Navigating the Frameworks, Models, and Trends for Scalable Impact A conversation with Peter Winick and…
A Compilation of Guests Talking on Thought Leadership Digital Products
Thought leadership digital products are one of the primary means of educating customers as our three guests explain.
Jon Tota, a pioneer in online education for corporate training, moved from a Wall Street career to founding his own company, Edulance, developing online training solutions for corporate educators. He talks to us about the trends in online learning, and what thought leaders need to understand to operate successfully in that space.
Patricia Fripp, the first female president of the National Speakers Association and a Hall of Fame speaker. She discusses ways to take content, put it online through multiple modalities, and scale it to every end of the price spectrum.
Lastly, we have Vince Poscente, Olympic skier, award winning sales and marketing executive, and member of both the USA and Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame. He talks about how speakers and speaking agents can make each other’s lives easier, how to create real relationships through digital connections, and why great production value is a must.
We hope you enjoy this compilation about thought leadership digital products!
Three Key Takeaways:
- Thinking of your thought leadership speaking content through many different modalities.
- Why understanding digital learning is a must for anyone who wants to do well in thought leadership.
- Building relationships that can increase and expand your thought leadership speaking engagements – and how to build those relationships when your only connection is online!
Peter And welcome, welcome, welcome. This is Peter Winick. I’m the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage and you’re joining us on the podcast today, which is Leveraging Thought Leadership today. My guest is my friend Jon Tota. Jon has established himself as a pioneer in online education for corporate training. He began his career on Wall Street in sales and technology positions at PaineWebber and UBS. And then in 2002, he founded a company called Edulence’s whose focus is developing online trading solutions for corporate educators. He then launched a subsidiary that firm called KnowledgeLink, which is connecting great experts to people that want to learn from those experts. Jon’s been in this space. He’s been an online learning since sort of before it was known as online learning. So, he’s got a lot to share. And he’s a fellow part time New Yorker, although I’m a full time New Yorker. Thanks for coming on board, Jon.
Jon Tota Hey, thanks for having me, Peter. I’m glad to be here.
Peter Great. OK. So, 2002, you decide to dive into this sort of corporate online education space and just to sort of set the table back in those days, you know, on the e-learning was going to take over the world. We were never going to learn in person again. And it would take you nine hours to download what was, in essence, a PowerPoint that you hit next. Right. Isn’t that sort of a.
Jon Tota That’s about that’s about accurate state of the technology in 2002.
Peter And fast forward a couple of weeks or a couple of decades. Where is it? So tell me, what what are the big trends in online learning and talk about it from sort of the buy side and the sell side. What are the clients want and what do authors and thought leaders and speakers need to understand to win?
Jon Tota Yes. So, as you know, I’ve worked on kind of both sides of the industry for almost my entire career. And we run large scale online universities powered by our technology for a lot of players in the financial services space as well as some other verticals. But a lot of banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and they’re kind of the ones looking to purchase content all the time. And then, of course, we love working with the thought leaders who are producing that great content. And I think to your point, probably to what’s changed the most since when we first got started is just the availability of bandwidth and the fact that you can have such more robust content, more interactive content that can play in virtually every situation on every type of device. And even when somebody is walking on the street or in a car, which just makes it that much more available, you know, now that you can do it with a you know, a cell connection on a phone, sure. That’s taken it to that. And I think what that’s really led us to is a lot more just-in-time training. That’s very much focused on a specific need at a specific time, more micro learning as opposed to the forty-five minutes.
Peter Yeah. Let’s touch on that because there’s a lot there’s a lot in there. Right. So, the bandwidth actually leads to mobile because in 2002 I think my cell phone weighed nine pounds. Right. So, it wasn’t really a mobile learning device. Now you know the guy next to you or the guy next to you standing at Starbucks is probably watching something that might have an educational element to it. So, it’s always on all the time. You know, mobile, this On-Demand piece, I want to touch on that, because that’s I think that’s a critical piece in Back in the Stone Ages when you and I were in school. You know, most adult education or corporate education was push. Here’s all the things Jon might need to know as an X, whatever X might be. Let’s just stick the hose in his ear and, you know, stick him in class for three weeks and he’ll learn it. Then we’ll put him out in the field. Talk about, you know, sort of the short burst and the pull like. So tomorrow I need to have a difficult conversation with an employee. Oh, I need to pull something down that tells me how to do that. Tell me about sort of the how that cadence has changed things.
Jon Tota Yeah. And so, what we’ve seen now is that, you know, again, this just in time micro learning where it’s very specific to things that you’re going through in your business or your career at a particular moment. What’s I think been a big turning point for us in from a tech perspective is that now these learning systems are integrated to personnel systems. So, when you get a new job, you get promoted to a manager. You can be auto assigned a curriculum of content that you can consume at home on your device. You’re going in to have a difficult conversation with someone who you now manage. And you’ve got it on your phone, and you can watch it. So I think that availability, the instant availability and the fact that you have these triggers now, because we’re so integrated with everything else that a company is tracking about an individual, that you can serve up content to their phone at the moment, that they need it most.
Peter And need it. Meaning because there’s an application that they know again tomorrow need to have that conversation or I’ve got to sell that new product and I’m not really that familiar with it or whatever. Whatever the it is, it’s connected to a real-life event. Not a theoretical at some point this may happen.
Jon Tota Yeah, and like you said to this, this firehose of content. Back when we first did this, you know, early 2000s. That was the goal is like, okay, let’s build a library that’s got a thousand titles in it. And when someone comes in, they’re just overwhelmed by all this content. And today that’s become the biggest issue is that I don’t know where to go. I need to be pointed to the 20 sessions that I really need at this moment in my career, not the firehose of content like everyone used to do.
Peter Right. So, it’s I mean, we’re living I think in the first time period where information is at access. Right. There’s an abundance of information now where we all sort of we’re trained in the scarcity piece. Right. Of information. So now the value comes to give me what I want at the right time, at the right moment, because I don’t have time to spend days and days and days and days wading through whatever to serve up the thing that I need. I will trust a partner that gives me what I need in the format. I need it when I need it, which is really sort of a totally different play for the learning function inside of a large corporation.
Jon Tota Yeah. And you know, what we say now is that there was a time when the value, when you’re a content providers so if you’re a thought leader, a professional speaker, author, someone who’s delivering content now in these formats. There was a time when you were you were judged by how many views, you know, how many videos do you have, how many logins are we getting, how many views? And now we’d like to shift then say, no, it’s not about, you know, that, you know, the 50 percent or 30 percent of our population actually login and look at it. But when you look at that 30 percent, did they get better in the skillsets that they were weakest at?
Peter Now it’s the ROI and measuring impact, which a whole different conversation. Right. So, I agree with you. It used to be like, wait a minute, only 22 percent of my people, you know, took that class. OK, well, that’s an argument to say that the classes are working. But now that you can say, but wait, it may only be 10 percent, but look at how much better that 10 percent that took that negotiation skills program did over some period of time post and say, wow, what’s your ROI on that? My people are closing better or faster, more profitable deals, whatever the KPI might be.
Jon Tota Yeah. And that’s where like I’m on my soapbox lately about skills-based training because I feel like we helped create that because we got into this space so early that, that it was like, how many views did you get? Did you get ten thousand views this week? Fifteen thousand. Well, it’s always going to pale in comparison to the hundred million views a YouTubers getting. Right. So, like it’s never gonna look that good anyway. And you’re always up against this wall when you’re selling content to these big buyers that they’re gonna look and see. Well only 20 percent showed up, only 30 percent showed up in you as the content provider can’t really do much about that because some people just never engage. But like you said, I love this model of saying, hey, our business case is really based on. If those 20 percent, 30 percent, the thousand people who actually did show up and do it, we did assessments at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, we know that they actually got better in the areas they needed to get better at. And that’s now I feel like that’s the way you have to go as a content provider because there’s so much noise out there. Everybody’s got an online course. You know?
Peter You’re not going to compete with a Kardashian. Right. So why bother? And it’s not the right metric.
Peter My guest today, I’m really excited about today’s Patricia Fripp. Patricia has written a ton of books. She has been a speaker and she’s a CSP C.P.A, AE Hall of Fame speaker. She was the first female president of the NSA, and that’s the National Speakers Association, which has over thirty-five hundred members. She’s been a member of the Speaker’s Roundtable. We can go on and on and spend our entire time today talking about the coaching that she does and the training that she does, and she knows that she does. But let’s just dive right in. So, let me let me go to the other side of that. The buyer, the pricing, two very different markets, right. Is that I’m hiring you to work with me directly. That’s going to be quite expensive, relatively speaking. Right. If I’m a sales leader and I say, wow, she’s a game changer, we brought her in for our keynote. She coaches me personally. My results went through the roof. But I’ve got, you know, whatever. Eight hundred people on the team. There aren’t 800 hours in the day or days in the month or whatever to have you. Even if budget wasn’t an issue for the team, how do you basically take sort of the same content at different end of the price spectrum?
Patricia Fripp Well, of course. And this is why more and more companies demand from the vendors we need at least part of the training to be online. Because our salespeople are all over the world or engineers are all over the world. We are never going to get them together. So, this is why online. Now, if it’s an individual, I’d say, look, less than one hour of my coaching, you can have access to my FrippVT for a year. So, if you just go through the core structure. How to open, how to connect to your audience and how you find content. How do you get specific? How do you open with impact? How do you tell stories? Go through that and then our more expensive time will be shortened. So that works very well. Yes, it’s a money saver. But with a large company, the more people you have, the less it costs. And what we always do with our clients. We will deliver a record it. But it’s a kickoff session. One, I take the content. So, our salespeople or our engineers or whoever have to deliver. So, I hear a sample of their presentations. I’m familiar with the conversations they have.
Peter So you’re putting up a custom front end bumper or something on it.
Patricia Fripp Exactly a custom front end. And then show them how we use the system. And because this testing, tracking and monitoring, the managers can see who’s taking it, whose passing the tests. And then I will build in as long as people are active. I’m happy every through it, you know, every three months to another session or beloved different offices. So it can be customized and very personalized. So they sample. They get me. But it’s going to be more in zoom. It’s not going to be in person because. And I mean, even have companies, you know, Fortune 100 companies, they budget won’t match it. Can you do it online?
Peter So it allows you to scale. It allows you to touch more people. It allows you to make more money. And so, this for me, because I have a feeling you’re going to answer it the way I would. One of the things I hear from folks is, oh, but if you know, if you can buy me for, you know, whatever, couple hundred dollars a year on a subscription basis, why would you pay me tens of thousands? It has to cannibalize the business. Tell me give me your take on that from the field.
Patricia Fripp My approach is it adds to it does not subtract. You know, one of my biggest clients, I mean, big clients. I trained over a hundred engineers twice a year in zoom. Go on location. I’m only just infiltrating with my FrippVT. Yet I have other companies, I am getting ready for one right now. It’s two days of in-person training. It’s a kickoff webinar next day to prepare them. It’s two days of training and then a year of repetition and reinforcement for the team. That’s ideal.
Peter So it’s a bundled solution where there’s a place for you personally and a place for both. And it’s that right mix of learning. So, for you, it’s actually obviously been a win, as it should be for most if done well. And I think what I was going to what I was going to ask, oftentimes it also gives you another door, meaning another way to come in. Right. So, if somebody is on video, it’s a low risk way for a client to sort of experiment with you. Maybe one person, maybe 20 people, maybe 30, whatever. They see it, they like it and it generates demand up the food chain. And then I’m sure you have clients that started with a couple of people on video and now keynoting and doing an integrated learning journeys in my last eight years. Is that fair?
Patricia Fripp Accurate.
Patricia Fripp So first, let’s wait. And of course, for me, I have a lot of fans, whether they’re speakers Toastmasters or that they’re familiar with me, that they could never and realistically, they wouldn’t. I’m not going to take someone’s money if they can’t get it back. In other words, all I want to be a famous speaker. Well, chances are you’re not going to be in till we get you closer. You don’t want to pay someone like me $10000 to build a speech that you don’t know how to market.
Peter Right. So it’s a risk management piece. So, they can build up to that. If if they if they actually take the learning that’s in the video, apply it, do some things. Now they’ve managed the risk and know it’s worth the investment in whatever it is, 10000 hours to write a speech because there’s a market for it. So that’s great. But let me. It was going to run out of time here. I could talk to you for hours, because this is great stuff. What would you advise someone that’s been in the in the NSA somewhere between, let’s say, forty-two years and two years? That has not crossed too crossed over me. And when I mean, crossed over, moved from having their entire business be based on them getting paid to do stuff, to transforming that business into one where that is, but one leg in the stool to have a more robust, you know, blended digital non digital enterprise. What should they look out for? What should they consider? What traps to avoid? What would you how would you counsel them? And by the way, we’re getting thousands of dollars’ worth of amazing insight from you, which I appreciate on behalf of everyone.
Patricia Fripp OK, well, let’s start at the beginning, at the beginning. You will be overwhelmed, and I’m sure this is true in any industry, you are overwhelmed with what there is to do and so many people telling you, you must do this, you can do it all. So, hand pick what it is you’re going to focus on. So, for example, rather than having Facebook lives every week, I would much rather build a Web site or develop a blog that will have greater impact than just the people, you know. So, you have to have an online press. Yes, I wouldn’t. At the beginning of your career, focus on, you know, what is your niche? What is your target audience? I said anyone who will pay you is your market. At the beginning, however, develop a certain expertise. And the moment you realize I have expertise and whether I deliver this to one person as a coach or a consultant, when I deliver it to 50 people as an old day or two day training program, whether I deliver it online or whether I deliver at as a keynote. This is my expertise because they’re all celebrity keynotes that do nothing else. However, I can most real working speakers, especially for 40 years. You have to be able to deliver your content in how ever the clients want to follow. You have a balanced business at the beginning. Develop your expertise and you will find the market what you’ll know where you belong. So you just have to trust the process. And then when you find yourself in an industry, what you need to do is maximize it.
Peter Today my guest is Vince Poscente. I got to tell you, I was reading Vince his bio, which is like 72 pages. And wow! This might be intimidating. So, I’ll just give you some highlights. So, you went from being a recreational skier to an Olympic athlete in just four short years. He’s an award-winning sales and marketing exec. He has a masters in organizational management, one of only four people on the planet to be inducted into the USA and the Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame. You know, obvious stuff like, you know, bestselling, The New York Times, bestselling author of seven books and he’s been on Himalayan expeditions. I think most of us know Vince mostly as an amazing keynoter and someone that has been and stays very active in this space for a long time. So welcome aboard, Vince. Thanks. Thanks for coming on board.
Vince Poscente Peter, I’m a huge fan of anything you do. So, when you called, I said yes. And I don’t know what I was saying yes to that.
Peter We’re good. We might change a show talk for a moment, if you would. One of the things I found shocking is this what I call it, the petunia factor of speakers. Right. Where they don’t realize that they’re in a business and customer service matters. So, for example, when an agent calls you and it takes you three days to respond. Guess what? We just lost the gig. I mean, we’re literally now a race for speed almost in minutes. Right. And if you’re not responsive, you know, guess what? You know, they’ve got a list of 10 other folks to do what you do or they can sell to their client. Then their demands. I only fly first class. And, you know, all that talk about sort of how do you the relationship that you’ve forged with agents that you’ve worked with for a long time. How do you make each other’s lives easier?
Vince Poscente Well, I leverage first I leverage technology. So I make sure that I get a if it’s somebody important, that I’ve got… I’m with HubSpot and I make sure that when I get a call, it immediately texts me that this person has called make sure you call him back because of if it’s a lead, a follow up, whether it’s an agent or a lead from through HubSpot, I instantly call him back. And, you know, I wrote a book that the New York Times bestseller and ended up being, which is called The Age of Speed. So here, here’s a tip. If you write a book about speed, you throw yourself first blow.
Peter So maybe you need to write a book about, you know, the power of the pause and the sales process, not just.
Vince Poscente It’s just getting after it and making them the priority right then. You know, I don’t know how you’re dealing with this right now, but there is there are so many of these spam calls and I don’t know every agent’s number. And so, you’re coming in and. Ending up being in maybe voice mail or maybe they don’t like to leave voice mail. I don’t know. But I know I’m losing time because these filters are pushing them into my voice box. And so, I haven’t figured that one out yet, but it’s all about meshing technology and then just making them a priority. AD And you know what they say consistently, they’re shocked that I reached back to them so quickly.
Peter Right. Right. But it says something, right. So, if they if they’ve reached out because listen, if an agent reached out to you. Let’s be honest. More likely than not, we’ve reached out to three others. So, it’s just one point in the process to show that you’re serious. What else can you do as a speaker to be sort of agent friendly?
Vince Poscente Yeah. So, I just did a yesterday’s as a matter of fact, I was in Nashville. I gave a speech to a very large American association or is a thousand people in the room. That’s the priority. But we went early, and I left late. I rented a car and I popped down to that speaker bureau and not all the agents were there. But you know what happened? The ones that couldn’t be there ended up coming on board through. Zoom, zoom. Yeah. So, I had one person and a digital meeting with all of them. And I’m launching this new speech to the safety world. It’s called radical safety. And I’m not going all the bureaus and telling them what it is. I’m not going to everybody. I’m going to cure eight. The people that need to see this and want to see those who have clients that book these kind of safety conferences. So, you know, that that tip is good old-fashioned relationships. It’s not about, as you know, or any of that. It’s and I’m not trying to be old fashioned here. I’m just realizing that you don’t get booked if there’s not a relationship.
Peter And you know, and you don’t get booked if you’re a jerk, if you’re difficult to deal with, if you make ridiculous demands, you know that, you know, if you treat agents as if there’s some subservient, you know, lower class citizen or something. That word gets around. And there were fewer and fewer speakers that actually have a really good reputation. Just as human beings, you know, the agents. And I think that comes back. I want to flip to the other side. Now, given that the market shifted because agents are still important, bureaus are still important. But if 70 percent of the business is coming direct, give us the you know, if someone is new to the game, let’s say they’re less than three years into the space on the speaking time. Give us a handful of tips of things that they need to be doing to generate increase and leads and drive the business directly, because you can’t just, you know, the old days you go get listed at 10 bureaus and sit back and, you know, take up golf and wait for the phone to ring. Those days are over. What do you do to shake the trees yourself?
Vince Poscente So, number one, you have to have what I call a DVP or a distinct value proposition. And DVP is I mean, it has to be distinct. So today we’re at. Right. Not general, not the general value proposition, but distinct. And so, you know, an example is I go and keep coming back to Keith here but and he’s since passed away. But I was reading all these Harvard Business Review article given all this branding stuff. And I was getting my masters, as you mentioned that. And he has the distinct value proposition, had cheese all over it. It was called attitude is everything. Right down my and how it feels, you know, how busy that guy was. And the reason he was busy is he was very distinct in what he was offering. It was our attitude is everything. And when clients that we need that, then you’ve got that good start. Scott Gross in what other 5000 customer service speakers. Ten thousand. He was positively outrageous service. So, he had something very distinct. The second piece is a lead with a video trailer and there’s all sorts of opinions across the board. I’m a more of a fan of about six, seven minutes because I feel that if they’re going to make that big ass decision of that fee of paying that much money, they want to see some evidence that you’re worth it. So, but then and then the third piece is, is getting on YouTube and Vimeo and then launching a bunch of 70 second not more than two-minute videos of your content, your expertise.
Peter All right. So, look, let’s talk about the video piece, because a lot of folks differ. You know, it’s hard for them to differentiate. They’re real. And we can debate whether it should be two minutes or seven minutes or whatever. But the real is basically the sample of this is who I am and what I do. Big audience. Small audience. Audience reaction, you know, blah, blah, blah. Like, you know, it’s sort of almost a template. Right. But I love this concept of the short-form little snack rate that you’re actively going out there on to YouTube. Are those stage clips or you lose you at your desk or are they formal or are they professional? Give us a sense of sort of the production values and is it more content? Tell me a little bit about that.
Vince Poscente Right. Let’s start here. It has to have the viewer ago. Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way. So that content, not production value. Right before production value. Oh, I haven’t thought of it that way. Just a few days ago, I spoke with George Campbell. He two years ago came out with Joe Malarky, the world’s worst motivational speaker.
Vince Poscente I had shared office space with the speaker bureau and they would watch that video for lunch because it was so freaking entertaining. And the video production quality was horrible. But it was flat-Out funny. It was. I’d never seen anything like that. Gee, I hadn’t thought of it that way. So when you lead with that, then the production value, if you got stuff on stage, take a clip that’s less than two minutes and put it on the Internet. If you’ve got a clip that you’re walking down the street that, you know, you say, you know, is thinking something. And then you lay it out there in a way that’s either innovative or counter-intuitive. You’re gonna have the viewers go at this guy, this guy’s on his game or this person’s on his or her game.
Peter So it’s a combination then, right? Yeah. Thoughtful, insightful and decent production quality. Any other recommendations for folks earlier on? Trying to trying to you know, because there’s still many there’s no barrier to entry. Right. Anybody could say, hey, you know, Peter Speaker dot com and go check me out or whatever.
There can be a big difference between academics and consultants. Do you know the difference between Thought Leaders and Philosophers?