Austin Peterson and Landon Mance are the Co-founders of Backbone Planning Partners, a financial services firm with offices in Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona. Backbone Planning Partners helps business owners and their families transfer ownership of their businesses while focusing on a positive outcome for their employees. Austin and Lance are also the hosts of Tycoons of Small Biz, a podcast that gives business owners a platform to share their stories with the world.
Austin Peterson is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, fiduciary advisor, and registered representative with Lincoln Financial Advisors. For over 20 years, Austin has served in the investment, insurance, and wealth management industries, working with companies such as Symetra, Crump Life Insurance Services, and LPL Financial. He completed his Master of Business Administration degree at Brigham Young University.
Landon Mance is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) and a business exit consultant. Before co-founding Backbone Planning with Austin, Landon operated his business under Mance Wealth Management, which he launched in 2015. Before starting his practice, Landon served in several financial organizations, including J.P. Morgan and Waddell & Reed. He completed his degree in Business Administration at California State University-Long Beach and obtained the Certified Exit Planning Advisor designation through the Exit Planning Institute.
Austin and Landon join us today to discuss the power of leveraging podcasting as a business development tool. They describe how they developed the idea behind Tycoons of Small Biz podcast and discuss outsourcing podcast production. They outline their process for pre-screening, inviting, and interviewing podcast guests, as well as how they increase the likelihood of guests becoming financial planning clients. They also underscore how podcasting can build solid relationships and highlight the role of intention in running a podcast.
“Podcasting allows you to get to know somebody better than you ever would at a networking event or any other business development opportunities.” – Austin Peterson
This week on The Model FA Podcast:
● How Austin connected with business owners and clients before launching the podcast
● What intrigued him about launching a podcast to market to business owners
● Why Landon kept pushing the idea of launching a podcast with Austin
● Outsourcing podcast post-production and how much time Austin and Landon spend on working on their podcast
● How to save time when preparing and recording a podcast episode
● The outsourcing costs and ROI of running a podcast
● Their process for inviting and interviewing podcast guests and how they increase the likelihood of the guests doing business with them
● How many of their podcast guests later take a financial planning appointment with them
● Pre-qualifying podcast guests and how they deal with non-ideal guests
Our Favorite Quotes:
● “A podcast is a creative and ethical way of tricking someone into hanging out with you and building a relationship with them.” – David DeCelle
● “Following up with your podcast guests while you’re still fresh in their minds is of utmost importance: strike while the iron’s hot.” – David DeCelle
● “Set the intention for what you’re trying to do with your podcast; your intention will change your approach.” – Landon Mance
Connect with Austin Peterson & Landon Mance:
● Tycoons of Small Biz Podcast
● Backbone Planning Partners on Facebook
● Email: [email protected]
About the Model FA Podcast
The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams.
Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered.
President of Model FA, David DeCelle
If you like this podcast, you will love our community! Join the Model FA Community on Facebook to connect with like-minded advisors and share the day-to-day challenges and wins of running a growing financial services firm.
I’ve done a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff has not worked. Podcasting just kind of fell into my lap, and I said, why don't we give it a shot? I think it might work for us. We knew that we wanted to do something around business owners. And it turns out that it's a pretty great medium to get people to have a conversation with you.
David DeCelle 00:33
Welcome Model FAs. This is David DeCelle, your host of the Model FA podcast and president of Model FA, bringing an interesting episode to you. One of our clients, Austin Peterson — and his partner Landon Mance — has taken on a different strategy that I've see some advisors doing, not all advisors, and it's really helped with their ability to meet new people in their target market, as well as of course, increase revenue, and we'll unpack all of that in today's episode. But before we get started, let's go ahead and give you some context as to who you're chatting to. Austin Peterson is a comprehensive financial planner and co-founder of Backbone Planning Partners, with offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Las Vegas. Austin's a registered rep and investment advisor representative with Lincoln Financial Advisors. Prior to joining Lincoln, he worked in a variety of roles in the financial services industry. He began his career in financial services in the year 2000. For context, Austin, I was 10 years old in that year, so I'd say you got some gray hairs, but yeah, I'll leave the pun. So started in 2000 as a personal financial advisor with Independent Capital Management in Santa Ana, California, then joined Pacific Life as an internal wholesaler for their variable annuity and mutual fund products. After Pacific Life, formed his own financial planning company in Southern California that he built and ran for six years and eventually sold when he moved his family to Salt Lake City to pursue his MBA. Once that was completed, joined Crump Life Insurance — which I've actually used in the past when I was an advisor as well — where he filled a couple different sales roles and eventually a management role throughout the five years that he was at Crump. Most recently before joining Lincoln in February of 2015, he spent two years of his life as an insurance field wholesaler with Symetra Life Insurance Company. He's a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, Certified Business Exit Consultant, and Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor. And on a personal note, Austin and his wife of 23 years, Robin, have two children, AJ who’s 21, Ella who's 18, and they reside in Gilbert, Arizona. Graduate of California State University-Fullerton with a Bachelors of Arts in French. Oh, I'm gonna have to make a comment on that. And a Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management with a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Sales and Entrepreneurship. So before I get into Landon's bio, I took French in middle school, Austin, and the only thing I remember is est-ce que je peux en toilettes s’il vous plait, Madame because the only way we could leave class to go to the bathroom was if we asked in French, and I always wanted to get out of that class. And that has stuck with me over the years. So I can't have a conversation with you in French, but I can certainly excuse myself to go to the restroom.
It was close enough, and I understood what you meant.
David DeCelle 03:41
Yeah, some stuff may have been lost over the years, but at least you got the gist of it. Awesome. So Landon, Landon Mance is a financial planner. Him and Austin are business partners, and he's primarily located in Vegas. Operated his own business under Mance Wealth Management since 2015, when he broke off from a major bank to start his own practice. And in 2020, Landon rebranded to focus on small business planning. Comes from a family of successful entrepreneurs and has a passion and excitement for serving the business communities. You can all get a sense as to what niche Austin and Landon are serving. This passion is what brought about the growth of Backbone Planning Partners to help business owners and their families. Backbone believes that small business owners’ personal and business goals are intertwined, so they work with their clients to design a financial plan to support all aspects of their life. In 2019, Landon obtained the Certified Exit Planning Advisor designation through the Exit Planning Institute. With that certification, Backbone Planning Partners assist business owners through an ownership transition while meeting the business owners goals. And in 2021, Landon became a Certified Business Exit Consultant to help entrepreneurs plan to exit their businesses by counseling owners about exit options, estimating the value of the business, preparing the business for exit, and tax consideration. And a personal note, Landon enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife — Austin, he one-upped you there, you’re gonna have to update your bio man — stepson and one year old twins. He grew up in sunny San Diego, loves visiting his family, playing golf, and many other outdoor activities. So gentlemen, that's a mouthful, but I think it's worth it. Welcome to the show.
Thanks for having us. And I just have to point out I have golfed with Landon. And I don't know that I would call it playing golf.
David DeCelle 05:34
Looking for balls?
More like hitting houses on a regular basis.
There's some truth to that; there is some truth to that.
David DeCelle 05:45
It's funny, whenever I golf, I start off by saying I was in a golf league for the last 10 years before I moved to Florida. But by golf league, I mean, it's a drinking and cigar league, where you just kind of BS with the other guys, and, you know, go look for your balls in the woods. But I would always, at the beginning of every season, I would buy like a big bucket of used golf balls; and I'd buy the 12 pack, I think they come in 12 packs, of the Titleist Pro V Ones. And I would always drive and use my irons with the used balls, but I would always putt with the Pro V Ones so I looked official when everyone got close and could see what ball I was using. Oh, man, well, cool. So really today, the focus for everyone listening is you got a sense as I was going through the bios that Austin and Landon do a lot of work primarily in the business owner space. And for those of you who also work with business owners, or would like to work with business owners, you probably find that you're going after a group of people that's really busy. And the typical approaches to business development — so like, if you work with retirees, cool, fill a room, fill a webinar, present to them. And you know the math equation; folks will ultimately work through that funnel and become a client. But if you ask a business owner to go ahead and attend a seminar, first of all, they're going to smell that stuff from a mile away, they're going to know kind of what's going on. And they're probably not going to want to spend the time to do that. So then the question becomes, how do we get their attention? Yeah, we can get referrals, we can literally go knock on their door, we can connect to them on social media, there's a variety of different things that you could do. But one of the things that Austin and Landon have done is actually launched a podcast that I think you've been doing for just over a year. So I guess, Austin, I'll start with you. How are you getting business owner clients before launching the podcast? And what ultimately intrigued you to the idea of hosting a podcast as a way to get in front of those folks?
Yeah, so it's actually been almost two years. We started on Cinco de Mayo 2020. So we're coming up on two years of doing this, which is shocking. The pandemic has kind of thrown everybody's timeline off a little bit. But the podcast actually came about, I have to give Landon credit. Landon kept pushing me, saying we should do a podcast, we should do a podcast. And I thought, you know, I just don't know where we would find the time to do that. And so luckily, he kept pushing, and we agreed to do that. But we actually get guests on the podcast the same way that I marketed for business owners before. And it's some of the stuff that you guys do for us through Model FA is a messaging sequence on LinkedIn where I would connect with them and share some value. I've always been a big proponent of content. And that's probably one of the biggest advantages of the podcast is now we have even more content than we could ever imagine having. When I see people at conferences, industry conferences, or other people that I know in other ways, they always comment, like, you're the only person that I see regularly on LinkedIn, I cannot get away from your posts, because you're that present on LinkedIn.
David DeCelle 09:06
Love it. Landon, so Austin had mentioned that you are one of the folks who was kind of pushing him to do it, push him to do it. And then you got to solve the problem of how do we find time? What was it about the idea of a podcast that had you be so bullish on that idea?
Yeah, man, I would say it just came from my own experience. I'm a big podcast listener; I subscribe to a number of different podcasts, a couple in our industry, but mostly outside of what we do, and I get a ton of value from them. When you're looking to get educated or gain some experience in a certain area, podcast is a great, pretty much free place to go. And people share a lot of valuable insights and suggestions and all kinds of things. And so, I just kind of assessed our industry a bit and just said, you know, this is not something a lot of people are doing, and I think it would be a good idea for us to give it a shot. I’m kind of that advisor that I'm sure a lot of your listeners can probably relate to. When I started in the independent space, that's how I actually entered the business, and that was in 2009, 2010. I mean, I've tried everything under the sun, man. I've done seminars, I've done mailers, I've done coffee chats. I basically became a vendor at this retirement community center, and I've done presentations. So anyway, the point is, I've done a lot of stuff, and a lot of stuff has not worked. And podcasting just kind of fell into my lap, and I said, why don't we give it a shot? I think I might work for us. And we knew that we wanted to do something around business owners. And it turns out that it's a pretty great medium to get people to have a conversation with you.
David DeCelle 10:56
Love it. So going back, Austin, over to you with the whole time components that you were worried about at the beginning stages, you know, how are we going to actually allocate enough time for this? There's different aspects of the podcast, right? There's the identification of the guest. How are we going to get people interested in joining? There's prep work, if any, that’s needed beforehand to understand kind of how you're going to facilitate that conversation. There's the podcast itself. And then there's the post production and the posting on social and all that type of stuff. So a common objection that I get with our clients where I suggest a podcast is the time portion that's needed to be invested. So I know that some of the aspects of that process I just laid out, you guys do; some of them you've outsourced to other people to handle for you. So I guess help me understand, and help the listeners understand who are tuned into this episode. How much time do you actually spend on the podcast? What portions are you outsourcing? And you can answer that on a weekly basis, or monthly basis, however you want to, but give a sense as to what the actual time investment is.
For Landon and I, personally, it's probably about two hours a week: one hour recording and one hour either doing pre-qualification calls, driving to the studio, driving back. We record at an actual studio that's run by Business Radio X, which is almost like a franchise system throughout the country for podcasting. And so I would think it's probably about two hours total with that, because we've automated some of it, we have our practice manager do a good portion of it, our other staff member do a good portion of it. So all of that's kind of done behind the scenes. And then the generation of guests, for the most part, maybe 80 or more percent come through our messaging sequence on LinkedIn that we've set up with you guys.
David DeCelle 12:54
Okay, so it's, there's aspects that are automated. And then what about the post production, that's all done by that studio?
Some of it is, but we also hired a small marketing team in the Midwest that actually goes in and dissects the episode, creates the audiograms, the quote cards, all those sorts of things for us. And then our practice manager uses a messaging sequence afterwards to follow up with the guests to send them the audio clips and the audiograms and all that kind of stuff from the actual show, and then essentially invites them to a meeting with us for an hour to have a discussion around what we do. There's no obligation to do that, be we, essentially a few episodes in, we started getting questions and we thought, you know what? We should offer an introductory or a discovery meeting to each of our guests, and if they take us up on it, great.
David DeCelle 13:44
Landon, one of the things I try to explain to people because they're like, well, I've never podcasted before. It's like, okay, well, you never dribbled a basketball before, and you could probably do that now at this point. But you looked silly when you first started it, right? So I remember when I first started hosting our podcast, I would like prepare the hell out of that episode. I’d have questions, some of which I got to, some of which I never got to. I would have like my opening statement that I would read and try and not be scripted. And then you get to the point where an episode like this, they'd look at my calendar, and I'm like, op! — time to do a podcast, but there's no like real prep for it in advance. So can you share kind of how that evolution takes place? What did you do at the beginning? And what are you doing now? And how much time has that portion freed up? Because I feel like a lot of people not only think they’ve got to allocate a couple hours, Austin, like you just said, but then they think of all like the ancillary time and the prepping and all that type of stuff. So if you can speak to that for a little bit, that'd be great.
Yeah, absolutely. So I will quote our producer. Now we work with a producer assistant, but let me tell you how he opens up his intro prior to hitting record. He says to the guest, okay, John. So just to kind of set the stage for the conversation with Austin and Landon today, I want you to just envision yourself, you're in a coffee shop, and the three of you guys are sitting down, and you're having a cup of coffee, and you're having a conversation about whatever. Somebody comes over and taps you guys on the shoulder and says, hey, I'm sorry to interrupt. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I just wanted to say, it sounds like you guys are just having this really incredible, free flowing, relaxed conversation. And that's how I want your guys' conversation to look and feel today. That is exactly what it is. So we send a guest an intake form. And we actually have a spot on that intake form where we allow them to jot down five to seven questions or topics that they would like us to ask them about. So we do not have an agenda for the calls at all. I think the way that we approach it is if we truly were sitting down and having a cup of coffee with this person for the first time and saying, tell us about yourself, tell us about your family. Where'd you grow up? Where are you from? What do you like to do when you're not working? Oh, you're married? What's your wife's name? Oh, you've got three kids? What are your kids names? Are they younger? Are they older? Where do they go to school? It just naturally flows into well, that's really cool. So you were working for this big company for five years and you decided that you wanted to become an entrepreneur? How did that happen? Tell us about that story. And then it just flows into talking about the business, what they do, how long they've been doing what they're doing, what kind of success, failures they've encountered along the road. And it just, it really is a very natural conversation. And although we've made plenty of mistakes along the road, and we're learning and growing every single day, that was something we've done pretty well from the get go. We’ve always just kind of served that ball over to them and said, the floor is yours. Tell us about yourself, and let's talk about your business. And that's what's guided our conversations. But also, it certainly makes it more efficient in the light of not having to spend a lot of time prepping for our podcast, because we're pretty aggressive in the sense that we record every single Tuesday, same time, same place. So we're recording I would imagine about as frequently as anybody records, which is once per week. So that's helped a lot in that regard too.
David DeCelle 17:33
Cool. So I do want to take a moment, and Austin, I'll be coming over to you. And I don't necessarily need the exact figures. But if I'm listening to this episode, what I'm curious to hear is hey, cool, but like, how much does this stuff cost to outsource? The things that you're outsourcing? And do you actually see an ROI? Because at the end of the day, Landon, you had brought up the fact that you enjoy listening to podcasts. And I'm sure that there's a number of people that enjoy listening to your podcast, right? So there's a content aspect to this so that people are constantly seeing you put out content, they're getting value from it, and perhaps they raise their hand and say, hey, I need your help with X,Y, and Z. But a lot of times people get hung up at the very beginning of launching a podcast and being like, man, no one's listening. Like, what's the point of even doing this, when in reality, the main aspect, especially at the beginning, is all a podcast is when it's an interview style podcast, it's just a creative and ethical way to trick someone to hang out with you to ultimately start to build a relationship with them. And it's a non-aggressive approach when you compare it to, hey, John or Suzy business owner, my name is so and so, and here's how I can help. So it's just a more natural way to go about it. So, Austin, just so that our listeners can get a sense, what does it look like? I don't know how you want to answer this in terms of a per episode cost, or what's your yearly budget towards the podcast? But also, what does the revenue look like that's directly attributed to the podcast itself? And I know that your revenue, by and large, falls into three categories: recurring revenue, planning revenue, and then insurance revenue when appropriate. If you can unpack that a little bit, because I want to share with folks the vision as to what they could create by spending a couple hours a week interviewing some guests.
Yeah, so because we do outsource, we do use the studio, they push out the content our behalf as well, and they've got a larger audience than even we do. We did feel that it was still beneficial to pay that additional cost because the reality is, I mean, you're recording your own podcast, you guys have an in-house team that does the production and all that kind of stuff. We could have done that as well probably for less than we're paying, but that additional reach we thought was beneficial. And then quite honestly, we think that it's a great opportunity for these guests to come into the studio and get that real radio studio feeling because our podcast actually live streams on internet radio first, and then maps over to the podcast platforms a couple days later. So they're coming in, they're putting the headphones on, they're getting this true experience. And so we felt like that was worth the additional costs. So not counting our own staff time, which I don't know exactly what it ends up being, but just the marketing team and the production, we spent about $20,000 a year to put together the podcast. And, I mean, just rough numbers in my head, we've generated probably close to 180 or 200,000, in gross revenue from guests that came directly from the podcast.
Patrick Brewer 20:45
Hey Model FAs, I know you're enjoying this conversation. But I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the Model FA Accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of. We focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that will get people to sign on the dotted line and become clients of your firm, all while giving you the information to scale and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www.ModelFA.com/accelerator or www.ModelFA.com. Hover over Work With Us and click on Accelerator. Hope to see you in the program.
David DeCelle 21:35
So you're going to a machine. And quite frankly, I thought that you'd be spending more than the 20,000, so that was a pleasant surprise to me. But you're telling me that, essentially, you're standing in front of a machine, you're giving it $20,000, and you're getting a couple $100,000 back, I'd say it's a good use of time, good use of dollars, especially for a couple hours a week of work. But you're also doing it with the right people. Business owners are the folks that there's multiple streams of revenue that you can earn off of them working with them in the business capacity, individual capacity. So Landon, I know before we started recording, one of the things that you and I were chatting through is the fact that you guys didn't do your first episode and have everything figured out at that time. And one of the things that you guys recognize is our experience from the initial touch point with the prospects to invite them to the show to what that follow up looks like after recording, it just, it needed some love, right? And you guys, towards the end of this past year, spent some time as a team and reworked that entire process. So in an effort to help with the folks who are listening, their learning curve, if they want to launch a podcast themselves, what are some of the things that you're doing on the front end and on the back end of recording the episode to increase the likelihood that they actually do business with you? What are you doing now that perhaps maybe you weren't doing when you guys first launched?
Like anything, if you are providing real value, or at least you're hoping that you are, people will appreciate it. And they will do business with individuals or a company, if they see that they are providing value to them even before they're a customer or a client, what have you. And so that is the lens that we look at this process through, is from the second that we come in contact with a prospective guest, how are we going to ensure that we take them on this journey and that at every step of the journey, we are providing some kind of value? Because our goal is that we take them through this journey, and it's a several month long journey, because we are booking out our guests now two to three months in advance. So it is a several month journey, and it starts out with us reaching out to them and saying, hey, we'd like to sit down and have a conversation with you and see if it's a good fit for coming on our show. So we send them out a pre-qualification form; they have to fill that out prior to us having our initial conversation with them. And then we meet with them for 15 or 20 minutes, and we basically just get to know them a little bit and understand what their business is, how long they've been doing it, so forth and so on. And so then we just decide whether or not we want to schedule them or not. And then if we do, now they get plugged into the process. And throughout that process, like I said, that's usually several months, the end goal is that by the time we bring them onto the show, we plug them into the follow up sequence, we send them, we mail them a glass picture frame with a picture. It's accompanied by a memory stick, all the digital stuff at their fingertips to do with it as they please. Our goal is that by the time that we have done all this stuff and built all this rapport with them — have not asked anything from them in return. Our goal is that at the end of this process, that we just say, hey, we really enjoyed getting to know you, you've come onto the show, we had a great conversation, here's these great follow up stuff. Here's why people typically hire us; would you like to sit down and have a conversation with us? If you would, great. If you wouldn't, it's not going to prevent us from following up with you and having you on the show, as we track your success and your progress. So it's super informal, it's low pressure, because that's how Austin and I operate. We don't need their business. We want their business if it's the right fit, but we don't need their business. We're growing our practices quite well as it is. And so we're really, really, really laser focused on bringing the right folks into our practice. And so, we build a lot of rapport with our folks that come onto the show, and then we just say, hey, we'd love to sit down with you and have a chat. Is that something you're open to? And they say yes or they say no, and either answer is fine with us.
David DeCelle 26:12
So I don't know if you've yet kind of went through and analyzed data or started coming up with conversion ratios. If so feel free to share them. If not just kind of give me a gut check. I guess two questions. How often do you get on an intro call with someone and you decide, it's not a fit? How often does that happen? The second part of that question would be, what percentage of guests tend to take you up on the initial financial planning appointment when you ask?
So I do not have the hard fast metrics for you. We are working on that because we know that we need to know those numbers, but we do not know them officially, at the moment. I'm going to spit ball here. I would say 10% of the time when someone agrees to meet with us, within the first 30 minutes, we will know that it's not a good fit. And we will literally stop mid conversation and just say, hey, we told you from the beginning of this conversation, we do not want to waste anybody's time. That being said, we can tell you right now, based on this discussion so far, we are not going to be the right team for you. We don't want to continue the conversation for another five minutes or 30 minutes. Let's depart here as professional friends. We'll send you a couple resources; we're happy to be a resource for you at any time. If you've got questions about something, you want to bounce something off of us, reach out anytime. But from a working standpoint, we are not going to be the right team for you. So we'll say that's about 10%. I would say if we reached out to 100 guests approximately over the last 20 months, I would say 15 to 20% of the people say yes to sitting down and having a discussion with us. That might be a little low, it might be a little bit higher, it might be like 25%. But then of those 25% of the people — so let's just say that that's 20 people — so 20 people said yes, I'm willing to have a discussion with you. Of those, maybe five of them have become clients, or are in the process of becoming a client, and then maybe another two or three we're in talks with and we very well believe they will become a client sometime in the next few months. Does that help?
David DeCelle 28:28
Yeah, it does. And it's one of those things to take into consideration. One, is just because they're not becoming a client now, doesn't mean that they're not going to become a client ever. So typically, to get like real hard and fast data, you need a much longer period of time to let stuff kind of shake out when it will. And the other thing that is good, and Austin, I'm going to come over to you; based on the people that you're having on the show, you only need a handful of clients to generate the couple 100,000 of revenue that you reference, because they're bigger cases. So then my question becomes, Austin, how do you determine on the front end in the pre-qualification call before you book them for the podcast? What are some of the qualities that you're looking for or you're looking out for as to why someone should or should not be interviewed on the podcast? Because that's kind of where it starts. Because you don't want to have someone on just to have an episode. So what is it that you look for and look out for?
Yeah, so Landon kind of alluded to it a little earlier. We have this pre-qualification form that we send out to them. It's just a quick jot form that they fill out. And so we have kind of a snapshot of what they look like right now. And we ask them questions like, how long have you been in business? What's your revenue range? And we give them a few options to choose from, because we're trying to narrow it down to what it is that we're looking for both from a guest and for client, right? And so we're able to know whether or not we should even have a pre-qualification call with them from that pre-qualification form that they fill out. And sometimes we're just not quite sure. So then we'll do a 15 minute pre-qualification call, and we'll ask them further questions. So we're looking, obviously for us, it can be different for anybody else that’s looking at doing a podcast. But for us, we're looking for somebody who operates a business that's doing at least 5 million a year in revenue — or they're quickly on their way to that, meaning that they've got a trajectory that's putting them there in the next one to two years. They're growing quickly, maybe they're on the Inc. 5000 list, something like that. And then on top of that, we want to know that we're going to enjoy not only having a podcast conversation with them, but that we would enjoy working with them as a potential client.
David DeCelle 30:47
Has there been any instances where, because as you alluded to, the majority of these guests are coming from an automated LinkedIn marketing style program. So I'm sure some not so ideal folks slipped through the cracks. So when you get a form, and it's a one person shop who's doing under half a million dollars of revenue or whatever, it's just totally not qualified for the standards that you set for this strategy. How do you break up with them? Do you still have a phone call? Do you just do it over email? How do you deal with that if someone non-qualified comes through?
It depends. There's not a hard and fast rule. But one of the big advantages that we have in working with Business Radio X is that they have a lot of other podcasters on their platform, that if they're not an ideal guest for us, they're going to be an ideal guest for somebody else. And so we typically just refer them to the producer to introduce them to somebody that they would be an ideal guest for.
David DeCelle 31:47
Ah, good point.
I wanted to just jump in and say something real quick before I forget it. I did some coaching work with a phenomenal woman, and her program is called The Intentional Advisor. Lucila Williams is her name. One of the things I took away from the coaching work that I've done with her a couple years ago, is that when she meets with somebody in her practice, a prospective client, if it turns out, they're not a good fit, she wants to send them away with so much value that although she said no to them, she wants and she has experienced some of these people actually referring her to other folks, because it was such a good experience. And even though they said no, they sent them away with so much value to where they still felt good about the interaction being told no. And we want to do that exact same thing with the folks that are interested in coming on the show. So even if we say to them, you're not the right fit, we still want them to receive value from getting in touch with us. Because maybe in one year, three years, five years, they're no longer a solopreneur. They've got a team of 10 or 20 folks, and they're doing a couple million bucks of revenue; and they may think back to their interaction with us and go, dang, those guys told me no, but they put me in touch with another person at Business Radio X, and I had a great experience with them. So that is the level that we are trying to take this to with every, literally every step of the way. Even if we tell them no, we still want them to receive some kind of value just by knowing us.
David DeCelle 33:24
I'm glad that you interjected because you bring up a really good point. If people have a great experience, or they have a terrible experience, most likely they're going to tell someone about it. And the more you do this podcast, the more people you meet, the more well-known you become. And if you have people, regardless of whether they were on the show or not, saying nice things about you, that's going to help a lot. And I'm kind of visioning this out kind of in my head in the moment, but I can imagine, and Austin, you had said something like, you guys have done like 80, 90 something podcasts, the last couple of years. What you could do with that moving forward is pretty powerful, whether it be mastermind events or connecting two different business owners, that could be customers or vendors for one another, doing different events together. I guess one question I have, Austin, is are you guys getting enough new guests from the automated outreach to where you don't have to ask your guests for introductions to other business owners to be on the show? Or are you doing both? How is that set up? Because with the podcast, I view it as an easier way to get the business owners’ attention, an easier way to build relationships, an easier way to get referrals because they're giving referrals to be a guest on the show, not necessarily for financial planning services on the front end. So are you finding that your new guests are coming from the outreach and referrals from your prior guests, or are you busy enough on just the outreach?
It's definitely both. I mean, on the outreach, we probably have enough to fill our schedule. But because we get referrals from past guests, or even like Landon said, guests that may not ultimately be the best fit for us that could refer us to other guests, we end up being scheduled out about two months ahead, which is where we always try to be. The holiday season kind of slowed us down a little bit. In the middle of December, we were scheduled to the middle of February, but we're still kind of scheduled to the middle of February because we didn't do a whole lot of outreach at the end of December. But I think that both are extremely important. And one of the things that Landon didn't mention in our follow up and all the different things that we do is we send out a newsletter to all of our past guests. And the guests that were on the show in that month are highlighted in that newsletter so that those guests see who else was on the podcast; maybe they have a reason to do business with them. So you bring up a great point that it may not be a bad idea for us to think about doing an event at a Top Golf or something like that, where we have our past guests come and just hang out with us and do something at Top Golf and get to know one another as well.
David DeCelle 36:09
I mean, you bring 20 guests, at a minimum of 5 million of revenue each, you have $100 million of revenue in a couple of the bays there. Like, cool stuff will happen in scenarios like that. And I feel like you've done it long enough, and you've built relationships well enough to where something like that would be justified. And it would be fun and who knows what comes out of it. But the podcast is allowing you to meet people that perhaps you otherwise wouldn't have met, and the directions in your life that it takes you. Right now it's business oriented, but who knows, maybe you end up getting best friends from it, or maybe you end up helping them sell a business to another one of the guests that were on the show or whatever the scenario may be. Landon, so one of the things when I talk about this idea with advisors, where if I can get them over the hump of, hey, it's not as much time as you're thinking, hey, it's easier than you're thinking. And then we get to the point of, okay, once the podcast is done, their skin starts to crawl with how do I bring up the business oriented stuff? How do I transition from, hey, this is a podcast to, hey, give me your business. And obviously, you're positioning it different than I just did. If you don't have one, that's okay, but I'm hoping there's at least one so we can share with people like what's the worst case scenario? Has anyone ever been super put off that you approached them for financial planning after the podcast? What's the worst thing that you've heard, if any, so we can kind of take the boogeyman out of the closet?
Yeah, I mean, the worst thing I've heard is that they had to spend an hour staring at Austin's bald head. Other than that, I mean, honestly, man, the short answer is nothing has ever happened like that. Because when you spend some time getting to know somebody for a couple minutes on a pre-qualification call, and then you schedule them to come on to the show, and you send them an intake form and let them talk about themselves, and then you spend an hour. What do people like to talk about more than anything else? Yeah, themselves. So when you give them that platform to do that for an hour, and you've got a great production experience, and then you do some high value, follow up stuff. We we're talking to somebody in the last two or three days, and they're like, oh, my gosh, this plaque that you guys sent us, this had to cost you guys at least fifty bucks at least, get this thing manufactured, and then to mail it out to us. And he shows it to us; it's sitting on his desk. We're like, yeah, that's pretty cool, man, that's pretty cool. It did cost us a minimum of fifty bucks, you know; it's worth it. And then you plug him into a follow up sequence where you're hopefully providing some value. And then all you're doing is saying, hey, it's been great to get connected with you over these couple months. Would you like to sit down and have a conversation to see if we can provide some value to you and your family and your business? Are you open to that? We have never had anybody come back and be like, oh, this is all smoke and mirrors, you just wanted to meet with us. The worst thing that's ever happened is people have not responded to our ask. That's literally the worst thing that's happened. They just don't respond.
David DeCelle 39:21
But they get the newsletter, you're connected on social media, perhaps you have a handful of follow ups over the course of the year. Bad timing at the time in which you've positioned it, and over time, perhaps some of them end up becoming clients. So that follow up gameplan is critically important. And to bust your guys' chops slightly because I know you refined this at the end of last year, following up with them post show in a timely manner while you're still fresh in their mind is of the utmost importance. Because I know that throughout last year, there were points in time where you guys got pretty busy and we were merging together and you didn't have time to follow up with everyone. And then once you did, you went to follow up, and some people came and took you up on meeting but others folks didn't respond. So, hypothesizing here, but maybe they would have responded if you followed up sooner while you were fresh in their minds. So making sure that, for those listening, strike while the iron is hot, you're still very relevant at that point in time, and make sure you do that before you turn into a guy or gal that I recorded a podcast with six months ago. To kind of start to summarize this conversation, and feel free to chime in if I miss anything, to me, this is a business development and content generation tool that gives you a platform to creatively and ethically trick another human being into hanging out with you so you can build a relationship with them and ultimately determine if it would make sense to do business together. It makes meeting these people easier, it makes building the relationships easier, it makes getting referrals from them easier. And if they're actually meeting with you for taking you up on the financial planning type of meeting, there's a high likelihood after having spent all that time with you that they're going to do business at some point over time. And granted, if you weren't using a studio, and you were just doing Zoom as an example, you could do it for a lot cheaper. But either way, 20 grand to turn into 180 or 200 grand, I'll stand in front of that machine all day. But Austin or Landon, anything that I missed, or anything that I didn't ask today that would have been helpful for you to know before you started your podcast? For those that are listening who haven't yet started theirs...
Let me just clarify one thing. So it's 20,000 a year; we've been doing this for almost two years, so we've spent almost 40,000. I just want to make sure that's clarified. And then I'm also not a big fan of using the word tricking them into spending time with us. We're very clear with them, and that actually probably helps us with our closing ratio after the fact. Even in the pre-qualification call, we let them know that afterwards, we will likely follow up with them and see if they're interested in having a conversation with us about what we do for our day jobs, and we make clear there's no obligation. So there's definitely no trickery going on. But you hit it on the head. The reality is, it's this rapport that's built, you get to know somebody better than you ever would at a networking event or any other way that you try to generate business development opportunities. I mean, perfect example, this last week's recording on Tuesday, I walked out of the studio with the guest. And we'd had a pre-qualification call with him a couple of months ago; I'm sure we mentioned what we do in our day job. But he was referred to us by a past guest, so he already had warm and fuzzy feelings about us. It was the first podcast that he'd done. He was super, super nervous. But then afterwards, when I walked out, he said, now what do you guys actually do day to day, and I was able to take five minutes and explain what we do. And he said, I need to do that; I need to start to take money out of my business, and plan for my own financial future and diversify. And I said, that's exactly what we do, we'd love to have a conversation.
David DeCelle 43:15
So what's crazy about that — I was holding back a smirk — is think about the emotions involved. Super nervous to do their first podcast, realize that you guys don't bite and neither does the microphone, and probably really enjoyed compared to what he thought it was going to be like with the nerves in the system. So you're taking him from a nervous state, putting him into a totally cool, calm, and collected state. He's probably in a similar-ish state with his finances. So now he's going to assume that in working with you on that, he's going to be cool, calm, and collected becoming your client so you guys can help him plan. So it's something that stuck when you are going through that from an emotional standpoint, if they connect with you in some way, shape, or form through the podcast, they're going to assume that that translates into working with you more professionally as well.
It's funny you say that. I'm sure Landon has something to add here. But one of the phrases that we use with our clients is that our clients, after the fact, have found that in working with us and going through our process, that they have greater confidence and clarity in their financial planning. And that's exactly what you're talking about is you're putting them at ease, helping them feel more comfortable and confident. Just like as a guest on the podcast, same thing rings true on the financial planning side.
David DeCelle 44:32
Awesome. Anything that either one of you wants to add that I may have missed in my question asking? I want to make sure that we kind of cover everything, but if not, we'll start to wrap up. Anything that we missed?
No, I'll just add a few closing comments. Anybody listening, we're pretty open books and we're happy to share any of this with anybody that is maybe considering it or wants to enhance what they're doing. We're more than happy to have a conversation. We’ve picked a lot of people brains over the last couple years, and so we're happy to let people pick ours if they'd like to. Anybody can reach out if they want. Like Austin mentioned, we are very transparent with people when we are talking to them about coming on to the show and what our intentions are. Maybe that's a bit to my own detriment, but I like to be overly transparent, and that's just kind of how we do business. And so people appreciate that. Nobody wants to get to a point in some interaction with somebody, whether it's the first minute or it's months later, nobody wants to feel like they're getting the wool pulled over their eyes, or it's all smoke and mirrors what you're trying to do. So we tell people from the get go, we say, look, this is what's in it for you, and you’re probably wondering what's in it for us. Let us tell you about what's in it for us. We disclose that up front, and I think people really respect that. We are very, very selective in who we work with, so a lot of times it is not the right fit. We are laser focused on who we want to work with and what we're going to do for them and what value that we're going to provide to them. And if we can't do what we know that we can do for somebody, we will tell them like, hey, look, we're not the right team for you. However, let us introduce you maybe to one of our colleagues or something that would be a better fit for you. One other thing that I will add to which has been super-duper important for us, is setting the intention for what you are trying to do with your podcast. If you are trying to build this massive listenership, then that's going to be one approach. If you are using it as an avenue to meet new prospective clients, well, that's another approach, right? Because if you're not concerned about building a listenership, and you're only concerned about the people that come onto your show, well, that's going to change your approach. And that has been Austin and I's approach is, we aren't concerned if there's one person or there's a million people that listen to our show every month. We are concerned with two things: creating a truly valuable experience for the people that come onto our show, and to shake hands, physically or virtually, with potentially 52 new prospective business owner clients per year. Those are our two specific intentions. So that has really helped get us a lot of clarity as to what this process is going to look and feel like and the other considerations that you may have when you're doing a podcast.
David DeCelle 47:30
Love it. One thing, too, that I need to admit to you guys is I actually learned a valuable piece of information from both of you today. So whenever we have our guests on this show specifically fall into one of three categories. One is current clients. Another one is prospective clients. And the other one is prospective partners with other industry companies that serve advisors in a complimentary way. And when we hop on the podcast, I always open it up at one point early in the conversation, say, really the podcast is really for two main purposes. Number one, first and foremost is to deliver value to the audience. And number two, it's a way for us to get to know each other, to see if you know anything beyond the podcast comes of it. But if you catch what I said, I said it's a way for us to get to know each other. My offhand comments, however, when I'm talking to an advisor about why they should do a podcast, I use the language that YouTube push back on with me, which is, it's a creative and ethical way to trick someone to hang out with you. And I can see how those specific words may stick in the advisors mind and perhaps make it so that they don't feel comfortable moving forward with the idea because they don't want to be perceived as a smoke and mirrors, pulling the wool over someone's eyes type of person. So I appreciate you pushing back a little bit on the specific wording that I used. And for those of you who are listening, if I have shared that language with you, I hope that Austin and Landon's shift and perspective of that was helpful, but just want to say thank you for politely calling me out on the specific words that I was using. I can see how people can get attached to that and have a negative connotation associated with that. But with that being said, for those who are listening that may say you've been talking about a podcast, where can I find it? How can I connect with you guys? What's the podcast called that they can search? What platforms is it on? Folks want to get firsthand context as to what your podcast is all about.
Yeah, I was actually going to say, I don't think we'd mentioned the name of the podcast. I didn't know if you would do that in your can produced intro or not, but it's called Tycoons of Small Biz. We'd love it if you liked it and subscribed to it. It's on all major podcast platforms. We do have a YouTube channel as well. We have a page on LinkedIn for Tycoons of Small Biz as well. So we’re getting the message out there any way that we possibly can.
David DeCelle 50:03
Awesome. Gentlemen, I very much appreciate your time. I've known you guys for a little while now, and it's always good to reverse the roles and learn from you guys and the experience and what you've done so far. So I appreciate that. Landon and Austin, glad that you guys are officially partnered up now and running together. So, excited to see what's to come, and it seems as if, between working through the natural kinks of launching a podcast as well as refining the process at the end of last year, I'm excited to see what this generates for 2022. So I appreciate you guys joining.
Thanks a lot, David. Appreciate you man.
David DeCelle 50:40
Awesome. Take care.