in my e-mail signature, it just says, last thing, under my address and phone number, “Thinking of starting a podcast? Let’s talk.” And that’s it. What I found is, though, that conversation just kind of naturally comes up. So literally, the other day, I was speaking to a guy that I interviewed in my podcast. The episode hasn’t gone live, it goes live in about two weeks, but I asked him what he’s working on at the moment.

Simon Thompson:
He’s doing a lot of stuff around landing pages, X, Y, Zed. And then, of course, the polite thing to do is to say, “What are you working on at the moment?” And I said, “Well, we’re working on this podcasting service. We’re helping agencies, consultants, B2B service providers, start a podcast.” And goes, “Oh, I was speaking to someone two weeks ago, and they need exactly that. I’m going to put you in touch.”

Simon Thompson:
And now we’re in touch, and we’re talking, and that could well turn into a deal. I had no intention of that happening. But that conversation is going to come up, if you have that relationship there, and you’ve been speaking to them.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, totally. And this is maybe slightly off topic, but I want to do some math, really quickly, and hopefully no one’s running away scared right now. But based on what you just said, so you talked to someone, you got a referral, and obviously, referrals are the best kind of leads. I think we can all agree on that.

Liston Witherill:
What I would challenge everybody to do, is start thinking about, how many leads do you want in a year? And if you create a great referral source, how often do you think you’ll get leads from them? So let’s do that math, right? If I wanted, let’s say, a lead every day, and I think I’ll get one lead a quarter, from my best lead sources, that means I need… Drum roll, right, 365 divided by four, 90 people to go out, and do the work for me, to help me get the referrals that I need.

Liston Witherill:
And so, when I think about podcasting, and obviously a lead every day is tremendous. Most businesses don’t need anywhere close to that, especially if you’re dealing with high ticket, high five figures, mid-six figures, even seven figures, you’re only looking at a fairly low lead flow that’s required to sustain a business like that, assuming that they’re qualified leads.

Simon Thompson:
And that’s a thing, especially, given how qualified there will be, since they’re referrals, and they’ll close at a significantly higher rate. Because I mean, there are leads, and there are leads, and some leads will close at, literally one percent. If you’re cold calling, you’ll have a hundred leads, but it’s a hundred people that don’t want to hear from you. Whereas, a referral, they’re going to close it out-

Liston Witherill:
Yes, at a high rate.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah, certainly, [inaudible 00:14:45].

Liston Witherill:
No, no, no. That’s good. And I would just add to that, so you know, if you’re only looking for 50 leads, you only need 15 or 20 referral sources. And what’s going on there, just, in sort of a psychological perspective, is if I refer you, Simon, to anybody, what I’m doing is I’m leveraging the social capital trust and credibility that I’ve built with that person. And I’m transferring it to you.

Liston Witherill:
And so, when I’ve referred you to someone else, that person goes, “Well, I trust Liston, therefore,” transitive principle, “I must be able to trust Simon, because listen doesn’t want to risk his reputation referring bad people,” which, by the way, is true. I won’t refer people who I don’t really believe in. So sorry if I’ve refused to refer someone listening to this-

Simon Thompson:
Ah, that’s why no one’s getting referred to Liston.

Liston Witherill:
Well, that’s not true. I have already referred people to you.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah. No, that’s why I joke about it, yeah.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. Anyway, I mean, I think this idea of social capital, and transferring it, is a really big part of, our guests don’t just have to be sales opportunities, they can also be referral sources. So you talked about the e-mail signature, you talked about nurturing, but sort of, in practice, do you have any program that you recommend people follow, or some sort of series of steps, and how long that takes?

Liston Witherill:
Because I know people want all that actionable juicy stuff, and I’m wondering if you have, I hate the term best practice, but something in mind that you would tell someone.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah, I do. I’m going to give that answer that is going to instantly make everyone hate me.

Liston Witherill:
It depends.

Simon Thompson:
Oh, it depends, yes.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. Right.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah, so I’m going to be that guy, and look for mine. I am, I wouldn’t say I’m a very introverted person, but I probably am leaning towards introversion, and so I’m not an overly aggressive person. I’m not, hardcore sales guy, so I will lean towards the e-mail signature.

Simon Thompson:
Perhaps a week later, if the conversation felt right, I might follow up with a, “Hey, by the way, we offer X, Y, and Zed. I’m not sure if that would be beneficial to you or someone you know, but let me know if you want to talk.” So very passive, very hands off.

Simon Thompson:
That said, if you’re incredibly extroverted, lean towards a domineering type, then you might want to be a bit more direct, and just go in, a week later. So it depends on you as a person, but I would just say, do what you’re comfortable with. However, do something. Create a way for the person to know what you do, and let them come to you, is what I would say.

Liston Witherill:
One thing I would add to that, though, is my big thing is, stop selling, start serving. And so, what I would say is, it does partially depend on you, but it also depends on the person you’re talking to, right?

Liston Witherill:
So if you’re getting the sense that they’re very comfortable with you, this is going well, you may be a little bit more forward with them, versus someone who has their guard up. Or it’s sort of, all business, they seem closed off to you, you’re obviously going to take a lot longer with them, and just sort of let them know it’s safe.

Simon Thompson:
Read the room, is all I would say. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t let someone say, “You’ve got to turn every conversation into a sales conversation, no matter what.” That’s not the advice I would give. You’ll know if the conversation is going to be incredibly unnatural to go there. And you’ll know if it is.

Liston Witherill:
I’m wondering, do you have a podcast?

Simon Thompson:
I do, yeah. So I’ve recently relaunched it.

Liston Witherill:
Okay.

Simon Thompson:
We launched it about a year ago, and did not implement the systems and processes required to not make it an entire headache. We did about 15 episodes, and that’s where we realized this happy accident, I’ll call it, of the relationships we were building, and then, we put it out as a content medium. The idea was, this will be our content, and we’ll attract an audience, and that’s how it will benefit our business.

Simon Thompson:
And then, that’s where I’m kind of noticing, that all these relationships we’re building with guests, we’re getting referrals, et cetera, et cetera. So, which is what led us to create this new service. So we realized that there were a ton of headaches in it. And so, we’re creating our service to take all the headaches out of it.

Simon Thompson:
And so, now, with the relaunch, we’ve implemented these systems and processes that we recommend implementing. And we’re just being much more, I guess, process-oriented about it. Because as I’m sure you know, Liston, like podcasting, if you don’t outsource what you can, automate what you can, it’s a fair bit of work actually.

Simon Thompson:
So yes, to answer your question, we have a podcast. But we’re being, let’s say we’re taking our learnings and implementing them this time.

Liston Witherill:
Okay, cool. Yeah, and I totally agree with you. It is a lot of work, and I have a lot of, maybe not broadcasting, but production experience. So I came with, maybe an edge, where I didn’t have to learn all of this stuff from scratch, but it’s a lot.

Liston Witherill:
I mean, I agree with you. So, I’m wondering if someone wanted to start down the road of podcasting, what’s the first thing that you recommend they do, to figure out if it’s right for them, or how they would maybe get started?

Simon Thompson:
The first thing I would say, I want to be careful about how I say this, because I don’t want to say be totally comfortable with doing it. Because, to be perfectly honest, I’m not 100% comfortable on every single call that I get onto. So I do think there’s a place for actually getting out of your comfort zone.

Simon Thompson:
That said, if you are just really not the type of person that can get on a microphone, and talk intelligently about what you do, then maybe it’s not the right thing to do. But assuming that you do, from a content perspective, from a, “What do I talk about?” perspective, the fullback that I always go to is, teach someone how to do what you do. And then you can kind of build from there, and go off on Spoke. So if you’re an agency owner, you do SEO, and you implement SEO strategies for clients, just teach them straight up, like, “By the way, Google is moving to a mobile first index,” or whatever it may be.

Simon Thompson:
You might give them the news about Google’s algorithm changes, or you might give them specific tactics. And the point is, I always say, give them enough information, so that they could take it and implement it themselves, if they wanted to. And people might say, “Well, then, I’m losing customers”. And it’s like, you’re not losing the customers that can afford you, essentially. Because the people that can afford you are just going to be, like, “This guy obviously knows his stuff. I would much rather pay him to implement, and so, I’m not going to miss anything up. And it will also save me a lot of time.” So from a content perspective, that’s where I’d start.

Simon Thompson:
And then, obviously, there’s all the technical things you need to get in place. You need to have a good microphone, you need to have a hosting platform, you need to set up the feeds to iTunes, and Stitcher and Google Play, all of that we can go into. But, from a content perspective, just, all you need is to talk intelligently about what you know, and what services you provide.

Liston Witherill:
And do you recommend… So in that case, essentially, someone is doing an audio blog post. They’re going on, and they’re talking about something that they know, and that could be helpful, and maybe some how to content, or an industry trend, or an update. Earlier, we were talking about having guests on. Do you recommend one versus the other?

Simon Thompson:
That’s a good question. I should have clarified that. So it really is up to you. I obviously recommend the guest approach, for the reasons I talked about before. It’s a great way to build relationships.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah.

Simon Thompson:
That said, I feel like I’ve talked a lot about the relationships benefit side of it, and not about the content medium itself. So, your podcast is going to be extremely valuable, as a content medium itself. And whatever is going to make that content more valuable is the format that you should be thinking about.

Simon Thompson:
So, interviews are really great, not only because of the relationships, but because you get a diverse range of opinions and expertise. So interviews are really good. That said, if you want to do a monologue, where you talk of, just one person talking into a microphone, talking about an industry trend, that’s cool, too. If you’re giving enough value, and you don’t drone on in your voice, and you don’t sound particularly boring, that’s a great format, too.

Simon Thompson:
Another one is the two hosts talking. That’s probably one of my favorites, as a listener, the two hosts talking if you like the two hosts, that is.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. Minor details, right?

Simon Thompson:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s it, because you get to know them. Maybe they have some back and forth banter that’s funny, whatever it may be, but there are plenty of valid formats. It’s kind of, whatever’s going to help you get your message across.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, the one thing I was going to say is, when you were talking about, go out and talk about SEO, or marketing, or your IT service, or whatever it is that you do, the one thing about that is that may be intimidating to some people. But if you’re in a position where you’re doing interviews, it’s less about you, and more about your guests.

Liston Witherill:
Really, all you want to do is make your guests seem like a superhero. And so, hopefully, that the format can take the pressure off of you, depending on how you want to do it. Another thing I would mention is, I have another podcast called Offline, with my dear friend Philip Morgan, and it’s just the two of us. One thing I would say, that’s a problem with that format, is there’s no natural built-in promotion, and because when you have guests, they have a strong incentive.

Liston Witherill:
Most people don’t. They’re not out creating a ton of media. They have a really strong incentive to share that with the people that they know, and so they’re going to help you spread the word, and help you grow your audience quickly. However, on the, just you talking into the microphone, or you talking to a guest format, there’s less built in promotional, which is why I, hear on the liston.io show, do both.

Liston Witherill:
There are some episodes where I’m just talking, there are some episodes where I’m talking to people like you. And so I think that’s another thing you can think about, when you’re thinking about your podcast.

Simon Thompson:
Yeah, definitely. I’d 100% agree with that, because, and this applies to all forms of content, people are going to share things that make them look good. And if you want someone to be a guest on your podcast, you’re elevating them to, you’re putting them up on a pedestal, you’re bigging them up in the intro. They’re very much where the focus is. Unless they say something really terrible, they’re going to look good in that podcast.

Simon Thompson:
And so, yeah, like you said, they’re very incentivized to share it. There’s also the element of reciprocity, because you’ve given them that platform, they feel inclined to do well by you. And again, that’s not like, in an evil, stroke your cat kind of way. But, I mean, that’s just the way it is. Everyone kind of wins. So I’m a fan, as you can tell.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. All right. So, Simon, you, in true form, in the way that you recommend it, you’ve been very forthright and open about all of this stuff that you do. If anybody wanted to follow up with you about podcasts, or just because you seem like a swell guy, what should they do?

Simon Thompson:
If people go to contentkite.com forward/workshop, I am hosting, when I say I’m hosting… Look, I’ll just come out and say it. It’s automated. It’s a replay of a video, of a, how do use podcasts as a B2B sales and marketing channel. It’s completely free.

Simon Thompson:
You’ll need to opt in for it, but it’s about 30 minutes of me, just going through, exactly, how you can go about starting your own podcast, and specifically, how to leverage it as a marketing channel. Because it’s one thing to start the podcast. It’s the other thing to get strategic about it, and then actually use it to benefit your business.

Liston Witherill:
Okay, perfect. And that URL, one more time?

Simon Thompson:
contentkite.com food/workshop.

Liston Witherill:
All right, well, Simon Thompson, thank you so much for being here. As usual, a pleasure. Thank you.

Simon Thompson:
Pleasure is all mine. Thanks for having me, Liston.

Stay In the Loop

Get a daily sales insight sent straight to your inbox – sign up for our newsletter.

Like what you heard? Help us get the word out! Just leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It’ll take you less than a minute and it’ll help us spread the word about Modern Sales.

Subscribe

Get Serve More Weekly, an email newsletter with one article, podcast episode, and stories from around the web. Every Monday.

Up next…

Check out the four sales fundamentals every top performer masters, how to use value-based selling to increase your leverage, and how to improve your remote selling skills as the world becomes more virtual.

And check out the SDS method if you want to improve your sales process.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn