Frustrated when prospects ghost you?

In this week’s episode of the podcast I tackle a question that has come up several times lately…

“How can I connect with potential clients, without spamming them with cold emails, calls, or LinkedIn requests…and actually get them to reply?”

Great question.

In this episode I’m going to show you how I reach out to prospects, and not only get replies, but get excited, enthusiastic replies…they want to talk with me!!

And it’s based on one, simple business truth—you need a relationship before you ask for money.

Most of the stuff you see out there has it the other way ‘round.

Don’t fall into that trap.

Listen to the podcast now…


Hey, it’s Steve. Welcome to the podcast. Today we’ve got a little bit of a different episode. This is going to be a mini episode. And I want to walk you through a technique that we call podcast prospecting. And really I want to explain why I’m recording it. There’s been lots of confusion. I’ve had lots of questions from people about the real value of a podcast. And the thing that everyone keeps coming back to is the idea that they want to gain a big listenership to the podcast. And while that’s great, the chances of that happening, at least happening very quickly, are really, really small.

But that doesn’t mean that a podcast isn’t valuable. In fact, that’s not where the value is in a podcast. And so unless you have a really large platform already with thousands and thousands of email subscribers, you’re not likely to drive a lot of listens to a podcast if you create one. But that’s not the point.

There’s good news here, see. You don’t need to get a lot of downloads to make money with a podcast. In fact, that’s not how you make money with a podcast. In this episode, I’m going to explain the two methods of making money from a podcast. So, let’s dive in.

All right, so the first method again is what I call podcast prospecting. So imagine that you could speak with 52 business owners over the course of the next year who were just the absolute perfect client for you. They were perfect prospects. And you could get to the point of speaking with them without having to deal with any gatekeepers. You’d fly right past them. You’d get to a point where you never felt that feeling of dread that often comes when you’re cold calling, or you’re cold connecting online, where you feel like maybe you’re bugging people or you’re doing something that’s way outside your comfort zone. And you don’t have to waste a lot of time prospecting because people want to talk to you.

That’s the power of having a media platform like a podcast. It allows you to connect with people in a way that never feels like prospecting because you’re not starting from a position of selling them.

So here’s how it works. You build a list of 20 to 50 prospects. Then throughout the year, you’ll add some to that. Then you reach out to them by email, a really simple email, less than a paragraph, or you reach out to them with a LinkedIn message, or with a phone call. And you invite them to be a guest on your podcast. Because you’re the host of a podcast, you’re now a media personality. It’s as though you’re a journalist. In my book The Exponential Network Strategy, I talk about being the success journalist for the industry that your prospects are in.

And what happens when you invite them, particularly if you’re targeting business owners, is they’re going to look at that as an opportunity to promote their business, because it is. Now if you listen to the interviews that we do on our podcast, and I got this comment recently from someone. He said, “Help me understand how doing the podcast works for you. Because I can tell how it really works for your guests, and it absolutely does.” See we invite guests on, and we want to shine a bright light on the good work that they’re doing. We want to make them look like absolute rock stars. And in doing so, it allows me to go from literally zero relationship. At the beginning of most of our interviews, I’ve never met the person that we’re interviewing. But it allows me to go from that level of relationship to having by the end of the hour that we spend together, a really warm and friendly relationship. Because I’ve just spent an hour basically glorifying the work that they do, reinforcing the fact that they’re doing great things in the world, and giving them my platform to promote themselves.

That’s a powerful gift, and you don’t need a big audience to do that. In fact, most of our clients who do that don’t have a big audience. And when we started out, we didn’t have a big audience either. So just by the fact that you’re showing up and you’re giving them that opportunity, it creates this really great relationship.

Now, let me just describe to you what that interview looks like from a behind the scenes perspective, because you hear it in the interviews that we do and the part that we publish. But before we turn on the recorder, there’s an opportunity for me to have a conversation with that guest to build some rapport before we began recording. And I always make sure I do that. I want to joke with them a little bit. We want to talk about the weather. I get to poke fun at people who live up north during the winter time because it’s snowing and I live in Florida where it’s warm. We joke and we laugh a little bit, which creates some rapport. Then, we start the recording. And for the next 30 minutes or so, I’m 100% focused on making them look good to all of you. So that by the end of the interview, they feel so great about that whole experience. They feel good about me. They feel as though I care about them because I’ve taken time out of my schedule to bring them onto my platform, to introduce them to everyone that I know, and to highlight the good work that they do.

Think about the last time somebody really was able to sit down with you and they just ask question after question about all of the things that you’re an expert on. How did you feel at the end of that? You probably felt pretty darn good, and that’s the experience that I want a guest of our podcast have. And then, we get the opportunity when that recording is done to have a continued conversation. And normally at that point, we’ve got enough relationship that I can ask them, “What are your goals over the next few years? What are you trying to accomplish? You just shared with me the great things that you’re doing in business. Where are you headed? Tell me more about that so I can support you in any way that I can.”

And I’m sincere in asking that. And I think it’s important for those of you who’ve been around a long time, you know that I have this fundamental principle that I operate on called purity of intent. If I don’t mean it, if I’m not sincere about it, then you’re not going to hear it come from me. So you’ve got to have purity of intent, you’ve got to be sincere about helping them. And I’ll ask them, “Help me, understand where you’re going,” so that I can then think about that. I can think about the contacts that I have that might be able to help you. I can think of ideas that maybe I’ve read about or heard about. I can sit and think, and see how I can help you.

And then, “Would it be okay if I thought about that for a week?” And then we reconnected. I’d love to get back on the phone and just share those ideas, share those connections with you that I come up with. And they always say yes to that. They always say yes to that. They say you ask because they feel good about the relationship at this stage. We’re building a friendship here, and I think that’s really important in business. It’s so overlooked, particularly in service businesses. It’s so overlooked because we have such close contact with our clients, that you need that level of familiarity and friendship before you can do business because they’re buying you first before they’re buying your expertise.

So we have that conversation, and I go off. I think about their business. I think about the things that they’re trying to accomplish and how I can support that. And I think about the people that I know that they ought to be connected with who will help them. Now the big objection I hear is, “Well, what if I don’t have a big network to start with an maybe I’m just starting out?” That’s okay. When I was just starting out, I didn’t have a lot of connections and so I didn’t offer up connections. I offered up ideas. And people are still happy to get your ideas if you’re going to go out of your way to help them and think about these things.

Now when I come back with those ideas, sometimes those ideas have nothing to do with our business. Because as I look at this person and as I’ve learned more about them, we’re not a fit to help them. And that’s okay. But I still want to help them be as successful as they can be because the more I do that, the more of that flows back to me. But oftentimes, in fact more often than not, we find that maybe there is a way that either we can help them directly or we can help their clients. And I’ll bring those ideas as well.

And I’ve already got the opening to bring that back. I’ve gotten their permission to bring that back. So it’s not weird or creepy or salesy when I do it, they’ve already agreed to it. And again, I’m coming from this place of purity of intent. I really do want to help them in any way that I can.

And so that’s the behind the scenes of that interview. So then I go away and I come up with the ideas and come up with the connections, and we meet again. And now I’ve got someone who I can most of the time, enter into a sales conversation with. Oftentimes just at the end of that interview, they’ll ask me. “What do you do? I’m familiar with your podcast, but haven’t studied your website.” They’ll say, “Tell me a little bit more about what you do.” I’ll get to go in and tell them what we do. “We work with professional service firms, we help them create this podcast, and we use the podcast as a way for them to go and connect with their ideal future clients, to get in relationship with those people. And we do all the backend work and make it really, really easy.” And oftentimes they’ll say, “I’ve been thinking about doing my own podcast,” or, “I’ve been thinking about ways I could grow my business. I’d love to learn more.” And now they’ve just invited you to tell them how you can help them directly.

All because you had this conversation, and you started it from a place that wasn’t about sales. You started it from a place of saying here’s someone that I think I can help. Here’s someone that looks like a really good future client for me. I’m going to bring them on to this platform that I’ve created, because it’s going to give a really good context for opening my relationship with them.

And then you’re going to use that platform. You’re going to go through that interview, you’re going to have that conversation, develop relationship without all of the pressure of sales hovering over you like a dark cloud. You’re going to create a new friend, and you’re going to create an opportunity to learn how you can help them, whether that is directly through your business or in other ways. And that’s the magic of all of this.

So if you look around, there’s millions of podcasts out there now at this stage. Podcast listenership is going through the roof. That’s all great. And in fact, I love when I hear that someone has listened to our podcast because it means that they’ve spent a lot of time listening to me and listening to my ideas. But make no mistake, all of you who are listening are for our business and for our podcast, a real bonus. The real money is made in the relationships that are built through our interviews. I want you to see that in this medium, there’s something a little bit different in it. If you look at the other ways that you can market through the internet, most of them are focused on building up a big, big audience. And that’s hard to do and it’s becoming harder all the time.

This strategy’s very different. It goes the other direction. It says how can I take the smallest group of people that I can possibly get to, because that’s going to be easier than anything else. And how can I build really strong relationships with them so that it supports commerce? That’s what this is all about. So that’s the first way that you make money with a podcast. So, let’s take a look at the second way that you make money with a podcast.

All right, so we’ve talked about this podcast prospecting method, but that’s only one of the ways that you get results from a podcast. The other way is through one of my favorite ways to develop new business and that’s through referral. But as you all know if you’ve been around me for a long time, the old way of doing referrals is something that I think is broken. And it’s always been broken. It’s worked, but it’s random. And with all of these conversations that you’re having through a platform like a podcast and all of these relationships that you’re building, not all of these people who could be potential clients for you are going to become clients. That’s just the way of the world.

You’re not going to have 100% conversion rate and that’s okay, but you’re still building a really good relationship with someone. They’re going to understand by the time you’re finished, what you do. And as we found, they become really good sources of referrals over time. In fact in just the last nine months, just from people we’ve interviewed on our podcast, we’ve done over six figures in referral business. First year referral business. Our business is built on recurring revenue. Those clients will stay with us over time, and there’s a compounding effect there. And some of those relationships that we built through the podcast have referred multiple clients to us.

So you can create these really powerful referral sources as you do these interviews. Because not everybody as you’ll find out is going to be a perfect fit to be a client for you. But what we’ve found is that sometimes it’s even better when we interview someone and their clients are really good potential clients for us. So that’s the other way that you can use a podcast to drive your business forward. You can create these relationships and do it without having to run around doing all this crazy networking, going to these networking groups and spending all this time. You can do it in a very time efficient way and in a very powerful way, and in a way that that person won’t forget. Most of the people that you’ll interview will only ever appear on your podcast, which means you’re going to hold a very unique place in their mind.

Now to support all of this, we do some things that I think most people probably don’t do with a podcast because I’ve been on a lot of podcasts and I’ve never had anybody do this for me. But when we have a guest on our podcast and when any of our clients have a guest on their podcast, we send them a box in the mail with some goodies. Because again, we’re trying to support this relationship. So they get this big box in the mail and it’s got all these goodies in it. For our clients it’s all branded to them. And there’s things in there that the client’s not going to get rid of. They’re not going to throw it away. So now our clients are owning real estate in the physical world of all of the people that they interview, all these potential clients, all these referral partners, so that they’re remembered.

So focus on, no matter what you do, whether you use a podcast. I love the podcast method because it’s so easy to create relationships and get business people to come and want to talk to you. But whatever you do, focus all of your marketing on creating relationships. So, let’s look at some of the reasons why you might be thinking, “This won’t work for me,” because I hear that a lot.

So, I’ve described some pretty amazing results for sure. And you might be thinking, “Well, could I really do that? Yeah, I’m listening to Steve. He’s got this really big following and he’s got this big podcast audience.” And that’s where you’d be wrong. See in internet fame terms, we have a very, very small audience. When we started our podcast the very first few months, we didn’t hit 500 downloads in a month. But I didn’t care, because the goal was to build business relationships. And it worked. It worked then when we were small, and we’ve grown. We’re still not a huge, huge podcast audience. We’re really grateful that you’re here and that you’re listening, but there aren’t tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of you listening right now.

And we don’t need that. And you don’t need that either, because that’s not how you make money as you’ve already learned. So one of the things I love about this approach is that it’s accessible. It’s accessible for lots of businesses. In fact when I did my first podcast back in 2012, I interviewed 52 people. They were all referral sources really for us, none of them prospects. But we interviewed 52 people, and the referrals that were driven from those relationships and really just from a small fraction of those relationships, doubled our business. It’s the thing that got us going and put us on the map. And that’s how effective this can be. But we were unknown at that point. We had virtually no audience. So that’s what I love about this is it makes it really accessible for you no matter what stage you’re at.

Now, can it be intimidating to get behind the microphone? Sure it can, especially the first time. But you’ll soon realize that you’re just having a conversation with the person on the other end. And it’s a fun conversation to have. You don’t need any special talent other than being able to speak to another human being. And I’m guessing you probably have that.

Now the other thing that I hear all the time, the question I get all the time, “Well isn’t the technology complicated?” And it can be, there are a lot of moving parts to all of this. There’s technology for hosting the podcast. You have to get it connected up with all the different distribution services. It’s got to get onto your website. It’s got to get out in email marketing and social media and all that. And the tech isn’t super complicated, but there are a lot of moving parts. And if you’re not a professional marketer and don’t want to become one, that may be overwhelming for you. For some businesses, it makes sense to offload all that work to a team who can do it or to hire a team in house that could do it. But at the same time, it’s not so complicated that you can’t do it all yourself.

Back in 2012, I did it all myself. Unfortunately, that’s the reason that podcast didn’t survive beyond those 50 episodes that we did. I ran out of bandwidth and time to do it. So it may make sense for you to get help. So you want to think about those things as you go into it.

And again, one of the reasons that I’m so big on this idea is that I’ve been down the old school networking route. It takes a ton of time. Most of the time, you get very little result. I’ve been down the Facebook ad route. In fact, we did it for three years and we spent a ton of money doing it. We got some results, but we didn’t get great results. I know what going down that route means. It means that you’re going to become a full time Facebook ads expert to keep up, or you’re going to spend a lot of money to hire one. Everybody thinks that’s the easy road. But I know that creating real relationships with human beings who can do business with you is a lead source that I can control. So I don’t have to worry about if Google changes their algorithm or Facebook changes their advertising policies. It’s a lead source I can control. It’s one that I understand, it’s simple. It’s what all of the other methods are trying to create.

So the reason that you run ads to put someone into your funnel is so that you can create a relationship ultimately that will support doing business. And this is the shortcut.

So if you’re a service business where you don’t need 1,000 clients a year to reach your goal, this provides a sane way to grow your business at the scale that you need it. So there you have it. That’s how you make money from a podcast. That’s the purpose of having one in your marketing mix if you decide to have one. You don’t need sponsors, you don’t need a big audience. There’s nothing super complicated about it. You just need a platform to invite future clients too so you can begin new relationships with them that will support doing business.

Now let’s see what’s happening at the Unstoppable CEO. So I’ve just completely revamped our signature webinar, and it teaches all of the details about this strategy, about how we use a podcast to get clients, to build relationships, to drive referrals. And I presented it for the first time yesterday. If you missed it, it is available now on demand at You can go there, and you can watch it on demand. Again, that’s if you want to watch that. And if this approach makes sense to you, and if you think this might be something that you want to put into your business and you want to learn more about it and you think maybe you might need some help implementing it, we should talk soon. We have a strict cap on the number of Done For You clients that we’ll accept, and there are really just a few spots left open right now. If you’d like to find out if we might be a fit to work together, I’d love to talk with you. You can schedule a time to talk with me at

Until next time, thanks very much for being here. I appreciate you being here. And if you have a question, email me. I love to hear from you.

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