Are you an expert in your field and yet you feel like you are the best kept secret. You are constantly chasing clients and yet you see others who seem to attract clients like “Bees to a honeypot” Listen to this interview and find out how you can become “Known” in your field and have clients coming to you!
Dylis: Hi, there this is Dylis Guyan from dylisguyan.com, International Sales and Marketing, Leader, Coach and Speaker. I help business owners and sales people who sell to bigger business to become the trusted expert to being well positioned in their field and have clients coming to them.
Today I have got the most amazing guest who is going to talk to us some more about that very subject. I would like to introduce you to Mark Schaefer and I will just give you a little bit of context around Mark. He is amazing and that is not an understatement. Mark is a globally recognized keynote speaker, educator, business consultant and author. He blogs at Grow, one of the top marketing blogs in the world and you actually see behind Mark his 6 books that he has written. I have just recently bought “Known” which is the middle book on the top shelf. Which is amazing and I will give you more details on…. there we go. Thank you, Mark.
Now, Mark what he doesn’t know, in fact, isn’t worth knowing. He has worked in global sales, PR and Marketing positions for 30 years, I know he only looks about 25 but he has worked in that position for 30 years and his clients include both startups and global brands such as Adidas, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, The US Airforce and the UK Government. He has got a really prestigious client base.
As I mentioned he is the author of 6 best-selling books and his blog is in the top 1% of blogs in the world. In 2015, he was named as the number two blogger in the world by Social Media Examiner and that is no mean feat. There are some really big players in this space and Mark is among the top 10 marketing influencers in the world. I hope you’re getting excited because I certainly am to hear more from Mark.
Let me tell you just a little bit more. He has been a keynote speaker at conferences and I was very fortunate earlier this year to be at a conference in Edinburgh where Mark was speaking and he had the audience enthralled. He had them in the palm of his hand. Not just with the content but the way in which he delivers it, just amazing. He has also lectured at Oxford University my home town in fact, Princeton and many other prestigious institutions. He is also a popular and entertaining commentator and has appeared on many national television shows and has written in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, he has been on CNN, BBC and I could go on the list is endless. I am absolutely thrilled to have this amazing man as my guest today so a very big welcome to you Mark Schaefer.
Mark: Thank you.
Dylis: You are so welcome
Mark: I feel like I should be getting like the Nobel Prize or something.
Dylis: So Mark, as you know my audience is business owners and sales people who sell to bigger businesses and I know that today we are going to talk about, how to become known as the expert. As that trusted advisor in your field, standing out from competitors, you know becoming that go to person. So, first of all, can you put some context around that?
Mark: Well sure, here is one of my favourite examples of what it means and why it’s important. I was in sales for probably about a decade before I moved into marketing and of course, as a small business owner, I am in sales every day. So, I had the opportunity to bid on the biggest contract of my career. It was with the US Air Force, and because it’s a government organization they had a very extreme vetting process, part of that was a personal interview. They interviewed me over Skype and these officers and these leaders from the procurement office of the air force were across this table and I was sitting like right here and it was a little intimidating because I didn’t know who these people were.
I started to explain what I did and why I was qualified for this job, this position. About 2 minutes into my discussion the leader from the air force interrupted me and she said “Oh Mr. Schaefer, we know who you are we all read your blog” and at that point I knew I had the deal because I was known. What I had been….and I didn’t know that they knew me, I didn’t know them. But, they had built an emotional connection to me through my content over a period of years and that’s the opportunity and the power that we have today.
There is something about me that resonated with them, that made them love what I am writing and perhaps that’s why I even got that far in the first place because I was known and my competitors weren’t. Through my content, I was able to pre-populate the business relationship. I didn’t know them but they knew what I stood for, they knew my values, they knew how I thought.
So, how do you scale that? How do you become known in your field? That’s what I studied obsessively actually for about 14 months as I was writing this book and I wanted to know. How did people do it? Can anybody do it? Is it different for different careers or different people, different ages, different parts of the world? Surprisingly what I found was the answer is no. In fact, every person who became known in their field, whether it was business or art or education or manufacturing did the same four things and that became the core of this new book that I wrote.
Dylis: It was quite inspiring in fact to look at the things that needed to be put in place. Now I refer to this, you call it “Known”. I call it exposing yourself metaphorically speaking of course.
Mark: Metaphorically speaking.
Dylis: Of course, yes, and…
Mark: This is a family show and we want to keep it a family show.
Dylis: Keep it clean absolutely. So, when I talk to my clients and I have worked with thousands of sales people. What I see is sort of a lack of persistency, a lack of consistency and those are two big elements aren’t they in whatever it is you do, do it consistently. I see people do a little bit of this, into that shiny object syndrome and they jump from one thing to another and they are not consistent with one thing and then, of course, the results are that they are not known but neither do they get the results from the marketing efforts.
Mark: Well, this is a very key issue and a very key question and its one of the things I personally learned from writing this book. It had a big impact on me, that I interviewed nearly a hundred people for the book, from all over the world and the last question I asked them was, if you could kind of reach through the book to my readers, not in a creepy way, in a helpful way and you could give them one piece of advice what would it be? Almost everyone used some form of the word consistency, tenacity, resilience they lamented that people quit too soon.
So, I actually spent a lot of time in the book talking about this. It almost became the fifth element of the book, there are four parts to the book that almost became the fifth because consistency is so important, it’s almost more important than authority or education or the big idea. Just hanging in there and being reliable and outlasting your competitors is important. So, I spent time in the book talking about, number one how important it is, number two how do you know that it’s working? How do you know if you need to adjust or quit? How do you measure that?
I have a little system, this helped a lot of people to determine keep on going, keep on going because I see the progress. On average, it took about two and a half years for peoples personal branding to really take off. There is like little elements of progress along the way but around thirty months on average it really started to go. It’s hard to do something for thirty months without having a lot of reward right up front. But that’s kind of the formula for how people have made it.
Dylis: A great example of that is a friend of mine now Pete Matthew, and he was speaking at the conference and he does a podcast every week, now he has really inspired me. I am in the process of setting up a podcast myself. But, he has done that week in week out sometimes he has guests, sometimes it’s his own content and he was telling me that he was now getting an enquiry every single day and people….I’m sure saw somewhere, I might have this wrong but I am sure it said it hit a million downloads last week.
Mark: Wow, wow Pete’s’ done two hundred shows, it’s a huge accomplishment. He is a perfect example really of how this works. Let’s kind of dissect Pete metaphorically as a great example because you know Pete, he wasn’t born as a leader; he wasn’t born as the authority in his industry. He lives in…where does he live, what’s the name?
Dylis: He lives down in Cornwall.
Mark: Right, right, he lives in a small fishing village in Cornwall that really has gone through a lot of bad economic times and yet here he is living in this little fishing village and he is known throughout the UK and now kind of throughout the world as this keen financial advisor, so he built it up over time.
Now the other interesting thing about Pete is, like all of us who have achieved a certain amount of notoriety in our professions. It took time, it was almost at the two year point before he got his first inquiry from one of his podcasts and he did blogging for a while, he tried videos for a while and then what really hit for him was the podcast. But it didn’t hit until he became consistent and did it every single week.
Now the other interesting thing about Pete is what keeps him going, it’s that for him it’s more than money. He told me and this is in the book, he said “I didn’t want to be a person that simply makes rich people richer. I wanted to make a dent in the world, I wanted to have an impact on the world”. That’s his purpose, that drives him, that’s part of what helps him be consistent and help him create that podcast even when he is feeling sick, even when he is feeling down, even when he is tired because he knows people are paying attention and he is having an impact. So those are really all the elements that are important, that I mentioned in the book, personified in Pete.
Dylis: I think that there is something else really interesting about Pete in that and I’ve worked…my back ground is in financial services so I have worked with a lot of financial advisors. They will say to me well we can’t do videos, we can’t do podcasts, we can’t do any of that because of compliance. But, Pete does it compliantly. So, he has…my strap line on all of my blogs and so and so forth is “Find a way and be the very best you can be”.
Mark: I love that, I love that
Dylis: That is Pete, isn’t it?
Mark: Yeah I mean I teach it at a university in the New York city area and I teach graduate studies and a lot of the people who attend come from financial services, be it insurance, business, pharmaceutical these are all regulated industries and I get really frustrated when they try to start hiding behind that and look you have to go to obey the law. Of course rule number one don’t go to jail, we don’t want that to happen but rule number two is figure it out, because if you don’t figure it out your competitors will and stop using it as an excuse for not adapting and not changing and inactivity.
Now I have a friend who is the president of a wealth management company and he hired a lawyer for his marketing team. He was able to….he was a content producing machine; they were able to get everything approved within one hour. Look if you have to have a lawyer on your marketing staff, or have a lawyer on retainer or just educate yourself enough so that you don’t get into trouble, do what you need to do. That’s where people are today, it’s the number one online activity in the world is consuming content on the internet, and if you are not there you’re not being competitive.
Dylis: Absolutely, and I really admire Pete for the way he stepped into his, I don’t really like to use this word but I am going to, stepped into his purpose.
Mark: Yeah, Yeah
Dylis: I think a word that you used before is, he knows why he’s doing what he is doing and I think that’s important too, to have that kind of inner desire to keep going even when you don’t want to keep going sometimes. I know I refer to myself sometimes when I was in financial services, I was like an evangelist but I wasn’t selling life insurance and pension. I was selling that safety net for businesses and individuals and families so that financial safety net, if their income stopped for whatever reason then they could still manage to pay their bills and so on and so forth.
The depth of that for me was that my father died when he was 52 and I still had a brother and sister at home and my mother struggled week in and week out. Now in the sales and marketing space, I still feel that sense of purpose because my father also went bankrupt when I was 16. He was expert at what he did but he wasn’t expert at bringing in clients, he wasn’t expert at becoming known for what he did and so…
Mark: I like this phrase that you used stepping into your purpose, because one of the myths and the mantras of the internet today is you know to follow your dream, follow…if you can dream it you can be it and for you, when you were a little girl you probably didn’t dream of being a management consultant, a sales and marketing consultant. When Pete was a little boy his dream probably wasn’t to be a wealth advisor on a podcast. I am a digital marketing consultant and a teacher but I love what I do. I have fun every day and if you look at the research the people who are most likely to fail, the businesses that are most likely to fail are the ones who follow a dream without a plan.
That’s really what this book is about, is please, please, please if you are going to start something new, if you want to be known in your field before you start spending years of your life on this read the book, have a plan. There are exercises through the whole book to help you focus on how to do this for you and sometimes, you do step into your purpose. Instead of following a dream the dream follows you.
I am living my dream, I am travelling all around the world, I’m meeting wonderful people like you. You and I probably connected on social media, maybe you are aware of me on social media then we met face to face and that’s led to this collaboration today and you never know where that will lead. Unless you take that first step, I never would have met you unless I started a blog. Think about that
Dylis: Yes, that quite right
Mark: I would never have had the opportunity in my life to meet you unless I was known. Why did I speak at that conference and not somebody else? Because I am known and other people aren’t. When you’re known that opens the doors, that gets the phone calls returned, that gets the invitations to speak, to lecture, to write for a board position, for a better job, for better clients. The people that are known have a permanent and sustainable advantage over those who aren’t and I might argue it’s the only thing you can carry with you through your career.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about this is because I think about my business career. When I was a young man this was before social media, starting out in business. How would I become known? I would have to be in the newspaper, I would have to be on television, someone would have to choose me and say we’re going to feature this person a lot. How would that ever happen?
Today I don’t have to wait, you don’t have to wait, your viewers today they don’t have to wait to be chosen, they can pick themselves, they can choose themselves and exert this power and influence that they have by following the path in this book, finding a way to create content that matters to people. Being consistent having a helpful attitude and anybody has the opportunity to do it; anybody has the power to do it. It’s just a matter of having the choice, having the discipline, starting and having the consistency to see it through and win.
Dylis: I think your point about having a plan is so so important. The number of people and I’m sure you find this too, who sort of have a little bit of loose plan in their head but, and I read this years ago that there has been some research done by Harvard Business School and they looked at students who had gone through and had set up their own business and only 3% had a written plan.
Mark: That’s unbelievable.
Dylis: But, they earned more than the other 97% put together
Dylis: So the importance of planning and I am sure we are going to talk about some of the ways of being able to create content and deliver it out because we have more opportunity now than ever, ever, ever before. You know when I first set up my own business in 2000 it literally was, I did write a plan but it was yellow pages and a telephone after I had listed the clients that I wanted to work with and that…there was a really big kind of commitment to it because I was a single parent with two teenage children and I had left a big job as a regional sales director and I literally went from boardroom to bedroom. I give myself kittens now thinking about how on earth did you have the courage to do that then”? It was literally a list of who I wanted to do business with companies who could pay and would pay yellow pages and a telephone. Now the sky is the limit.
Mark: Yeah, the sky is the limit and an important point here is that, once you start you never really know what might happen and when you do create this plan it doesn’t have to be perfect. It may not even be correct because as you move down your path you will get feedback and you will learn and you will get better and you’ll become more authoritative. Nobody starts as an authority. Your path to be known is the journey you take to become the go to person, to become the authority. So, don’t… you can’t over think it either. The most important thing is to give it your best shot and start and then learn and adjust and adapt and adopt along the way. It’s never going to get better, it’s never going to get easier, it’s never going to be more fun unless you begin and stick with it.
Dylis: Many people will say to me ‘it all sounds very well Dylis but where do I find the time to do this because this sounds like a lot of work and if I’ve to wait three years’ did you say thirty months or three years?
Mark: Thirty months, two and a half years
Dylis: ‘If I have to wait two and a half years’….
Mark: On average.
Dylis: ‘I can’t afford to do that’ so they need to understand the benefits and how to plan this in, so what are your thoughts on that?
Mark: One attitude is I can’t afford that, another attitude is I can’t afford not to. One of the things, the approaches in my book, it’s a very honest book, it’s not a rah rah cheerleading book. It’s…when something is hard to do I say it’s hard to do, if it takes time I say it takes time and that is one of the things I address very forthrightly.
I think one thing you need to think about is you need to assess is this the right time in my life? It’s perfectly fine if you’re taking care of a sick child or a sick parent or you have you know military duties where you’ve got to you know be out of touch for periods of time, if you’re trying to recover from some financial setback or something. You know it doesn’t…just because everybody else is working on these things it doesn’t mean that you are not a worthy person and an amazing person.
Maybe your time will be a year from now. So I kind of let people off the hook to say, is this the right time for you? But, then I say you can’t make excuses either I mean if this is the right time well then, you’ve got to commit to it. You need to plan for it, you need to set aside time and you know the people who are known have the same amount of time as you.
So, bottom line it’s not an issue of time, it’s an issue of priority. I learned long ago you can either be a content creator or you can watch TV, you probably can’t do both. I mean I have a great life, I feel like I have a very balanced life, I enjoy the outdoors, I go on vacations, I love spending time with friends and family but I also am very focused, I’m very disciplined on what I do and how I create content. So, you’ve got to make that part of your routine, you’ve got to plan for this activity, just like you would plan for anything else in your life, you’ve got to set aside a little bit of time.
I also think that there are a lot of options out there, where it may not take as much time as you think. I had an experience this week, where I was working with an executive from a fortune one hundred company and she went through one of my training classes and she was really excited about doing this and she has lots of goals in her life and she knows that she could benefit from being known and she just said “Gosh when it comes to this part about creating content I just don’t think I can do it. I mean I have got this going on and this going on” and I said well maybe it’s not the right time but here is something to think about. Instead of blogging or creating a podcast what if you did short videos, three minute videos that you would post every week.
It doesn’t have to be Hollywood, you get out your smart phone you talk about something, you make an observation, you express an idea, you help people with a problem, you teach a little lesson in three minutes, one take boom. Do it on your smart phone post it to YouTube, embed it in a blog post that may take ten minutes to do and I said in an hour if you could record….if you wanted to post once a week, in an hour you could record six weeks at least of videos if you had the ideas of what you wanted to do. She just like flipped around, alright that’s very doable, that’s something I can do, she became energized, she said yes okay, I get it now I could do that.
Even blogging it doesn’t have to be a PhD thesis. People will often make it way harder than it really is. All you need to do is write a five hundred word essay on something that’s interesting to you, something that’s relevant to the readers who you want to be your client someday. I mean a five hundred word essay that’s page double spaced. I could do that 10 minutes before class, right?
Dylis: Yeah but you’re Mark Schaefer
Mark: You probably could too,
Dylis: Yes I probably could and have…
Mark: You just have to frame it. Can I write a five hundred word essay every week? You know for most people that’s kind of doable and you get better over time, it gets faster over time, it gets easier over time.
Dylis: Of course, your book talks about this as well in terms of creating content and you don’t just have to be a creator you can create other people’s content.
Mark: Yes right, that’s another very effective opportunity to help people by highlighting the best content in the field and summarizing the best ideas, the best news in your field in a wise way. That’s an excellent way to become known.
Dylis: Actually, even this Mark, this interview that I am doing here, I’ll have this transcribed, I have a lady on Fiverr, anyone who hasn’t heard of Fiverr that’s F-I-V-E-R-R and you can get someone to transcribe for next to nothing. They will transcribe for me and then this video will go up on YouTube, I will send this out as an audio to my subscribers and then I can take pieces out of the transcription and that can become a blog. So, there are many ways of being able to repurpose what you do. You mentioned that in your book too about repurposing, didn’t you?
Mark: Yeah, I think you’re being a good role model in that regard because the content we are creating through this interview. I mean if you had to write that number of words, it would take a long time, so just talking to somebody like this and having it transcribed is very efficient.
Dylis: Absolutely, and you mentioned about videos and it was, was it Chris Ducker one of the first speakers at the conference that we were at and he was talking about. In 2020, 90% of content will be consumed via video.
Mark: I don’t agree with that.
Dylis: You don’t agree with that?
Dylis: Give us your take on that, then Mark, that’s interesting.
Mark: No, I don’t agree with that at all and because what people are doing, is they are seeing that the amount of content production is going up, up, up, up, up, so they say okay well that’s the trend it’s going to keep going and the amount of content on the web 90% might be video but that doesn’t mean 90% is going to be consumed.
So let me explain why, I have a very good friend and he was telling that he and his son are both sports fanatics. Every day they will get up at breakfast and they’ll consume the news about their favourite sports team that day. He said, “My son will pull up you know some sports channel or YouTube and he’ll be watching videos about the game”. He said, “I will pull up newspapers, I’ll be reading news stories, I would never watch videos about the game, he would never read about the game”. The reason is that people learn in different ways, they learn by doing, they learn by reading, by listening or by watching.
So, there is kind of a distribution of how people consume content and just because there is more video that doesn’t mean more people are going to consume video. I am not a video consumer by nature, I am not a big podcast consumer by nature, I am a reader. I am a reader and a writer. Blogging…you know a lot of people say blogging is dead, blogging is only going to be dead when people stop reading.
The reason that podcasts are growing and video is growing is because those have been underserved content forms. People love to listen to things, they love to listen to things at work or in their car or when they are working out, that’s why podcasting is growing because there is pent-up demand for podcasting. I don’t see how you could say 90% of all the content consumed is going to be a video when podcasting is growing double digit a year too. That’s, not video.
I think there will be some homeostasis eventually, there will be some evening out and I think it will generally align with people physiological tendencies of how they consume content. If one third of the people prefer to learn by reading then one third of the content consumed is going to be written, one third is going to be audio one third…whatever the numbers are I don’t know those numbers off the top of my head.
People learn in different ways and I think that’s kind of imbedded in our DNA, just because if there is more video it doesn’t mean we are going to change our physiological profile. I don’t agree with that statistic. Mark Zuckerberg has been out there saying the same thing maybe that’s where Chris got the number that by 2020 90% of the content on Facebook is going to be video. That doesn’t mean 90% of the content consumed is going to be video. I’ll get off my soapbox
Dylis: Nope, that’s brilliant and I love your take on that, that’s really interesting. If we just summarize this then. So, do something that you love, find something to create content around something that you love, have a plan, find the time, commit and be consistent and don’t give up.
Mark: It has to be something that you love but there also has to be an audience that it matters to. That’s why instead of saying follow your dream or following your passion, in my book I talk about finding a sustainable interest. You do have to have to be interested in it because you are going to spend a lot of time with it, but it also has to be sustainable, meaning people want to pay you for what you do.
I mean if you are a listener of this episode presumably you want to be paid someday for what you do for leveraging your ability to be known. So, there has got to be an audience out there that cares about you and what you have to say, otherwise, you’ll never get the audience that will help you make your dreams come true, whatever those might be.
Dylis: Perfect, perfect. So Mark where can people get in touch with you? Show us your book again and I really do urge people to get this book it is amazing. I have to be very honest, I buy a lot of business books and I read a lot but sometimes it takes me longer, sometimes, I don’t even finish because I get bored. This has been gripping, I’ve loved it, I’ve loved the examples that you give in there, I like your own stories, I love the exercises that you give it really is a wholesome book.
Mark: Thank you, thank you.
Dylis: So where do people find you, Mark?
Mark: It’s very easy to find me because I made the smart decision of not naming my website Schaefer because no one can spell Schaefer, but its businesses grow so if you can remember businessesgrow.com you can find everything you need. You can find my books, my blog, my podcast called the ‘Marketing Companion’ that I do with Tom Webster it’s absolutely hilarious and fun and there are lots of free resources on “businessesgrow” for businesses of every size.
Dylis: Excellent and your book if you’ll just hold it up again Mark just in case someone wants to go directly to Amazon.
Mark: There is a workbook that goes with the book too, I don’t have the workbook handy but it’s…I’m a teacher in my heart and I just believe in this so much, I know this is the way forward and I didn’t want anybody to have an excuse to not really follow through and do the exercises. The book is fine on its own but if you fill out the workbook you will have a plan. That is, you will have a way forward to be known in the world.
Dylis: They sit together on Amazon?
Dylis: So that my next purchase, I didn’t realize that I should have gotten that as well, I should be ordering that today. Mark thank you so much, it’s been so insightful and it’s been a delight to speak to you.
Mark: Thank you so much, it’s been fun.
Dylis: You’re welcome, bye.
Mark: Bye, bye.
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