John Corcoran | How to Get Clients and Referrals Using Podcasts: Interview of John Corcoran on The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Podcast

John Corcoran 3:52

Yeah. I mean, it was kind of the same experience. For me. I just started interviewing other attorneys in my local community, I started interviewing senior attorneys that were much senior to me, I found that they started referring business to me that was too small for them. That was plenty big for me. Yeah. So it’s oftentimes even interviewing your competitors who are more advanced than you is a good strategy. And then I kind of increased from there. I started interviewing business owners, I started interviewing influencers, authors, speakers, you know, working my way up the ladder, as you get more and more experience under your belt, you can do more of them. But yeah, you’re right. I mean, it is a way of deliberately growing your network because you know, whether we do anything deliberately or not, over the next year, our network will change and evolve. You’ll drop some people, your ad, some people you need some people, and you can either be deliberate about that or you can be reactive, and you can let it happen to you. What I mean by that is, your network can be people that no through no deliberate intent of your own becomes your network like it could be your neighbors, it could be people that you work with in the same office building, but not intentional but I’m a big believer in being intentional, like deciding, I mean, I have stacks and stacks of books of authors next to me here that I decided proactively, I want to get to know this person. And in many cases, they become referral partners that they become clients. And so I think it’s a lot better to be intentional and decide how you want to grow your network, in what direction you want to grow your network, what types of people you want to build a relationship with, and then use a tool like a podcast in order to deliberately reach out and build relationships with those people.

Jen Amos 5:31

Yeah, I appreciate you saying that. Because I have recently had a discussion with a friend that was really impactful for me, it got me to, I won’t get into the details, but it got me to really reflect you ever heard that saying, like you are the five people you associate yourself with. So I really took the last couple of days to go through all the people I have, I kind of just have that I talked to in my leisure time. And I realized, like, Oh my gosh, like this is not serving me the way that it used to. I mean, I love them, you know, I love my loved ones, I love my friends. But just like what you said, I started to realize, and I was telling, even telling my husband, this, I was like, I need to be more intentional about networking with other business minded folks, but like like minded people who understand the hustle and appreciate the hustle, and want to give back and that kind of way through their entrepreneurial endeavors, rather than, you know, my friends who are, you know, good for them working a nine to five, but you know, there’s very clear differences in that. And I could either just, you know, be reactive to having those kinds of relationships in my life where I could be super intentional, and surround myself with people such as yourself, John, you know, who understand the business side, or who is very business oriented. And so I’m just you talking about intentional, intentional networking, and building relationships got me to think about where I’m at with my friends lately. 

John Corcoran 6:52

Yeah, and, you know, the thing is, is that we all have dreams, and our network can support us in that. Or they can, you know, suddenly you’re not, so suddenly cut us down, and then keep us back, you know, and so maybe, maybe your dream is to go to med school, maybe your dream is to start a business may your dream is to, you know, run for Congress, or to be CEO of a major company, whatever your dream is, you know, if your circle of friends are working as a teller at a bank, and in a gas station or whatever, you know, those are fine jobs, but they may not be the same. It’s not the same type of dialogue, when you’re having a conversation with someone that’s been there done that who’s done what you want to do, who knows it’s achievable. You know, if they know, these big dreams are absolutely possible for you, that makes a huge difference. So I can just say, you know, over the hundreds 1000s of interviews that I’ve done, some of those pivotal conversations I’ve had for my career and for my business, over the last 10 years have come because of a podcast, either in the middle of doing a podcast, or after the podcast, or as a follow up conversation sometime later, because you build a relationship with these people. And so it just creates, it’s an amazing tool for personal and professional development, while you’re also creating content and uploading your network.

Jen Amos 8:12

Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of which, John, let’s go ahead and shift gears a little bit and talk about Rise25. I know we talked about this a little bit, you primarily focus on b2b businesses. Tell us give us an example of what it’s like to work with a b2b business or what it is? Let me rephrase that to tell us what it’s like for a b2b business to work with you.

John Corcoran 8:34

 Sure. So this came very organically, we didn’t intend when we started doing podcasts to create a business out of it. But my business partner, he started around the same time as I. So we, between the two of us, have about 20 years of experience. And you know, for the first six or seven years, we told everyone, like you should start epoxy. But you know what the funny thing was, is everyone we talked to people months later, and they’d be like, Oh, yeah, I haven’t done it yet. Oh, you haven’t done it yet. And they’d make every excuse in the book, we just got sick of hearing it, because we knew how much of a game changer it was. Yeah. So finally, we built and trained a team that was supporting us. And so we just started using that team for others. And so we started saying to the clients, okay, no more excuses, our team will handle all of the production details. So you can just focus on the highest and best use of your time, which is having amazing conversations with your current referral partners with prospective referral referral partners, with strategic partners with influencers in your industry, with your clients, you know, and it just kind of grew from there. You know, and so, you know, now we work with clients that have a b2b offering of some sort, usually, they’re, they’re doing some kind of consulting, or they have an agency or law firm or something along those lines. And if you have a high level offer like that, and you, you know, spend the time on the discipline, because you’re spending the time already to do business development, right. It’s harder now in the pandemic. that we’re in right now. But if you spend the time to use the podcast to have, you know, 50, if you’re doing weekly podcast 50, high quality conversations over the course of a year with the right people, and that’s a big if because a lot of times people don’t do a good job of that they start just reacting and taking like incoming solicitations, which are not a great fit. But if you spend the time having great conversations with the right people, you do it the right way, then you know that it’s just going to produce tremendous ROI for you, it’s going to be a tremendous use of your time. You know, we don’t do hobby podcasts, we don’t do passion projects, things like that. Those are fine. But, you know, over the years that I’ve been doing a podcast, I found that a lot of people quit, like there’s a really high quit rate, or pod fading as the pilots are gonna say, I heard I’ve heard the phrase before pod fading. Exactly. So there are a lot of that or people put it on hiatus. You hear this all the time? You know, they haven’t published a new episode in three years. They’re like, it’s on hiatus like, no, it’s not, you quit. So, you know, a lot of times, the reason that people do that is because they didn’t get some kind of return or results or ROI from their return on investment. And so that’s what we really push people to do is get that return result, I’m not talking about running a GoDaddy ad and getting five bucks from it, I’m talking about getting a referral or a client or something like nine. If you get that and you have a high client lifetime value, then you get tremendous ROI, and you’ll be motivated to keep doing it.

Jen Amos 11:24

Yeah, no, I think that’s absolutely incredible and great to hear, you know, even for myself, part of my excuse of why I didn’t start podcasting years ago, was just being overwhelmed. I overwhelmed myself in regards to like, how do I even start a podcast? You know, what’s the best web hosting service? Like? What’s my messaging gonna be like? Who am I gonna talk to, like, just all of that, and then when you actually implement it, especially if you’re a do it yourself, podcaster it’s a lot of work. You know, you’re, you’re doing the interviews, you’re editing it, and then you’re marketing it. And you know, and then you’re doing and then again, you’re trying to get new new prospects to get on the show. So I could just imagine how I mean, I know how exhausting it is to have that or to do that. And so it’s great that you’ve already created this model, where it’s like, Hey, we can set that all up. So you can just show up and have good conversations with good people.

John Corcoran 12:11

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there is a lot of paralysis analysis. There are so many different pieces that go into it. I mean, we have a team now of 22, that handles all these different details. It’s by necessity, I mean, I would love and I’ve done this before, I’ve created online digital courses that are really scalable, you sell them like it hardly costs you anything, that’s great. Like, there’s a lot of people that do that, that doesn’t work in the podcasting realm. There are people that sell digital courses, and you know, it’s not going to be very high success rate, you know, because, frankly, if you have a good client lifetime value, then you shouldn’t be spending time on all the myriad other details, you should be maximizing your time, by focusing it on the relationship with the person that you’re interviewing, and then getting great introductions to other people, and then spending time with them. Yeah, and that was a pivotal change. For me. About five years ago, I was about half, you know, five years into doing a podcast. And my business partner helps me with that, you know, I for one year only put out seven episodes, even though it was intended to be a weekly podcast, because I was too stuck in the weeds on it. And once I removed myself from that, and I let the team take over, and I focused my energy and attention just on the pieces that were most important, which was like we’re doing right now having great conversation with a great person, getting an introduction to someone else, and then having great conversation with that person being really clear and disciplined and focused about who are the types of people that are the right people for me and the right referrals for my podcast. Once I started doing that, then that’s when everything took off. That’s when it was a lot more effective.

Jen Amos 13:50

That’s incredible. So for people or business owners that really want to take their podcasting seriously. I mean, other than hiring your company, of course, what are some key things they should know to really get that ROI from podcasting?

John Corcoran 14:06

Well, they should. Really the funny thing is when we joke about it is like people will spend 12 hours researching this what microphone they should buy, right you know, and and what like boom, arm then the gear and stuff like that. And, and I’m, I’m in some of the Facebook communities of you know, newbie podcasters. And that’s all they talk about, you know, and then I’ve actually seen posts from people saying like, Oh, yeah, I quit my podcast because the microphone wasn’t good enough. It’s like no, it wasn’t it wasn’t because your audio quality wasn’t good enough. That was not it. Really, it’s really the strategies not having the right strategy in place. So I really push people to think that through or to use, you know, a company like yours or like ours or something like that, to have someone who guides them through thinking through how many uses are the right referral partners for me, who are the right strategic partners. For me Who are the right clients, for me, over the right people that I have on this podcast, because, you know, you know, that’s going to really be the thing that makes that move the needle. And you know what I’m talking about using it for business development purposes. I’m not talking about going out there and trying to be the next Joe Rogan or Mark Marin or someone like that, you know, it’s harder and harder to compete with folks like that, who have a 10 year headstart on you, right, you know, and also, major media companies are getting into the game. And the only way that they monetize their podcasts is through downloads and subscribers and advertisers. So if you want to try and compete on that level, it’s gonna be really hard, because they’re throwing a lot of money at being at the top of the charts, right. But you don’t need to be at the top of the charts in order to use it as a tool for business development. If you position it right. And you don’t need to compete with those major media companies like NPR, CBS, ESPN, that are throwing a ton of money at this game right now. So that’s where I My head is at. And I think that’s, it’s gonna be a lot more savvy strategy as you go forward.

Jen Amos 16:00

Yeah, I appreciate you saying that. Because I think maybe the biggest insecurity a lot of new podcasters have is like, oh, how many downloads do I have? Or they have, you know, how many downloads I have per episode. And even, even if people ask you, you know, how many downloads do you have for your show? I’m curious for the business owner that does have a podcast, how do you think they should answer that question? Because we know that that’s not the most important thing. But that’s often what maybe, you know, the guests of the show will ask, oh, how many downloads? Or subscribers? Like, how do you respond?

John Corcoran 16:31

My answer? That is, if someone’s asking you that question, you have not done a good enough job of pre-empting that question to begin with. And the way that you preempt that question is by positioning the show in a different way. So let’s say that you’re targeting financial professionals, like, you know, like CPAs, or something like that. That’s who you want to have on your podcast, what you can do is you can work your way up the ladder, and start interviewing people that maybe someone who works at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, or someone who’s a, you know, financial professional at Google, and someone else who is a financial professional at Salesforce, another one who was at Disney. And then when you interview that fifth person, you say, Hey, I’m doing a series featuring top financial professionals. So far, I’ve interviewed this person who works at Disney, this person that at Google, this person at Facebook, and this person at Salesforce, would you like to be included? And it’s a completely different dialogue? It’s a completely different matter that because then they’re thinking like, wow, I want to be considered a top financial professional. He’s asked me if I would be part of that. Wow, that’s an honor. I’d love to be part of that. And this person at Google said, Yes. And this person that Facebook said, Yes. How could I possibly say no? Right? It works the same way with different niches and different fields, you work your way up. And you know, people want their esteem that notoriety? And you’d be surprised how many people will say, yes, without asking that question about downloads, most the people that asked about downloads are the ones who are just trying to compete for the downloads, the ones who are competing at the top of the charts. But there are millions of people that have never been a guest on the podcast before, there would be thrilled to do it. And they don’t care, you know. But another thing I would say, too, is, there are also ways that you can promote these things further. So you know, you can tell them, Look, we’re going to distribute this across multiple different channels, we’re going to put it on iTunes, we’re going to put it on Google podcasts, we’re going to maybe put it up on YouTube, maybe take a snippet, and we put it up on our LinkedIn following. Maybe we email about your email list. So you address that, you know, you’re promoting it multiple different ways. And it’s not just about downloads. The other point I’ll make about downloads is that downloads are a big black box. And we don’t know how many downloads anyone gets, because about 50 to 70% of downloads come through Apple, and an apple doesn’t disclose those numbers. They don’t describe disclose subscribers, or download numbers. And download numbers are also really inaccurate. So for example, if you have a MacBook computer and you have an iPhone, and you have an Apple Watch, one subscript one subscription, could get downloaded three different times and count as three different downloads. Wow. And because it’s a big black box, the funny thing is, if you go on LinkedIn right now, and you search for top 100 podcasts, I swear, you get like 10,000 results, because people claim they have a top 100 podcast, so yeah, without there’s no like third party validation out there. So the thing is, it’s like people don’t really they don’t really know. And also if you don’t even play that game, but you position yourself the right way, then you won’t even preempt that question even being asked.

Jen Amos 19:43

Yeah. I really appreciate you covering that, John, because Yeah, I think that’s the number one hang up, or maybe insecurity that a lot of podcasters may have. And so I think that helps debunk, you know, even worth asking that question. That’s like setting it up ahead of time. So that question does need to be asked.

John Corcoran 20:02

Yeah, exactly.

Jen Amos 20:03

Yeah. So, John, before we, before I switch gears here, I just want to know, is there anything else you want our listeners to know about Rise25?

John Corcoran 20:14

Um, I mean, not specifically that Rise25. But I would say if you’re considering starting a podcast, or you’re considering interviewing people, you know, taking the time to interview people. First of all, if you do it, right, it doesn’t take extra time, it actually saves you time, because you’re already doing business development, right of some sort. Most people are, if you’re, especially if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a business owner, that sort of thing. So this is a, if you integrate it into the business development you’re doing already, this will get you access to higher caliber people. And it’s rare that you’re doing something that is simultaneously business development, personal professional development, for referral, marketing, up leveling your network and content creation all at the same time. It’s many different things at once. And because it gives you higher access to higher caliber people, and you’re delivering value to them, it is just such a savvy and smart use of your time. So I would just say, if you’re considering doing this, it’s a really wise decision. And I would even go so far as to say that until you get started doing a podcast, you’re wasting a lot of time, frankly, you are wasting, you are spending more time than you need to. I spend less time than you do than someone who doesn’t have a podcast because I get access because I get more better referrals because it’s easier for people to refer to me. Right. And I get access to higher caliber people faster than you would. Yeah. So frankly, until you start a podcast, you’re spinning your wheels and spending a lot of time on things that you wouldn’t need to otherwise.

Jen Amos 21:41

Yeah, it’s like you’re working harder than you need to.

John Corcoran 21:45

From what you’re telling, well said,

Jen Amos 21:47

Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, John,

John Corcoran 21:51

thank you. Yeah, it was a succinct way of saying that. I said in too many words. 

Jen Amos 21:54

No, that’s okay. And I mean, you’re, that’s my job is to rephrase what you say. And make sure that even I understand that and you’re like, Oh, yeah, I should have said it that way. And I would have saved myself like three minutes of describing No, no, no problem. Well, you know, John, obviously, you have been in business for a very long time. And you’ve been in the podcasting space for a very long time compared to you know, most people, even even myself, as I call myself an amateur podcaster. But before we go, I do want to ask you one more question. What’s your secret? You know, other than everything you already shared? Is there any other secret you want to share with us to be sustainable in business?

John Corcoran 22:32

I’m having a great spouse’s wonderful, wonderful wife who helps support me, four young kids and it’s craziness in our house. And so, you know, I couldn’t do it without her for sure. So that’s a big one. I mean, having a great business partner makes a big difference to a partner and you know, partner in life and in business. So my business partner, Dr. Jeremy Weisz. I learned from him all the time, I’ve been doing it, as you said, for 10 years, but I’m still learning every single day, I’m constantly a student trying to get better, you know, and so I learned from him all the time, so that that helps tremendously. And then just, you know, being disciplined, and always trying to improve, I think is important. It’s important in anything you do, right. But you know, but especially in podcasting, it’s a long game. I know, I tell people all the time, like, we’d have people come to us and I can do a podcast? I’d like to work on it for a month, two months? I’m like, No, no, like, you should not even think about doing this, it unless you’re thinking about at least a six month or 12 month horizon. And even then, I mean, there’s a reason why I keep on doing it. Because I know if I were to quit, everything would be so much more time consuming. So yeah, I want you know, people who are going to do this, and they’re going to do it for years to come because they know that you never want to stop building relationships and never want to stop delivering value to people in your network. You never want to stop potentially growing your network and meeting new people until maybe retirement, that’s fine. But even in retirement. So anyways, that’s what I would say to people.

Jen Amos 24:02

Yeah, John, I love that so much. I think ultimately, we’re just really promoting better relationships, you know, and just really helping one another in the best way possible. So all beautifully said, John, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on our show here today at The Thoughtful Entrepreneur. Thank you so much for your time.

John Corcoran 24:22

Thanks for having me.

Jen Amos 24:24

Yeah. And again, to our listeners. This is John Corcoran, who is the Co-founder of Rise25. You can learn more about him and his company at He also has a podcast show that you can listen to called Smart Business Revolution. But that said, Thank you all so much for joining us, and we’ll chat with you in the next episode. Tune in next time.

Outro 24:44

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