Your podcast guest funnel, when done the right way, can double your success. It will allow you to attract guests and clients, making your show and business both desirable and reputable. In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard share their five basic steps (and one bonus tip) in building their own powerful podcast guest funnel. They discuss how serving others rather than simply selling to them is the most important tip in getting the best guests, attracting the right audience, and building a trustworthy brand. Tom and Tracy also emphasize why building a podcast around your face and name is convenient but not advisable.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
How A Podcast Guest Funnel Can Double Your Success By Attracting Both Guests And Clients
We’ve got an episode for you, and it’s quite a subject. It will be of interest to a lot of people, and that’s How a Guest Funnel can Double Your Success by Attracting Both Guests and Clients. I’m going to admit right off the bat and let our audience know I am going to be the sidekick on this one.
You don’t do guest episodes very often.
Not as often as I used to. It used to be all we did on one of our shows at one point. I do a lot more shows that are topic-based and not interview-based. Whereas you, Tracy, interviews are everything you do on The Binge Factor, and everything that we are going to share with our audience comes from your experience, knowledge, and things that you’ve dialed in. I don’t even want to think about how many guest interviews you’ve done.
I calculated it. It’s over 3,000 interviews across all the shows and all the articles that I’ve written. It’s a lot of interviews, but not all of them are what we call guest funnel. That’s a very specific model. We start a brand-new podcast every single year so that we can test out a model of podcasting or how hard it is to start a podcast in this particular year.
We already had Feed Your Brand. That was the one we started in the prior year. I made a subset of our podcast guest interviews. I set it up to follow this Guest Funnel format. It’s not the first time I’ve explored it. I’ve certainly helped other clients do it. The idea is that you are interviewing your ideal client. That way, you can have a follow-up conversation with them and potentially a sales call. It’s meant for high-end products, services, coaching, and things that involve a lot of connection in order to sell it.
It used to work great for many podcasts. They were set up that way. It got to be a roast exaggeration of what a guest funnel should look like. The nasty programmatic funnel is like, “Let me see how many people I can interview and squeeze into seven minutes so that I can have as many in the top of my funnel as possible.” That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about relationship building so that you can have a follow-up sales conversation with your ideal client. That’s what a good podcast guest funnel looks like.
Some of the podcasts we work with, that is the entire purpose of their podcast. How many people listen to their show is secondary.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean you’re not serving your audience. It doesn’t mean you’re not serving your guests and providing them value. In fact, you need to have that structure in there. It means that its ideal outcome is not necessarily a listener base, it’s certainly not going to be advertisers. It is this model of, “I expect to build a great relationship with my guest so that they become a referral partner or a client.”
It’s one of the two models that you might want to take, but it starts with understanding that that’s what you’re building. Your guesting strategy is a very niche narrow funnel specifically built to show off the relationships you can build and what you do best in the process, but showing it off in a way that is service-based.
How many points do you have to share with us in this guest funnel process?
It’s fairly easy. There’s a whole set of programmatic things. You need to be very organized with your system. Just like any funnel, you need to make sure you’ve got all your emails and everything in order. You want to think about all the different pieces and parts and make sure that you’re extremely organized with your system. If you’re doing this in an ad hoc way, it’s going to come across badly to the potential guests and seem like you’re not organized, you’re not professional, and that’s not a good thing.
Secondly, it’s not going to be targeted enough, so you won’t get a good return on investment from it. You won’t hit your target often if you do it in this mixed-bag way of pulling it together. That doesn’t mean you can’t start that way and refine as you go. There are five basic parts that I use in my funnel. The first is, making sure that I know my profile. It must be extremely targeted, very niche, and narrow.
We have set it as a preference. That’s what it sounds like when we do it, but it’s dialed in. We say you don’t qualify for The Binge Factor if you haven’t podcasted 25 episodes or more. You don’t do a weekly show. It can’t be seasonal. It can’t be all of that. It must be longer than 30 minutes. You must be in that business-to-business or business-to-consumer model. We don’t want to interview a bunch of entertainment shows.
One thing we don’t say out there because it sounds insulting is we won’t take Spotify-sponsored shows. We won’t take Wondery shows. They don’t fit the model anyway, so they’re unlikely to request to be interviewed. If someone comes through and it sounds interesting, I’ll still interview them anyway. Most often, what we set there just screens them out instantly because they’re usually seasonal. I’ve set that target tightly, and Tom, doesn’t that sound a little bit like our ideal client?
It does. How about that? Know your target. That’s the big message for number one here. I’m surprised. I thought the criteria were more like 50 episodes. I didn’t know you had reduced it to 25.
Typically, people won’t apply when they’re 25, but I do set that as the minimum because I didn’t want to have it be so overreaching. If somebody’s working hard on their show to get publicity and they find The Binge Factor’s website page where they can become or apply to be a guest, I didn’t want them to feel like it was so out of their reach. A lot of times, it won’t work. I have a form that they have to fill out.
That’s number two. Have a screening form. Have something that is going through, an application form, a screening form, or something for people who are random. Have a booking calendar for someone you reach out to. Stage 1) Application form. Stage 2) You approve them, and they’re the right fit, and you send them to the booking calendar. That’s a streamlined thing.
When they come through that form, and they’re only 25 episodes in, if there’s a way we can support them and help them, I might send them to have an appraisal with you first before I allow them on the show. It’s another stage of being able to bring some of the people through who might be a right fit, but it might also be a little too early for them yet. We can say, “Thank you for touching base. You’re not quite a right fit yet. Maybe you’d like to have an appraisal of your show, and when you’ve improved these things, then I’d love to have you back later.” That way we’re still serving them, giving them something of value.
This is the thing. The screening form or the application form cannot be a long form. I am not going to say this enough. If you created this form where it’s extremely obvious that all you’re doing is vetting them for your sales process or you use the same form that you use for the sales process, then you are failing in your ability to attract the right people.
When you have this extremely long form, you’re busy. Clients who are willing to pay for coaching do not have time to fill out your long form. If your form is not about your show, and it’s only about sales stuff like your average income per year, then you’re very obvious to them that you only intend to sell them something and not serve them.
I would be shocked if you got the right people through that funnel. It doesn’t happen often. Keep it short. Keep it to the point. I’ve already set my criteria for what I’m looking for. In it, I ask them their total number of episodes so that they have to type it in and confirm it. I ask them, “What is your show? Do you have a website for your show?” I didn’t tell them that I wanted that at the beginning, but I want to see that.
It’s not a screener to say, “If you don’t have a website, you’re not going to be allowed to be on my show,” but it does help me understand how sophisticated and far along in the process they are. What’s missing? It gives me one more place where I can go and check them out, make sure they’re truly a right fit for our services and my show, and make sure that they can do both. I do ask them a couple of questions that are not a part of my criteria at the beginning.
It’s very simple. There are seven things total, including their name, their email, and their phone number. There are four basic questions in there. That’s it. They hit submit. It goes into my team. My team will do a quick screen-through, and they’ll usually give me a recommendation back, “We should invite this person?” They then do it. If they think we should invite them, if it’s on the fence, they’ll send it back to me and say, “Should we send it to Tom for an appraisal of their show or do you want to invite them on?” We’ll make that decision. I only make the decision on the edge of the bubble. That’s it. I don’t have to do that much work.
That’s what a screening form is for. That’s the whole point. You’re trying to make sure you’re not spending your precious time on something that isn’t a good fit.
If they’re already a client or if a client refers someone to be on my show, they’re automatically in. They go straight to the guest booking form. We don’t go through the screening form. It’s just for cold outreach. If I send out an email or reach out to them on LinkedIn and offer it, we send them to the application because we do need to confirm and make sure.
Tracy, I’m realizing we need to do another upcoming episode. I know some of our staff are tuning in to this, so they need to make a note. For all of you to have somebody to look forward to, we need to do an episode where we go over the worst podcast guest pitches because you get them every week, and there are some epically bad ones.
They’re terrible. We don’t do it that way. It’s a much easier offer and we are maybe making them apply only if it’s cold. If I’m reaching out to someone, I know they want to be on the show, I’m never going to bother with that. I’m going to invite them straight to the guest book form where they can go right to the calendar and get that.
Those are my first two. We have a profile of who we’re targeting, then we are screening them because it’s a lot of cold outreach. We want to screen them and make sure that it’s right for them. We get in our podcast call. My thing about it is, those who do a pre-screening call make a huge mistake. Again, if you do a proper job on your screening form, you do not need a pre-screen call. I have been on a lot of pre-screen calls where all they try to do is sell you in that. They have no intention of having you on the show. Now, whenever someone tells me they have a pre-screening call as a part of their process, I don’t go on their show.
That’s a waste of your time. You’re not interested.Your guesting strategy is truly a funnel. It's specifically built to show off the relationships you can build and what you do best in a service-based approach. Click To Tweet
If you want good CEOs of companies to come on your show, do not do pre-screening calls. Use only the form because some assistant will fill that out, or it will go through the process. You’ll confirm everything, and you’re going to immediately invite them on and it’ll get scheduled. Don’t use a pre-screening call. It’s a waste of your time and theirs.
If you think that that’s the only goal of your show, you haven’t done my number three, which is to serve them first. When you serve them first, the law reciprocity kicks in, and they will agree to the appraisal call and the sales call. Whatever you have as a follow-up, they’re more likely to agree to it because you served them first.
I find that a lot. I find it very surprising how many people I will do a podcast power appraisal with, and this is for existing shows, not for people starting a new one. When I get into showing them 3 to 5 key points about their podcast that they didn’t realize were holding them back or keeping them from being found, they’re very shocked that I’m willing to provide them that value and tell them for free. It’s exactly what you said. You serve them first. You share your knowledge. You provide them value. They’re interested to know whatever else you have to say or offer. It’s natural.
Two things happen. When I get on a phone call, and I’m about to do an interview with someone, I spend 5 to 10 minutes, in the beginning, chatting about their business and what I can’t see and hear in their show because I need to understand a little bit more. I said, “I’m hearing that this is your growth area. This is the outcome you look for on your podcast and its purpose. Am I correct? What would you like me to highlight?” I’m just having a discussion about them and their show at the beginning of that. You’re doing a lot more listening and pulling out of them what they want, then I have my interview.
At the end of my interview, I say, “That was great. We had a great time. I enjoyed it when you said this, but you told me at the beginning that this is the outcome you’re looking for. There might be a couple of technical things in your show that are not helping you achieve that goal and holding you back. Would you be interested in having a follow-up conversation with my partner about that?” Ninety-nine of the time, they say yes. Very few of them will say no because they were like, “You’ve intrigued me. You didn’t tell me what it was.”
The beginning of our funnel is getting people from guests to have a conversation about being customers.
I only offer that if they’re going to be receptive to it. If they’re not going to be receptive to it, maybe they have a big ego. Maybe there’s something in there that is getting in the way of them accepting that offer. Probably 1% because that’s not who gets through my funnel to that point. If they weren’t continually growing their show and wanting more input and seemed like the person who’s already coachable, that’s who I look for when I’m trying to look for someone to be an ideal guest. We built a rapport over the call.
What happens is the fourth thing on my list. Before you sell them, you serve some more. In the 99% that go over to Tom to have an appraisal, he serves them first before he ever sells them anything, before he ever has a single conversation. Usually, they ask for the sales conversation in that call. That’s exactly how it happens.
That’s intentional too. This, “How do we work with you?” That naturally comes out.
That’s what comes from it, but for the 1% who I don’t think are going to accept that appraisal or be receptive to it for some reason, my serving them more is by showing them what we do best. We send them follow-up emails and great graphics. We do all the things that we do for our own clients and for our own show. We do that with complete professionalism all the way throughout the way. On the outside what will happen, they’ll come back to me and say, “I loved what you created here. How do I do this?” I’d say, “Would you like to have a call with my team and learn some more? We do this for our clients. You don’t have to learn how to do it.”
They will always say yes at that point. If they’ve reached back out to me and asked me how we did this, why we did this, or what this is for, they will have a follow-up call with the team and they’ll already be sold. They’ll already be ready to move to the platform because they want that thing. They saw something they wanted.
I want to put a little emphasis on that little point there, Tracy, because everything you’re talking about throughout this whole process, all five of these things are leading to that. That whole process, the rapport you’re building, the value you’re providing, how you’re serving them throughout, make the sales conversation almost like, “How do we do it? How do we get started?” It’s not a “Do I trust you? Should I buy?” You’ve already convinced them.
If they haven’t come through the process at this point and they haven’t offered to go to the appraisal, be interested in that, or gone to have a call with Tom already, then the last thing that I do at some point is to serve them some more. I send them a great guest. I give them an episode that might be of value. I invite them to take one of our courses or programs, including ones that are expensive, but I invite them privately into those things.
I do give them something on the other side that’s of tremendous value to them. It’s something that I know they need. It’s very highly tailored. That’s why it’s not systematic, it doesn’t go out in a generic email funnel and give them that. It is something very specific that will provide them great value, and that invites them to become a part of my community. I also invite them into these coaching calls and other things that we do. That’s going out in the general follow-up emails, but it’s very generic, “Join our community. Listen to our live streams. We have 101 tips over here. Go get that. Here are our masterclasses.”Creating touchpoints that decrease the sales process has value to your organization. Click To Tweet
I might give them very generically in any of the follow-up emails that happen, but I’m not expecting that person to do that. I still want to do one more follow-up with them because I’m building a relationship over time. I want to provide them with something special that I believe they’re going to benefit from if they utilize it. This video I sent them about how to do something special, if they utilize it, I know they will see success.
When they achieve that small step of success, they get a little boost in listeners from doing it. They will come back and become clients. If, for some reason, they can’t because they’re stuck in a network or doing something, they refer someone who can become a client. That’s what we have done. We built a referral base at the same time that we built a client base.
It sounds like a pretty good funnel to me.
I used to give a lecture on this, Tom, and I called it the prospect pipeline because that’s what I want it to look like. I don’t want it to be a funnel because it ends up, you’re drinking in your pod. It ends up done at the sale. That’s not how it works. I want a pipeline that has a constant flow. That’s how I look at this, but the funnel is the common terminology.
I hear you on that, Tracy. This is an additional free tip for all of you out there. Having a title that is going to get attention, be engaging, and be more clickable. Which one would be more clickable? Talking about a podcast prospect pipeline, although the alliteration is good, what’s going to get people’s attention more is a podcast funnel. This might sound cliche, but the funnel is a buzzword in the small business and entrepreneurial community. Everybody knows what a funnel is, but they might say, “What’s a podcast prospect pipeline?”
When you have a captive audience at a live event, that’s the title of your topic and speech that you’re going to give, that works. That’s what I’ve done before. It packs the room because they do want to hear this new thing they haven’t heard before. That works, but it doesn’t work in a self-directed way. I’m searching on Google. I’m looking for how to create a podcast funnel. That’s not going to come through unless you’re titling this episode the way that we did. That’s also another reason why we do what we’re doing.
The last key that I want to say is not one of my five steps, but your show name and your cover art may be the number one thing that prevents you from creating a good guest funnel. I say this because I gave a big speech to a community about how you decide whether or not a show is worth guesting on. I did give them some tips on how to recognize if a show isn’t for you. The number one reason a show isn’t for you is if it’s all about me, the host. If it’s the Tracy Show and it’s got my picture all over it, you should not bother to guest on my show because it’s all about me at the end of the day and not about my guest. That’s a problem unless you want associations.
If that’s someone, you want to make sure that you can have a graphic from that interview with your face side by side with theirs because that association is going to give you some value.
That is a different model. You had to have worked hard on your brand, on your image. If I’m going to be on the Oprah Show, I totally want to do that because she earned the right to be that powerhouse, and I would like association with that. If you’re just The Tracy Show, who cares? What’s in it for your guest? It will prevent you from getting the guest that you’re looking for, especially if you’ve got a guest funnel, so you want a flattering name.
Who doesn’t want to be on The Binge Factor? That says that my show or my hosting style has a binge factor, and that’s a cool thing. We have another show, Masters in Clarity. Who doesn’t want to be a master of clarity? That sounds amazing. That shows a perfect name to invite powerful guests on and turn it into a guest funnel at the end of the day. Thinking about the name of your show matters if you’re going to do a guest funnel. You can’t just turn a ‘me show’ into that.
Tracy, after this event that you spoke at, I remember you told me, most of the people were very receptive to what you had to say, but there was one person that wasn’t and was debating you about having it be their face on the cover at all about them. Can you share a little bit about that? I know it’s not what you intended, but it’s a good story to wrap up this episode.
He was pushing back on me about branding himself in association with all of these other people. I said, “That’s a different strategy and that’s your strategy.” I was giving a speech about guesting and finding the right shows to guest on. Until you’ve done all that work and built yourself up so that your brand is of significant value for me to want to be associated with, you are not going to attract the guests you want to help build your show enough. It’s self-defeating in the early days, so it keeps your show small.
If people are thinking about the right types of shows they want to be a guest on, doing that, putting up that appearance that the show is all about you, the host, might make a lot of people say, “Next. Let me move on and look at these other ones that I can tell what I’m looking for or a better fit.” It’s not necessarily all about the host.
Tom, to wrap this up, what would you estimate the close rate? I send you people from The Binge Factor, and you creeped your mind out. We do this as an exercise to show how it works. We don’t do this as a serious lead generator strategy. I’d be spending all my time interviewing people. It would take too much effort for me.When podcast guests achieve that small step of success and get a little boost in listeners from doing it, they will come back and become your clients. Click To Tweet
It’s not our primary lead generator, but we do get customers from your guests on The Binge Factor, for sure.
We’re probably heading close because of our utilization of PodMatch as the front part of our funnel for finding people. I rarely use the screening form. I usually straight invite them through that model, so it cuts the excess out.
When you’ve researched and found people, and you do that about once a week. Look at potential matches.
I do it about once a week. We’re probably getting close to 60% who become clients.
I was going to say at least 50% for sure. You’re talking about four people you are publishing interviews with a month. Isn’t that your pace, in general?
I usually interview about 6 and publish 4.
That’s what I thought. That was, on average, two people or new customers a month that came from that.
Usually, two new customers and a referral. That’s why I’m thinking it’s a little bit more.
It’s hard to put a number on that, but you’re right. It’s shocking to me. Referrals are our number one lead generator. People that know us, work with us, and even that used to work with us, still refer people to us. That usually happens when someone decided they’ve got a big enough internal team. They have gone to school on this and learned how it and they’re just going to do it internally. If you want to do that, by all means, but they don’t want to do it for other people. They still refer other people to us.
It happens all the time. I thought it always amazes me. “You’re not even a customer, and you’re sending people to us.” It just happens. You sent us somebody that I just met when we were talking. That is likely to become a customer by the end of the day. We’ll have to stay tuned and let you know next episode if that happened.
It does work like that. You have fewer phone calls with them too because the relationship’s already been built. I would say you have 1 or 2. You don’t have 3 or 4.
Often, it’s one meeting and some follow-up emails, and then they close. Rarely do I have to have a second meeting or call with people.
This is another thing that I want you to think about. Not only have you created a rapport-building process, but you’ve created touchpoints that decrease the sales process and number of sales calls that you need to have, and that has value to your organization as well. I highly recommend the Podcast Guest Funnel strategy as one of the great things to be able to do. Maybe you don’t want to do it for every single episode. That’s okay. Plan one a month, try it out, see what’s working for you, and layer in return-on-investment value from your show.
I want to remind our audience. You’re getting this a few weeks after we’ve put this out on social media. As a part of our weekly client-only coaching talk, we’re going to have a Q&A that is private only for our customers, and we’re not going to put that in our show. If you would like to be a part of that, you need to be a Podetize customer, whether that’s simply for hosting your podcast or something more for production.
There is more to the conversation that’s going to happen here for those that are customers. For the rest of you, thank you so much for tuning in. Hope you got some great value out of this episode. I’m going to be shocked if you didn’t, as long as you have guests and have any way that you’re wanting to turn those guests into customers. We’ll be back with another great episode next time.