What is a Thought Leader

Episode 8: What is a Thought Leader, with Stephen Woessner

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What is a thought leader? Explore traits, commonalities, pitfalls, and mindset adoption, and learn more about what is a thought leader.

What is a thought leader? In this podcast, Stephen Woessner will discuss what it is and how to adopt the mindset to become one.

Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI (PROI), a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation and Sell With Authority Podcasts.

Since the advent of the commercial Internet, Stephen has collected tens of thousands of data points that have given him the ability to identify what he calls the “8 Money Draining Mistakes” and the “8 Money Making Opportunities.” Darren Hardy, then-publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, interviewed Stephen to discuss how business owners can identify and fix their mistakes.

Stephen served in the United States Air Force, spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a full-time academic staff member and taught digital marketing classes to small business owners throughout the state including the prestigious School of Business at UW-Madison. He has owned five businesses, and is the author of three books, “The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization”, “Increase Online Sales Through Viral Social Networking”, and “Profitable Podcasting.”

His digital marketing insights have been featured in Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.


What you will learn about in this episode on what is a thought leader:

  • What is a thought leader and what makes somebody a thought leader?
  • What thought leadership and baseball have in common — and why Stephen loves both of those things so dang much
  • What is a thought leader and why becoming a great thought leader starts with allowing yourself to be bad at it
  • What audiences are looking for when they seek out thought leaders in their industry
  • Why instant gratification is a common trap for thought leaders — and how to avoid it
  • The “10 Truths of Thought Leadership” — what they are and how to apply them
  • How to start adopting the mindset of a thought leader




What is a Thought Leader: Full Episode Transcript


What is a thought leader? Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI, and my team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So, suppose you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant, and you’re looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that is our world’s reality. In that case, you’re in the right place.


Suppose you want proven strategies for attracting a steady stream of well-prepared, right-fit prospects into your sales pipeline. Yep, we’re going to cover that if you wish. How do you step away from the sea of competitors to stand out and own the ground you’re standing on? Yeah, we’re going to cover that, too. Do you want us to future-proof your business so you can navigate the following challenges that come your way?


Absolutely. We will help you there, too. I promise you that each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights and tangible examples of best practices, not theory. From thought leaders, experts, and owners who have done what you’re working hard to do. So, I want you to think practical and tactical without any fluff. I also promise every strategy that we discuss and every tool that we recommend will be shared in complete transparency in each episode so you can plant your flag of authority, you can claim your ground, and fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of rights for clients who never, ever, ever were made to feel like they’re one of your prospects.


Today’s episode will be different because it’s just you and me. I don’t have a guest with me. We’ll have a guest again next week, but I don’t have one here today because I wanted to spend some time with you exploring a topic, just us. And we’re going to dig into what a thought leader is.


So, before we get into the ten truths and some data points I want to share with you, I want to explore this metaphor—or it’s not really a metaphor, but the expression swings away—and then we’ll start to walk through it. I also want to say that this sort of style of a solo cast is entirely different for me.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: What Onward Nation Is All About


What is a thought leader? You may be a listener subscriber to the Onward Nation or for the Onward Nation podcast. Thank you. And that’s the podcast we produced here, you know, every week for six years. After 1032 episodes, we decided it was time to create this podcast this hour that’s already in about every 4 to 6 weeks or so.


I would record a whole cast like this one for Onward Nation. But I will tell you behind the curtain. Maybe you heard me share this once before during those episodes, but I would script out the entire 5000, 6000, and 7000 words of the solocast because that was my comfort zone. I needed that additional framing to make sure that I expressed and shared all of that I wanted to get out and share with you.


I had to do that meaningfully or, excuse me, in a very detailed way, which was very comfortable for me. Hopefully, it didn’t sound like I was actually reading it when I shared that with you. Then, that content would become a long-form blog post, show notes, etc.


So it certainly wasn’t wasted effort, but that was comfortable for me, and it was really kind of ingrained in me over six-plus years of doing that over and over and over again. And I think over that span of time, there were a hundred, maybe 101 solar casts. So, there was quite a bit of repetition in that process.


I’ve decided to do something different for the Sell with Authority podcast: go a little bit more freeform. I certainly have notes in front of me on the things that I want to share with you, but I have not scripted them like I used to with Onward Nation. Why? It isn’t because of lack of effort.


It is more nerve-wracking for me because of the amount of time and effort I’ve put into thinking through the notes and how I want to frame it, that stuff going without them, the physical frame of the entire script. So why am I sharing this with you? Because it ties into the topic mindset.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: Everyone Gets Better at Something Over Time


What is a thought leader? I want to build this new muscle and skill. I want to create a frame, think about it, process it, deeply internalize it, and then share it with you differently now because I’m trying to become an improv speaker or something like that or develop improv skills.


Those are alright, but that’s just not my goal here. I just want to build this new muscle. And candidly, as you can probably hear my voice, it’s a little uncomfortable. But I think it will teach me some really cool things over the next X number of years of doing this, and hopefully, I’ll get better.


And that’s the point: They’re getting better over time, and you have to have a starting point. For example, when I went back and listened to episode one of Onward Nation, thank goodness Scott McCain was amazing. You know, I was not very good at both being an interviewer and facilitating the conversation, peeling back the layers, storytelling, and all of that type of stuff.


By the time I got to episode 1032, I felt like, “Gosh, okay, I’ve built some skills.” It took me several dozen episodes before I felt comfortable in the chair. And so maybe that’s going to take the same thing here. I ask for your grace and patience as we take this journey together on a less formal script and build that skill in complete transparency with you.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: Consistency is the Key


What is a thought leader, and what is the mindset of a thought leader? So today, I will discuss the mindset of a thought leader and tie this into a baseball metaphor or a baseball story. Baseball is in full swing. If you know me well, then you know that I love baseball. I love baseball not just because it’s an excellent sport but because I love the history, tradition, story, and everything.


I love the stats. I just love the nostalgia of ballparks. Walking into Fenway is an experience of walking on the same path. If you will, that the greats like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. And there’s a long list of who played there, like the history and taking in those moments. I love it. I just love to soak that up.


I love the, you know, the thrill of October. I love the World Series. Being able to go to the World Series back in 2017 with Drew McLellan was a fantastic experience. Flying to Houston for Game Four when Houston hosted the L.A. Dodgers the whole time I was sitting there, I’m like, “My gosh! I can’t believe I’m sitting here at the World Series.”


I just love all of that. So this time of year, spring, when baseball gets kicked off, it’s just a lot of excitement for me. Last weekend, Christine, Caitlin, and I went to our first Brewers game of the year, and they were hosting the Cubs. Unfortunately, the Brewers did not win, but it was still a great game, and it was wonderful to be there.


So, the whole point is that I love baseball. What I love about baseball, and tying this into this piece, is that it’s so statistics-driven, but it’s also so streaky. It just takes consistency over time in order to get it right, repetition, and the courage to stand in the batter’s box yet again when you may have struck out six or seven times, you know, in your last plate appearances.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: The Baseball Analogy


I will share this quote from Mickey Mantle with you, along with some stats about Derek Jeter’s career and how this ties into the mindset of a thought leader. Actually, here is my introduction about going more free-form in the solo cast. So here’s what Mickey Mantle famously said now.


Some may argue that Mickey Mantle was the greatest Yankee ever, certainly one of the greatest baseball players ever, or some may say, you know, Derek Jeter is the greatest Yankee ever. Regardless of where you might mainly fall on that sort of argument, Mickey Mantle was a phenomenal player for the Yankees. And so he was quoted as saying this during my 18 years.


So, think about that for a second. During his 18 years of playing professional baseball, 18 years, almost two decades. So, during my eight years, I came to bat nearly 10,000 times. Wow. 10,000 times. So, during my 18 years, I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1700 times and walked 1800 times. So, 1700 strikeouts and walked maybe 1800 times.


And he says you figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at-bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball. So, think about that for a second. One of the greatest baseball players of all time struck out 1700 times, walked 1800 times, and played for seven years without ever hitting the ball.


So think about the consistency and confidence that that would require. Well, I struck out yet again, but I’m going to get back up to the plate when my number’s called, and I’m going to do my best to get out of this slump, get back into a streak, or get back into whatever moving forward meant for him.


But playing 18 years, consistency came to the plate almost 10,000 times, and consistency struck out 1700 times. Yeah, unfortunately, there’s some consistency there, too. And then walking 1800 times but never hitting the ball for seven years puts into perspective that, again, a Hall of Fame player regarded as one of the best to put on the Yankee uniform, yet he went for seven years without ever hitting the ball.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: Not Everyone’s an Expert at First


So, when we think about that from the perspective of what is a thought leader and the mindset of the thought leader, the reason I’m bringing this up and where we’re going to go into this conversation today is because I don’t know if it’s a recent thing or what, but we’ve been asked more recently about how to get started. What should I do first?


When I hit the record button, I’m not going to be polished or that if I hit publish on that particular episode, the content might be helpful. But I don’t really like how the lighting works or how I sound. Or maybe I should get a different microphone, or I have this really cool idea that could be dramatic or could dramatically change the landscape of my business.


But I need to figure out who I should sell it to, what I should do next, or my first step. The first step is to get up to the batter’s box and swing away. You might strike out, or you might strike out a bunch, and you might make many mistakes like I might be doing right now.


But you’ll only get better if you try, and you’ll only get better if you start making or fixing the errors and moving on from there. So, let’s talk to Derek Jeter briefly and then get into some statistics. So let’s say that you’re more in the modern age of baseball, and Derek Jeter is maybe a favorite player or somebody that you are familiar with or watched along the way or arguably the greatest Yankee ever to play, depending upon what side of the modern argument of baseball you’re on.


Derek Jeter has five World Championships and five World Series rings. I don’t know if that’s the most of any player, but it’s probably close if it isn’t. I should look that up. But Derek Jeter struck out 862 times in his career—862 times—more than Mickey Mantle. 1700s a bunch.


But he struck out 862 times. Over that span of his career, striking out that many times, he still maintained a batting average of over 300, which is phenomenal. You know, to be able to do that over such a stretch of time, his batting average throughout his entire career was 300, which is kind of the benchmark of awesome.


So, 862 times. And if you look at the total strike or the historical strikeout list, some of the people who struck out the most, that’s what I’m trying to say. 862 is number 11 on the list. To say that in another way, there were only ten people in the history of baseball. So, think about that for a second.


It’s a game that’s been played for well over a century. Only ten people struck out more often than Derek Jeter, one of the greatest Yankees ever and the greatest players ever played the game. He often struck out because he had played a very long career. Also, he knew that part of the success of In the Box was you had to have the at-bats, you had to have the repetitions, and some of that meant that you would strike out.


You had to take risks, swing, and swing away. And so he’s also this person who struck out 862 times and has five championship rings. He’s also the person you wanted at the plate. If you had a couple of people in scoring position, the game was on the line in the bottom of the eighth or ninth.


And you have the question of whether he represented the tying run. Maybe the tying run was the second you wanted him at the plate, even though he struck out 862 times and was the 11th person to strike out the most in the history of baseball. You wanted him at the plate because he was so clutch. Isn’t it ironic that somebody who struck out in all holds the 11th position for strikeouts?


Total strikeouts in baseball are also considered to be the person who was the clutch in that situation and had a reputation for being the clutch. So my whole point here again is that you need to give yourself the at-bats and the grace of realizing, yeah, it’s not going to be great the first time.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: You’ll Get Better in Time. It’s Part of the Process


It’s not going to be great the second time. Guess what? It’s not going to be great the third time, and it’s not going to be great the 20th or the 30th time, but you will notice that you’re getting better and better and better. I know that intellectually, you know that emotionally, it’s an entirely different story.


So, we must give ourselves the grace to swing away and the patience to get better. And guess what? Your audience will provide that grace, too, especially when you share things with complete transparency. That was different from my sharing strategy. I shared with you at the beginning of this that, “Hey, this is what I’m doing and why, and I’m going to make some mistakes.”


I wasn’t sharing that with you so that you would give me grace. I hope that you do. But that wasn’t my intent. I intended to share, like we usually do and always do, whether in full transparency, good, insufficient, or otherwise. And so you can be with me on this journey and see how I do in this process of doing something candidly uncomfortable.


So give yourself the grace to step into the discomfort, the grace to step into the batter’s box when there are two outs, the bottom of the ninth, the go-ahead runners on second, and all eyes are on you. Presumably, you’re facing the toughest closer in the league, and you’re nervous. Your hands are sweaty, and you’re unsure what to do next.


Give yourself the grace to swing away and make contact, and maybe you will strike out or hit a home run, but you’ll only know if you give yourself the grace and dare to step into the box. So that’s my hope for you as we go through this conversation today and talk about some stats, the ten truths, and what a thought leader is. It all wraps around the mindset and the way you get good at it.


Again, I know that you know this intellectually because it is a law of nature. We have to have the repetition. It takes practice. You’ve probably heard of the expression or the term the direction of the harvest, and there’s not a farmer on the planet who wants to step into the harvest without knowing that they have to prepare the field, they have to plant the seeds, they have to tend to the area, they have to water the crop, they have to pull the weeds.


They have to do all those things to get to the harvest. And it takes an entire season or two, spring, summer, and then into the fall harvest, to have a bountiful harvest. But sometimes, I find it amazing that we, as business owners, want instant gratification. We just wish to yield without doing all the backbreaking work in spring and summer.


We try to circumvent and go right to the harvest. It doesn’t work that way. Again, intellectually, I know that you know that emotionally, it feels different. It feels like. But I just want to. I get it. You just want the end result outcome. And nobody would say I’m trying to circumvent the harvest or anything like that, or I’m trying to circumvent the hard work in spring and summer.


You’re trying to circumvent that. I mean, it almost sounds ludicrous because we know that that is a law of nature. We can’t circumvent those things, but we think, “Gosh! What is the shortest path and all of that?” Yes, we look for efficiencies. Yes, we look for different tools. Farmers are out there innovating all the time to have a more bountiful harvest with the least amount of effort, cost input, and all of that.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: Repetition And Progression


What is a thought leader? I get that question and argument. But frequently, today, people are so interested in immediate gratification that we start thinking about the harvest without realizing that whatever shape or form we will put into our work and effort in spring and summer is a requirement. You just don’t jump to the harvest. And just like Mickey Mantle didn’t just jump into the major leagues, there’s progression.


You played great Little League baseball and great high school baseball. Hopefully, you then maybe had an opportunity to get drafted, or maybe you played college and went into the minor leagues. Nobody is a sophomore or junior high school varsity player. They may have been drafted out of high school, but they don’t just put on the pinstripes in the major leagues and step up to the plate.


Several people have tried to circumvent that. Typically, it turns into success for some people. Sure. Does it usually happen? No, because there is a process. So when you think about building your business and planting your flag of authority in building your position of power and claiming the ground that you own, realize it’s a process.


Again, intellectually, I know that you know that. Still, I want you to think about that from a mindset perspective and be willing to take risks by giving yourself the courage, excuse me, the grace, and then getting yourself the courage to step into the box the very first time and do that over and over and over again.


Let’s talk about a few stats about what a thought leader is. We did a research report with our research partner and collaborator, Susan Baier, the founder of Audience Audit. If you’re not familiar with Susan, she was our guest here in episode 3 or 4 of the Sell with Authority podcast. She’s also very active in our Facebook group, the How to Fill Your Sales Pipeline Facebook Group.


If you’re not currently a member, please join us. The group has over 500 agency owners, coaches, and consultants. It’s fantastic because the people inside the group are super generous and share their smarts. Susan, of course, is one of them. So Susan, thank you very much if you’re listening to this. A couple of years ago, the first time we researched as our cornerstone content was the ROI.


So, what is a thought leader, and the return on investment of thought leadership? Interesting insights came out of that study that fed into the survey we just finished, which we just came back from the field. Susan and her team analyzed data. We’re just finishing up the executive summary, and we will be releasing the results and sharing them here pretty shortly.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself


But I just want to share three bullet points with you. One overall statistic is broken down into three different ways. So one of the questions that we asked the participants was, “What is a thought leader? What does that person or what does a thought leader need to do or share with you in order for you to consider them a thought leader?”


Okay. I want to share three data points with you or three different percentages around that question. So, 57% of the participants in the study asked, “What is a thought leader, and what makes the thought leader?” Well, that person shares ideas and changes how I approach my work. Again, nothing in there about this person is the flashiest from the stage. This person has a gregarious personality.


This person makes me laugh, cry, and be boisterous. There’s none of that as far as the cult of personality. 57% said that that person shares ideas, which changed how I approached my work. Wow. More than half. Okay, so what’s the next piece? Someone could choose a participant in our research and select multiple. It’s a matter of choosing here.


It wasn’t just a matter of choosing one selection. So, 54% of the respondents who asked what a thought leader has also shared ideas they hadn’t heard of before. They’re not sharing retreads of somebody else’s work. Do they sometimes curate other people’s ideas, mix them with their point of view, and cite the sources?


Sure. Is that something they do all the time? No one is relevant. Yeah. Okay. So 54% said they share ideas that I haven’t heard before. And then, I want to share the third stat with you about what makes someone a thought leader: 48% said they seem genuine, like a natural person. They seem like somebody like me. And I don’t mean me, but that was weird.


But it seems like somebody I can relate to seems genuine, which syncs up with Edelman PR’s research and their trust barometer. Every year, people put more trust in industry experts and somebody like them, quote-unquote, than with celebrities or somebody with a million plus social media followers. They just do.


What is a thought leader, and why must you be one? Because being genuine and an industry expert is about helping people get better. And that’s what I want to take you through next. And that is what Drew McLellan and I when we wrote the book, some authority we talked about in chapter two, what he then called or he did call the ten truths to what makes somebody a source which syncs up with the data points that I just shared with you as well as maybe even back into the baseball analogy that I was giving you before.


Defining what a thought leader is, I want to step through all ten because as we think about, again, stepping up to the plate and swinging away, I want you to do or I want you to be thinking about that from the perspective of your goal is to get up there and hit a home run at every plate appearance. And often, the players who get themselves in trouble are the ones who think, I got to crush this ball.


I got to hit a home run. In reality, the game situation requires just making contact, just putting it in the field of play. Have a sacrifice, fly to left field so that somebody can score, and so on. It depends on the game situation. So you do not need to step into recording your solocast and think, “Well, I got to crush this thing.”


I have to hit a home run. This has got to be my opus. Stop putting that type of pressure on you or on yourself. Give yourself a bit of grace, make contact, provide your audience with something helpful, and sometimes be fully transparent about the experiment, like I am right now. That gives you the confidence and courage to do the same thing.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: Know Your Expertise


What is a thought leader? Here are the ten truths of what makes somebody worthy of the title of authority. First, they have a focus area or subject matter expertise, so they focus on a particular thing you might want to call that niche. We define a niche in four different ways. It certainly can be industry. It could be that you know an audience better than somebody else.


It could also be that you have a superpower that somebody else doesn’t or that you solve a unique and different problem. You can combine those four things, or you can focus on what, as you might imagine, the more you combine, the stronger the niche. However, truth number one is that they have a focus area or subject matter expertise.


Second, they don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying. Again, let’s go back to the data. 54% said a thought leader shares ideas they haven’t heard before, so they don’t repeat what everyone else is saying. They have a unique point of view. They can interpret data in a way that gives you a different viewpoint around the implications.


Third, they have a public presence where they share their expertise. Okay, so the example you’re listening to is already the SO with the podcast. You could write books, or perhaps you’re doing your cornerstone content as an annual research study. You may have a weekly podcast and a weekly video series, you are a very prolific blogger, and your cornerstone content is that you get on stage multiple times a month.


There are lots of different ways to come at this when we discuss what is a thought leader. The quote, unquote, has a public presence, but they have a public company where they share their expertise and do that consistently. Fourth, they stay within their area of expertise. So, Drew and I want to impress upon you to think specialist versus generalist. Okay. So, let’s go back to baseball for a second.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: Becoming a Specialist Instead of a Generalist


You might have heard the expression before, like a utility player. That person could essentially be plugged into various positions. And in their decent at those positions, they’re nimble enough to play multiple positions. But you know what? They won’t get to the Hall of Fame by being great utility players.


Maybe somebody listening right now knows baseball stats way better than me and says, “But wait a minute, Stephen. These six utility players are in Cooperstown at the Hall of Fame, which might be the case.” Typically, a utility player with various skills can get plugged in but isn’t necessarily an all-star or an excellent player in every one of those positions.


Okay. Specialists are the people who refine their craft. They are the best in the business at that particular position, whether hitting, fielding, or a combination of both. However, they typically play the same role repeatedly and are the greatest of all time in that position. Right? So think specialist instead of generalist.


Okay, so let’s look at five. They are less attractive to everyone. They probably bore most people in two tiers. So again, this is not about being the cult of personality. This is not about being somebody flashy. This is not about being on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine or any sort of popular press magazine.


It’s not about that. It’s about being helpful to your audience. It’s about teaching, sharing, and being generous. It’s about helping them. It’s about stepping into the trenches and working alongside them, helping them carry their pack so that whenever they turn around, there you are with an answer to a business issue or challenge they’re struggling with.


That’s what a thought leader is, or being a thought leader means. Okay, so let’s look at the next one. They’re significant, which is different from prolific in terms of content creation. It means they’re creating significant things. They’re creating cornerstone content that is big, meaty, helpful, dense, things that can be sliced and diced, and smaller cobblestones, as Drew and I talk about.


And they’re consistently doing that. They know that every single week, they’re going to come to their audience with a new weekly video or podcast, and the message and what they’re sharing in each episode is significant. They’re not trying to come to their audience with 100 different pieces of content every single day, which is some of the ridiculousness that is kind of spread around social media, that you need to create 60 pieces of content daily.


No, you do not. Do you need to be significant? Yes. Do you need to be prolific? No. Okay. Next, they don’t create any generic content that someone with far less knowledge or experience could have just as easily written, which means they don’t create vanilla, pablum, or content just for the sake of creating stuff.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: Passion Can Lead to Progression


They don’t write low-level blog posts that anybody could have written. When you read something from them, a lot of smarts, time, and attention go into creating that content. In the end, they write it in such a way that you can’t swap somebody else’s logo, and it passes the test. So when you read something from that person, you know that there’s from that person, not just in the language used or the voice, but just in the smarts it took to share those ideas.


Three more. So, what is a thought leader again? They’re perceived as educators in some way. Why or how? Because they teach, you can tell you can hear the passion in their voice. If you participated in a live training or a Q and A or something with them, you can hear them light up when somebody asks a question. You can hear the passion in their voice for helping tease something out and helping that other person in the room have those light bulb moments.


That’s a teacher, an educator, somebody who is there to give and be of service. That’s what a thought leader means. Next, they have a passion for their subject matter. I hope you hear that in my voice. I hope you hear the fact that I love doing this. I love being here with you because I aim to help you get better every day.


And not that I’m the best at what I do because I’m not. There’s a progression. We are always learning. We are constantly getting better. However, I have a passion for the subject matter and our audience. I have a passion for teaching and sharing, and if I can help you be better today at something, well, gosh darn it, that’s just a huge win.


That’s a home run in my book. Okay. Lastly, they have a strong point of view, which is the foundation of their content. Here’s our point of view: a predictable ROI. Most agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants go about sales and business development in the least effective, most painful way possible. There’s a better way, and we call it the source authority methodology. That’s what we teach about what a thought leader is.


That’s what our team believes; that’s what we’re committed to. It is the fabric of who we are because we know it works. That’s why we’re super passionate about what we do. That is our point of view. If you look through our content, will it be spelled out like that verbatim?


Literally, no. We see it sometimes. Sure. I just shared it with you right now, but you can look at our previous blog, listen to our previous episodes, read our books, or, you know, go through any of our other pieces of cornerstone content or cobblestone content. And you will see in here or read or whatever that that point of view stretches across all of that content creation, and it all ties back to that central theme.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: There Will Be Gradual Improvements Over Time


What is a thought leader? I encourage you to consider that if you’re looking to plant your flag of authority and be helpful to your audience. I want you to think about your strong point of view and how that helps. Those are the ten truths that make someone a thought leader. So, let’s go back to the mindset piece. Now that we have that framing and are giving yourself the grace to step into the batter’s box, you will get better.


It will take time. The harvest in the fall is certainly worth the effort in the spring and summer. Then Drew and I are often asked, “Well, how long will this take us? How long will this take me if I decide to launch or whatever? How long is this going to take?” And our answer to that is, “Yes, it takes time.”


You can’t circumvent the law of nature. Now, let’s talk about some reasonable expectations. That means within 6 to 12 months, you could start seeing some results. And in giving your story and seeing some traction, is the fruit of your labor like your first harvest? Yeah, that’s reasonable that. If you go through your first spring or summer, should you have a crop in the fall, even if you don’t do everything right?


Yeah. Will it be as bountiful as the farmer doing it for two decades? No. The rookie who steps into the batter’s box. Is that person going to bat 300 with 49 home runs and 113 RBI? I know it’s season four or five. Will that person do that? Maybe so. It takes time, but reasonable expectations.


Would you start seeing some results within 6 to 12 months? Sure. And then, by year two, you’ll see more traction. Right. Harvest number two is going to feel even better than harvest number one. And by year three, you will see how this is moving your business forward.


You’ll feel confident in the ground you’ve claimed, satisfied with the flag you’ve planted, and confident in how you’ve grown your audience, nurtured leads, and started increasing sales—all driven by a thought leader. Wow, I see the connection between a growing audience, nurturing leads, and increased sales.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”


What is a Thought Leader: It All Starts with Planting the Seeds First


As I continue to pull those levers as my business partner, Erik likes to talk about the three main levers we pull here inside the predictive ROI, kind of the sole authority methodology: grow audience, nurture leads, and increase sales. As we help our clients pull those levers over and over and over again, it drives our ROI, which is at the center.


That’s our core promise. As you continue to do that in your business, pulling those levers over and over and over again, the harvest gets bigger, more predictable, more measurable, and more profitable. But it all starts with planting the first seed. It all starts with stepping into the batter’s box.


It all starts with the first at-bat; you must give yourself the grace to do that. Let’s wrap up here, and hopefully, this was a decent, solid house to listen to. Again, thank you for the grace in the experiment. I have a couple of parting thoughts. We’ve done a lot of work on our Predictive ROI website, particularly in our resource section.


So, I encourage you to visit the newly rebuilt resource section, predictiveroi.com/resources. And here’s why. You can download some instructional guides; you can request a free copy of this audiobook in either paperback or Kindle and honestly. This is a free ebook, so it’s widespread for people to release books and save for only 795 just to cover shipping.


What is a thought leader? Register on our next open mic Q&A to learn more


What is a Thought Leader: Ordering The Free Ebook


You can get the free ebook. No, this is 100% free. We need your address to know where to ship it, but this is 100% free. We don’t charge you for shipping, and we certainly don’t charge you anything for the book. Also, you don’t drop into some sort of fancy sales funnel just because you requested the book.


Okay. So please know if you would like a copy of Sell with Authority, we’d love to send you either a paperback or happy to send you a Kindle version as well. So, if you go to predictiveroi.com/resources, all of the free resources are in that location, and you’ll also be able to find the Onward Nation podcast, the 1,032 episodes, and this podcast.


So predictiveroi.com/resources, and whatever you request, we will send it right to your inbox. Thank you for your patience, grace, time, and attention. I am grateful for all of that, and I look forward to being with you next week when our next great guest expert joins me.


But thank you sincerely for your time today. Now is the time to double down. I wish you onward with gusto.


Learn more about what is a thought leader by reading this blog “Exploring the Power of Thought Leadership: Insights, Attitudes, and ROI”

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Sell with Authority Podcast

The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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