Big News & A Brand Update
Sales Strategies for Consulting Businesses
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Welcome to the Accelerate Sales Podcast. If you're a first time listener and you love what you hear, please subscribe. And if you're a regular, thanks for your support. So today we've got some big news and something a little bit unique. I've got my coach and mentor Melanie Benson on the show today. She's from the Amplify Your Success Podcast, and she's actually going to turn the tables. That's right. She's going to interview me about a big change that is happening in my world regarding my podcast. So Melanie, great to have you here.
Thank you. And thanks for having me. And this is going to be really fun. I'm super excited for today and nice to meet everyone in the community today. So, Paul you have big news. You have decided to do a brand refresh on your podcast. Let's go a little bit behind the scenes and tell people why and why you're doing it now.
Yeah, well look, I think I'm up to about three, you know, this is roughly just over 300 episodes and I've had a couple of brand changes. So the first one, I was a corporate escapees. That's when I was one, right. I left corporate in 2011 and, you know, I built my business, learnt lots of lessons and I wanted to give back, cause I couldn't find anyone, a podcast anywhere that actually covered that topic. And as I evolve for that, I'm like, well, I'm no longer at escapee, right? I'm now someone that's really earned their stripes in running my own business. Then we moved it to my brand, which is Build Live Give: Build a great business to live a good life and give back. And that's my philosophy. That's how I live my life. But really that brand, you know, it's not something you in a search, right?
It doesn't pick up any SEO or you go into a podcast and you're thinking, I want to look at a certain topic. You're not going to find, build, live, give. And that's when you came along and said, well, you know, look, it's a great philosophy, but is it a good brand for your podcast? Maybe not. So that's when, with your great guidance, we talked about some ways to improve that. And that's where we came up with Accelerate Sales, which is very much linked to my current programme, which is called the Accelerate Sales Programme.
Yeah, it's a big thing. I want to just normalise this for a minute. I worked with so many podcasters and I hear from all kinds of podcasters that a couple of years in, they start to realise that maybe the conversation I thought I wanted to have in the beginning, isn't the conversation that my audience and my listeners are craving and asking for now. And I just want to give you kudos for really tuning into the audience and listening to what they're excited to hear more about. And obviously as a sales mentor, as somebody who's really good at helping people accelerate revenues into their business, of course we want to hone in and pick up on that in the podcast and the brand of the podcast in the episodes that are going to be coming forward on the podcast. Right?
Yeah. And look, to be honest, I've struggled and a little annual guidance has helped because I'm really a Jack of all trades in some ways. And I've had 18 years experience at Coca Cola, one of the best run companies in the world. So I learned a lot there. Then I've built and sold mine, take business. I've had a virtual or an outsourcing business that I've run and sold and also help lots of people. So I've got lots of things that I can help with, but people don't buy when they're confused and people don't buy lots of things. So that's where I really decided to focus in on sales strategy as the entry point, because most consulting business owners, that's where they struggle.
They've sort of had referrals in the past. The world's now with COVID is turn more online. And they're like, well, my networking, going presenting an event, all of those things stopped. So therefore my leads have stopped and how do I get those back? So that's where I start. So that's where we got to Accelerate Sales Programme, but then often it turns into once they fix their sales, then I've turned into more of a business mentor. But I think it was hard, for me, to tell people, look, I'm going to customising them, to help you with everything. And they're like, I'm investing a big amount of money here. What do I really get? And I think that's where focusing now on sales and accelerating people's sales is what we've landed on.
Here's what I love about this. And I, and I'm really excited that you're able to share this with the listening community, because what you just explained is a very common evolution of a business owner. We can do so many things like what should I focus on. And what you are doing, I think is great advice for anyone listening in who sells a service of any kind. Then is to recognise, you have to start, you have to open the relationship by giving somebody what they really need, and almost everybody needs more sales, right? And then once you solve the big pain point and you give people a formula and a roadmap, which you're so brilliant at, to getting the acceleration of sales.
Then you can start to look at well, what's really going on that's causing the lack of sales or causing maybe a breakdown that's keeping more sales from coming in. That's when you get to open up wider and give them more of what you. Wait. I think I said that backwards. You got to start with what they want and then give them what they need. Right. So, you know, starting with what they want, I want more sales and then getting to what they need is a brilliant way to be master full service. But also, because this is where my eye shine is, to really position your authority. Because that really is where you have an authority, you have massive credibility, and I think that's a great place to start.
So, you know, I thought it would be really interesting for your listeners to maybe learn a little bit more about you and behind the scenes today, since we've turned the tables and I've nabbed the mic from you. I don't know if you get this question as much as I do Paul, but I get asked all the time, how long you've been podcasting. And why did you start your podcast? I think it'd be great to share that with your community today. So why did you start your podcast and how long has it been going now?
Yeah, look, I've been a voracious learner since about 16. Obviously school, you're there to learn, but I always had fascination with learning more so my own personal development. So that's where it sort of started. Fast forward, every time I used to move, and we moved a lot with Coca Cola, I had this massive collection of books that I used to haul around from house to house. And you can see some of them there are behind me now, but believe me, it was like a room full of books because I'd buy a book almost every week and read a book awake.
And then with my condition, which is called polycystic kidney disease I've recently had a transplant. I just couldn't stay awake. I won't go into the detail of that, but effectively it's hard. So books, you know, I was constantly dropping a book on my head cause it was falling asleep all the time. So long story short found podcasting and it was just brand. It's like, okay, now I've got one small device that I can carry all my knowledge around him. I'm a quick learner, so I can listen to two and a half times speed. So I'm a lot quicker at listening than what I am at reading. So it was like, this is just, perfect. As I was listening to all different podcasts and John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneurs on Fire, itwas one of the first ones I listened to, that's when I realised that there was a gap in the market that none is really talking to people that left corporate to run their own business and that's why I started corporate escapees. And it was in May, 2017 when I first started.
So when we're over three years. That's a pretty good track record for the podcasting world with pod fade at an all time high. If you're listening and you're like what's pod fade? Pod fade is basically, you start this great idea, it's kind of like a bright shiny object syndrome, and you get bored with it and kind of fades away. And you know, one of the things you didn't say, Paul, and I'm kind of curious about is how, for many of us, we start a podcast 'cause we're obsessed with a topic, or we really want to have conversations and share them with the world. We want to share our knowledge and our wisdom. And in my experience, having a podcast is a great way to demonstrate to a potential client, how you can help them solve the problem. It's like, there's no better way to research and get to know a potential mentor or a service provider than listening to them on a podcast. 'Cause it's literally like you're building that trust factor as you're driving across town or at the gym, listening to your podcast and the conversations you're having. How do you see that fitting in, in terms of your podcasts?
Yeah. When people reach out to me on LinkedIn because, to be honest as a podcast host, you do get some great engagement, but you don't always know. So you've got thousands of people listening to each show, but you don't really know who exactly is listening. It's not like a LinkedIn post where you can see who's liked it. That doesn't exist in the podcast world. When someone reaches out to me on LinkedIn, as an example, always ask how did you come across me before I accept the connection? You know, was it through one of my posts or was it listening to my podcasts? And I'm amazed how often people say listening to your podcasts.
So then I get on the first call with them and they typically say, look, I feel like I know so much about you because they have listened to hours of content, hopefully valuable content for them, but hours of valuable content through listening to my podcast. I think that's just such an invaluable resource where people talk about, and I like know, and trust you. I know myself, I've picked mentors that have had podcasts and the way that I've got comfortable in the way that I've ended up choosing to go with them is based on the fantastic knowledge that I've given freely through their podcasts. And that's why I think podcasts are a such a valuable asset. If you're a thought leader or an expert in an area to give people the ability A) to know more about you, but most importantly, to actually have some wins based on the information you're giving them.
Three out of five of my clients, listen to at least five to seven episodes before they decide to hire me. They've admitted to me. They got to stalk me online a bit to make sure I'm real. And we are real, you're very authentic with what you share and you're very authentic with your stories. And I know you come from your heart and that's a big part of your brand philosophy, and there's no better way to really connect with potential listeners and other people you can collaborate with than having your own podcast.
So, Paul, we talked about this a little bit over our time together, but I think there's a lot of value in sharing learnings and lessons because having a podcast, I know a lot of people are like, oh, it's great to have a podcast, it's like being an author. But there's a lot that goes into it and there's a lot we learn from having our own podcasts. What do you think have been three of the biggest lessons, maybe even painful, constantly lessons that you learned as a podcast host that you think would be helpful for the audience to learn?
Look, I think the first one, and it's a pretty obvious one, but it's get out of the production as quick as you can. Fortunately for me, I never actually got into editing my own, but someone told me the other day and you could validate this, Mally that, it's like for every 30 minutes, it's like four hours of editing if you're doing it yourself. It's not as if you do it every day. So the number one thing is don't edit your own podcasts. The second is try to get out of show notes as quick as you can as well. I love the conversations and then it was like an instant downer that I'd have to go and write the show notes and I'd take such an enormous amount of time. And now I'm trying to help people with sales and not doing enough selling myself because I'm so bogged down in the production side of it. So that's probably the first lesson that I'd share. I've got great people if you want to reach out, but there's people that can do it. They do it for a living and it's a lot more affordable in that opportunity-cost of your time of doing it versus them, hands down, 'cause someone else to do it.
By the way. I totally agree with that one. I'm always about do the thing that only you can do and get everything else off your plate as quickly as you can. So that's 0.1 what's 0.2.
Second it's be really ruthless on who you have on the show, especially if you've got an interview show, obviously. So, you know, I must admit that, early on anyone that was virtually walking past me, I grabbed that to have on the show. That's good for numbers, but it's not good for your audience and really make sure that the people that you have on the show actually adding value to your audience. So I get pitched all the time to have people on their shows and I'm very selective now on who gets on the show based on the value that they own to provide the audience. So I think, you know, really set out clearly and someone like Melanie can help you do this, you know exactly what your strategy is, what value can I add to your audience, who your audience is, and then make sure that your guests align to that.
That's a good point. And I think there's a very normal, first phase of having a podcast where you're kind of like, I'll take any guest, I just need guests. And then you realise you've got to be a little bit discerning and I really applaud that for you. I'm actually excited to see the guests that you bring on and to see what shifts as you fine tune conversation to accelerating sales, 'cause that's a really exciting conversation to have. So I can't wait to see what happens. All right. What's 0.3, what's the third day.
And just very quickly on that. So you don't Build Live Give is great, but what it meant that it was quite broad. So go back, there's lots of value in the podcast. So you can go back and listen to them. But the key I think was, now that it's more focused on sales and it's not, I'll do a quick summary of someone's background, but it's not going through a whole lot of background that most people listen. Look, it's it's okay. But what you really want is actionable content. And that's what leads to my third point. I make it entertaining B, make sure that it's actionable. Think if you're listening to this podcast, what would you do as a result of it? And I think lining up those perfect guests, they've got knowledge that your audience needs and then making sure that they give actionable content and they don't just give a nice conversation. They actually make sure that they're sharing something that not many people in the world know. And it's something that you can add to your toolkit to improve your sales and improve your business.
Yeah. I love that great learnings, great ones to share, clickable and a lot of different ways. I want to tune in here to the possibility that someone might be listening into this today and knowing they want to accelerate their sales, recognising it's a great credibility booster and that there's a know, like, and trust factor that gets built. And it's a great positioning tool to get in front of ideal clients and prospects. And even like open up other referral partners and things like that. So if someone who is maybe your ideal client, they're wanting to accelerate sales to their business was considering starting a podcast. What advice might you give to them to help them decide if that's the right direction to help with the visibility side of accelerating sales?
Yeah. Well look, I think the obvious one is don't try to do it all by yourself. So what are the steps of giants or whatever that saying is, so I think that's really important. But I think really research your audience, so really understand who is your audience, your target market? Do they listen to podcasts? How frequently, what are the topics? What else, who else do they listen to? Why? So I think researching the audience is critical.
Then now have that strategy. So what is your strategy and how does it relate to your business? Cause I probably started it because I love podcasting and I saw a gap in the market, but I wasn't clear enough on what is the link to my business from the podcast. So I think getting that strategy right, and that will get you past, I think it's six to 10 episodes that a lot of people fail because now podcasting is a long game. You know, it can take three years for me, but we are really, the first 12 months took a lot of time that you've got dedicate. So don't think you'll get immediate results. So the clearer the strategy you'll know what the end game is. So then if the results aren't right, when you first launch it, you actually know what the end game is.
The next one is like, make sure you really make the guests comfortable before they come on. So we have a really great process. So most of our guests that come on, so look, it's one of the best experiences of head, but we've done that based on all the podcasts guests have been on where the host really doesn't do a great job to bring the best out of you who's the interviewee. So I think making sure that you spend five to 10 minutes and really being clear on what the value is and making sure that you're comfortable before I go away.
I've already talked to this, but it relates to the strategy, just be patient, right? It does take time for the podcast. And you're looking at you download numbers and think you, these just aren't where I want it to be. But remember there are hundreds of conversations that you're having with people that you wouldn't normally have for something that is very scalable. So it'd be patient in how long it takes. I always recommend a solo and an interview because in an interview you want to shine the light on the guest, but in a solo, you want to actually display your expertise. So I think a balance of those two is good. I don't like the people that try to always double up or if someone says something, they try to go one better in an interview. It's like, no, shine it on the guests have the solo. And the last one is use video. I took too long to switch to video and audio. I was comfortable doing audio. I used to always love to take lots of notes. So video is so important, so you can repurpose that video and I think it makes it so much easier to be across multiple social platforms if you've got the video assets.
I'm glad you brought the video part because in a lot of industries video what people connect with the most, but having the audio version as well as the video version gives people options. And, do you mind if I just share one of my colossal mistakes that I made when I first started podcasting, because it's really relevant here.
Go for it.
Yeah. And so when I first started my podcast nine years ago, it was a different podcast. And I was given the advice to have a video podcast. Well, that was before all of the technology live streaming and everything was available. And so I had a video podcast that was being distributed on apple. Well, nobody wanted to watch a video on their phone at the time. So it was just a colossal meltdown for me. And it was a very expensive show to produce. And now we have so many great options and so much easier, I tell people all the time, create the video, pull the audio, and then you've got both platforms handled. So I wish I would have started that video podcast five years later when video was at an all time high in usage. So I love your advice. It's so good.
And I was just listening to you speak and I realising that one of the best parts of having a podcast, especially if you're going to interview peers and even competitors for that matter, is sometimes those people end up becoming your clients because as you were talking about that 10 minutes of building rapport and connection with the guests, sometimes, and I'm sure you've had this happen, those conversations are so powerful. They end up going, wait, how do I work with you? Like, how do you help me solve my problems? So I love that strategy a lot. I think everybody benefits from having time connecting before they go into the conversation.
Yeah. And then it's also a great way to reach out to people as well, because you're giving them enormous value first by interviewing them, giving them a great asset that they can share to build their profile. And particularly, a lot of people don't know what to put on some of their socials. You're giving them a brilliant asset. Roughly 10% of my clients have come from my podcast guests. So, yeah, it's a great strategy as well.
I'd say this out loud, but maybe that might change. We might be putting that closer to 50% in the future, right Paul? This is a big decision and I don't think it's one that you took lightly. Like I know you really want the best for the people that you serve. You want to create great content like you were a master at, and you are so committed to getting really valuable conversations out there that are going to inspire people. And so changing the brand when you're very entrenched in it is not always an easy decision. What do you think was the hardest part for you in deciding to rebrand and change the direction of the conversations that you've been having?
Yeah, well look, I was pleasantly surprised how much the brand meant to my listeners. So I surveyed them and asked them, look, I'm looking to make this change. And, you know, they actually said, look, we do love, we're torn, right? We'd love the brand Build Live Give, it's exactly what you stand for. But also we can sort of acknowledge that it's probably too broad and it doesn't best describe what you do. So, yeah it's something that is very close to me, I love the brand, but you know, I knew, and thanks to your nudging, I knew that I had to make a change. So I think people were, it was great to know that people loved Build Live Give, but also I think people knew that it wasn't specific enough.
And you know, one of the other hardest things is all the logistics of the change. So now you just say I'm going to change the podcast, but what that's led to, I launched my personal brand called Paulhigginsmentoring.com. So in a way I've got two websites: Buildlivegive.com and Paulhigginsmentoring.com. So that was confusing, but now means that with the podcast change and going just to Paulhigginsmentoring.com, we've got a huge amount of logistics in the back end to change everything from Buildlivegive.com is the mind of minds. So my team got some work ahead of them, but it'll all be for the better, because I do think it's the right decision.
Yeah. I've been through three rebrands in my 21 years of business so I know the pain of rebranding. And I think one of the things that happens though, is the sense of alignment gives you more confidence, more power and more expansive energy. And it just changes the dynamics. And I know that's really going to juice up the power behind the conversations that you're going to be bringing out through the podcast as you move forward. Because you're just tuning more and more and more into a message that was already there, but now you're like putting it out there, it's like, yep, this is what we do here. So I love it.
I think one of the things that happens when we go through big changes with our podcast, our community's like, wait, what what's happening, where everybody wants to stay connected and be a part of what's coming next. And I love that you asked all of the community in Build Live Give like what do they want and what do they resonate with? And so now we're taking you on this new journey of the Accelerate Sales. I'm sure the listeners like me want to celebrate with you and want to help make this a big success in this pivot. How can the listener today do something to help you make this a massively exciting and successful brand pivot?
Yeah. Look, I'd love for all of you to subscribe. So that would be the first thing if you haven't subscribed already. And I know that a lot of you have, so really appreciate that, but you can go to Paulhiggins.mentoring.com/podcast subscribe. And also I've love a review. So reviews, whether it be on Apple, which I think it's rebranded. What's it called now?
It's Apple podcasts.
Apple podcasts, that's right. It used to be called iTunes or whatever it was. Yeah. Apple podcasts. So please leave a review there or on Spotify. That would be fantastic. And if you do, and I'd love for you to do that, please send me a photo of the review because sometimes, you know the name you use, isn't always obvious on the review. So I I'd love to thank you, but I'd also love to do more than that. I'd love to give you a free LinkedIn makeover so if you go to my profile, a lot of people say, your profile resonates so well. And often it's just the last thing you get around to doing. You're so busy that you don't get around to do it. So I'd love to do that for you. So this is value of a thousand dollars USD and I normally charge for this, but if any of you send a review, do it, send a photo of the review. That's what I'll do. I'll do a LinkedIn makeover. And that will just make it so much easier for people to know exactly what you do, who you help and most importantly, make it easier for you to get some new clients.
I love it. That's so generous of you and what a fantastic prize, like a big makeover on your LinkedIn profile has such a huge impact on that first impression that clients and potential partners and even employees and candidates that you're considering bringing on into your company, it makes such a huge difference to have a really, really great LinkedIn profile. So that's massively value and you do have a great LinkedIn profile, and I'm going to just up the ante for you a little bit, and I would love the, as you're listening in today, what's one thing you love the most about this show, put it in the review, but really like let's give Paul some great buzz and momentum pop onto his LinkedIn page. And when you see this episode aired, you'll see a link to it, he'll post it there. Tell him in the comments one thing that you love about Paul's show or this episode, if this one really resonated with you. So I just want to up the ante for you there a little bit, Paul, 'cause this is exciting, we all want to celebrate you. I can't wait to celebrate you. I can't wait to share it on social media for you. 'Cause I'm really excited to see you having the courage to take this to a much more authentically aligned conversation. So big, big high fives. Well done.
Yeah. I better not ghost you on that one, but thanks. Thanks for your support. It's been invaluable. I know we're going to be working together more and if anyone is got an existing podcast and I know that it's just not achieving, so you're putting a lot of effort and it's not achieving the results that you want. I'd certainly recommend reaching out to Melanie. So all the links to her LinkedIn profile, her website, etcetera, will be in the show notes as well. So I'm Melanie, thanks for turning the tables. It's actually nice for a change to be on the other side of the seat, but I really enjoyed the experience of this change that we're making. I'm so excited about the change that we're moving forward and yeah. Thanks for coming on and sharing some of your wisdom today.
Thank you for having me. It's been really fun to put you in the hot seat and ask you all the questions and help your listeners. Get to know you a little bit better, so enjoy everybody and great, great work, Paul, keep that great momentum going with your new podcast.
Great. Thanks Mel. Bye.
It was so funny to have the tables turned with Mel interviewing me, but I'm very excited about the change. I'd love for you once again, to do that review, post on LinkedIn as Mel suggested, which is a great idea. And most importantly, I want you to subscribe and get ready for lots of practical tips on sales and we will have some fun and make it entertaining as I said, but really some practical tips to help you accelerate your sales.
I'm fired up after today's episode. What about you? But Hey, before you go, learning is just one piece of the puzzle. Now it's time to put today's strategy into action. Head over now to today's show page at Paulhigginsmentoring.com/podcast and share how you'll put it into action. Be sure to head over to your favourite podcast platform and subscribe, rate, and review the show. Tell me what your favourite episode is, and don't wait one minute more to gain access to your pulse check at Paulhigginsmentoring.com. This could be the difference between struggling to get more leads and making this next quarter. Your best one yet.
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