Predictable Prospecting

Michael Greenberg talks about how sales professionals can use podcasting to improve sales numbers, hone your sales skills, and how your sales skills can be used to create a quality podcast with Marylou Tyler on the Predictable Prospecting Podcast.

Marylou Tyler  00:00

Hi everybody, this is MarylouTyler, we have a whole bunch of great things to talk to you about today. But also there’s this background noise that I hope you guys are going to bear with us as I  really wanted to talk to Michael Greenberg today and know that the situation and the acoustics of this podcast may not be the best because there are people next door trying to drill off or I don’t know to call it, jackhammer their third-floor balcony and California here. Michael Greenberg is the CEO of a company called Call For Content. He is an expert in many things, but mostly today I want to talk to him about Authority Marketing, and podcasting, and we’re going to throw some wild ideas out to you guys about podcasting and what that means in terms of you, the Sales Executive and whether or not you should consider podcasting as a part of your daily touches or multi-touch campaigns. So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Michael to the podcast. Welcome, Michael.  

Michael Greenberg  01:15

Marylou, thanks for having me today. I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun. Even with the noise.

Marylou Tyler  01:21

Yes, the noise is gonna drive me insane, but we’ll get through it. So let’s try this kind of weird wild notion out to people of I’m a Sales Executive at a Fortune 1000 Company or even a start-up? And I’m thinking about different channels that I could use to woo people over to my way of thinking and to start to convince them why my product or service would be best for them. Is podcasting even on their radar for me, Michael?

Michael Greenberg  01:53

It should be but it isn’t. Podcasting is this really weird thing that just sort of appeared out of nowhere that every marketer has a little bit of budget set aside for. We need some podcasting content, we need some audio content. But I think the big thing is, and my background in B2B growth strategy, I am neither a marketer nor a salesperson which lets me take shots at both. The big thing that I think the marketers forget is that that content is a chance to interact with a customer. And I love podcasts for that because the best podcasts are interview shows. So if you plan your show effectively, then it can be the show that all of your prospects and all of your major accounts want to be on. It’s the warmest cold outreach that I do. Coming on and saying: Hey, I’ve got this podcast, you’d be a good fit for it, do you want to come on the show and talk about your business? Talk about what you’re doing. I think last we checked, it was 74, 75% of all the outreach we do for inviting guests on turns into a yes. And so it’s a real great door opener.

Marylou Tyler  03:24

For people listening to Michael right now,  pop quiz? What is our conversion rate? What is the conversion rate that we’re hoping for with our email engines? Well, if you’ve guessed 79% that was the old predictable revenue formula back in 2011 that we were hoping to get. Now it’s kind of down into the 2% – 5% and Michael just thew out 75%? Doesn’t that sound so much better? So for every 100 people, we reach out to invite them onto our podcast, even if it’s 40% of the 100 that reply, that sounds interesting, or what’s it about? You’ve just started the conversation with 10x, 20x, 30x of what you could do with an email engine. Think about that. Let that sink in and then Michael, I want to focus on what you just said with your inviting prospects. People with whom you want to do business with, and flattering them beyond what they could imagine by saying, Hey, I want you to come on as the expert and talk about your business. Who would say no?

Michael Greenberg  04:28

People who don’t think it’s worth their time. We see good success with this sort of strategy. In the small business space, it works exceedingly well up to the middle market. For enterprise, it’s a multi-touch process,.You know you’re not going to make an enterprise sale off of one introduction. Knowing that generally when we get to those bigger deals where we’ve got four or five stakeholders at the table, maybe more, and we’ve got to really break in there. We’ll be using the show either as our first entry point in those deals, or we’ll be using the show as a touchpoint to help move it forward and to help build relations with one of the stakeholders where we might be weaker.

Marylou Tyler  05:45

Remember we have, based on predictable prospecting, three different types of stakeholders that we can go after. Decision-makers, direct influencers, and even indirect influencers. Indirect influencers cover industry-related folks. It’s not just people within the company, it’s people who service the company in similar industries to ours, but different products and services that we can reach out to. In addition to people within the company itself, who will be warm referrals for us get in the door. Now, this is getting in the door. It can also be used for continuing the conversation, which is drilling down into the stakeholders who, matter most in getting us further into the pipeline. So, Michael, I’m sure people are thinking I don’t. Me do a podcast? How do I do that? What do I talk about?

Michael Greenberg  06:47

It’s your job to talk all day. The best salespeople I know, that is their job. If you’re building a sales organization, that’s your goal at the end of the day is to keep your sales executives on the phone, or in meetings with prospects and clients. And that’s what your BDR is and your SDRs are for. That’s what everyone else is for, us to get them to that point. That being the case, you want to have a conversation. As the host of the show, you get to direct that conversation just like you’re directing me, Marylou. So it puts you in a really powerful position for getting in the door, especially on the big deals. We’ve seen success, positioning the show and developing the format of the show, to include some prospecting and qualification on air. Put a little context around this. Call For Content, my company, we offer white label services to agency partners who then resell to their clients. If I want to get in front of those agencies, I want to speak with the owner of the company. Now, if I want to speak with them and see if they’re going to be a good fit, then I might interview them, have them on a show, and I actually have a show focused on Colorado entrepreneurs, the features a lot of agency owners, coincidentally, I might have them on the show. And one of the questions I might ask on air is what’s next? How are you trying to grow? How are you trying to expand? And if they say we’re growing really fast. Our biggest problems are that we just can’t hire fast enough that we can’t step up fast enough, but our clients love us and we’re selling more every day. Then I know, after the recording in that 5-10 minutes in the end, while we’re just chatting after the show on how it went, I can bring up. You mentioned on-air that you guys are having difficulty scaling the budgets of your clients and your services to capture as much as possible. Have you looked at white-label offerings before? They really don’t add to your workload, but they do add to your bottom line.  I’ve been able to invite them on the show, have a great conversation with them and warm them up to the idea of liking me and working with me. Then when I make that recommendation when I start that sales conversation after, I already know whether or not they’re a good fit.

Marylou Tyler  09:53

Exactly. And we all know from learnings on this podcast for sure is that we prequalify as well. In the invite, we can put our top three qualifiers so that they answer the question as part of the invitation and scheduling of the podcast itself. If I’m working in tiers of accounts people, we can do that by the questions, very simple questions we ask upfront for them to fill out as part of the scheduling process. What that does is it helps us also hone in on certain areas of conversation that we want to make sure we cover with each of these people. Michael, what is the typical rhythm of someone starting up with a podcast? Are we trying to do one or two a week? Is it a daily thing for us once a month?  What do you think would be a good sort of rhythm for people who are thinking wow, I never thought of this and I want to try it out. What’s the typical schedule that you recommend?

Michael Greenberg  11:00

This really comes down to your purpose with the show, and what your actual pipeline is, how many prospects you actually close are and the level of qualification you can reach before you speak with them as well. But I generally recommend a weekly show to start, because it’s got that regular rhythm. But it’s not something where you have to go all in, to get there. That being said, if you’re doing a weekly show, you can’t be selling a $4,000 or $5,000 package. That going to be able to move the needle for you if you only have 50 good prospects a year come through the show. So knowing that, if I’m doing a weekly show, I want to be targeting my highest value possible, and eventually move to daily.

Marylou Tyler  11:58

Right. Let’s take the predictable revenue model of typically 8-10 qualified opportunities every month, somewhere in the greater than 5000 a month range, 10,000 a month range so somewhere between those numbers. That breaks down to typically 3-5 meaningful conversations a day, of which some of those could be podcasts. We can do a podcast, maybe two a week. I do typically two interviews every Tuesday. It is my schedule, my rhythm, and like anything you get better as you go along. You start learning where people are having problems, as Michael said. We’re in control of that conversation. So we can lead them down the path of goodness, towards what they need to think about or what would kind of jolt them into saying, Oh my gosh, I never thought of it that way. Or wow I didn’t realize there are other people out there that are suffering the way I am suffering. It allows us the opportunity to really hone our sales conversations to that sense of urgency point, but frame it in a podcast where they’re telling us their story. So we’re also getting great stories from peers of potential newer prospects of ours. And there’s a camaraderie there, of sharing experiences and realizing that they’re not alone.

Michael Greenberg  13:30

Yeah to build on that, I’d say one of the biggest things I see people, especially salespeople, not make use of when it comes to a podcast, is coordinating. And making sure that the guests post on their social media, whatever socials big for your industry, so probably LinkedIn. And that’s really important. Your first 5 or 10 guests, you might not be able to get that major key account that global VP, but once you’ve had on one or two people that they know they want to be on the show just so they don’t look like they got left out. 

Marylou Tyler  14:23

Yes, yes. There’s social proof involved. Do you think about principles of persuasion, there are a number of buttons that hit with the podcast when I first started, the first person I interviewed was Darren Ross, who was the co-author of Predictable Revenue. From there, I just realized how much I loved it. So I reached out to people I didn’t even know, colleagues that were in the field and asked them to be on the podcast and talk about what they did and why they chose the field they were in. It just snowballed from there to the point where after a while, you get people reaching out to you. How cool is that? Looking for interviews or Hey, I heard so and so a colleague of mine on your podcast, do you take you to take reservations or can I be a guest? 

Michael Greenberg  15:15

Yeah and that’s that is reciprocity, and the fact that your show only has so many episodes a year gets the scarcity. You’re inviting on authorities. And it gives them just another opportunity to continue to prove their authority. I was hoping I could make it through all six principles.

Marylou Tyler  15:44

Michael, you did really great. What I want the audience to think about is, you guys are the masters of the sales conversation. Don’t forget that. You are the masters so why not? share a little bit of your genuine, first of all, enthusiasm for your product, your expertise in what your product can do, and you know your unique genius in how to sell this thing. What better way to demonstrate that over time consistently, authentically, by doing a podcast?  It’s a brilliant strategy to add to your toolbox.

Michael Greenberg  16:28

Thank you. I can say without a doubt it works, especially for the solopreneur, for the consultant, for the executive coach. That’s a show that we’ve set up at Call For Content many times and that we consistently add six figures to their bottom line within the first 18 months.

Marylou Tyler  16:53

That’s just beautiful. I love it. Brilliant. I’m sure someone’s sitting at a SaaS company right now, startup maybe around the financing, so there are enough people and I the only STR running a podcast, or is it really meant for people who are in the account executive-type role? Michael doesn’t really matter?

Michael Greenberg  17:20

I don’t think it really matters. I do think that you get more value when you have somebody higher up within the organization, being the host of the show. A great example of a company that (1) specializes in developing these types of shows, and (2) really does it mostly for middle-market tech companies, hitting that SssS right on, is Sweet Fish Media, They’re a podcast agency for B2B and they’re putting out a book around this sort of content-based networking now. Logan heads up their daily podcast show called The B2B Growth Show. He’s not the head of the company, nor is he the head of sales, but I guarantee he passes plenty of leads back to the team.

Marylou Tyler  18:26

Right. And the other thing to remember is that doing these types of podcasts, build your social proof. It also builds your ability to be the expert, and be the thought leader in many areas. It’s this goodwill all the way around, because depending on the length of the podcast, and we’ll go into that a little bit in a minute, because I’m very curious about the length of these things, we go from an hour and a half in some of them down to five-minute shorts. But importantly, I want to get through you guys is that this is something that is done routinely. So the first step is repetition, which is doing it weekly. Whether you publish them or not is another thing. At least get those conversations and those interviews going, because the repetition will lead to the discipline. That discipline will need to routine, and then finally it becomes a habit, which is what happened to me. The other thing is, you’re growing your sales conversation. Albeit they’re not always asking, ask, ask, they are help, help, help in a lot of cases, but you’re also creating sweet training products for your team as to how to approach different situations They can listen to different scenarios. Their prospects are challenged by suffering, just sick of and articulating, perhaps a way out. That is just gold in terms of training material or nuance in the sales conversation for your team. Michael, let me ask you about the duration. Are these guidelines best practice? I hate to use that term, but are there guidelines to how long these things should be? Or is it depending on the industry? What are some of the criteria that we need to think about if we’re toying with the idea of doing a podcast?

Michael Greenberg  20:26

First off, it’s important to develop a show that doesn’t look like you’re just using it for prospecting. That’s when I see people mess up quite a bit. If you’ve got a 15-minute daily show, and you’re asking me: What do I do? then: What are some tips for the audience? We’ve got a say, 30 minute or 35-minute recording slot. And then when I come on air, you tell me:  I’ve got four more of these that I’m recording today. That’s a lot of red flags because you’re not investing a lot of time into the show. You’re putting out the show very frequently. And as a result, an individual episode might not get as much promotion. Oftentimes, those shows are done on the phone, and they’re going to be lower audio quality. If you see all that together, you can know that that shows probably being used to prospect because it’s got the numbers going through it, and it’s designed in such a way that it isn’t really going to make great content. I think that’s key to look at, but going the other way. I really like a 30-minute show, because that’s about the average driver time,  30-35 minutes. Having that, I call it a commuter show, works well. If you go up to the hour, or to the 45 minutes, I don’t think you’re going to have a problem there. If you’ve got more technical topics to discuss, if you’re really digging in, then that could be quite doable. The other thing to look at with that though is your editing costs and the actual amount of time it might that might go into making the show sound good and look good afterward. And once you get up to the hour that can start to get expensive or just time-consuming. And so the 30 minute is really what I recommend for no other reason than it works well. And once you start going to the extremes you run into difficulties.

Marylou Tyler  23:03

Let’s talk then research for the 30-minute program. A lot of times, it’s basically drilled into our heads that we’ve got to research, any type of account that we’re going after whether it’s what I call it jump account, which are those accounts that no matter what they respond to us, we jumped as high as they want us to jump because we want them as a client. We do a lot of research and try to personalize that conversation. On average, what research goes into a 30-minute podcast?

Michael Greenberg  23:37

I think it’s very similar to the same research you do before a sales call. You want to know who they are. You want to know where they come from. You want to know what they’re trying to deal with if you can, and you want to be ready to talk. I think even more important than research before show is looking at the format and the outline of the episode. I like to think in anywhere from three to five segments, even though they might not be real segments, even though you might not have a lightning round, or you might not have an outro section that you announce to the audience. When I think about my personal show, we start out with their journey, how did they get started as an entrepreneur, and then we move into what their business does today. That’s a segment too. With that current business, we talk about the industry climate, we talk about some other things going on there. Then we move into segment three, looking forward. That’s talking about the opportunities for growth, what they see coming in the next five years and we transition at the end to our final segment, which is a book recommendation. You will see that in every single episode. You will see that, even in the show notes that becomes apparent. If I have their LinkedIn profile, and I skimmed their website, I know what we’re talking about, and I know it’s going to produce the desired result for me at the end.

Marylou Tyler  25:32

I know for me personally, when I have been a guest on a podcast, sometimes I get some interview questions that they want to know before I come on. There’s also the ability to give them a couple of topics that I’m interested in speaking about, and some of them also let me know that there there’s like a hot seat session, which is kind of fun, especially if you’re industry expert the way I am.  They just sit you down and say, Okay, here’s our top three questions, like blindfolded, that we want you to answer which sometimes those are fun to do. The point here, though folks, is if there’s a rhythm if you could put together what I call a storyboard of the acts of the podcast that would help you also organize your thoughts and who would be a good candidate to be on as well. Remember the influence map of decision-makers, direct influencers, and indirect influencers are all viable people who we want to talk to at some point in the sales pipeline, depending on where we focus our efforts, whether it’s prospecting, closing servicing. We want to make sure that we’ve covered that bullseye with guests because everyone who we touch or are engaged with, we want to make sure that we have as guests on the show so that everybody feels represented. I make a big effort to bring in marketing people, salespeople, operations people, analysts, digital marketing, and things that are in and around my sphere of influence, because that gives the audience an education beyond what they’re used to seeing, like today’s show. We’ve come in really thinking about, wow, I should have a podcast, it’s not something that we think about. We’re so just drawn to email and telephone and direct mail on social, we don’t really think about the other avenues of conversation that we could be having with prospects to win the right to have that next conversation and further advanced them in the pipeline. I really enjoy the fact, Michael, that you want us to think about this is a show we are producing,  this is like a movie or a radio show and there is a format for that. Consistency is comforting to the audience as well.

Michael Greenberg  27:55

Yeah, without consistency, if they don’t know what’s coming next they stop listening. I know that having audited shows where somebody will bring me in, and why’d our downloads drop three months ago, well, you drop that hot seat, you dropped your lightning round. That’s thrown all your listeners off. That consistency makes it easier for you to be able to go week after week, and it makes it easier for your audience to listen. It also makes it easier for the guests when they come on because then they can listen to a past episode and be like, oh, okay, I know what I’m getting into and be comfortable when they start.

Marylou Tyler  28:45

Let’s recap here for the audience. We just heard from Michael that the respond to conversion rates of implementing a podcasting type of channel in and around our sales conversations is going to lift our ability to talk with more people, which is what we are hired to do is to have more meaningful sales conversations that convert to opportunities that convert to close one deal. And we also learned that while it’s nice to have the expert in the field on the podcast, we can certainly contribute to that. So if you’re an STR and there’s an AE, who we love the way they talk to clients, we want to strongly suggest that they consider doing some type of show. Or we organize that so that we have industry experts every week talking about whatever and then we invite prospects in to talk about their situation. We learned about the formats. We learned about the time finding elements, somewhere between 30 and 45 would start aa a  good show. So if I’m thinking, Michael: All right, I want to talk to my manager about this. I want to consider doing this on a solo album. I have been working in property and casualty insurance, and I want to build my book. So I want to be able to do this. What’s a good next step? If I got this sort of tickle in my throat thinking, Hmm, this is something I want to explore. What should we do next?

Michael Greenberg  30:17

So I’ll make my shameless plug here.  I would go to and download the B2B Podcast Playbook.

Marylou Tyler  30:29

Oh, playbooks. Yay, we love playbooks.

Michael Greenberg  30:32

So do I. As a company, we’re getting ready to put out our first podcast, but we’ve only put out playbooks up until now, because when somebody asks me: How do you do this? I can just say: Hey, we posted the entire playbook we use and that makes things easy for everyone. The playbook covers a couple of other different types of shows that are not quite as sales-focused. We’ve got one that we talked about called the authority builder show and that really is designed forB2B prospecting and sales. We’ve got our formula in there. Doing the math is a B2B podcast worth it? Where we walk you through how many customers do I call? What’s my close rate? What number of prospects am I coming on versus other subject matter experts? How many podcasts am I doing? And my customer value? We’ve got a little equation we walk through to see is this show work with while from a business case standpoint.

Marylou Tyler  31:49

Right. Yes, we love formulas too. We love playbooks, we love formulas because that specificity around: Should I or shouldn’t I?  when you let the data tell you and help you make those decisions rather than just pulling something out of the air. It’s much better.

Michael Greenberg  32:06

Yeah. For a weekly show, we found it’s right around that 10,000 mark for average value.

Marylou Tyler  32:15

For those of you driving who are saying, I can’t write this down, I will put everything in Michaels show notes. All the links to his website, a link to the playbook that you guys can download away and start working on this. We’re entering the era of hyper-personalization. Mass emails are horribly just depicted in the market and the response rates, more importantly, are just negligible. They’re horrible. We want to be able to differentiate ourselves and set ourselves apart from the crowd. What better way for us to do so by letting people know our authentic self through the through conversation,? This is a great way for us also to hone our conversation. We get better and better the more we practice and what better way to practice and having a podcast where you’re asking questions and you’re getting feedback and responding to that feedback. You’re really honing your sales skills at the same time. I wholeheartedly believe that the more that you’re doing these types of conversations, the better you can get at it. Do you agree, Michael?

Michael Greenberg  33:24

Oh, yeah. I know someone and she does a weekly podcast, just for their sales team, and they chose podcasts because those guys are on the road a lot. They’ve got an outside sales team and they focus on Hey, here are some updates on information. Here’s what’s working for our people right now.  It’s like a mini sales call, almost. I know I, with our sales team and with some of the investments I’ve made in other organizations, we do mock sales calls all the time. One of the biggest things, especially with new reps, or with a new market or with a new product or service, is just putting those reps in and just getting on calls. Podcast guarantees that every time you have that podcast, you are going to have a conversation.

Marylou Tyler  34:36

And if you record it, then you have a role play that is in the library for sales skills development, which is so important. With my clients, I constantly harp on huddles and role-playing, and because the more we practice our conversations, the better we get. It’s like an actor. An actor reads from a script, but they never really sound like they are horrible actors. They never really sound like they’re reading from a script when they finally deliver the performance. That is essentially what role-playing gives us the opportunity to do. It is to finesse that conversation so that it just naturally rolling off our tongues. Podcasts give you that ability and I love that idea, Michael of this remote sales forces, which I have a ton of, is to get together and do a podcast and broadcast that out. We can archive it into a library. We can transcribe the audio into snippets of conversation that we can then import into our templates for emails, voicemails and voice conversations and even direct mail. So there is a plethora of repurposing that goes on by recording these conversations as well as building our sales skills. Michael, thank you so much for joining us today. I know we could talk forever but I do want to be respectful of the crowd here. I have all the information to put on the page to get ahold of you. Anything else you want us to know before we disconnect today?

Michael Greenberg  36:15

Yeah, one last thing. I have office hours. They are like office hours with a professor, just there as a resource. Then I record my calls so I can create great content from them later. Anywhere on the website, the chatbot should be able to direct you to that office hours. If you want to just sit with me and work through how to pitch your show to your manager, I’m happy to do that. Or if you just want to sit with me and talk about how bread baking crosses over into sales, we can do that too.

Marylou Tyler  36:57

Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for your time. Again, guys, this is a channel that is not even thinking outside the box, but it kind of is because we’re just not used to this. This is the perfect channel for those of you who already or want to master the sales conversations, and also start building your prospect database of people who want to further conversations with you because they get to know you via this medium. It’s just a natural way. Flattery, all the wonderful triggers that we’re trying to get people curiosity, social proof. It’s all there in the podcast format. Thanks again, Michael for your time.  I very much appreciate you coming on.

Michael Greenberg  37:43

Yeah. Thank you, Marylou. It’s been a lot of fun.