Ready to podcast? An interview with SalesTuners host Jim Brown


As a marketer you know how important it is to vary content formats to maximize audience engagement. And nothing is hotter right now than podcasting. Podcasting drives audience loyalty and conversion. I found Facts About Business Podcasting That Will Blow Your Mind very motivating and wanted to learn more.

Jim Brown, host of SalesTuners, was kind enough to share his experience launching a podcast. I hope you learn as much as I did!

Samantha: Podcasting takes a fair amount of effort and a steady cadence. What made you jump in and launch SalesTuners?
Jim: One of the things that I really enjoy is training people and making them better at their sales game. Audio content seemed like the perfect way to help more people. You can listen to it in the car, you can listen to it while you’re working out, even while cleaning the house. It’s a fantastic vehicle for sales training that doesn’t result in more time staring at a screen.
Samantha: How does the podcast fit into your business priorities?
Jim: It’s three fold. One is I get to use my network to reach out and have conversations with really intelligent people and learn from that. So that’s number one. Number two is I get to then take that conversation and extend my network. At the end of every podcast, I ask each guest “now that you’ve been on this show, are there two people you would recommend as absolutely great guests?” And they immediately introduce me to them. I’ve been introduced to some pretty amazing people. Third, I get to take that conversation that I was already going to have, share it with the network that I was already building, and now package it and build an audience and deliver value to them with it. In the end it’s not that I need to find a lot of time. I was doing much of the work anyway. I’ve always tried to improve my game so I’m reaching out to great people and trying to have great conversations with them, coffee, etc… with them anyway. Now it just gets recorded and shared with others.
Samantha: Let’s talk a little about creating the podcast itself. What goes into finding guests, booking them, doing the recording, the editing, and all of that?
Jim: It is a pretty in depth process, but it’s manageable once you understand the ins and outs and set expectations with your guests. To start out, when I reach out to anybody I tell them exactly how long it’s going to take. Our actual interview is thirty minutes but I allot forty-five minutes to include a pre-interview. Once I have set a time with the guest, I send them what I call a guest guide. The guest guide gives them ideas of questions I will ask or any structure to the show that is common. That allows them to be prepared and come to the show ready to have a conversation as opposed to a just a rambling as you may have heard others. Once we have that in place, we get together on the phone, for five to ten minutes to discuss “hey, here’s the theme that I was thinking you would take, is there anything you want to stay away from, hit on?” We do this so we get a good recording of the show. At that point we literally just have a conversation. In the end we edit very little. Once recorded, I then have a team that does post production for me, so my intro and outro has already been done.
I’ve got a script that the show follows, so that I just fill in the details. Send that to post production. In that process I have a transcript that’s created. The show was actually recorded comes back to me as an mp3 and then I upload it to the podcasting host. The podcasting host then disseminates it out and then I start the promotion. One of the things I’ve learned is that systems make everything run better. All of this is documented so that every time I have an interview it’s just a checklist of everything that I have to do afterwards.
Samantha: How do you pick your guests? I’m assuming you’re looking to balance knowledge and experience, but also seeking the guest who’s going to be entertaining.
Jim: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I mean just because someone is good at their job doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be able to tell their story well. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with some very good speakers. It’s also valuable to invite guests who have their own following – it helps spread the word about our show in post recording promotion.
Samantha: How do you figure out what questions to ask?
Jim: This is very interesting, I spent a lot of work developing the questions set. I try to remember I’m having a conversation that will educate me and my listeners. While I had to be interested in the answers, I also needed questions that would spur a conversation and not sound like a survey. I’ve recorded ten episodes now and I’m starting to see how my questions have evolved.  As I listen to ones from the beginning I’m like “oh man I was horrible then” and now I’m starting to understand how to make these flow a little bit better and that’s only ten episodes in.
Samantha: How did you get your recordings onto iTunes and set up your channels?
Jim: I have hired a couple of different people that help me. One of them is an audio engineer who puts the show together. I could have done it myself, as I sat and fumbled my way through it, it was obvious I should focus on content and let an expert handle production. As far as the uploading and promotion, I studied a lot of different podcasts that I enjoyed and tried to figure out how they were doing it. I listen to a lot of the stuff from NPR, from Planet Money to How I Built This.
Right now I have three graphic templates that get built, so after the show notes are created I create a title graphic. I create a quote graphic, and both of those go out on Twitter and Facebook. Then I create a book graphic. So whatever book the guests recommends I create a graphic around that to put up on Pinterest. Pinterest believe it or not drives a lot of audio traffic.
Samantha: I never would’ve thought that.
Jim: Yeah most people wouldn’t but it drives a ton of audio traffic. The second resource that helps me is with the promotion I described.
Samantha: If you could interview absolutely anyone who is alive today regardless of whether you know them or not, who would you want as a guest on the show?
Jim: Somebody came to my head right away, Jay-Z, the rapper.
Samantha: That’s totally great. Tell me why.
Jim: If you listen to episode 0 which is just my intro to the show, I use one of his quotes, “I’m not a businessman I’m a business, man.” Meaning he just is the business, so he has sold his entire life, whether clothing lines or record labels and now champagne. He’s been selling something his entire life. So, just mixing that hip-hop culture with business would be fascinating to me.
Samantha: One of the things that I think is a challenge for professionals no matter what they do, in honing their professional skills. As a general rule I think sales tends to be a place where companies coach better than other parts of the business. That there is at least some formal coaching structure in place that we don’t actually have in marketing, or finance and in other places. I’m curious do you agree with that, or is that an over simplification of how it looks?
Jim: I was shaking my head no as you said that – most sales organizations lack structured coaching. I look back at all the companies that I’ve been a part of and their approach is “go shadow the most successful person and imitate them”. There is just literally nothing around it, so I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t been around enough companies, but I haven’t seen a good training system in place for sales.
Samantha: I’ve certainly seen places where it’s been very bad. I’ve seen a couple of places where it’s been very good. But, I think your assessment is probably fair and effective coaching is more of an exception than the rule. So, what advise do you give a sales person who’s looking to improve themselves and build up their personal skills? Obviously, we want them to listen to the podcast, they’re going get some good tips and tricks. What other things should these people be doing to reach their full potential?
Jim: I think number one is read, and number two is listen, and I don’t necessarily mean listen to the podcast or listen to anything like that. But, truly practicing that art of listening. Being present in conversations is so critical. One of the best books that I’ve read is called A More Beautiful Question. The whole premise is that as kids we have this naivety that we want to explore the world and understand it, and so we’re always asking questions but in the school system in America, they are immediately taught to stop asking questions, that they should just know the answer. And it is so unfortunate that that’s the case because that’s how we truly learn and grow – by asking questions and learning from the answer that comes.
Truly listen and actually be present that’s when amazing things happen in sales.
Samantha: Jim this has been great you have answered all the questions that I came into our discussion with. Is there anything else that you’d like to share that I perhaps didn’t ask about?
Jim: I think professionals need to create a portfolio of content about themselves online. I’ve been nervous about putting myself out there – is the grammar correct, or maybe questioning if we know enough about a topic. We need to put aside those fears. Tomorrow it’ll be the second Tuesday that it’s been live. The inbound questions that I’ve got from people that I don’t know, the comments that I’ve received from people that I don’t know, the LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know, they’ve all just shot up and they’re all just saying thank you for creating this amazing content. And all I did was have a conversation with somebody in a way I, and my audience, could learn from.
Check out an episode of SalesTuners

SalesTuners is a weekly podcast where I talk with great sales leaders and high performing individual salespeople about the Behaviors, Attitudes, and Techniques that have led to their success.