Expanding Your Influence [Business Newbie Guide Part 5]

expanding your influenceExpanding your influence is a key factor in increasing your business. If no one knows who you are, or what problems you solve, they won't know to get ahold of you for help.

This is why those who jump from shiny object to shiny object never get anywhere. You see them, five years later, still floundering. They haven't stood for anything, and so haven't become known for anything. Don't become that kind of person!

To make this kind of transformation happen, you must prepare to share your message with people.

And the best way to do this is being an interview guest on targeted radio shows and podcasts!

If you have some experience with a niche, topic or marketplace, you have more knowledge about it than many other people. And lots of these people will be interested in learning what you know about! You do not need to be an in-depth expert on a subject to be qualified to talk about it. Just keep in mind your target audience. Who are they? What level are they at? Who are you best able to help? If you're clear with this up front, your audience will self-select and appreciate it.

I know a lot about selling. But an in-depth interview on Fit like this one is simply not something suitable for newbies to the subject. If the listener was an experienced sales executive or business owner, however, this interview would be a huge help to them.

On the lock picking topic, I don't know a whole lot. But I do know much more than the average person, and so it's interesting for me to share some surprising observations that are matching that newbie level.

So know where you're at and who your target audience is before you take the next step in expanding your influence.

Then do this:

Write a Bio Sheet for Expanding Your Influence

Summarize your Why, your background and your promise in a couple paragraphs.

Keep this short; we'll see why in a minute. This is a hook, not a resume.

Include your name, phone number, time zone, a backup communication method (eg. Skype ID), and email address.

Draft a Sample Questions Sheet

Write seven to ten sample questions people at your target audience's level of understanding would have about your topic.

Prepare answers to them, and rehearse! Don't skip the rehearsal. Live on air is NOT the time to be figuring out your response.

Put Them On a Media Page

Save these files in pdf format. If you have a website, post them on a Media page.

Write some text above them explaining you are available as an interview guest. Then invite the visitor to download the pdf files to consider you as a guest.

Now you have a place to refer hosts to.

Now a caution: you will have to update the bio sheet and questions as time goes on. Personally, for example, I am so bored with talking about cold calling. I no longer want to talk about it. I have done that interview fifty times. So after my first year doing interviews, I changed it up. Pricing, business models, and funnels are currently my interests. And the bio and questions needed to be revised to reflect that.

So why are we doing this?

Radio show and podcast hosts are EAGER for fresh, interesting content that is valuable to their audience.

That's why it's vital to remember that you have value, regardless of the depth of knowledge you have. As long as you know more than your target audience, and you're clear about who you are talking to, you will be welcomed as a guest.

Now the reason we created the bio sheet and sample questions is...to make life easy for the host.

They will likely read your bio word for word at the beginning of their show. So make sure their introduction of you is spicy and memorable! The beauty of this is it's completely under your control: you write the words. Get that perception started off right!

And then they will go through the questions you've prepared. They will skip the ones that don't interest them, or that they think aren't relevant to their audience. Keep track of this behavior. If you find a question is constantly being skipped, replace it with another. If another question is consistently being welcomed with excitement, prepare and amp up your answer for maximum effect.

Yes, they may ask questions that aren't on your list. But only one or two questions, probably; the rest, you'll be totally familiar with.

Where to Find Sources of Expanding Your Influence

Google "Podcast (topic)".

Google "Radio show (topic)".

And go to radioguestlist.com.

Choose your targets carefully. Out of a dozen shows I'm emailed about, I might choose just a single possibility to send my information to.

Remember, these people WANT to hear from you...if what you have to share is aligned with what their audience wants to hear!

So don't ever feel embarrassed or shy about reaching out.

Send a quick email to the producer of the show. Explain that you'd like to be a guest on their program. Give at least one good reason why you believe you're a fit for their audience.

Attach your bio and questions sheets, or link them to your Media page. Hey, all the work they want done is already completed! You've made it easy for them. They appreciate that.

When they reply to confirm they'd like you to be a guest on the show, calendar the time. Make sure you show up. Keep that backup communication method handy...you never know when your primary method will crap out.

Have a "next step" for listeners to take. The hosts will give you a chance for a bit of self-promotion at the end: a website listeners can visit, a location they can buy something from you.

Send a thank you note after the show is recorded.

Start using these show recordings as marketing collateral.

Post them on your site, or at least links to them. Write about them. Post on social media.

The more your target market can hear and see you before they ever actually speak to you in person, the more geared they will be to buying from you.

The Next Method for Expanding Your Influence

The next effective way to expand your influence is by quickly finding, sorting and having qualifying conversations with prime suspects.

To get every detail on how to do this, see the Speedy Sales Machine.

Once you've implemented everything up to and including this fifth step, it's time to talk to me.

>> Want Jason's help? If you're already making money competently producing a product or service, we could be a fit. <<


What Product Should I Make?

what product should I makeWhat product should I make? I'm frequently asked this question, whether privately, on forums, or expert platforms. Those asking usually but not always have some technical expertise. They can make something. But they're just not sure what.

Know why they have this problem? They're not close enough to their target market.

They're thinking too much about themselves.

What needs to be created is not in them. It's in their target market. And to find out what that is, you have to get real close and listen to what that niche is saying.

Guessing is not okay.

Creating a better mousetrap is not okay.

Do not work in isolation.

Do not rush out and make a product as fast as you can because you feel you must.

Take some time.

Go speak with your target customers. Hear what they have to say. Yes, this will slow your time to market; however, you will end up with a product people actually want rather than a dud.

Don't Ask Yourself 'What Product Should I Make?'

My first "product" was a 30-minute phone sales training call. It was later expanded into a 3-hour conversation and a membership site format. Now it's a four-figure program with two supporting membership sites.

I did not run out and create it as soon as I began interacting with the marketplace in the fall of 2011. Instead, I first interacted with that audience for three full months. I answered forum questions that demonstrated I knew my topic.

In fact, one of the big issues was how to package what I knew into a bite-sized format! Operations management, coypwriting and sales training were all competency areas, and I did not know which one would take off. If I had pushed out a product as soon as possible in 2011, it very likely would have been off the mark. What actually happened is by January 2012 I was recognized as an expert in the sales training field by this marketplace, and there was pent-up demand for something from me.

By simply casually reviewing the interactions I had had with my customer base over the past three months, it was simple to pick out two facts: only one other phone sales trainer was selling his services there, and nobody else was talking about the consultative approach. There was a need for someone to teach a straightforward, friendly, ethical way to start great sales conversations by phone.

If I had not spent the time interacting with my marketplace beforehand, I would have gone off the trail and created something nobody wanted. Talking with my target market allowed me to niche down. It gave me the boundaries to package part of what I knew into something they wanted. It also let them "try before you buy"--they got to see my expertise before having to make the decision about whether to invest in it or not.

Rush in and you'll get neither of these vital results.

How You Can Answer 'What Product Should I Make?'

Now the good news is you don't have to spend three months working with your target niche before coming up with something profitable. I had copywriting work during those months that allowed me to take my time. But you may only have a few weeks, and that's all right. You just need to talk to people. Not try to sell them anything. Just talk to them.

In my last post, I discussed how you can conduct information interviews with decision makers in your chosen niche. In these interviews, you will learn what key problems they have and how critical it is for your potential customers to get them solved. Just call, say you're doing some research, and set up a time for a 15-to-20-minute interview. You'll be amazed how easy these are to get, and how informative they are. You may find you were headed down the wrong path and a much more profitable idea was hidden from view.

When one decision maker in a niche tells you about a problem, you can be sure many decision makers in that niche are experiencing the same issue.

When two or more decision makers in a niche share the same difficulty with you, especially when using the same wording, you have a winner.

Then you have a strong answer to 'What product should I make?' and can go create the solution.

But hear it from your target market first.

Other Sources of Answers to 'What Product Should I Make?'

A couple other really good sources of problems your market is experiencing are:


Go to magazines.com and see if there are magazines for your niche.

If there is even one title for your topic, you know there is a market.

Now read the headlines. What are they talking about? What problems are they highlighting, that they're using as hooks to encourage readers to open to Page Whatever to find the solution for?

Amazon/Kindle Reviews

Head over to Amazon and search for books in your niche. Now look at the reviews. Read them. You'll run across things like "I bought this book because..." and "It really helped me to...". These sentences tell you exactly what was going on in your target customer's head. A bunch of customers are saying the same thing? Great! Now can you fix that problem?

Maybe you should buy the book, if there are several reviews discussing a problem and solution you can have an effect on.

But nothing takes the place of genuine conversations with real members of your target market. Don't chicken out. You could be missing a fortune in exchange for a simple task if you do.

ADVANCED PRICING IDEA: look for problems the size of which lets you set a price at 5-10% of that value...and also allows you to hit your monthly revenue target with a reasonable number of sales.

If you're interested in a framework or roadmap that builds a business for you around what I've been sharing here, check out Jeff Steinmann's How To Quit Working.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert. Did this information help you? Please Like or Share to let others know! And if you have a question about "What Product Should I Make?", comment below! <<


Information Interviews [How To]

Information InterviewsInformation interviews are the key when you're confused about...

...what job to pursue, at what companies...

...when you want to know what your target market is interested in concerning your offer...

...when you want to make sales but don't know your new niche.

If you can't say out loud and clearly:

> Why you want a specific job at a specific company


> Why decision makers in the niche you're entering want to buy from you

then you badly need to do some information interviews.


The fact is, this is your target market. And hearing what they want and value in their own words is critical. Nothing else is more important. Not what you believe their desires and values are. Not what you hope or think they will be.

When we talk about pain points, this is what we mean. These words. These phrases. This jargon. This terminology. When you repeat these pain points to members of your target market, they will listen. These terms will resonate with them and that will give you instant credibility.

When we talk about finding the work role you truly enjoy, you need to know several things. What people who do that job actually do all day. What they like. What they don't like. How different the same job is at different companies with different cultures. How those companies hire.

These critical knowledge points and more are readily available in information interviews.

People are cooperative and like to show off what they know (I'm doing it right now!). So let them.

This isn't hard. Nearly everyone you call will be open to at least talking with you on the phone for a few minutes. You may have to schedule a time to call back or meet in person later, and that's fine.

Information Interviews for Job Hunt Satisfaction

So say there's a job you want to do, you think, and you'd like to find out more about it. The funny thing is, the same job done at different companies can be totally different experiences because of cultures. So it's best to talk to three or four people doing that job at separate firms to get perspective.

To find these people is not difficult. You can use LinkedIn. Or you can use a simple method called the Little Unsure technique, where you ask the receptionist, "Hi, I'm not sure who I should speak with...I'm looking for the person who does [whatever role it is]. But again, I'm not sure who that would be there..." and trail off.

This method is very effective.

You may get voicemail. 3/4 times the person you're calling won't be available to take your call. Don't take it personally. Leave a quick message or call back later now that you have the name.

For messages or live answers, say you are doing some research, are interested in the role they have and are wondering if it's right for you. If they could speak with you for about 15 minutes, it would be very helpful. If now's not a good time, when would work?

Have your questions ready. They may want to go ahead right now.

I have had employees get time for such interviews in person approved by their boss...again, people want to be cooperative. Once in awhile you may find someone who is "too busy". Simply move on. No big deal. That person is probably not a fit anyway.

The higher you go in larger organizations, the nicer the people you'll find. How did the leaders in most organizations get there? The Sales career path. They know all about cold calling. They appreciate it.

Nearly all of the success factors here are getting past your fears. These fears are simply not valid. They don't hold true in the real world. Nearly everyone is flattered someone would ask their opinion. Go find out whether this job is really something you want. And you'll also find out what kind of different corporate cultures exist...which will play a big part in your job selection, if you're smart.

Don't be in "I'll Take Anything" mode. Start sorting.

Have an interview plan. What is the purpose of the interview? Don't be wishy-washy. Your two questions today could have used a lot more detail.

Here's an example of several information interviews with fellow sales professionals.

Write out your questions beforehand. Of course one or two new questions will occur to you while conducting the interview; ask them, too. But have your base set up.

Think about your request from their perspective: WHY would they want to participate? Yes, people want to be cooperative and helpful. But No, they do not want to create content for you (for example, I am asked to be interviewed all the time by people who are compiling such expert interviews to then SELL them...why on earth should I give them content so they can make money with it?!).

So be clear about your purpose.

You really must be looking for expertise, not digging for a job. Fake purpose will be seen through immediately and it will hurt your reputation.

Collecting a series of these interviews online around a specific topic is a great differentiating factor for job hunting, however. This is positioning.

Information Interviews for Pain Points

Information interviews to uncover pain points are very similar. Use the Little Unsure technique to reach the decision maker. Tell them you're doing some research. Then have a straightforward conversation about your topic.

Have they considered buying or have they bought what you offer?

How did they go about that?

On what criteria did they choose their provider? Why did that matter? (Hint: Price is not the real reason...and if it is, you don't want that buyer as a customer.)

For both job hunting and finding pain points, realize you must do several of these to get correlation. One or two is not enough. However, the activity level and payoff for booking and completing say a half-dozen information interviews is very powerful. You will feel incredibly confident because you finally understand your market.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert who has had companies create custom roles for him on four occasions. Was this information helpful to you? Please Like or Share to let others know. And if you have a question about information interviews, Comment below! <<