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BBB11: Interview with Mike Saunders

February 3, 2020

Welcome to the Books, Brands, and Business podcast with your host, Chris O’Byrne, from JETLAUNCH.net.

My guest today is Mike Saunders, the author of Authority Selling.

Mike is also known at the Authority Positioning Strategist and helps to position authors as an influencer in their niche or industry to attract more clients, increase your profits, and make more impact.

Chris: Hey, good morning Mike. Thank you so much for being on the podcast with being. You do some amazing things, things that I haven’t seen very many other businesses do. Could you just give us an overview of what you provide and then dig into the details why it’s useful for authors and that sort of thing?

Mike: Yeah. Hey Chris, thanks for having me on. I’m an authority marketing strategist and I like to say that I’m a recovering marketing consultant because years ago when I started my firm 10 years ago, I did all things for all people. I did SEO and social media and text message and email and any kind of marketing you needed, but then you were never really, really excellent at one thing. About four or five years ago, I repositioned myself to just offering one thing, authority marketing. And it really is, in my opinion, kind of like now where content marketing was about five or six years ago, where now there’s really not a thing called content marketing because it should be in your marketing anyway. You should be educating people. You should be teaching people in, whether it’s blog poster or videos or things like that.

Mike: So authority marketing is positioning yourself to be seen as that expert, that celebrity in your niche and it doesn’t matter how small your niche or industry is, people need to see that you’re more than just the person who has a flyer or a LinkedIn profile or a website. What I do is I help the business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, attorneys, any kind of industry vertical, really take their intellectual property and their specialty and bring it to life in a tangible way. And my two focuses that I focus on is done-for-you podcast service as well as helping them become an Amazon bestselling author without writing one single word. I’ve got a really neat process that just pulls out the content out of their head because I like to say that people tend to have a disconnect between their head and their hands.

Mike: If you go old school and grab a pen and paper and start writing or a keyboard and start typing, at some point you’re two, three, four pages into your idea for a book and then you get stopped. But what I do is I call my process podcast to publish because I help you talk through and structure how a podcast interview should go to pull out your book content. And whether it’s one long interview or two or three different ones, but we speak to what your target audience really, really needs to understand about your product or service.

Mike: When you and I’ve talked before, I like to say if you’re thinking about a product launch or doing a new landing page or a new project within your company, you like to get that graphic or that logo or that header done first because it kind of gets your mind centered on the project so that then things can fall into place. So very similar to a book project, start with jet launch with the book cover because that really sets the tone. And then now, what does your business or your service or your consulting do for your target audience? So kind of starts the snowball rolling that way, but all centered around helping that business owner, that entrepreneur look like the hero, look like the expert to their target audience.

Chris: I like that. Especially with the podcast to publish strategy that you have, it’s such a unique approach to things. You want to talk a little bit more about that program specifically?

Mike: Yeah, think of it like this. Any product or service that any listener would be offering right now if you’re an attorney or if you sell widgets, it literally doesn’t matter as long as it’s more than 10 bucks, 20 bucks, those are impulse buys. But if you have a solution to your target audience’s problem that takes some research or some learning, which most of the time it does, your prospects will go through what’s called the buyer’s journey. And I teach marketing for four different universities. So this is literally something that’s called consumer’s buyer’s journey or the buyer’s journey literally. It’s a marketing term, but you think about the four or five or seven or whatever number main points that if your target audience really, really understood these things, it goes way deeper than just the frequently asked questions, those surface questions.

Mike: When you can map those out and say, “You know what, if I had my target audiences undivided attention, I would literally be able to explain this to them and it would just be like the aha moment.” And if you have like five or six or seven of those nuggets, now all of a sudden you’ve got something to talk about. I can do these podcast interviews with people and we stop the recording and they say, “I would have never dreamt of bringing up that example, that case study, that process in my business because you just brought it out in such a unique light.” So when you can be interviewed and talk about your business that way, your mind just opens up and you end up talking about things that are so vital to your clients and your target audience and it’s so helpful.

Mike: And then literally that becomes what I call an authority positioning asset. Because you think about this, Chris, how long does a Facebook ad campaign work for you? If you were to do a Facebook ad campaign, how long does it work?

Chris: Well, not that long. I mean, if you can get a good month out of it, I think you’re doing well

Mike: It’s a semi-trick question because the answer is, as long as you keep paying Facebook or Google, if you’re doing pay per click. But it works, whatever metrics that you’re tracking, but when you stop paying it goes away because they don’t show the ad anymore. But an asset is different. You think about when you Google someone and what do you find when you Google your name, your brand, your business, your company, hopefully you find good things. But my position is I want people to find more than just your website link and more than your LinkedIn and your Facebook profile because people expect to see those. So what other things can they see that would pull them toward you? Because in marketing it needs to be more of a pull than a push.

Mike: If you’re pushy, people tend to push back. But if you educate them with helpful information, you’re drawing them towards you, you’re pulling them towards you because you’re becoming that educator and advocate. I call these things authority positioning assets. Let’s just say that podcast interview, that podcast interview becomes an asset because you can use it whenever you want on your website, your social media, your email list, and you can use it in the buyer’s journey.

Mike: Think about if you did a 20-minute interview on one of these nuggets of truth that you want your target audience to really understand, whatever that might be. Well, then the next time you are in a conversation with someone, it would be so easy to say, “Oh hey, by the way, when we connect up next week, I can go in deeper on that question you had, but I’m going to shoot you a quick email because I was recently interviewed on a podcast or I recently interviewed this expert on that very topic. I’m going to send you that. It’s about 20 minutes and it’ll really go over some really, really good information that we can go deeper when we connect.” Well, now all of a sudden that positions your way differently than just a quick email response or a flyer or a brochure.

Mike: And then the other thing that people don’t really pick up but they really love it when they understand this, is when you do these things, whether it’s a podcast interview or get mentioned in the media or have that Amazon book, those things, those authority positioning assets get indexed on Google. So when you structure the title of that press release or that podcast interview or your book with a keyword or your name or your brand name. Now all of a sudden people are Googling around before they call you because people might think, “Oh, I get business by referral,” and they might. That’s a great source of business, but you get Googled before you get the call.

Mike: What do they see? If they see that media mention, if they hear that podcast interview, and I will submit to you that they might not listen to every syllable of every word of that podcast interview or multiple ones they find. If you send them a copy of your book, wonderful, your 10,000 steps beyond your competition, they might not read every word of it, but it doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s there is so massive in having them see you as that expert and trusted source so that then you can have a good, reliable conversation.

Mike: Are you going to close everyone? No. That’s impossible to expect or hope for. But you can have a good conversation with them because they are coming to you asking your opinion and wanting your advice. I think that’s a really big thing for people to remember.

Chris: Yeah. I think the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to write about. You’ve got a lot of information, you know a lot about what you’re doing, but to actually pull it out in the right order or the right format, or to really even to dig into some things that you normally don’t think about. I mean, to me that would be one of the most valuable things that you do. Is that ability to talk to people about what they do and know, hey, these sorts of answers and thus the questions that you ask are going to be very helpful for that person and their authority and their marketing.

Chris: So having someone like you who understands what to ask, how to pull that out to be able to listen. I think that’s huge because I know that when I sit and try to think of writing about what I know, I can write about specific pieces here and there, but when I’ve talked to somebody and then they’re asking really good questions and it’s pulling things out. I had no idea was even in there or in that format. How long does this process usually take? The interview process?

Mike: It kind of depends. Just like anything marketing, it all depends. Let’s try this and see what works and track the changes. That’s like being a weatherman, you can be wrong and still have your job because the weather changes. But it really does depend because it’s based on what your solution is for your target audience. I think that it really is something that that needs to be kept in mind and I’m going to go deeper on the question, but I want to give you a good example. Have you ever read the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller?

Chris: Yes.

Mike: Excellent book. If any listeners haven’t read it, go out and get it. It’s on Amazon. Wonderful book. One of the things he talks about is A, being the guide, not the hero, but guiding the conversation, guiding your target audience. But also if you confuse, you lose. So you might feel like you are speaking to someone, whether it’s a conversation or a meeting or even a Pakistan interview or a book, but if you’re not guiding them down the path to understanding this next piece so that it builds upon the previous piece and then it moves to the next one so that they realize, “Oh, hold on a second,” that really is a good point. If you’re not doing that, you’re potentially confusing people.

Mike: And so I think the big thing to keep in mind, and I think that’s something that it’s going to come with time. It’s not something that you get right away, but think about this. I could say to you, Chris, “Hey, are you looking to grow your business?” And you would say, “Oh yeah, of course. No matter how big we get, we always want to grow our business.” And then we could talk through that question for a while and talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked. And then if I said, “Hey, do you look for high-value, maybe affluent clients because they might be able to afford your services better than the rest?” And you might say, “Yeah, when possible of course. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the high-value affluent clients.” And then if I said, “If I could show you a way to be seen as a celebrity in your industry, do you think that it would attract more affluent clients to you?” And you would go, “Yeah, it really would.”

Mike: These are not questions that you would ask for the purpose of maybe a podcast interview or a book, but it’s that pulling and attracting methodology. What I do is I’ve got a process that I call an Emo Transfo, short for Emotional Transformation. It’s a 45-minute online exercise that people will go through and they literally will play a video clip while they’re working on this series of questions and then that’ll stop. And then that’ll put them in the mindset of answering the questions. And then play an audio clip for music soundtrack background and answer the next set of questions. It’s all based on what is the biggest solution to the biggest problem your target audience has?

Mike: And when they can clarify that, now all of a sudden they know the impact they make, they know the main questions that the target audience would have. They know in reality, if you’ve got those main questions, that becomes either chapters of the book or talking points. And you know as well as I do, you ask a good question, and that could be a 20-minute conversation right there. So it’s all in how to uncover the questions and then how to structure them so that the listener/reader, so if it’s the podcast interview or the reader of the book, is now drawn through that buyer’s journey and go, “You know what, this author or a podcast host, they’ve got something that I need. I need to learn more.”

Mike: And think of a book not as your memoirs, not as a Pulitzer Prize winning a piece of work. It literally is your best sales pitch in book format so that people can get your voicing and understand how you work with people so that it opens up the door to a conversation or a meeting. That’s what people need to realize. Is these are business development books and not wonderful, award-winning storybooks that I’m going to be submitted for best book of the year award. It’s who cares about being someone that’s going to have that kind of a book. You want that book to make an impact. And it’s all about business development.

Chris: In addition to using the podcast, the audio, the assets that you create for them in the process of building their book, what other things do you either help with or do you recommend people do with their book to leverage it to build their business? Because, I mean, I always tell authors it’s fine to write a great book and put it out there and maybe make some money from royalties, but if you expect that that’s going to just magically change your life by just putting it up on Amazon and expecting royalties to rural in and all of that. I mean, we know it doesn’t work that way. It takes more effort. How do you recommend people leverage that book to build their authority and thus grow their business.

Mike: Yeah, that’s a really good point Chris because I say so often that let’s get your expectations the right way. You should not be expecting to make money from the book. You should be expecting to make money because of the book. And yes, there’s a distinction here because… I’ll answer your question in two seconds, but I want to bring up a really big distinction, because this came up a couple weeks ago at a conference and people don’t realize this until it’s too late. You work with someone to help you bring your book to life and you don’t realize until the very end of that you don’t really own what you just created.

Mike: What I mean by that is this company you might’ve worked with, yeah the book’s done and it’s got your picture on the cover and your name on the cover. But when you want to make a change because you updated something or you want to order more copies, you’ve got to go through them and they’re the publisher and it’s in their Amazon account, and now all of a sudden you’re paying them a large amount of money to make this small little edit or you’re only getting half of the royalties.

Mike: And the way that I work with my clients is I put this all in their Amazon account. It’s their book, their project, their Amazon account, any royalties that come is paid by Amazon to them. And then if they want to change the price one day, they log in and go click change, go. If they want to add a chapter, I give them all of the book assets, like the content interior and exterior. If they want to add a chapter, they add it, hit save and upload it and yay, there it is. That’s a really big distinction. But once it’s done, then what? You might think, okay, let’s wipe the sweat off our brow and say it’s done, but now you’ve got to use it as that business development asset and tool.

Mike: Here’s something else to think about before I give you just some tips before we wrap up. We could probably talk for nine more hours, but at some point we got to land the plane. But here’s something that people don’t realize. Again, they hear, “Oh yeah, yeah, the first six letters in the word authority is author. I need to write a book. I don’t know how. I want to go take this course. It’s going to be a 12-week masterclass. Oh, I didn’t even get through it.” And then, “Finally, I did get through it and I can’t do this thing.” What’s the involved?

Mike: The process that I take my clients through is, it’s done for you, but it’s also done with you. So you’ve got all of the proofing and updating and approval, but if you compressed all the time involved from start to finish, it’s about three hours of your time, over a 30-day period and the book’s done. So this is not some process that two, three, four or five months later, we might be halfway through. It is in done and you’re using it in your business.

Mike: One of the biggest things is use it as a pre-frame to what you’re going to do anyway in your business. Think about how you get your clients. Maybe you’re in a business where you have phone appointments scheduled or in-person meetings. So let’s not change your business 180 degrees, let’s just enhance what you’re currently doing.

Mike: I’ll just give you this example. Maybe Chris, in your business, you have both phone appointments and in-person appointments. Maybe they come to your office. Maybe you meet them at a Starbucks. But when that appointment is set, maybe you would have it a handful of days ahead of time and you drop a copy of your book in the mail to them with the handwritten note that goes, “Hey, looking forward to connecting. Here’s a copy of my book. You can peruse over it and we can talk in more detail when we meet.” Or maybe it’s not enough time to drop it in the mail and you send a email that goes, “Hey, looking forward to connecting with you. Here’s a link to my book on Amazon. I’m going to drop it in the mail, so after our meeting, you’ll have a copy of it.” Or, “Here’s the digital version.” But the point is you are pre-framing your expertise as that trusted advisor more so than just, “Hey, let’s talk and let me sell you into my thing.”

Mike: I recommend once this book is done, figure out… I coach my clients through the process of once it’s finished up, what can you do to integrate it in and layer it in with what you’re all ready doing in your business? The obvious things are, let’s now start promoting it through your social media, let’s put it up on your website. Let’s say download the first three chapters and now that becomes a lead generation source. So all of these things so that people see you more so than just a salesperson, they see you as that expert and that authority.

Mike: I’ve got about a five or six-page press document process that I take my clients to do when the project is done and coach them through, “Now the next step would be to do this. And then you could create a virtual book tour.” I mean, all of these things that you can do, but it’s not done when the book is published. That’s wonderful. And it didn’t take you much time because I’m doing it all for you. But yeah, you’d need to integrate that in with your sales process, but it’s a whole lot of fun. That’s what’s exciting. I know you know that feeling as well because you’ve worked on those kinds of projects.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. That’s really excellent advice for leveraging your book. The one last thing I want to talk about is one of your books, Authority Selling. I’ve noticed that you are using one of my favorite techniques, which is a free plus shipping funnel.

Mike: Yeah.

Chris: Does that work well for you and why do you use that route as one of the ways of leveraging your book?

Mike: I use both VAT as well as what I mentioned previously, which is just let me send the book to you. But the free plus shipping is neat because it becomes a lead generation source. So you can go to my site, authoritysellingbook.com, and you can get a copy of the book. I literally think right now on Amazon, I have it for sale for like $29. So if you want a copy of the book for free, just pay shipping 7.97 and I send you a physical copy of the book. It’s not a PDF version but in Russell Brunson’s world, it’s called a self-liquidating offer. So if I actually had to expend money to get people to go to that landing page to then get a copy of the book, I might’ve spent some money to get people to say, “Yeah, I’m going to do that.” But then it costs me money to send the book because I have to log into my Amazon account and ship it to them. It literally costs me money, but it’s something where it’s tangible.

Mike: Too many times today, people see these marketing techniques where it’s like get my digital copy of… or get my PDF of… or get this video, and there’s really nothing tangible about that. In marketing today, I think that direct mail is making a comeback. I think that face-to-face meetings are making a comeback because people are so used to just seeing that like and tweet and comment and share on social media or an email. So when we can personalize it and make that relationship grow, it’s huge. That free plus shipping is really powerful, so that you see someone come in, request the book, you drop in the mail, and then you wait a couple of weeks. And then you reach back out to them and go, “Hey, any questions that I can help you with?” Or, “I’d love to have a review or feedback.” And it really is something powerful that way. That’s yet another way to promote the fact that you’ve got your book and putting that up on your website.

Mike: Maybe it’s not even the… Let’s even add one more layer in. Let’s say, “Hey, download the first two chapters of my book.” And then when they download the first two chapters, it’s immediate, it’s electronic, it’s a PDF. But the last page of the PDF says, “Do you like what you read? Would you like to get a full physical version of all 158 pages? Click here and get a free copy, just pay shipping.” So you can do the baby steps that way and really be giving value and teaching and providing that content even with the digital version, but then guiding them to that physical version as well.

Chris: Excellent. That’s a really good explanation of how that process works. It’s something I always recommend authors do. Is no matter what else you’re doing, include that free plus shipping funnel because it can be so effective. I’m going to make sure that in the show notes for this show that I have a link to that book page and also your main webpage and everything else that you want people to know about. Do you have any last minute advice for the authors that listen to this?

Mike: I would just say just take action. I mean, you hear Tony Robbins’ personal development take massive action. And I would just say you’ve probably heard about doing a book project before, connect with Chris, get a cover done, talk through the the vision process of what the cover could be. That will excite you and create that momentum. And then get started on putting this into action because if you look at your competition, whatever industry that you’re in, I’ll bet many of them, most of them, and many times, none of your competition have the book and it’s not being used in the right way. If you’ve got that, you’ve got the leg up, it opens up a door to get you speaking in front of your target audience. So I would just say the piece of advice is, take action.

Chris: Excellent. Thank you so much for all the help that you’ve given us today. I mean, just huge value. Really, really appreciated. Thank you so much, Mike.

Mike: You’re welcome, Chris.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. If you want to be part of a tight-knit community of people learning how to make money with their books, join my FB group at jetlaunch.link/group. That’s the best place to ask me questions and get fast answers.

For all show notes, links, and transcriptions, just head over to jetlaunch.net/podcast.

More about Mike Saunders

To connect with Mike Saunders, head over to authoritypositioningcoach.com.

To buy Mike’s book:
Authority Selling

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