Building a Nation of True Fans, with Stephen Woessner.

Episode 332

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Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.


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Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner. And I am really really excited for today’s solocast because — it is going to be rock solid awesome!

One of the reasons that I am so excited is because I am returning to full teaching mode this morning with a powerful lesson about building your platform — more importantly — some practical and tactical steps about building a nation of what Kevin Kelly describes as “True Fans” who will help you mobilize and move your business onward to that next level.

True fans of you — true fans of your message — true fans of your business.

Fans who will support you — because — of the sacred bond you have built with them.

A bond that was built upon — and continues to be built upon — the foundation of the value you created, you delivered, and the value you shared with them on a consistent basis.

Whether you do that every day — every week — no matter what the schedule — no matter what the rhythm — the fact that you are consistent is what is important.

This is going to be such an awesome solocast — and I am delighted you are here with me — your time and attention mean so very much to me.

But before we dive deep into today’s lesson…I have a very important favor to ask. In fact, this is the first time I have ever asked this favor within one of my solocasts.

So, if you could do this — please know — it would mean a lot to me.

I’d be grateful — and would really appreciate it — if you would go to iTunes and give Onward Nation a rating and then write a review for our podcast. I respect your time so I wanted to make this as efficient as possible to find us in iTunes…so my team created a special link to save you time.

So if you go to you will go directly to our channel within iTunes.

Okay, why am I asking for this favor?

Last week, I was excited to share with you how Onward Nation is now listened to in 102 countries — and — that we had surpassed the milestone of 50,000 downloads. WOW — still a bit unbelievable — not going to lie — need to pinch myself to realize that yes, this is indeed our reality.

And I credited our growth to our incredible guests and all of the wonderful feedback we have received from you, Onward Nation — all of your comments on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, — and — all of your emails. Thank you!

But in celebrating these amazing milestones — I made a mistake!

I forgot to mention a critical type of feedback that helps us reach more and more people with each one we receive…and that’s…all of the ratings and reviews we receive inside iTunes.

With each rating and review we receive, Onward Nation…you help us increase our rankings within iTunes — and — higher rankings means more people will see us in their search results — and potentially they will be seeing us for the very first time.

Each and every review helps more and more people in more countries to hear the wisdom and expertise shared by our guests each day.

So, if you haven’t already given us a star rating and written a review — it would really mean a lot to me if you did.

It’s simple to do. It doesn’t take much time.

Again, just go to — or — if you are listening on your phone — you can give us a rating and write a review from within your podcast app on your phone.

We’ve occasionally received feedback that leaving ratings can be a confusing process, so here are the steps in detail:

First, after going to the link, please click the blue button that “View in iTunes.”


Next, click on the link titled “Ratings and Reviews.”


Next, click on “Write a Review.”


If you are not signed into iTunes, you will be asked to sign in. If you are already signed into iTunes, it is likely that you will skip this step.


Finally, you will be able to leave a review. Don’t forget the star rating!


So thank you, Onward Nation — and please know — I greatly appreciate all of your help, support, encouragement, and feedback — you make me and my team better every day — and — it is an honor to be here with you again this morning.

With that said…let’s get dialed in and ready for this week’s lesson.

You ready? Because I’m so totally ready — I’m going to bring the thunder this morning, Onward Nation…YES!

I spent quite a bit of time working through and preparing what I wanted to share with you today. Such an important lesson. How one of the vital priorities in your business should be to build a nation of true fans — to develop a sense of community, collaboration, and profitability around the purpose of your business.

Let’s begin by breaking the phrase “Build a nation of true fans” into its three core components.

First — let’s tackle the word, “Build.” How would you “build” a nation of true fans. Whether that’s a…

  • Podcast
  • Blog
  • YouTube channel
  • Instagram stories

The platform from a tech perspective is irrelevant — any or all of the above — will serve your purpose of “building” a nation of true fans. The tech behind it all is relatively easy. Is there a learning curve? Sure.

Will you feel at times like you are trying to fly the space shuttle with so many knobs and buttons to push? Sure. How does Facebook Live work? What time of day should I create a story on Instagram? What kind of camera and mic are best if I want to be a serious YouTuber?

All of these are tech questions — and within an afternoon with your best friend Google — you can solve those problems and find the answers as long as you don’t let the fear of the unknown become paralyzing to you.

So let’s shift our focus away from the tech — and instead — focus on the value you will be providing through those channels. What’s your story — how will you serve your audience — how will you make what you are doing so valuable to their business or life, that they actually consider you to be indispensable. That you become so consistent in the help, advice, recommendations, and over value that you are providing on a consistent basis — that you BUILD deposits in their emotional bank account. They begin to trust you — they begin to like you — and then because of them liking you and trusting you…they move even closer to you by truly KNOWING you.

So, your first step in building your nation of true fans has nothing to do with the actual content delivery platform and has everything to do with the value of what you will be delivering — because your nation of true fans is built on VALUE. And if you get that right — the actual platform — or your conduit through which you share your value — will fall into place — and it will feel less stressful because the value you were called — put on this Earth to deliver — will then be in the driver’s seat. You, Onward Nation — will become unstoppable.

Now let’s shift our attention toward the word “Nation” and break that down. And I want to address to make sure we address this because we live in a world where bigger lists, bigger subscribers, massive downloads, huge customer lists, etc. etc. etc. is what attracts headlines and massive attention.

I’m here to share with you the reality…you don’t need an email list of 100,000 people…you don’t need to have a podcast that gets a million downloads a month…you don’t need to have a customer list with 20,000 prospects on it.

Nope. You don’t.

That’s not your Nation.

What you need — realistically — depending on the size of your business is somewhere between 100 to 1,000 high-qualified prospects.


That’s it…100 to 1,000 of the very best prospects who precisely match your client avatar — in fact — your knowledge with some of these people is so deep that you can boldly claim them as your Dream 50 prospects.

If you need a refresher on why your Dream 50 matters — please go back to Episode 308 of Onward Nation — and I map it all out — how to figure out who your Dream 50 is — and — how to romance your Dream 50 so they understand how important they are to you. Again, that was in Episode 308.

To take this point deeper — I want to share a very tangible example of a company that grew from zero to become a multi-billion a year company — yes — billion — with a capital B.

My mentor, Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine…decided to interview my friend Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel and to share the interview on the March 2014 edition of the SUCCESS CD that rides along with the magazine.


You may remember Cody Foster, and the wisdom he shared, as my guest on Episode 81 of Onward Nation.

During the interview with Darren, Cody shared several personal stories of very humble beginnings — and how those stories — helped shaped the kind of company Advisors Excel has become.

A company packed full — wall to wall — of incredible people — a team whose sole focus is to deliver more and more value every day to the financial advisors around the country they are there to serve. And Advisors Excel team does it masterfully well. They have BUILT their platform — a platform that is indeed built on a solid foundation of value.

But…did they build this platform by trying to serve the 60,000 financial advisors located in the state of Florida alone? No. How about all of the financial advisors up and down the west coast?


Did they focus on spending large amounts of advertising dollars trying to reach everyone they could with their message of value, value, value?

Nope. Strike three.

Instead…what they did focus on was carefully, meticulously selecting, 1,000 of the very best financial advisors who they wanted to earn the opportunity to serve. Yes, Onward Nation, Cody shared with Darren that they built a list of 1,000 financial advisors — just 1,000 — and then they went to work to deliver more value than another other insurance marketing organization in the industry to the 1,000 advisors they wanted to work with.

The 1,000 advisors became their Nation…and advisors outside of the Nation didn’t exist. Advisors Excel was solely focused on being the best they could be for this small group of prospects.

The result outcome? Well, in year six of the business…they reached over $4 billion in revenue. $4 billion, Onward Nation.

When they are the right prospects — you don’t need 10,000…you actually only need a small number to make your business amazingly successful and profitable. 1,000 people — who you can love on — who you can support — who you can add value to — who then in turn are excited to do for you some of what you already shared with them.

So now, let’s take this number — 1,000 — deeper — because it is a magical number that we all ought to really focus on in our businesses.

Kevin Kelly was the first person — at least I think he was the first person — who popularized the theory — the notion — the strategy that if a business created a base of customers who were more like fans — 1,000 True Fans in fact — then that business could become sustainable and profitable by simply focusing on the needs of its true fans.

And here is a link to Kevin Kelly’s blog post as well as the long tail curve he created to illustrate the 1,000 true fans strategy.


Kelly describes — or defines — “True Fans” as customers who will help you mobilize and move your business onward to that next level. They are true fans of you — true fans of your message — true fans of your business.

Fans who will support you — because — of the sacred bond you have built with them.

A bond that was built upon — and continues to be built upon — the foundation of the value you create, you deliver, and the value you share with them on a consistent basis.

As I mentioned at the onset of this solocast.

Whether you do that every day — every week — no matter what the schedule — no matter what the rhythm — the fact that you are consistent is what is important.

According to Kevin, “A True Fan” is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to visit your location.

They will buy the super deluxe version of your product even though they already own the standard version, too.

They have a Google Alert set for your name.

They have bookmarked your website.

They come to your product announcements — or — ribbon cutting ceremonies for a new office location.

They come to your book signings and ask for you to sign their copy.

They cannot wait for your next webinar — your next podcast episode — your next event — your next release of whatever.

And the best way to increase sales for your company is to connect with your True Fans directly…so you need to have a platform built on value…see? We keep coming back to that foundational truth.

Onward Nation, 1,000 true fans is a very reasonable number. As Kevin explains in his brilliant blog post… “if you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating.”

The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. And you do that through building your platform — delivering value — and making sure you are using the right conduit so it reaches your 1,000 true fans on a consistent basis.

Again…it doesn’t matter if you use a podcast, blog, robust LNKD profile and LNKD publishing, long form posts on Medium, Instagram stories, Facebook Live, and the list goes on.

What’s important to identify is not the platform you are most comfortable — but — the platform your fans use the most — what is the best conduit to them?

For me — it’s this podcast, my LinkedIn account, email campaigns, and webinars.

But there is also another piece to True Fans…and that are the concentric circles of “Lesser Fans.”

These folks will not purchase everything you produce, and may not seek out direct contact, but they will buy much of what you produce.

The processes you develop to feed your True Fans will also nurture Lesser Fans. As you build your nation of True Fans, you will also add many more Lesser Fans.

And as you are building…don’t avoid…don’t miss the opportunity to go deep…to develop intimacy with your audience…with your true fans.

Onward Nation…that is one of the reasons I ask for feedback in every solocast. My team and I legitimately want to get better — but — I also want to hear from you — to get to know you — to learn from you — and to deliver even more value so Onward Nation becomes — and hopefully remains — your most favorite podcast.

Okay…with that said…and before we go…I want to make one final connection between today’s lesson and the favor that I asked you to do for me at the onset of our discussion today.

I know that I have absolutely no permission to make an ask of your time — unless — I have consistently delivered value.

And — even if I have consistently delivered value — I must be considerate in the favors I ask for — no one wants to spend time with the takers — the people who just ask, ask, ask, and never ever give.

So, Onward Nation — I am using today’s solocast as a way to ask for a legitimate favor — and — to give you a recipe for how you can do the same to build you own nation of true fans — and when you do — your nation — just like Onward Nation has become this amazing, awesome, wonderful, beautiful incredible platform of people who are so generous with your feedback and help guide your business in the exact direction it needs to go in order to deliver even more value to what it is they need.

So build your own platform for your business — or if you already have one — think about Kevin Kelly’s lesson — and ask yourself how you can add even more and more value to your the people already in your community — and build your nation of true fans.

Because when you do — your business, your team, your life will move onward to a completely new level.

So with that…I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible encore interview with Paul Maskill — you will not want to miss Paul’s philosophy when he encourages you to, “Go ahead — make mistakes on purpose,” Onward Nation. The conversation with Paul is packed full of discussions regarding systems — and more specifically — how he used systems to sell his company for 6 times what he bought it for and 4 times the profit. This systems discussion will help you create financial leverage within your business.

Until then, onward with gusto!

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