Ep133: Improve Your Networking Skills By Serving First (Instead of Selling) | with Liston Witherill

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If you work in the entertainment industry you might be living under the assumption if you get really good at what you do, jobs will just miraculously find you, and you can avoid the painful process of putting yourself out there and selling yourself. After all, selling is for businesses and salesmen.

Well, guess what? If you are a freelancer in today’s gig economy, you are a business. 

Referrals may work for awhile, but what if you decide you want to do something different and transition to a new genre of work? Suddenly your current network you’ve spent years building is of no use to you whatsoever. Having a solid networking strategy is essential for connecting with the right people so you can promote your businesses’ services (i.e. YOU) and build a career that provides you with the flexibility to expand your portfolio as desired and ultimately fulfill your passions.

My guest today, Liston Witherill, has made his career helping experts sell their services. He is the founder and creator of Serve Don’t Sell, and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people become world-class, ethical communicators. He understands that networking can be intimidating, especially for busy creatives who identify as introverts and just want to focus on their craft. He also understands that many people view networking as making awkward small talk at boring mixers and events (pre-pandemic anyway) and bothering busy, more important people with cold outreach that never yields responses. But networking doesn’t have to be this painful.

Liston and I discuss the mindset shifts you need to make in order to network successfully and why doing so can improve your career exponentially. This episode will teach you the psychology behind effective networking and how to apply it to your unique situation so you can not only expand your network but also build better and stronger relationships to advance your career and improve your well being.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Liston learned to form the habit of making connections and how you can form it as well.
  • Why many people have an aversion to networking and how changing your mindset is the way to overcome it…even if you’re an introvert.
  • Why the same network strategies work for some people but not for others.
  • The number one thing you need to do for successful outreach (and to not be a bother to people)
  • What bad outreach is and how to avoid it.
  • Liston’s formula for getting people to open and respond to outreach emails.
  • Liston gives an example of an outreach email based on his SPCA method.
  • How reciprocation works and the psychology behind it.
  • Why you need an angle to reach out to high profile people.
  • Why sending 1 thoughtful email is better than sending 50 template emails.
  • The difference between the shotgun approach and the sniper approach to networking.
  • A great example of how an internet entrepreneur provided value to an author he admires.
  • The various definitions of experts and mentors and how to extract value from each.
  • Tactical tips and general rules for subject lines in outreach emails.
  • How long the email should be and how you should formulate your ask.
  • Why you should never ask “Can I pick your brain?” in an outreach email.
  • How to effectively follow up on your outreach if you don’t get a response without bothering people.
  • When you should follow up if you don’t get a response right away.
  • Networking is about building relationships and providing value.
  • How to get in touch with Liston.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Ep105: Ramit Sethi on Forging The Path Towards Your Own ‘Rich Life’

Ep06: Defining Your Purpose and Living Large | with Tony Horton

Ep98: P90X Creator Tony Horton on Covid-19, Staying Healthy During Quarantine, Boosting Immunity, & More

Liston’s Facebook Page

Liston’s Linked In Page

Continue To Listen & Learn

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Ep129: How to Cultivate a “Service-Centric” Mindset (and Why It Will Make You More Successful) | with Agustin Rexach

Ep127: Chasing After the Next Gig vs. Building Your Career | with Kabir Ahktar, ACE

IMDbPro for Networking: The 10 Features That Will Take Your Outreach to a New Level (optimizeyourself.me)

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes You’re Making With Your Cold Emails (and How to Fix Them) (optimizeyourself.me)

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Ep87: [CASE STUDY] Why People Don’t Respond to Your Cold Outreach (and How to Get a Response) | with Scott Davis (optimizeyourself.me)

Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you.

Hello, and welcome to the Optimize Yourself podcast. If you're a brand new Optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you were inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love? And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G., welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vet, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show, and thus the more people that you and I can inspire, to step outside of their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show. If you work in the entertainment industry, you might be living under the assumption if you get really good at what you do jobs will just miraculously find you. Therefore you can avoid the painful process of putting yourself out there and selling yourself. After all selling is for businesses and salesman. Well guess what? If you are a freelancer in today's gig economy, you are a business. Referrals may work for a while, but what if you decide that you want to do something different, or maybe transition to a new or different genre of work? Suddenly, your current network that you have spent years building is of no use to you whatsoever. Having a solid networking strategy is essential for connecting with the right people so you can promote your business's services, ie you and build a career that's going to provide you with the flexibility to both expand your portfolio but then ultimately, fulfill your passions. Well, my guest today Liston Witherill has made his career helping experts sell their services. He is the founder and creator of Serve Don' Sell and he is on a mission to help 100 million people become world class and ethical communicators. He understands that networking can be intimidating, especially for busy creatives, who identify as introverts and just want to focus on their craft. He also understands that many people view networking as making these awkward small talk conversations at boring mixers and events, of course pre pandemic anyway, and ultimately bothering busy and more important people with cold outreach that never ultimately yields any response whatsoever. But guess what, networking does not have to be this painful. In this episode, Liston and I discuss the mindset shifts that you need to make in order to network successfully, and why doing so will improve your career exponentially. This episode will teach you the psychology behind effective networking and how to apply to your unique situation. So you can not only expand your network, but also build better and stronger relationships to advance your career and also improve your well being. If today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with projects that you are passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance, and especially if you would like support, mentorship and a community to help you turn your goals into a reality, then you and I need to talk because in January I'm opening winter enrollment for my Optimizer Coaching and Mentorship Program. And it sounds like you could be the perfect fit. Over the last three years, I've now worked with well over 100 students and I've seen stunning transformations. But the biggest obstacle for most has been that the program in the past was too expensive or it just required too much time. Those problems are no longer in issue is I've made the program a lot more affordable and a lot less time intensive for those with busy lives but who need an extra push to make whatever the next major transition is in your life to learn more and apply visit optimize yourself.me/optimizer. Just so you know I review applications in the order that they're received and I fill slots accordingly. So the earlier you apply, the better your chances are of getting in the program. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with founder and creator of serve, don't sell listen with her made possible today by our amazing sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven, who are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview. To access the shownotes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimize yourself.me/podcast.

I'm here today with Liston Witherill, who is the founder and creator of Serve Don't Sell and, you Sir, help experts win clients that they should. And I also want to mention that you are in a mission to help 100 million people, just little tiny, small goals, you want to help 100 million people become world class, ethical communicators. And for me, the big word here is ethical. That's why you're on the show. Today, we're gonna talk about how do we flex the outreach muscle and build relationships. And I know that you are as big of a nerd about this stuff as I am. So my friend, this is going to be a pleasure to have this conversation today. Thank you so much for being here.

Liston Witherill 5:50

The pleasure is mine. And it's so funny to hear you introduce me since we go way back like way, way back beyond light years of Internet Marketing time. So I'm happy to be here. Thanks having me.

Zack Arnold 6:01

Well, like we were talking about a little bit before we officially went online here, you and I have known each other almost since I moved out to Los Angeles. So it's been, I think, probably 15 years, but we met because of personal reasons. Just through you know people and not at the time, but now through my wife and another person you knew them like so we just knew each other personally. But I always knew that we had things in common other than we were just at the same barbecues together, then we lost touch for a while. And then all of a sudden, just this realization kept dawning on me, you and I are approaching very, very similar things in a very similar way. So I believe that we would be on this podcast today even had we not met through other completely different circumstances many, many years ago. And the reason specifically, you're here is the three words that are in the name of your business Serve Don't Sell. That is such an important concept for me. Because when I talk to people in the creative industries with with whom I work, I tell all of them that you have to look at it as providing value to others first, it can't be about hey, here I am. I'm awesome at what I do hire me have a meeting with me look at my website, it can't be about that. It has to be how can I provide value to people. And that's kind of a foreign concept in my world. And it's not a foreign concept in your world so tell me a little bit more about who you are what you do.

Unknown Speaker 6:05

Sure. So as you said, my name is Liston. I'm very happy and excited to be talking to you right now, dear listener. So thanks for giving us some of your time. Yeah, so what I do is I help experts sell there's more of their services and reach the clients that they should. And what I mean by that is a lot of people who are in consulting coaching creative fields, right? UX design, or graphic design or even editing film and audio editing, right, we are really, really good at a thing. And I can relate to that I have a deep background in media production than I was doing, you know, digital marketing and copywriting. But I quickly learned that it's not a meritocracy, in the sense of the kind of way we think the world works, which is, if I just get really good at something, I'll be undeniable I'll be so good. That I can't be ignored, which I think may have been a the previous guest.

Liston Witherill 8:04

That's the name of Cal newports first book, so well played.

Yeah, which I totally disagree with it, at least in the sense of it implies, if someone is the best at something, we definitely will have heard of them. Because that's just cosmically how things work. And I don't agree with that at all. Unfortunately, there are lots of forces that control why we know certain things and one of those core forces and what we're going to talk about today is other people, right? And so relationships really, really matter. They're a important resource in our business. And there's a skill and a habit that comes along with reaching out to someone. I'll give you an example. One of my dear, dear friends told me when she was a kid, she wrote a letter to the President of the United States. And she got a response back, right? And she goes, Yeah, in that moment, I knew that, like people were accessible to me. And I can tell you, this was not my experience growing up, like I never did that. I didn't know anybody who felt like they could do that. Everything that I'm going to talk about today is learned in my adult life, partially out of necessity, maybe partially out of my personality changing a little bit over time. But what I can tell you is even if you don't have this habit, now you can form it. And so I am really, really excited to talk about this because I think it's a huge skill.

Zack Arnold 9:43

One of the things that comes up in the many conversations that I have in my coaching and mentorship program, because I work with people that are so incredibly introverted like myself, like extreme introverts. They say the following. Oh, I'm not good at networking. I'm not good at building relations. And that's a limiting belief because they think I was genetically born with a deficiency to write outreach emails, well, how often do you do it? Well, never. Well, maybe that's why you're not good at it, because you don't realize that it's a skill that can be practiced. It's the same thing for me, I didn't naturally wake up one day and say, I'm going to start reaching out to everybody and tell them how great I am. So they will hire me, you got to learn the skill, but when you break it down, anybody can do it. And now more than ever, given our present circumstances, were those that feel like yeah, it's easier for me to just go to the bar, go to the meetups, go to the panels, or the events, you don't have any choice anymore, but to do the outreach.

Liston Witherill 10:37

Totally, and you know, my experience I back in, back in the days when I had a day job, um, you know, I did a lot of that what you're describing, going to all the meetups, and there's, you know, Business Journal events, and BSI, business, networking International. And they all felt like a gigantic waste of time to me. And when I talked to a lot of people, a lot of them are surprised that I'm not a strong extrovert, I'm kind of in between, like, I can thrive and meet new people, and that's fine, but I'm tired afterwards. And I just need to like, be alone. And so one thing that I find is saying that you're an introvert isn't actually capturing it, because it's not like you have no relationships, or you never make new friends. That's not the case. Right? It's that some settings are, are a little bit more overwhelming to you than others. And also, kind of the key thing with outreach is, I think a lot of people don't understand how to put themselves in the shoes of the person they're trying to reach and like what matters to them. And that's going to be one of the key skills we talked about here, is really understanding what they want, because that's the likelihood that you'll get a response is so much greater. And I can give you some positive and negative examples of this in my own life. You know, it's it's not really about the introversion, it's, I think not knowing where to start. And then maybe also, assuming you're going to get rejected, and then having an aversion to that feeling of rejection, which I think is probably not a good way to look at it, because you may not actually be be getting rejected. So we can talk about all those things. Yeah.

Zack Arnold 12:12

And we're definitely going to dive into that a little bit later. And I want to put a pin into that, because I'm sure you hear about this all the time, where people say, Oh, well, I've tried that before. I haven't gotten responses. People just don't want to help me. Right. So it's, the outreach thing doesn't work. It's like, Well, that's because your strategy for outreach and follow up. And there's so many nuances as far as how you structure a single sentence, the length of your email, the quality of your subject line, all these are going to dictate what is the probability you get a response. But at the end of the day, it's Oh, God, nobody wants to help me. They're not responding I'm, this just isn't for me. Right. So what I want to get into the the nuances of the specific tactics a little bit later on. But I think the first thing to mention what you already kind of alluded to, is this idea that especially for a craftsperson, that does a very specific skill, like editing, or coloring, or writing or directing or whatever it is, they put all of their energy and attention into the craft, because that's making them better, because that's the part of the process that they love. It's one thing for you to be great at what you do. But none of that matters. If people don't know that you're great at what you do. And for some reason in my industry, so few people hone in on that, and they don't even realize, wait, oh, in the gig economy. I am the CEO of a business and it's a business of one. I didn't really like wait, marketing and networking is actually a skill, I have to learn just like avid or DaVinci Resolve or this camera or whatever like that. That's a pretty startling and scary realization for creative people.

Liston Witherill 13:41

Well, one thing I find I agree with you and one thing I find is I'm sure you've heard this, you talk to some people probably I know, when you started, you went around and talked to a bunch of people about like, how do I make it as an editor? And I'm sure you talk to lots of people who, who just say, Oh, it's all about referrals, get really good at your craft, you'll get referral, you'll be noticed you'll get referrals, and then everything just falls into place. And to that I always say yeah, but that's not really repeatable process. Right? Like you're not telling me functionally what actually happened, which is not just someone believed in me, or I got a referral, but I knew the person who was best friends with the director, or who was the gatekeeper for the films that this studio, right. So it wasn't just a referral, it was also knowing the right people. And when I you know, one thing you talked about being nerdy, right? So I think about network topology, right? So why are some networks structured in a way that referrals are a viable strategy for some people but not others, right, who do equal let's say all things are, are equal to people exactly the same skill set, one gets promoted through their career, and another is just goes unnoticed, but they can make like the best film that you could possibly want. What's the difference? And part of it is, Who are those nodes within the network? How big is the network? How proximate are the people in the network to the people that really matter to me? So the reason I say this is you can actually proactively control what your network looks like, which is the whole point of the discussion today.

Zack Arnold 15:22

Oh, god, yes. And you know, you just hit on two huge points that I want to really dive a little bit deeper into. One is the idea of referrals, there is a world still today, where you can count on being really good at what you do, and getting referrals from one job to the next to the next, which is great, until you don't want to do that one very specific thing anymore. Those are the people that come to me and say I spent a decade editing unscripted television or reality, or documentaries, or whatever it is, I've gotten all my work through referrals, which is great. I don't want to do it anymore. And I don't know anyone that's doing what I want to do now, therefore, I can't break in. And I say, well, then just connect with the people that you want to do what they're doing next. Well, what do you mean? Like, I don't understand what like, I just mean, I just like, email them? Yes, you just email them. It's really that simple. But it's such a foreign concept, because we assume the network is going to build itself around us, which again, it sometimes does to referrals. But that only works, if you want to pigeonhole yourself into doing one specific thing.

Liston Witherill 16:27

Yeah, totally. And, you know, there's been a lot of research into how networks are structured, obviously, a company like Facebook has a lot of interest in this question. And generally, I would invite anybody listening to this right now, think about all like, think about your whole social network, usually, you know, one or two people who are great connectors of people, like you can kind of trace back, you know, 50% 80% of your friendships or connections to less than a handful of people, usually, between one and three, have some sort of outsized impact, right. And so, you know, that's, those are the types of people that we want to know. But you can also become them, right in maybe a smaller baby version of that, where, you know, when I think about what's affected my career and how I'm sitting in the seat, right now, there's a handful of people who've made an outsized impact, right. So I think one thing we might touch on is I'm currently in the middle of running a online speaker series called client con. And I have 30 speakers there. And I think it's something like five to 10 of the speakers, I can trace back to one single person. Now it was up to me to make those relationships, it was up to me to foster those relationships. It was up to me to pitch client con to them in a way that made them feel like they get something out of it. All of that's true. But without that initial person, I probably wouldn't be there with them.

Zack Arnold 17:54

And that comes back to the other thing that I wanted to dive into a little bit deeper is creating your own network, which is one of the reasons why even if there was no pandemic and we it wasn't even part of the conversation. And people say, Well, I network all the time I go to this mixer, I go to this meetup, I go to all the panels, and I say that's great. Are you meeting all the right people that you want to connect with? Well, now, I mean, a lot of people they're kind of out of work the way that I am. And you know, I'm not like, Well, that's because the people you really want to connect with, they're working. They're also in small dark rooms, just like you in in your mind unreachable. But when you flex your outreach muscle in my opinion, you construct whatever the network is that you desire, and yeah, it takes more time and it's more effort. But when I look at all of the major shifts in my career and all the mentors that I've surrounded myself with the job that I had on Burn Notice the job that I now have on Cobra Kai, the fact that Ramiz Satie is my business mentor, the fact that Tony Horton is my fitness mentor, the fact that it like you were alluding to, I've had podcasts with James clear and Cal Newport and David Allen, every single one of those is because I consciously said, You know what, I'm going to reach out to this person, I'm going to bring them into my network, and I'm going to provide them value. First, all that very conscious. So if anybody says, oh, must be nice to know, these people, I know of them because I made it a point to get to know them. And it all started inside their email inbox. But it all starts with providing value. So that's that's really what we're going to start to talk about is what does that even mean when people say that that's such a buzzword? Oh, sure. provide value but but but I want the work and I need the job and I need to prove that I'm so good at what I do. Why doesn't that work? Why should I lead with value and serve not sell?

Liston Witherill 19:35

Well for lots of reasons right? So if you put put yourself in the shoes of anybody you want to reach like I can you I'm sure you have this experience on a daily basis. I get pitches for guests to be on my podcast. And he or she your nodding along.

Zack Arnold 19:51

I have not to I don't want to derail you, but I now have a folder in my email. That's called Bad outreach. I collect that outreach.

Liston Witherill 19:58

Oh, that's funny. I do too.

Zack Arnold 20:00

Like I said, kindred spirits.

Liston Witherill 20:02

Yeah, well, and I and I train my clients on that right?

Zack Arnold 20:05

Met too I use them as examples.

Liston Witherill 20:07

Yeah. And like, you know, here's what not to do. And they're all basically the same flavor. Right? Listen, love your podcast, okay, you already lost me. I don't believe you, right? If you love my podcasts, you'd say something that I know, signals, you actually listened to it. So that sounds like BS. And then they go on this like rant. It's like, you know, you typically two to 500 words about how awesome this person is. And I'm always like, well, I've never heard of them. I mean, how awesome. Could they really be? And also, here's the big idea. When they're reaching out to me, again, I'm getting this at least once a day, probably more like 10 or more times a week, right? How can I evaluate that quickly? And that's what you're up against. When you're reaching out to someone and saying, Hey, I'm a great film editor, am a great colorist, have a great sound designer, whatever it is that you do. your expertise is absolutely invisible to them. Right? They have no way to evaluate that. And so you may think, Well, okay, I'll send them my reel. Okay, so now they're, they don't know who you are. And you're expecting them to invest five minutes in your reel? Probably not.

Zack Arnold 21:18

Probably not Definitely not. Oh, my God, I'm so glad somebody else agrees with me on this because I got an email. I don't know, maybe it was a month or two ago, I'd have to look at my bad outreach folder. Hi Zack found your podcast real big fan below, I've included a link to my Vimeo demo reel, I would appreciate your thoughts and any notes that you could send and provide. Are you flipping kidding me?

Unknown Speaker 21:39

Really your notes was quite the ask. But

Zack Arnold 21:42

that's the thing. It's one thing to say would you take a look at my reel, I get that all the time. But would you provide your feedback, as if I have the time in my day that I'm just going to magically find with my time magic wand? and give it to this person? Like, no?

Liston Witherill 21:55

Yeah, I know. So I get enough now where and I got one the other day where the guys like so and so told me to get in contact with you. He says you're really accessible, right? I'm like, Okay, what is it? where's this going? I love to talk to you about your thoughts about sales coaching. And I was like, you can go to this page and buy a call from me. But otherwise, like, I don't give free advice. Like, I don't have time for this. Now, the truth is, let's take that same piece of outreach. If he gave me something very specific and said, hey, I've been doing some sales coaching myself, I noticed this thing. I love to get your take on it. I think it could help us both be better at our craft. Maybe we can record a podcast episode about that. Totally different. Right? That may have gotten my attention. I'm not going to say I guarantee it. But it's totally different. So I think that the big idea for most people is the people that you want to reach don't need you. Right. And so one of the advantages, you said provide value, what does that mean? Is what started me on this rant? Is what can you give that person that's valuable to them? That's low investment. And it's easy for them to say yes or no to. That's kind of my criteria. And I have a whole model for like, how to do any form of outreach, which I call ASPCA. So source, how did I find this person? purpose? Why am I reaching out to you? Why you why now, credibility? How can I prove that it's worth it to pay attention to me? And you can verify what I'm saying, in action? What do I want you to do? They should be able to make that decision in 30 seconds from the time they open that email. Right. So that's, I think that's what I mean by value. And I'm sure we're going to get to this idea of creating content, because content actually happens to be one of the easiest ways to get anybody to spend 20 3060 minutes with you. Because there's clear value in it for them.

Zack Arnold 23:53

What we're looking through the framework that you have source, purpose, credibility action, what I really want to focus on first is purpose. Yeah. Why are you reaching out to me, there's always going to be two questions that anybody has on their mind when they get a message in their inbox. Who are you? And what do you want from me?

Liston Witherill 24:11

Exactly? Yes.

Zack Arnold 24:12

Right. So yes, I better answer both of those very, very quickly. But where's the value? I don't get it. Like, that's just me talking about myself and what I want from them. So how do I lead with value? Because I'm a big believer that I'm never going to even introduce myself, or start to generate my ask unless I provided value first, and I have my own formula. But I would love to know, how would you provide value and I know that for you, it's going to be a little bit different because you deal with consulting firms, and you do business to business. And this is going to be more person to person. But what I will always tell people when they say, well, the real jobs I need are from companies or studios or whatever. And I always say at the end of the day, companies don't hire people, people hire people. So you still need to reach out one to one and build a relationship first.

Liston Witherill 24:59

I go so far. And I was actually said this on client con today, there's actually no such thing as a company. It's an abstract concept. There's like, you can't go touch a company, right? When you say company, what you mean is a small group of people or maybe an individual at Sony studios, or wherever you want your next job from, are going to come together and make a decision. You don't need to convince Sony, that multinational conglomerate to hire you, right? You only need the right 123 people to know about what you're doing. So yeah, I would just disavow yourself of this idea of, I'm reaching out to companies, because you're not, there's never a company, you may have to make the sort of sale or providing value about who you are, and why they should pay attention to you multiple times, because you have multiple people you need to reach that's different than convincing a company. So you know, you brought up something that means a lot to me, because I think it's an important distinction for people. Everybody you reach out to likes to have fun, they hang out with their friends. You know, some of them drink on the weekends, some of them dress up in costume. Some of them do, you know, go waterskiing or go snow skiing, like their people, they do people things, right, they're not business robots. So what I don't want to think about it like that. So in terms of purpose, where I would start is understanding, let's just take the example of an editor. I like to use examples because they're more concrete. Like what who do I reach out to actually there's a question for you, Zack, I'm an editor, who would be a good person to reach out to, to see if I could be considered on editing jobs.

Zack Arnold 26:41

So it's going to depend on the type of project. But if we're talking specifically about landing the gig, and I want to separate landing the gig from building a relationship that could potentially lead to having a mentor or somebody referring you, these are kind of two separate pieces. But I want to start with the obvious one, which is, well, how do I get the gig? How do I get in the door? And as an editor, I'm probably going to be reaching out to either a director or producer or a showrunner if I'm going to be in television. So one of the one of those three categories.

Liston Witherill 27:07

Yeah. Okay. And so what pain points do they have around hiring editors? what's what's difficult for them? About

Zack Arnold 27:14

what why I don't understand why do I need to know that list? And why would I have to identify that? I don't? I'm already confused. Understood. Okay.

Liston Witherill 27:21

So this is where we start with value, right? is really understanding, what's a pain in the ass for that person? Like, what are they struggling with? You know, do they have a problem finding an editor, maybe it's what we touched on earlier, you have a close knit network, you know, you get offered the same three to five editors every time, I have some fresh ideas, because I have edited these other types of films or shows. And I don't want anything back from you, I just be willing to suggest three new techniques that I've been using as an editor that you might be able to apply in your next film, something like that, right? Like, what are they looking for, they're looking for cutting edge they're looking for, you know, faster workflow, they're looking for people who aren't going to bother them, who are self sufficient and autonomous. They're leaving people hanging.

Zack Arnold 28:13

There you go, friend, you hit on the hot button issue. I'm glad you brought that one up. Because that is that if I were to give one example, where people say I don't understand how to provide value, it's seriously it's like you and I rehearsed this. And we we talked through all the points. And we had, like you and I haven't talked about this at all, I just knew that we were going to be on the same page about this. But this is exactly what I teach, you have to crawl into the brain of this person, and find out what is their deepest pain point with finding an editor and for most directors, showrunners producers, I just want somebody that's going to take my vision, take my notes and do it without me holding their hand, I've got so many other things to do. And so many editors are just they need me to sit in the room, they need me to be on the couch, like they just they feel like they can't go outside the box, just crawl into my brain, figure out my vision and create that vision for me.

Liston Witherill 29:02

So let's let's create a piece of outreach given that we've now settled on this key pain point. Right? So source, I'm a big fan of your work. I love this thing that you did. I also like this other thing. That's how I was introduced to your work. Purpose. I've worked with a few other directors and producers and I understand one of their biggest pain points is working with an editor who can execute their vision but doesn't need to need babysitting throughout the process. I have my own process for how you can do that with whoever you're working with. And I'd be happy to share how I do that. Right? credibility. I've worked on this, that and the other action Are you interested in in seeing my process, and I can give you three pointers on how to better work with your editors. That's it. That's the whole thing, right? And now we've done something that's valuable, potentially valuable to them, they can decide, but we've put it in the context of Something that they want, right, which is really, this is the biggest mindset shift for anybody. When it comes to outreach in general is, forget about what you want, that's not going to get you anywhere in life like this was the key insight from Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is give other people what they want, and suddenly, you're going to get a lot more of what you want. Right. And tactically from a psychological standpoint, you've there's something called reciprocation, which is the key to persuasion, you've created an obligation for them by giving them something first, right? So the likelihood that they're going to return the favor is greater. Now, I'm not saying you should do this with, with the mindset that you'll always get the favor returned because you won't, but you'll also feel better about it. And what is the downside of having a conversation with a director or a producer whom you respect, even if they don't hire you? Like I only see upside in that

Zack Arnold 31:00

agreed. And I think that if we're talking specifically about, I just want the gig, looking at what they want, as opposed to what I want, and I want you to pay attention to me, I would agree wholeheartedly with all this. But what I also want to talk about is how this works, if you're not interested in actually landing the gig, because you know, there's a job available. So I think what you're talking about, and what we've been talking about so far is I go into the trades. Oh my god, I just found out that a showrunner friend of mine is got a new series, I got to get in front of him now know that I, I need to be considered and I'm a good fit. But beyond that, there's also the idea of I just want to connect with people that are doing what I want to do next. And I want to be what's the recipe for their success? And how can I follow it? And that's, that's a there's a lot more ninja art form to the outreach when it's not just you're looking for somebody and I have available?

Liston Witherill 31:50

Totally. And I mean, I'd also say in that scenario, where the job is advertised publicly, it's probably too late by then. Right? You may land a few gigs like that. But, you know, the people who already have relationships more than likely are going to be the ones to get it 80% of the time, not always but most overwhelming majority of the time. So yeah, I mean, I think you need an angle, right? You need, you need to understand spend time, this is an interesting thing. We know one person can totally change the trajectory of our lives. And yet we're willing to sit down and let our first impression with a really important, influential person. We spend maybe two minutes on that, and then send that email and just hope that they're going to get back to us.

Zack Arnold 32:36

But it's so much easier because I can create a template from that. Don't you understand? Listen, I can I can email 50 people a day. What why wouldn't I want to just increase my chances? That doesn't make any sense? Why would I just focus on one person? My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator, or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo, not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Because collaborating with Evercast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with ever cast co founders, Brad Thomas, an award winning editor, Roger Barton.

Kit Perkins 33:11

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Kit Perkins 34:06

This is exactly what the producer wants. What matters most to me is it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers. We get to shut it down, and we get to go spend time with our friends and family.

Zack Arnold 34:20

The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it. Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of efficacy for the freelancer in indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood,

Kit Perkins 34:42

I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us. They give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity, the creative momentum and the quality of work. I cannot stress this enough

Zack Arnold 34:58

Evercast is changing the way that we plan collaborate. If you value your craft your well being, and spending quality time with the ones you love, ever cast now makes that possible for you and me to listen to the full interview and learn about the amazing potential that Evercast has to change the way that you work and live, visit, optimize yourself.me/evercast. Now back to today's interview.

Unknown Speaker 35:20

Well, a good example of this for you I know is one of the things that started you on your internet marketing journey was getting an article placed with Trello, which then led to a whole cascade of other things that you did with I think, your Linda course, and people sort of knowing you as an organizational productivity guru, which helps build your platform as you have it now, right. And you can trace that all back to, I don't know if they reached out to you if you reached out to them. But that one relationship is very, very meaningful. So what I would say is, favor the things that doesn't scale, don't send 50 emails, send two, right, send two really meaningful ones. Or here's some better math for you. If you send just one email a day, instead of saying, I'm going to spend 20 minutes finding 20 to 50 people to reach out to every day, if you sent one really thoughtful email every day to someone who you really want to connect with. And you just did that on workdays that's over 200 people, you're connecting within a year. And that's probably coming from the average listener. I don't know about you, dear listener, but that's probably 200 more than you're reaching out to now. You know, I'm a big proponent of if you identify someone who's doing something cool, who you want to talk to, or learn from, or contribute to, in some way. Now's the time to get in touch with them, start making that a habit where you're not like overthinking this, you're thinking about it on like a campaign level, and who are the 2000 most connected people in all of editing, and I'm going to systematically go after them. You don't need to do that. Right? When you see someone who you think is worth your time and attention. And there's an angle for getting a hold of them. Even, you know, Zach, I'm a big advocate of this. Even if it's just to email and say, I'm a huge fan of your work, I love that you're doing this thing, no need to reply, I just wanted to express my gratitude that matters, right? Like those those things matter. And again, I want to just be clear, I didn't grow up with anybody who taught me to do that. And it is something as I think about having kids, I don't have kids yet. But as I think about having kids, this is something that I want to give to them. Because I find it just such an incredible tool to be able to do that. And you're always shocked by the types of conversations and relationships that can form. As a result of that.

Zack Arnold 37:59

Well, there's about 473 different strings that I want to pull and threads that I want to go into. I'm going to do them one at a time. But the the first one that I want to start with is this idea of do things that don't scale, which just sounds like are you crazy, I don't have time in my day to do things that don't scale. But the the, the visual that I want to give people is imagine that you're going to go to a networking conference with all of the big industry names, and there's 500 people in a giant room. The shotgun approach that most people take is I've got a pocket full of business cards, and bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, business card, business card, business card, two minute conversation, two minute conversation, go back to your hotel room, fingers crossed I, I really, really hope somebody gets in contact with me sniper approach. You do research for hours or even days to figure out who's going to be there, who's the number one person that if I were to build a relationship with them, my entire career changes, or the super ninja move is who's the one person in that room that already knows all 500 people, they become my new best friend. And you think well, that's not scalable, because this one person, but it can actually scale a lot faster. If you're doing it right, and you're looking at the right target, and really focused on that rather than Well, I don't really know who to reach out to but the more people I touch the better.

Liston Witherill 39:17

Right. And I mean, I think you're hitting on something important, which is we don't need to connect to a whole industry, right? That's not the goal here. The goal is connect with the more meaningful nodes within the network, right? Because some people have outsized leverage in any networkers or system period, right? There are some points that are going to have more leverage. And so those are the places we want to go and invest in. Which again, it isn't to say, I'm going to look up someone on Twitter and say, you know, they don't have 50,000 followers, so not worth my time. I'm not saying that but what I am saying is, if you're intentional about this, as you're implying, right, having that one to people that you want to connect with at these events, that's going to have way more impact in the aggregate. And also be honest, I hate networking events, I hate conferences, because I find that there's such a crapshoot. A lot of other people want to be there as little or less than I do. So, you know, a lot of people are there for like, the free booze or the free food, or their boss told them they had to go. So for me, it's not, you know, you mentioned the sniper approach. I can from my desk, decide who sees my outreach and who I'm going to spend time investing in. And to me, that's way more meaningful. And we can talk about podcasting. I think that's a great way to network also,

Zack Arnold 40:45

oh, there's no better way to build a network than have a podcast, my friend, everybody wants to talk about themselves and their success. exactly

Liston Witherill 40:51

what it is the only reason I worry to be here.

Zack Arnold 40:53

Yeah, right. Yeah, that's, that's it, that's a very nice ninja trick for sure. The the next thread that I want to pull, and again, it's to get through all 473. We're going to be here for a while. But the next thread that I want to pull, this is a really important concept. And this is where as I talked about you beforehand, I like to translate these concepts in the sales and marketing world to the creative world, there is no more important concept to understand with outreach than reciprocity. When I teach this to people, they're like, I don't understand what that means. And I always the the analogy that I use, is imagine that you're standing outside of Starbucks, and you open the door for somebody, right? And you think, well, they just walk by and they don't even give me the time of day. Well, that was kind of like I just, you could at least acknowledge me. My expectation is I open the door. Oh, thank you. That was nice view. Right. So that that's the extreme on one end is they totally ignore you. Well, that's not meeting my expectations. I'm not doing it because I expected a lot, but I expect a little bit in return. Then the opposite is you open the door, and they give you a bear hug. And they're in tears about how you just made their year like, Whoa, not exactly what I expected, because it's not a reciprocal back and forth.

Liston Witherill 42:00

Right? Well, it's just proportionate.

Zack Arnold 42:02

Yes, proportionate? That's my point. And when Yeah, when people think about reaching out to either another expert or a big name in a field, or I'm just a PA, and this person's an editor, and they always think how could I possibly provide them value? I always talk to them about reciprocity. If you want them to respond to you just provide enough value that the reciprocal way for them to return it is to replay it.

Liston Witherill 42:25

Yeah, I totally agree. And, and of course, this is going to bring up for everybody the same question again, well, how do I provide value, and it's, it's entirely contingent on who the person is. And so there's a couple different levels that you can think about in terms of value, because I can't give you like, the formula to always provide value every time and this is bullet proof, I can't do that. But what I can tell you is editors, as a group of people probably have a shared set of circumstances, problems, challenges, right? That's one level you can think about. Right above that is like, people in the movie industry have a shared set of challenges, and problems and things desires, things that they want in their lives. And then below, all of that is like the person out the studio or this individual person, right? We can go on to their social media, we can see things that they like, it doesn't have to be business related. I'm not big on this idea of like, if someone reaches out to me and says, I saw that you love hip hop on Twitter. So here's an album recommendation, and they're in my business inbox. I'm like,

Zack Arnold 43:30

Yeah, I agree that there's a time for that. But it's not in your first outreach,

Liston Witherill 43:34

right? No, I'm just like, you don't have my attention. And that's creepy. But you know, I think there are some, you know, personal things you can learn. Maybe they're commenting on an industry trend that you can add value to right. So I think those are kind of the levels I think about in terms of adding value. But yeah, reciprocity. So one story that comes to mind for me, I'm sure you're familiar with Brian Harris, from video for.com

Zack Arnold 44:01

heard of it, but I'm actually not as familiar as you might think. So

Liston Witherill 44:05

pretty well, pretty well known to internet marketer, he blogs about online marketing. And one of the ways that my understanding or at least this is his founding mythology, right. One of the ways he got his start, was he likes the author, john, a cuff, who's kind of a funny pop psychology, self helpy type author. And Jon Acuff had this thing in one of his books to wake up at 5am. And that, that's one of the greatest ways to increase your productivity and get more done and just feel more fulfilled. And so Brian Harris had someone create an app. And all it is, is you log into the app, and you press the button at 5am. To verify that you actually were up, you have to physically press it. And at 501, it doesn't work. You break the habit, right, or you break the streak, and he sent it to john and he was like, big fan of yours. Love your book. I created this app. Feel free to use it Don't ever respond to me if you don't want to. And then john, of course, started talking about it publicly. And I think that's just such a great example of maybe Brian spent a couple 100 bucks Max, to get ahold of one person who could have an outsized influence on his career. And after john sees that, and likes the app, of course, now he's gonna say, Brian, who are you? This is amazing, like, what do you do? What's your story? He's just going to be so much more interested in Brian. So I think that that's such a good demonstration, I don't think you have to go to the trouble of creating an app. But it is a good demonstration of how this can work

Zack Arnold 45:37

well. And I think that to go even a layer deeper, if we're talking specifically about reaching out to a quote unquote, expert, or a potential mentor, well, if I'm not even looking for work, like and I've had people literally say, this doesn't mean like, I should offer to mow their lawn once a month, or like I should edit a project for free. And I will have them think, psychologically, why does this person do what they do? You're in the creative field, you're an editor, you're in a system, why do you do what you do? Well, man, at the end of the day, I just I love telling stories. And I love I love the the emotional impact that it has, well, guess what? So does the person that you're reaching out to? So maybe it's as simple as providing value by watching their work and sharing how it emotionally impacted you? Well, come on. It can't be that simple. That's not value. Is it? Is that value?

Liston Witherill 46:24

I mean, I think it can be right I guess I'm curious because this term mentor, I'm, I think some people use it in vastly different ways. I'm curious what has worked for you, when you reach out you said like remede Sethi is your mentor. And we have a mutual friend well, acquaintance of mine, but friend of yours, who's a business coach, what is your process for reaching out to a mentor?

Zack Arnold 46:46

Yeah, so the the way that I see mentorship is, indeed one of the things that I talked about in my program. And I explained to people when they say, well, what's a mentor? What does it mean to be an expert? People think an expert is the best in the world at whatever it is that they do. And my opinion is that an expert is anybody that's doing what you want to do next. So if you're at the bottom level of a TV show, that will be a production assistant, you're the world's foremost expert on how to become a production assistant on a studio show to somebody that can't break in. Right? So for me, an expert or a mentor is who is the best at doing what I want to do next. So for some people, that's the world's best at something. So I think that Ramiz Satie is a good example, I think a better one that more people would relate to would be Tony Horton, this is this is a story that I that I tell a lot because people are like, what business does an overweight film editor that's not in the fitness industry, have training American Ninja Warrior with Tony Horton like, that seems insane. But I said, if there's anybody that can help me with this journey of getting from where I am now to where I want to be next, this is the guy. But the key is I think I can genuinely provide him value because there are areas where I feel I can help him in addition to Oh, Tony is going to be my mentor, he's the guy and I'm going to convince him to give me all of his knowledge. It was the opposite. It was do I genuinely feel I can provide value for him first? And how do I do that? And that's how I identify a mentor. So a mentor to me is anybody that's doing what I want to do next, or has the knowledge that I need to acquire to take my next steps.

Liston Witherill 48:21

Yeah. And I think part of it, too, is like on the Tony Horton example. By the way, I'm doing p90x for the fourth time right now.

Zack Arnold 48:28

Nice. I'll tell him you say hi.

Liston Witherill 48:32

Well, I'm sure the familiarity is asymmetrical, right. I feel like I know him. So as you mentioned about Tony Horton, I think it is also true, like I don't know exactly what your relationship is. But to some degree, that you're also going to be mentored by people who like you, and are genuinely interested. And there's just something about you like, in other words, none of this is a guarantee that if you reach out to person x, that person will become a mentor. I also think mentor can mean lots of different things. You have a conversation with them once a year. But it could also mean you meet with them weekly. It could also mean they answer targeted questions for you. Occasionally, it can also mean you pay them money for their service, right? It can be lots of things.

Zack Arnold 49:18

I'm gonna buy one on top of that, actually not to interrupt you, but to interrupt you. This may actually be something I've, I've read from you before. But a mentor can also be somebody you never meet. It can be the podcast, it can be the article, it can be the course, they don't even know who you are as a person. That's how it started with me and roomies and how it started with both un Iowa's Tony Horton. Tony Horton was our fitness mentor through the p90x DVD. And that's mentorship. In my opinion, it's somebody that's giving you the skills or the knowledge that you need to get to a different level than you are now. So a mentor can be so many different things. Totally agreed. Yeah. So

Liston Witherill 49:54

start reaching out i think is the bottom line here.

Zack Arnold 49:58

So then let's talk a little bit more On a granular level, let's get a little bit nerdy about the specifics, because I think we're talking about a lot of really important high level stuff that hopefully, will convince people to shift their mindset that outreach really is going to be the best avenue for me to create a fulfilling career path. And it's not about I'm going to get the next gig by default from whomever I either already know, or whoever shows up at an event if there are ever in person events ever again. But I want to build my own networks. And I want to get down to a granular level. And one of the things that you talked about that I also emphasize, is I call it the grocery line test. If they're the next person that's going to get checked out at the grocery line, and they just get the ping on their phone. Can they both read and respond to your message before it's their turn? So like you said, we have to make it short, simple to the point and easy to respond to. So I'd like to start talking through some of your methodologies in psychology from the subject line all the way to the final ask in the salutation to make this thing easy to get through and respond to

Liston Witherill 51:00

Yeah, boy, that's a big topic to cover in the waning moments. So subject lines, so a couple tactical things that I recommend, the subject line should both be explanatory of why you're reaching out, but also drive some curiosity. Right. So if I were reaching out to, let's say, Cal Newport, because we already mentioned him if I were reaching out to Cal to be on my podcast, or like one person, actually, who I want to have on my podcast, genuinely, is Dan Ariely or any Duke poker player. Right? The subject line would be something like Annie podcast guest question mark. And I love so I think always having either the person's name or the company's name in the subject line is really helpful. Because they know it's for them, it doesn't look like a template, an email. And if there's some sort of curiosity, you can drive. Now, I saw this marketing study years ago, that was like best performing subject line, and it's like goat's head explodes, right? And then the body of the email is like selling some sort of weight loss program or something like that. And it's like, No, don't do that. Like that's totally in congruent completely off brand. So we don't want to optimize to the point of like, you know, having a porn site, right. Like, that's not what we're trying to do. But I think showing the person that it's for them driving some curiosity, and having some sort of statement in as few words as possible about what this is. So, general rule five words or less for the subject line? In the email, I've given you the specific template mspca source purpose, credibility, action, those emails, I mean, I'm not kidding when I say they should be four sentences or five sentences. Like, if the person can't read it in 30 seconds and decide if it's worth it to respond, you fail. And the action that I like, of course, this is dependent on what you want them to do, or what you're asking is, but generally, I'll say something like, just, you know, interested question mark. Right. So in this example of reaching out to Tony Horton, I don't know what you offer to him, but maybe it's like, I have some ideas on how to make your next fitness series like 10 times more engaging from another perspective. Right, then the The question is just like interested, yes or no. And he can say, and, you know, they'll say yes, or maybe he'll say, I don't know, tell me more. What is this? Great. Okay, we got a response we're in. Right. So I think one of the things tactically that a lot of people get wrong about outreach, is they think this first email should be my first and final testament to a relationship that's going to last forever.

Zack Arnold 53:49

This is my one shot this is it. Yeah, one chance. No, no, not at all

Liston Witherill 53:54

we want to do is get the person to engage with us in some way. Right? And all I'll take engagement as they open the email, that's helpful right now I'm going to respond, right? That's another thing that I think is really important for people who haven't done outreach before you send let's for, as a thought experiment, the best piece of outreach with the most value packed in it ever created in the history of mankind. And the person doesn't respond to you. Have you been rejected? Well, not necessarily. Right. Maybe they were in the grocery line, but they were next. And they saw the email. And then the checker was like, Excuse me, ma'am, please pay now like, oh, shoot, I put my phone away. I accidentally deleted the email. 50 other emails came in, I lost track of it. They didn't reject you. They're busy right? de facto here. We're going after people who are busy and have other things to do. One Piece of outreach is not enough to determine that I've been accepted or rejected. So I would say, disavow yourself. That also,

Zack Arnold 55:00

I don't know, but I don't want to bother them. And I just I feel like I'm being needy. And I'm asking them for too much. And bla bla bla bla bla, I hear this all the time. I want to get to this in a second. But there's one thing that I want to pull out of the first part of it that I think is so super important. Was you saying that I want to make it simple to respond to Yes or no? So let me give you an example. Would you be okay with us getting together for lunch at 1pm? This Friday, so I could pick your brain?

Why are you laughing?

Liston Witherill 55:26

My least favorite. Why? Okay, so Jason freed the CEO of Basecamp. He goes, who wants their brain picked? Like who? I think no one really wants their brain.

Zack Arnold 55:41

But it's a yes or no answer.

Liston Witherill 55:43

It is it's too big of an ask. Right? So lots of things I think about there. One is, you know, dating analogies are so overused in all marketing and sales. But I think it's apt here. It's like, we're not going to ask someone to go on vacation with us when this is the first time they're seeing my face or name or having any idea who I am. Right? It's just too much. Right? And it is a big ask. It's like a gigantic ask to have lunch with someone. It's a big ask to meet with someone over zoom even. Right? Like, I don't know about you, Zack, but I'm personally don't look at my calendar and go. Boy, if I could just have more blocks taken up by other people asking for my attention. I'd feel whole again.

Zack Arnold 56:32

Yeah, I have that problem.

Liston Witherill 56:33

Everybody's time is spoken for. Right. So you have to make a compelling, and you have to go with small graduations. Right? So you know, we can talk about what kinds of unethical psychological experiments to prove this point. But basically, if we start small and continue to graduate, we're more likely to get the next subsequent Yes. Right. And so what is the smallest commitment that I can ask for? So the reason I like this, and this is borrowed from my friend, Raj, Nathan, he always ends with just interested question mark, because that, and he's usually teasing something, right? I can give you information on X, Y, and Z, I can tell you something, I can help you grow your revenue, I can tell you something that'll help you hire your next editor, whatever it is. interested, yes. So easy to answer. There's no cognitive load. And then now you have permission to start engaging in a conversation. Right? So that's, that's what I mean, by asking a yes or no question. I think you bring up a very important point, which is like, Well, do you want to hire me for your next role is a yes or no question. But of course, I can't answer in the affirmative right now. So you're setting yourself up for failure if you do that, because I don't know how good your editing is. I don't know your past credentials. I haven't talked to your references. I haven't, you know, seen any of your work. Like I would need to do all of that before I make that decision.

Zack Arnold 58:00

So I'm gonna I'm going to go even simpler on the ask. So I don't know if this is a tactic that other people use, or if I've just discovered it accidentally. But I found the simplest possible version of a yes or no question that almost always gets a response. The question is, I asked permission to ask the question. That's what I've had people do is they'll say I'm an example B, I'm I noticed that you've, you've made the transition from this area of the industry to this area. So for example, I've noticed that used to work in reality, and now you work at a high level on scripted drama. Would you mind if I reached out to ask you a question or two about how you did that? Don't ask how they did it. Ask if you can ask? And almost always the responses, the exact same thing. I really appreciate you reaching out. I'm glad you enjoyed the show. Feel free to ask any questions you would like, bam response conversation begun.

Liston Witherill 58:50

That's great. So in my good outreach folder in my email client, one of the emails that I got recently was from a podcast guest booking service. I'm sure you get a million of these

Zack Arnold 59:01

in like 10 a day, right? We all use the same template. They do.

Liston Witherill 59:06

And but this one was different. And they used your exact tactic. They said something like, Hey, I was checking out your modern sales podcast. And you know, I was curious, are you booking guests right now? And if so, what's the best way for me to pitch one so much better? Right? And now I found it a little bit annoying, right? Because again, I you know, to me, it's like, well, you could go look at my feed and see who I've had. And also there's a whole description about what the podcast is. So I still found it a little bit lazy. But I did reply to it. Right? I was like, go to this page. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I'm open to hearing who your guest is, right, I'm still not guaranteeing that they're gonna be on my podcast, but still now they have my attention. And I responded, which again, is the goal of that first piece of outreach.

Zack Arnold 59:55

So let's assume that we don't get a response. This is the last thing I want to cover very quickly because we will too, and I don't want to leave this hanging out in the air. Let's assume that we don't ask a good enough question that gets us an immediate response. And we're thinking, Well, that was a waste of time, this outreach thing doesn't work. Nobody wants to hear from me. They don't want to help me, I'm just bothering them. What's what is the best outreach sequence and follow up sequence that you would suggest to make sure that you get a response that's quality without constantly bothering people and annoying them?

Liston Witherill 1:00:24

Yeah. So highly dependent on the importance of the relationship, right, you're gonna obviously not automate the three people who are you're like, if I knew one of these people, everything would change. Right? That one, we're always going to do our custom research and mark our calendar to get back to them. But let's say take everybody else. I personally think and there's, you know, if you go Google this, you'll find 10 articles all with 10 opposing opinions. Right? So I think you need to decide what feels right for the types of people you're reaching out to. But generally, anybody who reaches out to me you get these two, Zack, they reach out on Monday. And then on Wednesday, Hey, did you get my email? And it's like, Yeah, I got your damn email. Right. And I don't, I obviously didn't respond. So usually, I'll unsubscribe from those. I think once a week is totally acceptable. Right? I think that it's totally acceptable. If you offer a ton of value in the first one, to just have the second message be something like, I'm sure you're busy. Just wanted to see if you got my first email. Right? still happy to Xyz, whatever you had to say there. I think that's fine, right? Especially if you put a lot of time and investment into that first piece of outreach. I think after that, right now, we start to get into like, Damn, Okay, what else can I offer this person? Right? So I think you're going to need a bigger bag of tricks, and just one single angle to get to anybody. And again, back to podcasting, one of the great things about it doesn't have to be podcasting. It could be, you write a blog, it could be you do a YouTube interview series, it could be lots of things. But if you have something to showcase other people's expertise, and make them look awesome in public, that is such an easy way to get someone's attention, which always begs the question of like the snake eating itself, right? Are you an editor? Are you a podcast creator now? And that's a question that you're going to have to answer. But that is a huge, huge shortcut to this whole process. So just to recap, generally, I think once a week is totally fine. If you don't get an answer in a month, don't continue to email weekly, I'd say email quarterly. And I personally think it's totally fine. And I'm fine with this for people in my inbox. If they continue to email me, but I haven't said Get lost, or I don't care about this, or I don't want this. I'm like, wow, this person really wants my attention. That's going to work for me. Right? I find Same thing with podcasting, I get all these pieces of outreach. All the follow ups are like, totally, they're like not thoughtful. I know that they're canned. But they are giving up after like two or three pieces of outreach. And I'm like, Well, if they contacted me for a month or three months, I probably would get back to them

Zack Arnold 1:03:20

couldn't have said it better myself. And clearly you and I are cheating from all the same books and resources. Because if we had another hour, I could debate some of the nuances of your approach versus my outreach and follow up approach. But the core foundation of it is essentially the same, most likely this person is a good fit, and they do want to help you and you could provide them value. They're just busy. And you need to be persistent. But you also need to be polite, and be patient because sometimes it takes months or even years to make those relationships happen. But and this is something we didn't really talk about, but that I want to close with is that everything we've talked about is about building relationships, not completing transactions. It's all about building relationships. And to do that you have to provide value and lead by giving first and not take

Liston Witherill 1:04:04

couldn't have said it better. I think that's a great place to end.

Zack Arnold 1:04:06

So on that note, I know that we live in very, very different worlds where you're more b2b Consulting and whatnot. But I want to encourage everybody that's listening to think outside the creative box, and realize there's some tremendous resources in other industries to help you with this specific process. And I think the you, my friend, are an amazing resource. So where can people find you if they want to connect with you.

Liston Witherill 1:04:27

So just go to my website, surf, don't sell calm is a great place to find me. I have a short email course that's free on how to sell your services more effectively, which would apply to everybody listening to this. There's tons of other free stuff on there, I blog regularly. And also, if since you already like podcasts, you can check out my podcast, which is called modern sales. It's a big orange cover. You can find it anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Zack Arnold 1:04:54

Well, this has been a pleasure. And I very much appreciate you sharing your time and your expertise today. So thank you so much. Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topo mat. Here is a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Ergodriven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, New Standard Whole Protein.

Kit Perkins 1:05:24

I'm into health and fitness generally, but I want it to be simple and straightforward. About a year, year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man, the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought, if I could just get this down to coming out of one jar, and its ingredients that I know I can trust and just put it in water.

Zack Arnold 1:05:43

And you don't have to think about it. When people think of protein powders. They think, well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. to me. This is about repair. So big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding, and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by every day getting out of bed, it's like you know, two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job one a here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple. It needs to taste good, what my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a Topo Mat. Number two, they've got a glass of New Standard Whole Protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world

Unknown Speaker 1:06:42

and even better for your listeners with code optimize on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off so if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimized it's a fantastic deal.

Zack Arnold 1:06:56

If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend New Standard Whole Protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. to place your first order visit optimize yourself that means slash new standard and use the code optimize for 50% off your first order. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Optimize Yourself podcast to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one, please visit optimizer shelf.me slash podcast. And don't forget that if you are inspired to take your networking game to a whole new level, but your outreach email game is just a bit weak. You get 100% free access to my new improved and upgraded Insiders Guide to writing amazing outreach emails, which is available for free to download and optimize yourself.me slash email guide. And lastly, a special thanks to our sponsors ever cast and airgo driven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame and get your real time demo of ever cast in action. Visit optimize yourself.me slash ever cast and to learn more about air go driven and their brand new product that I am super excited about new standard whoa protein visit optimize yourself.me slash new standard. If today's interview inspires you to take the next step towards a more fulfilling career path that not only aligns you with projects that you are passionate about, but also includes some semblance of work life balance. And especially if you would like support mentorship and a community to help you turn your goals into a reality. Then you and I need to talk because in January I'm opening winter enrollment for my optimizer coaching and mentorship program. And it sounds like you could be the perfect fit. Over the last three years I've now worked with well over 100 students, and I've seen stunning transformations. But the biggest obstacle for most has been that the program in the past was too expensive, or it just required too much time. those problems are no longer an issue as I've made the program a lot more affordable and a lot less time intensive for those with busy lives, but who need an extra push to make whatever the next major transition is in your life. To learn more and apply visit optimize yourself. That means slash optimizer. Just so you know I review applications in the order that they're received and I fill slots accordingly. So the earlier that you apply, the better your chances are of getting in the program. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

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This episode was brought to you by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat (my #1 recommendation for anyone who stands at their workstation) and now their latest product. New Standard Whole Protein is a blend of both whey and collagen, sourced from the highest quality ingredients without any of the unnecessary filler or garbage. Not only will you get more energy and focus from this protein powder, you will notice improvements in your skin, hair, nails, joints and muscles. And because they don’t spend a lot on excessive marketing and advertising expenses, the savings gets passed on to you.

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Guest Bio:


Liston Witherill

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Liston Witherill is the founder and creator of Serve Don’t Sell, and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people become world-class, ethical communicators.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

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Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”