Episode 249

podcast photo thumbnail
1x
-15
+60

00:00

00:00

Most agencies do not have a reliable sales strategy. They either rely on referrals or they employ what I call the feast or famine methodology. Neither strategy actually delivers consistent, profitable prospects or new clients. There’s a new, better way to sell for agencies. I’m a huge believer in an agency owning a position of authority and using it to make sales easier, faster and more profitable. That’s why Stephen Woessner and I wrote a book on the subject! And it’s why I wanted to invite Michelle Prince onto the podcast.

Michelle is a best-selling author, public speaker, self-publishing expert, and CEO/Founder of Performance Publishing Group. She offers a unique perspective on thought leadership to agency owners who are looking to establish a position of authority within their niche. She believes that authoring a book is the strategy of choice.

In fact, Michelle says, “you can’t spell authority without ‘author,’” and while writing a book is certainly not the only way to build your thought leadership position, it is a very effective option. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Michelle shares her process for becoming an authority by focusing on authorship and publishing as a means of bringing significant value to your audience.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | Claim your agency’s position of authority

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What being an authority looks like and how to get there
  • How Michelle’s experience working for Zig Ziglar shaped her approach to building authority
  • The power of putting yourself out there as the subject matter expert
  • Why writing a book can help build your thought leadership and establish your position of authority
  • Why you have to claim your authority no matter how many agencies do what you do
  • How to leverage the power of authority
  • Why backstory is so important in the digital age
  • How to build your entire thought leadership platform off of a book
  • How you can use your thought leadership platform to generate multiple revenue streams

The Golden Nuggets:

“People will throw away your business card, but they will never throw away your book.” @motivateinspire Click To Tweet “If you want to serve (and that’s all business is), you have to put yourself out there in a way that people want to listen to you. The reality is—people want to listen to the expert!” @motivateinspire Click To Tweet “There is so much power in putting yourself out there as the subject matter expert, and having a book makes it even better.” @motivateinspire Click To Tweet “The power of authority is taking what you’re already putting out there and organizing it in a way that you can leverage.” @motivateinspire Click To Tweet “Now that everything is digitized, your backstory is extremely important because it gives you authenticity and makes you human.” @motivateinspire Click To Tweet

Ways to contact Michelle Prince:

Additional Resources:

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Agency Management Institute community, where you’ll learn how to grow and scale your business, attract and retain the best talent, make more money, and keep more of what you make. The Build a Better Agency podcast presented by White Label IQ is packed with insights on how small to midsize agencies survive and thrive in today’s market. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here, from Agency Management Institute. Welcome to another podcast episode of Build a Better Agency. Super happy to have you here, and we are going to talk today about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I’ll tell you a little bit about it in a second. I want to remind you that we actually have some amazing workshops coming up in August and September, I am assuming by then we will all be traveling again, we certainly are working with our conference facilities to make sure that we are social distancing and we have cleanliness standards and safety.

So we’re going to make it absolutely safe for you to be there, but also just want to give you the energy of being in a room with other folks who do what we do. So in August, we’ve got the workshop that we had to move from March, the running your agency for growth and profit, and that is in August, I think on the 11th and 12th. Then at the end of August, we have an amazing workshop with our good friends Mercer Island Group, Sell with Insights. That workshop came about because Mercer Island Group observed … when they were working with brands to help them find an agency, they observed that most agencies don’t talk through the thinking and the strategy that led them to whatever recommendations they’re making in the pitch.

When an agency actually did take the time to walk the prospect through their thinking, and show them how all of the facts stacked up, those agencies won over and over and over again. So, Mercer Island Group basically dissected strategic insight process, and have now built a two day workshop where they teach agency owners, creative directors, directors of accounts service, new business people, this methodology for developing the strategy and then pitching from that strategy. I will tell you this … so we’ve done this workshop now twice, and the workshop is capped at 50 people, so that means a 100 people because we sold out both times, have done this workshop.

Those 100 people and their agencies have earned over, now, $40 million in AGI using this methodology. Let me repeat that for you. These agencies, 100 agency people, and many cases, they came with somebody else from their agency. Let’s say, total, 70 agencies. These 70 agencies have made $40 million in new client wins in AGI, not cross billing, since they attended the workshop. Aggregate, not all, not each of them made 40 billion, although that would be some. But together, they have landed $40 million of new business using this methodology. So that workshop, again, it’s going to be in August in Chicago, and it’s going to be in January of 2021 in Orlando. Hard stop at 50 people, so check those out.

Then we’ve got both of our AE BootCamps in September. So we have the Advanced AE BootCamp and then entry level AE BootCamp. The entry level I would say is for people who have zero years to maybe four years of agency experience. So we see a lot of project managers, account coordinators, junior AEs, so people who are newer in the business. After they’ve been in the business four or five years, the advanced workshop is probably more appropriate for them. So, you can find out all of those on the Agency Management Institute website, and we’d be delighted to see you or one of your team members at those workshops.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about what we’re going to talk about today. So, as many of you know, Stephen Woessner and I wrote a book that was published in January called Sell with Authority. The whole premise of the book is this idea that there is power in the having a position of authority, where you are a subject matter expert, and that there’s all kinds of data points that we outline in the book around that is how agencies are selling today. They’re being found because they know a lot about something, it might be an industry, it might be an audience, it might be around a certain deliverable like PR. But for the most part, it’s around, you have a subject matter around an industry, or typically an audience, or maybe that you solve the exact same problem for all of your clients.

But anyway, you have a depth of expertise and knowledge in this thing, whatever that thing is. And because you have that depth of expertise, it allows you to create content easier, it allows you to attract the right kinds of clients, it allows you to charge a premium price for what you do, and all of that adds up to easier, faster, better fit wins for the agency. That’s the premise of the book, is explaining how you do that. So, when I heard about Michelle Prince, and I heard that she had written a book called The Power of Authority, which is all about, again, coming from a position of authority, and in her world, it often is, it often accompanies writing a book specifically.

Stephen’s in my book, we talk about having cornerstone content and our book is certainly one of them. And with Michelle, she often with her clients leads with a book, because she runs a publishing company. So let me tell you a little bit about her. So Michelle is a best selling author. She’s a sought-after speaker. She is an expert in self publishing, and she is the CEO and founder of Performance Publishing Group, which is a partner publishing company dedicated to making a difference in helping business owners own and claim their position of authority.

Interestingly, Michelle started her career working for Zig Ziglar, and then leapfrogged out of that experience to now being a business owner. She is the co host of The Ziglar Show podcast. She also hosts her own podcast called The Power of Authority. So, she is going to talk to us today about how we claim that position of authority, how we get a book written, the value of doing that. So I have a ton of questions for her, that I know are the same questions that you would have for her, and I’m going to ask her on our mutual behalf. So, let’s welcome her to the show. Michelle, welcome to the podcast, thanks for joining us.

Michelle Prince:

Hey, thanks so much for having me, I’m happy to be here.

Drew McLellan:

So you and I have a word in common-

Michelle Prince:

We do.

Drew McLellan:

And that word is authority. So, you have been talking for a long time in your professional life about stepping into your authority and how to maximize it in terms of revenue and opportunity and all of that. So I want to hear a little bit … tell everybody a little bit about your background and how you came to have this opinion or take on that word and that strategy.

Michelle Prince:

Yeah, you bet. So my background is actually with Zig Ziglar, I actually worked for Zig right out of college, and that set the foundation, which was amazing. So that’s always been in my DNA, personal development being the best self. It was in 2008, I decided I wanted to write a book. But my intention was only to write the book for my family, my kids, for myself, it was just a goal that I wanted to accomplish. But the result of writing that book is literally a full time business of speaking and coaching and all that.

That was really my first glimpse into the power of … I was the exact same person the day before I wrote a book, I was the exact same person the day after, but instantly I was seen differently, instantly I was being hired to speak and paid to speak and coach and do all these things. So, that’s really when I first recognized that there is so much power and putting yourself out there as that expert, as subject matter expertise. I’m telling you, I happen to believe with the book, it makes it even better. But there’s just so much opportunity there.

But that’s how it all started. It was not planned. I never set out to help people in this area, but I just saw it happen to me firsthand, and then now we’ve helped hundreds of other authors do the same.

Drew McLellan:

I can’t even imagine what working for Zig Ziglar was, coming right out of college. That must have been like an NBA every single day.

Michelle Prince:

It was amazing. Funny story, I met him at 18 and my parents forced me to go to his seminar when I first graduated high school, and I did not want to go. I went kicking and screaming but I loved it. It was actually a goal that I made at that seminar that I was going to work for him one day, and it’s a funny long story, I won’t go into all the detail but I just happened upon, I was cold calling on his company right out of college. Long story short, I begged for a job and the rest is history but it was … I mean, literally, we were changing people’s lives every single day.

For whatever people know about Zig Ziglar, he was the most amazing man, the most integrity based, value based man I’ve ever met. He was actually better behind closed doors than even on a stage, and that just goes to show you what a great man he was, just all around.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, my impression of him was always that he was a man of great warmth and wisdom, and so I would imagine that being in close proximity with him in a private conversation, that would be even more magnified.

Michelle Prince:

Completely. He took interest in everyone. One of my favorite memories of him was, every Christmas, this is back before cellphones and back before any technology really. Every Christmas morning, he would get out his Rolodex, and he would call every single employee, whether they were warehouse worker or salesperson like myself, and he would literally get on the phone, when he could have been with his kids, to call us to thank us. Yeah, and just to say, “I couldn’t do this without you.” That’s who Zig was.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah. Then I want to get into the whole discussion of your work today. But for you, what’s the takeaway from that period of time in your life that has woven itself through how you approach business and clients and the work you do? What was the biggest takeaway from you? Where did he leave his mark?

Michelle Prince:

Gosh, the biggest one was, so I ended up quitting because it was the.com boom, and I had an opportunity and technology and software. So, I left to go make more money, to be quite honest. My biggest reality, it was, “Okay, corporate America is not quite like Ziglar. We were a very positive environment. So that’s something I took with me, the importance of environment and building people up and not putting people down. I’ve always liked being around positive people. But that was one thing. But integrity, to have a boss like Zig Ziglar. I mean, you couldn’t get any better, and so it made me very, very careful who I worked with, who I associated myself with.

I secretly always longed to get back there, not necessarily at the company again, but back doing what we did, and making a difference in people’s lives. But it, honestly, shaped everything, especially even the business owner that I am today. You treat people fairly and everything else works itself out.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yeah. His lessons are absolutely timeless, absolutely timeless. That was quite a start. So, let’s talk about the work you do today. First let’s talk about this idea of authority. I know that for a lot of my … when I broach this topic with a lot of my listeners, I get pushback, they don’t really think they are an authority. They don’t think they really … They’ll say, “Well, you know what? My agency is good, but there’s a lot of agencies out there that do the work we do.” They dismiss the idea that they could be an authority. So, talk a little bit about that, because I suspect you hear that all the time.

Michelle Prince:

All the time, all the time. Actually that’s a perfect example of why somebody needs to claim their authority. Because anywhere there’s competition, you have to think of the end consumer. Right? You may know how you differ from your competition, but to us average Joes, we don’t necessarily know all the behind the scenes stuff. So we are basing it completely on a perception of you, of your branding, of, how do you stack up against your competition? So, you have to differentiate more than anything. So that’s one reason.

But everybody, if you feel strong enough about what you do for a business, then you are an authority. I mean, unless you don’t believe in what you’re doing, no matter what, if you bring on a new client, and they’re paying you money for your services, you are the authority in the eyes of that client. So, I see it all the time too, mostly with people who they think, “Well, who am I to write a book or who am I to put myself out there?” And it’s like, “I’m no different than anyone else that’s done it.” I know this for sure to be true, for me. I would not be doing what I’m doing today had I not just decided to write a book and decided to put myself out there. I wasn’t any better than anyone else.

If you have a heart to help people, if you want to serve and that’s really all business is, then you have to put yourself out there in a way that people want to listen to you and they want to listen to the experts, the authority.

Drew McLellan:

Right. And for you, talk a little bit about … so let’s say I’m an agency owner, and I’m listening, I’ve ignored Drew for months or years, Michelle comes on the podcast, they go, “Okay. All right. Michelle said I’m going to do it, I’m going to be an authority.” What do they do next? How do they actually become the authority they want to be? How do they own that?

Michelle Prince:

Yeah. So, it’s funny I do help authors, but a lot more of what I do is building that authority piece of it too, and I have a framework, and the first step in that framework is, it’s just clarity on your message. Right? It’s clarity on, first, what do you want? What do you really want for your business? If you want to keep it really tiny, that’s fine. If you want to grow it, that’s fine. But getting that clarity up front is the first step, and then figuring out, “Okay, what is my messaging? What is it that I want to put out there? Who is my audience? Who do I want to help the most?” That’s the most important for any success in life, it’s clarity. But then it’s a matter of figuring out what your message is, and then documenting it.

Now, when I say document, I don’t necessarily mean a book. But I mean getting it out there in a way, whether it’s a blog, whether it’s a book, whether it’s a podcast. You are the absolute authority on agencies for many, many reasons. But one of which, because you are out there, you have taken your message, you’ve put it in multiple channels, and that’s so powerful. So that’s really the other thing, how can you publish your message beyond … publish, meaning it’s available in a bigger way to attract more people. I always tell people to think of it, you don’t have to write a book, you don’t have to do a podcast, you don’t have to do speaking, but you do have to think about the people you’re trying to help because not everybody is going to learn the way you like to teach.

So for example, I love to speak, that’s one of my things. But if I only spoke my message, I would miss so many other people who don’t ever go to live events. So, thinking about, “Do people like to read? Are they better at listening?” Do a podcast to tap into that audience, do a seminar, do coaching, all of those things to really hit all the people and all of their different learning styles with the same core message. There’s more to that framework, but that’s the gist of it.

Drew McLellan:

In the book that I co-wrote with Stephen Woessner, we talked about, not only exactly what you’re saying, which is understand your audience, but also look at yourself and say, “Do I like to talk more or do I like to write more?” Because one of the challenges of being an authority is that you have to keep doing it, you have to keep producing. So, if writing is laborious for you, and it takes you three weeks to write a blog post, then maybe you have to think about that as you think about what your core channel is, what we call a cornerstone channel. But for you, I know you have a strong belief, which I do as well, that books are a great cornerstone.

So, talk a little bit about why your book is all about … I want to get your exact title of your book right. So The Power of Authority, how to get the revenue, respect and results you deserve by authoring a book, which by the way, everybody is available on Amazon. So, why did you choose a book, and why do you believe that is such a … I know you don’t believe it’s the only way, but why do you believe it’s such a powerful way to establish authority?

Michelle Prince:

So, from a business perspective, and anyone looking to build this authority, think about it that, it’s a business card, it is one of your greatest business card.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely.

Michelle Prince:

In fact, I have a book called Your Book Is Your Business Card, and the point of that is, people will throw away your business card, but they will never throw away a book. Even if they don’t read it, there’s something about books that we just put a lot of value, and I can’t explain it and I can’t even tell you that it’s actually valid. It should happen in all books. But the truth of the matter is, if you are a published author, people just instantly see you differently, the media sees you differently, meeting planners, clients. So for me, and again, I started off, I wrote a book with no intention of building a business, but what happened was, that book literally opened up the doors to a full time business over time. I know there’s power in it.

But the book that I wrote, The Power of Authority, and when I mention authority, it’s really a play on words. You can’t spell authority without author. It’s not the only way. But it’s one of the easiest, in my opinion, one of the easiest ways to get to more people, because when you’re an author, you’re more credible in the eyes of the meaning planner, you and I both know, when you have an opportunity to speak one to many, whether they’re live or a podcast or webinar, there’s so much more power there than having to meet with someone one on one. But you don’t get on those stages, you don’t get on those podcasts, you don’t get that platform unless you are the expert, and authors tend to be considered experts.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about what you mean by the power of authority, what is the power of authority and how do I leverage that? When you’re working with folks and you’re helping them through this process, I would assume that, part of what they want to know is, “Okay, writing a book is hard, that takes time, what am I going to get out of it?” How do you help them understand what power of authority is, and how they can leverage when they actually have it, how they can leverage it, and how it changes their business?

Michelle Prince:

So they actually believe it or not, most people don’t think of themselves this way, but they’re already the authority. If you are doing any transaction, and people are giving you money for your services, you are the authority in the eyes of that person, the client. What the power of authority is, is really just taking what you already know, what you’re already doing, what you really are already putting out there, it could be on your website, it could be in blog posts, but you’re pulling it together in a way that you can leverage it more.

I mean, when you have a book or when you’re an author, I mean, you can increase your rates, you can attract more clients, you can get more referrals, and all of those things come along with it. So, when I work with business owners, that’s one of the first things that we start with, is not starting with something different. Let’s start with where you are, what are you already putting out there? I was just having a call the other day with one of our clients, and he was stuck, he was thinking like, “I’m not really sure what I would write about.” Then he mentions, “Well, but I have been writing a blog for the last eight years.”

Drew McLellan:

Eight?

Michelle Prince:

Okay. Well, that’s a good place to start. Believe it or not, well, you probably know this, most books are not written anymore. I mean, many authors love to write, but most of us don’t. So most of us are recording ourselves. I have a lot of podcast hosts that we do books, and we are literally taking their podcasts, transcribing them and creating it into manuscript. So, is it difficult? No. Does it take a little bit of time? Yes. But you can outsource everything, this audience especially knows, outsource, outsource, outsource. There’s somebody out there that will do what you don’t want to do.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. For almost 20 years, I’ve written that marketing column for my state’s Business Journal. That was my first book, I just took 150 of those