Be Your Own Worst Critic With Chad Sanderson
Lindsay Tjepkema: Conversations and connections, they're vital to you both personally and professionally. They're important to your sales and marketing, to your business, to your brand but really great conversations, if you think about it, are deeply personal. They require an investment of time, a whole lot of listening and quite a bit of relationship building. They require a lot of effort and if they're going to be meaningful to the other person, great conversations and connections require a lot of introspection and ongoing improvement on your part. So, how in the world do you scale a great conversation? How do you form deep, meaningful connections with people in mass? I mean, you could probably guess my answer. Podcasts. They certainly help, right? I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and Co- founder of Casted. The first and only podcasting platform made specifically for B to B marketers, and this is our podcast. When it comes to leveraging deep, meaningful conversations and connections as part of the sales and marketing process, Chad Sanderson is an expert, literally. He's Managing Partner at Value Selling Associates and perhaps more importantly for this show, he's also the host of The B2B Revenue Executive Experience Podcast. Today, Chad is sharing the secret sauce behind the success of his show and perhaps even of his career. That is something that you can start applying in your own podcast right now. What is it? Feedback, introspection, continuous improvement. You see Chad gets support from experts who know what they're doing and seeks feedback from them, from his guests and from his audience. As you'll hear, it's paid off in dividends, not only for him personally, but also for his business.
Chad Sanderson: Hi, my name's Chad Sanderson. I am a Managing Partner with Value Selling Associates and we work with everyone along the revenue funnel to help them ensure that they are having conversations and understanding other people's perspectives.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Love it. Thank you. Chad, you have a podcast. The name of the podcast is...
Chad Sanderson: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes, exactly. One of my Co- founders, Zachary Ballenger, and I were on your show. Now that the tables are, I guess, mics are turned. Thanks for that and thanks for being on this show.
Chad Sanderson: Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. I want to talk with you as you wear a lot of hats and you do a lot of things, but I want to speak to you right now, as a podcaster. Tell me how and when your show and thus your debut into podcasting began? What was the very beginning?
Chad Sanderson: Yeah, that's a really good question and it seems so long ago now, but when I joined Value Selling Associates, when we started it, we basically were running our own P and L, we have to build our own book of business. As we looked at what was going to represent myself and my beliefs in the marketplace, give us content, give us a way to provide value to other individuals, we looked at a lot of different options. Really, I would love to say I had some overriding strategy behind doing a podcast, but it really came down to a time management issue. The thought really came up first was, look, I love having conversations with people, but as you're building a business, as you know, time is of the essence, right? I wasn't going to be able to go to networking events as much. I wasn't going to be able to go to as many industry events. I still wanted a way to have a connection and conversations with people that actually were deeper than something that happens at a networking event, which is a lot of pleasantry and surface stuff. I wanted to go a little bit deeper. I love feeding my brain, I love other people's perspectives and so, as we were researching all of these, and I was being very judicious in my time, we stumbled across, and I've always been a very large listener of podcasts, it just never dawned on me to start one. We actually stumbled across James Carbary from Sweet Fish Media, and I had a conversation with him and he planted the seed that," Hey, you could really use this platform to do just what you're talking about, have conversations with people." After some... he probably was selling me and I didn't realize it, but at the time-
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's the best way of selling, right?
Chad Sanderson: -It was, and it was just a genuine conversation and I said," All right. Well, what's involved in this?", and it became this journey to educate not only myself, but to also make sure we could start getting guests on and providing value to guests and building an audience. All of that stuff came later. At first, it was like," Hey, I've got a problem. I need content, I need to have conversations to keep myself at my best, and I need to provide value to people." This allowed us to do it. So, it was a whole bunch of things coming together at once and perfect timing from James Carbary. We've been doing the show now, I think we're just coming up on year two, maybe a little longer, and it has been an extremely enjoyable ride and one hell of a learning experience.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. Conversations is, as you mentioned, are your natural, they're natural fit for you, but what has it been like having a podcast conversation? Has that come naturally or was it a learning curve?
Chad Sanderson: No, there's definitely a learning curve. It's funny. I would never would have considered myself someone who loves to get up on stage and do public speaking. I can do a lot of things, I got a lot of talents, but getting in front of an audience is not necessarily something I ever sought out. When I had the first couple of conversations where we were practicing out, it was awful. I mean, I go back and listen to some... And we didn't even turn them into episodes they were so bad. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, but it was through that process of self- exploration and taking the feedback from people that were listening or even the guests themselves. We figured out that what we needed to do for me and for the guests was provide a structure. It needed to have a structure, it needed to have a flow, it needed to be a very safe environment, it needed to be if this were perfect was not what we were after. We were after more of the authentic side. Now, in order to get a guest to be comfortable, I had to get much more comfortable in front of this fuzzy mic in front of my face, and I had to get more comfortable with who I actually am. How I present myself and how I interact with someone that most of the time I can't see. It was definitely a learning experience, and I still feel like even after two years, I may be much more comfortable in front of the mic, but it was definitely a journey. Those first 10 episodes or whatever, I cringe when I listen to them because I'm like," Ah, I wish I could do that one again because there's so many other things I would have done."
Lindsay Tjepkema: What did that look like for you? I mean, did you go back and listen? Was it feedback from others? How did you get better?
Chad Sanderson: Well, all of the above, right? First and foremost, I always crave the feedback. I don't take things personally if somebody says," Hey, you could have done this better or whatever." The team at Sweet Fish was great, they helped prep me to push me off, to do the first dive into the pool. I didn't belly flop, but it was not Olympic grade. As I went through kind of the first couple... I'd actually, after we stopped recording, I'd asked the guests," How was that? Be honest, be brutally honest. Were you comfortable? What did you like? What did you not?" I had the opportunity to have that feedback from the Sweet Fish Media crew, and then I had the opportunity to have that from the guests. Nobody's going to be a worst critic than me, so I went back and listened. I go back, I don't know, once a quarter, and I pick a couple random episodes and I take notes on it. For example, right now one of the things I am trying to overcome, and having a horrible time doing it, in any conversations you have with somebody, they have transition words. They have words that they rely on. It's almost like a mental guidepost that they'll use in a conversation, and so when I'm transitioning throughout the podcast, I don't know if the guests notice it, or if the audience notices it, but I sure as heck do. You'll hear me say," Perfect" or," Excellent." Then those two words are my transition words, and I have not yet been able to smooth those out to do the transitions. They're in so many of the episodes. I don't know why I missed it for so long.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, no, and that's so huge. I think that a lot of podcast hosts don't seek out that feedback, and don't get that self- reflective or that introspective with their work. I think there's a lot of," Okay, that interview's done onto the next", and not really getting back into it to one, get better, or two, think about how to leverage that content like," What was in that show? How should I use it? How should I be using that more than just hitting play?" Right? Or hitting publish, I should say. I think that's huge.
Chad Sanderson: It's a process, right? At the end of the day, I've been guest on other podcasts, I've done interviews, and it's interesting, now that I run a podcast, I look at those situations completely differently than I used to. I know that I need to bring a certain level of mindless and awareness to the moment that I'm in to really ensure that I'm not going through the motions. That I'm not thinking about anybody else, I'm not looking at other screens, I'm not texting somebody while I'm trying to answer a question. Because if you listen, and I don't know how many people actually listen to them that closely, but when I go back and listen to them, I know when the host was looking at a Slack message that popped up on the screen or they're texting somebody. I think that translates. If somebody is going to do you the favor of giving you 15, 20, 30, 60 minutes of their time to listen, then I think it deserves and requires a level of focus. Now podcasting's not big media, but I think the expectation from... it's not like, it's not like we're doing MSNBC, CNN or Fox news, right. It's a podcast, but at the end of the day, there is I think a certain level of effort that should go into it to really make sure you're putting your best foot forward, because it often times will serve many purposes, right? What we, we repurpose the content, we use it to fuel our marketing and things like that, but at the end of the day, it's that connection point where somebody can hear you and get a sense for the type of individual that you are, that doesn't translate through a written word, or is oftentimes actually easier to hear the truth of somebody than if you're watching a video, because now you're trying to process audio and video at the same time. I just think something that I would encourage everyone take the time to see how you can get better because at the end, your audience will appreciate it, whether it's stated or not.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Everybody has a choice every minute of every day on the commute, during your workout, while you're doing whatever it is you're doing, while you're listening to your podcast, you could also be listening to NPR or to some other podcasts. If you do think of it as," Oh, well, no big deal. It's a", to your point earlier," if the sound quality isn't great, or this or that it's okay. It's just a podcast." Then you're going to lose people. Right? I think everything that you're saying here is so-
Chad Sanderson: Absolutely.
Lindsay Tjepkema: -imperative that you do have to think of it as, how can I be better just like written content. I mean, if you're never going back and rereading or looking at the results or constantly trying to improve, you're not going to see the kind of results that you want.
Chad Sanderson: But it's the opportunity to really pay attention, and then I have to ask myself, is this an episode I would actually listen to? Because again, time's the only asset we can't get back, so if I'm not being entertaining, if the audio quality is horrible, if the guest isn't, let's say, overly energetic or they're not expressive vocally, then I've got to make some moves to make sure we're, do something, to get to a topic or get to a subject that's going to make them comfortable or emote more. That requires a level of vulnerability on my side that I don't think I was prepared for. I had the assumption that if, if all you hear is my voice, then I'm safe, right?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right.
Chad Sanderson: I don't have to open up as much. That is completely not the case. It actually is the opposite. It requires a higher level of energy and a higher level of focus to really capture somebody when all you have to do that with is the sound of your voice or the exchange you're having with another person. It's a long journey. I'm a hell of a lot better than it used to be, but I'm nowhere near as polished or as good as I would like to be.
Lindsay Tjepkema: What advice now that you're a couple of years into it, right? What advice do you have for other people in your shoes? Rewind those couple of years, and we're thinking about starting a podcast or who might have one, but can't relate to what you've experienced because they're like," Man, this always seems just difficulty, and we haven't really seen those results." What would you say?
Chad Sanderson: There's a couple of things. First and foremost, don't get rid of the assumption that just doing that podcasts and putting it out there is enough, right? There are thousands of podcasts out there. Everybody's doing them, right? Even celebrities have started jumping on this, Dax Shepard, and even hell even porn stars are doing on these days. I mean, so everybody's doing podcasts. The challenge is understand that first and foremost, just creating it isn't enough. You have to use it. It needs to be part of a well thought out and consistently executed campaign. It becomes the Turkey leg, right? We're going to Turkey leg the content. There's one podcast can give you the blog, post the graphics. It can go into a LinkedIn post. They can go to social media in terms of tweets, right? You break it down. You have to be diligent in the way that you promote it and put it out. Number one. But that also, isn't the only way to use it. It needs to be weaponized in terms of your prospecting. I don't mean to be non- PC, but if you're not leveraging it either to share episodes that have something of value to somebody you're trying to start a relationship with or using it to get guests on that could at some point in the future, convert into a customer or knows someone you want an introduction to, right? You're not leveraging the totality of what's possible with it. This is where I see a lot of other podcasters that I talked to struggle. They record it, they put the video up on YouTube and then they go, ah, we got 150 views of that. Right? First and foremost-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, this is working.
Chad Sanderson: Yeah, it's not working. It's hard because the instinct is like," Oh man, we just put this out. I'm going to go. Hey, I'm going to go every morning at 7: 00 AM and check my downloads." Yeah, don't do that. That's soul crushing, because especially in the beginning, don't even worry about the numbers. If you're doing a podcast, just because you want to focus on the numbers, don't do a podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Mm- hmm(affirmative).
Chad Sanderson: That isn't, that is not-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Say that again. That's so important to hear.
Chad Sanderson: If you're doing a podcast just because you want to focus on the numbers, don't do the podcast. That is not what you should be focused on. It will do nothing but drive you insane, and it will feel like you're not making headway. Right. So first just don't do that. I made that mistake. I made that mistake for the first three months. I'm like,"What do you mean we only have this many?" Second thing to realize is podcasts are evergreen. They are always there. I mean, until you pull them off Libsyn or wherever, whatever you're hosting it, and maybe then even somebody else has already downloaded it at somewhere. These things can live on forever, so you can't neglect the older episodes just because they're older. If they still have relevant content, put them into a recycle campaign, put them into a campaign where you're pulling different tidbits out. What we'll do is we'll take an episode like I'll pick, I don't know, four or five from the last six months that were really good, really impactful, and we'll recycle them. Then what we'll do is we'll put them up again, but we'll do a different blog post with a different perspective on it or graphics with a different aim on them and we'll put them through different channels, right? Just understand that continually you can recycle those things, and then as a result, you go back and look it at episodes that we recorded two years ago and they now have the highest download numbers because they've been around the longest and we've put them through this.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Mm-hmm(affirmative).
Chad Sanderson: Right? The third thing I would say is do not for a second, believe you can do it alone. I was lucky enough to have help. Right? I got into this because of James Carberry and his company is good. Right? I believe you guys even are working on a relationship with them. Mm-hmm(affirmative).
Lindsay Tjepkema: They're really good, but shit's not cheap. Let's just be honest, right? When we've all got to decide where we want to invest the dollars, so I being perhaps overconfident, I said to myself," Well, this can't be that hard." After the first few months to save money, I said," Ah, I'm going to go, I'm going to go do this." I didn't do the math in my head. Right? I had to buy a mixer and then the mics, and then all of that stuff that was higher end because I don't have the audio editing capability that they have, but then I taught myself how to use several different audio editing platforms. Then it wasn't just about the prep for the podcast and recording the podcast. It became taking an hour and a half off to tweak the audio and all of this. Now all of a sudden, my workload tripled, attempting to do it all on my own, and I lost that critical feedback point that was so helpful as I evolve. I think I struggled through it for four months before I just raised my hand and said," To hell, I cannot do that."
Chad Sanderson: Tapped out?
Lindsay Tjepkema: I tapped out, I threw in the towel. Then I went back with my tail between my legs and said," Hey guys, I'm back." They were very gracious, and then we've figured out a way to manage it because I do have potentially some control issues. There were ways that we worked it out. It comes with the personality, right? But we worked it out. I would say," Don't hesitate to invest in somebody to help you get it off the ground, keep it going, keep you honest and focused, help you question your own assumptions. If you do it in a vacuum, it's going to show in the end result in the quality and the places that you... in the creativity you apply to how I can use it or where I promote it, and then you're not going to see the results you want.
Chad Sanderson: Man, breaking it down to like three key takeaways. I feel like you just, it's almost like you had this all planned out. All right. I would be remiss if I didn't talk about sales and marketing. My background's a marketer and you obviously are in value selling. We're United here through a podcast. I'm interested in your perspective on how podcasting can, should, could, would help unite sales and marketing because there has been a chasm there for years, generations even. What does that look like from your perspective and B2B brands where there's a marketing team that is, if you ask sales, creating content that they don't, they can't or don't use? And we got to get into this one when Zachary and I were on your podcast, you have a sales team from marketing perspective, isn't using all this stuff that they're creating. Where does the podcast, or where should the podcast fit into that ongoing battle?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, there's a couple of ways you could look at it, right? In terms of internal alignment, if I'm in an organization that has that chasm, that hasn't figured out that they all need to be working from the same playbook and a common framework and language, then a podcast I've seen it actually help by having, you take a marketer and a sales professional, and you put them as the hosts on the podcast that the organization is using to drive its own business, but just because they're giving two different perspectives and listening to each other, you start to drive unification and understanding that way. The other way I've seen it done is I've actually seen companies do internal only podcasts. They will have the files up and accessible only internally to the organization. They're meant to be a showcase for successes or re- com. I want to use the word post- mortem, but that upsets the millennials. Retrospective, there it is. Or retrospectives on accounts, or projects or things like that. I've seen where they've brought two or three people on or consistently bring on different sales and marketing people to have a conversation, to try and understand each other's perspective because it's interesting. You take two people having a conversation, sales and marketing people sitting across a table and you can feel the tension at times. You put mics in front of their faces where you know they're going to be recorded, and they actually calm down and have a tendency, maybe not right out of the gate, but 10 or 15 minutes in techs start to listen to each other. I think that becomes a critical component of it as well. Then also once we understand each other's perspective once and I, the beauty of my perspective is that I spent eight years in marketing, running marketing organizations before I moved into sales. I get both sides of the divide, and so if you have tools, but the sales team maybe isn't thinking about how to leverage them, podcasts becomes an excellent way to say," Hey, we have this tool and here's some ways that we've seen other salespeople leverage them" or salespeople coming and saying," Hey, can I get so and so on the podcast, because I'm trying, I want to get them as a prospect. They're not answering me, but I think if we were put them on the podcast, it would be a great way for us." Now you've got marketing and sales working together around this asset, this creation that you have, and it's all about the dialogue. If you don't keep the dialogue open, then you're going to continue to have that chasm and continue to have what the results people have seen for years when that chasm exists. Absolutely. Yeah, no, I love your suggestion of bringing them on the show together and not saying," Okay, well marketing goes and creates it and shoves it in front of sales" because that's the same story that we've been telling for a long time, but I like that suggestion. They both have skin or voice, I guess, so to speak, in the game. You've been really honest about some of the challenges and some of the unexpected twists and turns. Tell me about some of the successes. What, for you, you personally, as a podcaster, what has hosting a show meant to you?
Chad Sanderson: For me personally, it has made me much more comfortable having conversations, not just with the guests, but because of the business I'm in and what I do now, I do more keynote presentations. I do presentations at events, and actually the podcast gave me the confidence, quite frankly, to do that. It gave me a voice. It helped me develop my voice. It helped me develop, I don't want to say persona, but the brand, I mean, it becomes part of... People that engage with me or hire me to help them and their organizations, they're not hiring the Harley Davidson riding, tattooed, Jack drinking guy. They're hiring the professional who's been in sales and marketing for over 20 years who understands, who has a clear vision of how to help these organizations. It's credibility building at its best. It's also helped me, as I said before, be much more authentic and be more comfortable with the fact that," Hey, while you may not be hiring that Harley riding, tattooed Jack drinking guy, that is a part of the perspective that I bring that resonates really well with your field." It is a level of authenticity that somebody that comes in a cookie cutter suit and tie, you're not going to get if they're reading off a script. There's the confidence aspect of it. There's the brand portion of it. It's also allowed me to expand my own perspective and stay kind of at the cutting edge because of the guests, the topics that we cover. By hosting, I have all of these perspectives that I can draw from. Everybody else has gone deep on things from email marketing, to leadership coaching, to whatever it is, and I can draw from that, which helps not only my clients, but it also helps my business as well. For me, it has become because every six months I reevaluate, what are we doing? What are we investing in? Are the marketing investments that we're making, paying off? The podcast has never once been considered to be terminated because it provides not only revenue, not only benefit for the company, but it also provides a great opportunity for me to continually evolve, which is necessary, I believe, to be successful in the space I'm in.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, no, that's, yeah. That's how it is. Right? It's not something you can always point to directly, at least not yet, but it's something that you can feel, you can feel the impact.
Chad Sanderson: Yeah, and it's funny because when we started, so I floated, I have two other business partners, and they're, how do I say, more experienced. When I told him, when I came on board and I said," Hey, this all came together." And I said," I think I want to do this podcast." Both of them were like," First, what the hell is a podcast, and second, why, why would you want to do... I don't get it?" They literally didn't understand, but to their credit, both were like,"You know what, hey, if you want to try it, if you believe this will help you build the book, build the business, then go for it." Now fast forward two years, one of them still hasn't, doesn't, I'm not even sure listens.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Let's just be honest.
Chad Sanderson: -which is fine, but one of them has just turned around and said,"You know what? I was wrong." It's been amazing because now it's not only about generating business or providing valuable content to people that maybe we don't have a relationship with, the podcast that we do, we leverage it with clients. We leverage it as reinforcement to help provide specific targeted value to the clients that we have as we go through the change management process with them. He's now using it in the workshops that he teaches or forwarding specific episodes that, that tackle a current topic to somebody who wants to develop a relationship with or keep them informed. It's become a very impressive tool in kind of the arsenal of, of our business. It's converted some people who didn't know what a podcast was to now going," You know what? This is great content" because it's not just about the audio. We also do graphics, and we also do the blog posts, right? It's not a transcript that we actually generates content. There's a whole great, many different touch points and the value to be able to do it. Yes, it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of focus, but the output and the impact is five X easily. Of all the podcast interviews I've done. It's interesting to me, you're the only host who's actually sent me a list of," Here's the structure" right? Now, I do the same thing. I send as you guys know, I send," Here's the questions that just going to be a guide." I do the exact same thing. You guys are the only ones that have ever done that, and I think I actually got into a, I don't want to say a LinkedIn war with James Carberry on this, we got into a LinkedIn discussion. Somebody had asked him on LinkedIn, how he does it. He said," Oh, we just get people on, and we just start talking and having a conversation" and that's great, but I also don't just want people on the podcast that are nothing more than doing the circuit. When we approach and have guests on that have never done a podcast before that type of prep makes them so much more comfortable. I have been thanked more times than I can count on having put in a time to provide that information in advance, and that relaxation allows them to bring the best version of themselves, focus on the conversation instead of trying to pregame or guess what question I'm going to ask next.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Mm- hmm(affirmative).
Chad Sanderson: That type of prep, it's more than just, I don't know, in sales, we call it show up and throw up. You don't want to do that. You want to put the time in to make sure that the product you're putting out, the audio quality, the graphics, the setting up the guests, the promotion, whatever it is. This isn't an easy gig, right? It's a hell of a lot more work to do it well than I ever expected, quite honestly. I just think it requires, because somebody can vote with their time, they can swipe to a different podcasts or turn on something else, I think it's something that deserves kind of the focus and our best approach to it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's it for today's show. Thank you so much to today's guest, and to learn more about them and see Casted in action with clips of today's show and related content visit casted. us Thanks so much for listening.
Chad Sanderson is the host of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience podcast, a show dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Chad’s journey in podcasting started 2 years ago and like many of us, it was a way to create content and provide value. Tune in to see how Chad went about improving his show through dialogue and self-criticism.