Today’s guest is an entrepreneur, sales leader & thought leader. Nicholas Thickett is the Managing Partner at Alignd and the Co-Host of The B2B Power Hour. Nicholas shares the important role stories play in learning, how to find the right guests to provide value to your audience, and the basics of running a successful live show.
- It’s easier to learn soft skills in fields like sales and marketing using tacit knowledge picked up by listening to and mimicking those around us. With the move to remote work, there are fewer opportunities to interact with and learn from others.
- Podcasting provides a way for people to learn more about a field by hearing stories in interviews with their peers and industry experts. It’s more impactful for people to hear experiences and advice with the context provided by the stories behind them.
- Stories are better for teaching because the ideas within the story are able to go beyond a person’s logic and reach their emotional core. By absorbing stories, audiences are able to feel, to a degree, what it was like to live through that experience.
- Try to discover the small steps and incremental changes that your guest has used to succeed. These are the tips that your audience will most helpful because they are feasible and attainable.
- Pick guests that you and your audience actually want to learn from. Don’t invite people because of their large reputation if they don’t have any real knowledge to impart. It’s better to politely decline to interview a guest than it is to waste your time and theirs.
- Use a prep call before recording the full interview with a guest to gauge if you have any chemistry with them and if they have valuable information for your audience. Without connecting with the guest, the conversation will suffer and have little value.
- When launching a live show, start building your audience by inviting five to twenty handpicked people to join the show. These people should be asking the same questions you ask on the show. Being handpicked, they are more likely to engage authentically.
Quote of The Show
Connect with Nicholas
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholasthickett/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/NThickett
- Company website: https://getalignd.co/
- Podcast: https://podcast.b2bpowerhour.com/
- Jen Allen
- Morgan Smith
- Justin Simon
Clips from the Episode
Ways to Tune In
- Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/12f108ea-018f-44a6-8bb0-9444e9cbf3cc
- Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/creating-the-greatest-show/id1638399900
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1B7OnWCGoxBRzH2rbkEFIf
- Google Podcast: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkLnBvZGJlYW4uY29tL2NyZWF0aW5ndGhlZ3JlYXRlc3RzaG93L2ZlZWQueG1s
- Podchaser: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/creating-the-greatest-show-4823789
- YouTube: https://youtu.be/N1Xg2EEZbcs
Casey Cheshire: go. Hit the button. And I have hidden myself. That’s right. Can’t do a whole show staring at yourself on video. No, sir. I have to have all of my attention, all of my focus, because my guest today is an absolute badass, entrepreneur, sales leader, thought leader, podcaster and competitive beer brewer.
Let’s go. I would say I’m a competitive beer drinker, so it’s a mash made in heaven. He is the co-host of the B2B Power Hour. Hundreds of [00:01:00] episodes recorded and they’ve got some cool ways of doing it, which we’re gonna dive into live shows, round tables, interactive. That sounds intriguing. That’s this episode managing partner at Aligned, Nick Thickett.
Nicholas Thickett: Thanks for having me. I’ve been really looking forward
Casey Cheshire: How did we get you, man? Unworthy. Unworthy. I’m so glad
Nicholas Thickett: on Wordy. I don’t know. You’re a brilliant host. I’ve learned a lot from you too, so I. I can’t wait for this. I’ve been really
Casey Cheshire: Seriously. Yeah, that’s the best kind of show where everyone’s just excited to get into it. So let’s roll up the sleeves here. Dive in with that first question to pull back the curtain for us on your experience and share your most important strategy for a great podcast.
Nicholas Thickett: The big thing that I learned through this entire process is try to think of the objections you’re gonna receive. And try to put the spotlight on the brilliance that people bring to the table and really highlight their expertise and use [00:02:00] that through storytelling. Cuz that’s really what people gravitate towards it.
That’s what filled up my dms is when we really got into the thick of the stories and the experience is that really drove change is what people always responded with. But there’s one little caveat that I’ll add to that. Also think about distribution.
Casey Cheshire: Ah, okay. So we gotta highlight, highlight. We gotta, let’s start with that first part cause that’s brilliant. And then yeah, we’ll definitely get to distribution because somebody’s gotta listen to it at some point. So talk to me about highlighting the experience and doing it with a story. And storytelling seems to really p be really powerful.
I know you you’ve sold things left and right. I almost called you a hustler in the introduction. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not. For me it is going door to door now to just working with giant enterprises and growth companies. I imagine you’ve had to tell a story or two and you’ve had to hear and share a story or two.
So talk to me about how stories are so integrated into into [00:03:00] podcasting and shows and experience.
Nicholas Thickett: I learned a really interesting thing going through this, that when we set out on this journey, I never expected and what I learned is there’s something called tacit knowledge. And I’d never heard of it before. Now that I know it, it makes the world makes a lot more sense. And tacit knowledge says that the rest of the world is not like math and science and it doesn’t live by principles, meaning that if you know the rules, it doesn’t tell you everything.
And this is why so often in life we hear it depends. Because it depends on the scenario. Because what the cue will tend depend on how you act and it will change everything. And when we started doing the podcast, it was really strange cuz people would give this brilliant process and they’d explain it step by step.
No more, no less than three steps, but no more than six. Very clean, very simple. And then nothing would happen. But we kept getting these messages of what if? [00:04:00] And I started to realize the reason why sales marketing service in so many industries seem impossible to learn, especially in a remote environment, is because the best way we learn and these types of skills is by mimicking or through osmosis, like the old days of being in the bullpen and hearing the stuff going on around you, or mentorship and apprent.
But a lot of that is gone and podcasting is one of the few ways in the remote world that we can open up almost like a virtual apprenticeship. And it has been the most beautiful, incredible experience I think of my entire career. Cause I never expected it. And I’m sure you get it too. Like you get these amazing messages of people saying thank you.
But it’s the stories once again that really are like that life bud that really give it. More than just a thank
Casey Cheshire: Yeah, some like we’ve evolved as humans. Brilliant [00:05:00] apes to, tell me how to do some, tell me an ape step process and it’s hard to remember, but you tell me about that one time you forgot to change. Your email dynamic content, first name, last name, and you accidentally sent 2000 people dear.
Your first name. Yeah. Like that story will stick with you and that eight step thing on what you should do on your email might not. So there’s something about what is it about stories that makes it so much easier to remember and stick with what? What makes the virtual apprenticeship so much more power?
Nicholas Thickett: One of the things I’ve heard as I started diving into the psychology of this is that when we read a book, when we listen to a video that somebody’s telling a very compelling story or a TED talk, we step in their shoes. And so it actually goes beyond logic to the emotional centers of our brain to take us through that journey.
And our brain can’t tell the difference, which you think about it, how incredible it is. Like you think about reading a book and you [00:06:00] get that action picture in your brain and then you watch the movie and it’s not the same. And whether you’re, you’re excited or disappointed, it’s how life is, right?
And then, but when you see somebody else do that, and that scenario comes. Because you’ve somewhat lived through it, you have another tool in the toolbox.
Casey Cheshire: Man, that just happened to me. I was, I read The Gray Man and then I saw it on Netflix and it was absolute garbage on Netflix. That’s not exact. That’s not at all how it went down. Let me tell you how it went down, right? Cause I, I was in those shoes and I experienced all that and it was an awesome adventure.
It wasn’t this cheesy Netflix movie special. So yeah, there’s something about stepping into shoes and. using the hammer yourself or at least pretending like you are to really learn something, I, what do they say? They, it’s e you learn by doing. And so this is almost like this mimicry is a form of doing in our imaginations.
Nicholas Thickett: I can have a kind of a tough story that I can share.[00:07:00]
And it hits home. My little sister couldn’t talk for the longest time and they were really worried that she had neurological issues. And we had seen every specialist you could possibly imagine, and it was tough on our family.
And we were sitting with a nurse playing, and I had passed her some Lego and she didn’t. I just passed her toy and she missed, and the nurse looks at me and said, do you think she can see? I’m like, what? What do you mean? What do you think that she can see? Turns out all of these issues, and the reason why she couldn’t talk is because she couldn’t see your lips move.
And so a big part of human, think about all like the documentaries on Netflix when you watch about the mom and the dad and like teaching the baby how to hunt, teaching the baby how to survive. It’s teaching [00:08:00] by mimicking, by apprenticeship. My little sister couldn’t see to mimic, and so everything was just abstract.
But the moment that she could see it was only within a couple weeks that she started. Actually producing words, and it started to advance very quickly because of that. And it made me realize in my work that we really discount what it’s like to see what good should look like, what bad is and what great could be.
Because if I tell you to go and just, Hey, I need you to go build pipeline and you’ve never done it before,
What the hell do you. And take that with anything in life. You get married, what do what does it mean to be a good husband? You have kids. What does it mean to be a good parent?
I don’t know. Maybe someone else does, but this is what I mean, right? Is unless somebody can paint you done and you have some something to work off [00:09:00] of, you’re just wa wandering aimlessly, right? And as soon as we give them that picture, whether it’s perfect or not is irrelevant. Cuz a starting point is a benchmark that they can build off of.
And I think that’s the one of the biggest things that I learned through this process and that life experience is that if we don’t give people a starting point and don’t overanalyze and try to make it perfect, it doesn’t matter. But if we don’t give them something that you actually paint that scenario so they know what.
They’re gonna be like my little sister years wondering why they can’t do this thing and why they’re failing, getting frustrated with themselves when really they were never set up for success in the start with how we’ve naturally evolved to survive as a human species.
Casey Cheshire: Does it require the show to have story built into it? Like you could ask a bunch of tactical questions, but. we saying that for [00:10:00] the, for this magical apprenticeship, we need the guest to be telling us in more of a story format than maybe a practical format? Or do you
Nicholas Thickett: you need? You need the scenario, cuz if I say cold calling’s dead, maybe for certain industries in a certain type of transaction, it is because, Maybe that’s better off, mid to late funnel for that specific industry, vertical for what you’re selling or the expertise that those sellers bring to that buying process.
But how do I know that to be true? Unless I give you the scenario? And that’s why I think even like you look at all the fights on fights is a bit excessive, but the disagreements on social about sales and marketing, why do they disagree? Nobody gave a scenario. They just made a state. And that statement’s based on what.
Casey Cheshire: [00:11:00] So story. So does that mean then, from a very technical standpoint, as a podcast host, you need to elicit story and I would say the challenge could be people don’t necessarily have. TEDx stories at the ready when you go to
Nicholas Thickett: But I think it, like the one thing I learned is I used to go really try and script out the start of my intro, like my intros and then I was talking to Jen Allen and a few other people about what they did to go Jen actually I joked with Jen a while back that one of my journal projects is How can I be more like
Jen today cuz she is
Casey Cheshire: hundred percent.
Nicholas Thickett: incredible And one of the things that she did that I like, she always had these unbelievably great intros to the Challenger podcast.
And I’m like how do you come up with that? What are you doing for your research? What is like your framework that you’re building off of? And she’s I only in, I only interview people that I’m interested in that genuinely pique my curiosity. And then I tell them why.[00:12:00]
And so when you think of like a story or even stand up comedy, you have to give the context before you can go in emotionally connect to it.
Move past, right? So all you gotta do is add credibility in context with your guests is all I’ve done and I’ve focused on something that almost like the best, teach the rest. What is one thing that they’ve been exemplary at? How the heck did they get their on? Let’s go and peel that onion and let’s see what the different layers were that got them there.
Because nobody typically tells that story. Or if they do, it’s only the highlight reel. They forget a lot of the other bits and pieces. So it makes it hard to learn. Cause it’s what was, what were the different lessons that stacked up to being great at that one thing?
Casey Cheshire: Do you have a favorite question you like to
Nicholas Thickett: Yes. And so you could take whatever you’re asking about, where would a novice get this wrong? [00:13:00] And so they’ll tell me like, could you tell me a, could you paint me a picture of what that would look like? Or do you have any stories that we could discuss?
And I love doing that in the pre-call too, because what I can do is I can figure out, okay, based on, think of like a buyer’s journey.
If we think about what is the story that the buyer’s telling themselves about their role, about their team, about the state of the company and what is the gap in reality? And so if you’re playing with that of like, where’s that gap? Then our audience, we’re just filling that gap with these interviews, with these stories, building that context, giving them those interesting bits and pieces to keep them hooked, to keep them going.
But then they also know how to go and use it. And so it, it really fills that whole thing. Cuz like you think about if I want to implement a new skill and I’m not confident it’s gonna work, will I try it?
Like how many people who have New Year’s resolutions that never start?[00:14:00]
Casey Cheshire: It’s always funny. I remember going to the gym and you see the surge of people coming in. It’s actually just a pain in the ass because you’re just trying to keep doing whatever habit you’re doing, and then people come in and, man, does that drop off quick?
Not even the end of January,
it’s like back to normal again.
You’re like, seriously,
Can’t even get to
February. Come on.
Nicholas Thickett: even think of that like in podcasting, how many people spout theory and theoretically this is what should be amazing. And when you actually peel back the onion, it’s bullshit. That’s actually not the truth. It’s actually a much more like watered down, simple way of actually doing things because what they’re doing is sustainable.
Ongoing. But when we think of like New Year’s resolutions or starting a new task, we don’t think of like the bits and the stages of getting there, the baby steps. And I think that’s also where storytelling really comes in handy is it paints a picture of how I got there and what those baby steps could [00:15:00] be.
Because if I say, okay, like we have a workshop coming up, that’s how to build pipeline, like 200% of your annual quota in pipeline in 60 days or less. And I said, let’s go do it. What are people gonna do? They’re gonna burn out because all they’re gonna assume is more.
But that’s the default. That’s what they’ve taught themselves is the, that’s the strategy, is just do more
until they learn, until they know something else.
Casey Cheshire: Yeah. Huh. When you mentioned the spouting bullshit, were you talking about guests?
Nicholas Thickett: There. One of the biggest mistakes I made at the start when I was picking my guests, Morgan did a much better job at this, so can’t even pull ’em in on this. I was picking people with big reputations and unfortunately, and luckily they didn’t go past the pre-call [00:16:00] interview is I realized that they had read a lot of books and had done a lot of nothing. And so when we started to get into like actual practice and when they’re like, oh yeah, you need to be doing a hundred activities and you’ll, in your experience, which of those activities were actually more valuable than the others? If you could only spend an hour instead of the four hours you’re talking about, what would you prioritize?
Casey Cheshire: Yeah.
Nicholas Thickett: they couldn’t tell me because they hadn’t done the work. They’d only read a book and it sounded good in theory, but they had never done it. And so there’s a lot of creators online that are very good at what they do that’s creating
And as long as you know that then you’re not keeping up with the Jones as trying to be this big celebrity and building this brand, this fake brand based on nothing.
It’s going back to the old saying of like reputations what people. When you’re not in the room. And that’s built by actually doing the work. And if you can’t explain it simply, what [00:17:00] was the, oh, there’s, it starts with an F. It’s like fame man technique or something where it’s, oh, it’s something that was really interesting that Morgan introduced me to.
And it’s basically, how do you explain this to somebody in like third to sixth grade in very simple language, no jargon. Because if you can explain it as simple can. You truly understand and we get taught when we’re going and building our profession in whatever that profession may be. That big lang language makes you sound smart because that’s what we got taught in school.
That’s what we see the PhDs do. But we know in sales and marketing and being hosts, if you make the person feel uncomfortable, cuz you’re trying to be like professors at webinar,
It’s not a good conversation.
Casey Cheshire: You usually catch these guys on the prep. On the prep call.
Nicholas Thickett: Yeah. And before I was taking recommendations from the [00:18:00] different companies that would email us, say, Hey, would you like to have this person on? And they would just gimme the highlight reel. And I learned the hard way really fast that they had a big, they had done a really good job doing podcast road shows and building a reputation off of Trust through association.
So they were finding the influencers, the people that you know their audience was listening to, and then they were doing the road show to establish themselves as credible through the association of the other person. They deemed credible and so they would build out a really big audience. And so they, but then you’d go and start getting into more tactical stuff and talking about the learnings, and there was nothing there.
And. The one that I think the hardest things as a host too, is you have to respect respectfully decline. And that is an art in itself of, hey, after doing our call, I don’t think my podcast would really put the spotlight on you the way you deserve. And I wouldn’t recommend us moving forward. I’m [00:19:00] sorry that I wasted your time,
or whatever that looks like.
Casey Cheshire: It is. That’s where, that’s great having a producer who can cleverly do that for you.
Nicholas Thickett: Well
Casey Cheshire: But I do the direct approach. I actually had a call today with someone. Same kind of thing happened and I learned a lesson. Good, great person who I’ve had on one of my shows said, Hey, you should talk to this.
And it was an email, and my knee jerk reaction’s hell yeah, let’s talk to that person. And it wasn’t till right before. The prep call, thankfully not the show that I’m looking this person up and it’s this is a marketing podcast. And they’re not in marketing, right? They’re not even they’re a little bit in sales, but it was like, it didn’t seem like a fit at all.
And it, and I’m like, man, it’s, it is my bad. I just said yes. But now I’ve learned. Maybe not do that. And when we had the call, I brought it up [00:20:00] and I’m glad I did because the guest was thinking the same thing. He was like, I’m not really marketer. I probably learned from your show. I probably should listen to your show.
I need to get some insights, but I don’t think I’m the one to and. I don’t need us to. I think that was another learning, like I don’t need that guest to record an episode there. There’s no reason to do that if it’s not a good fit. I do connecting with people, but it doesn’t mean we have, and so we just con, we spent the prep call just connecting and getting to know each other, and that felt great.
By the end of it, we left his, Good folks. And it was a good conversation, but it didn’t require us like let, I guess we have to do this podcast. And my friend who suggested it said, Hey, no, no hard feelings if it is not a right fit. Totally cool. Everyone was cool about it.
So I’m, I was glad that it went down that way.
Nicholas Thickett: I think ti tied to that, like good catch.
Casey Cheshire: Yeah.
Nicholas Thickett: Type to that is what do you want from your audience, cuz so you’ll get the audience that hunt for certain people [00:21:00]
Casey Cheshire: Yeah.
Nicholas Thickett: and if you’re just selling to them, you’re riding trends. That’s a hard place to be, or do you want to be there weekly consumable that they al like they, as soon as it comes out, they want to dive in because you have something so valuable.
And I think that was the thing I never asked myself soon enough is who specifically am I talking to and how do I want to change the way they view the. And that’s actually where with the B2B Power Hour, I was picking guests, I would tell them this show was born out of one question. How do you succeed in sales and not kill yourself in the
Because I wore, as I, and as I told you it comes from my experience. I wore my Bruno as a badge of honor until it almost killed me. And I, that’s all I could think about in those 30 days in the hospital while I was recovering. How did I get here? Why did I put [00:22:00] hustling so high on the list and why didn’t I change the game so I could play a little smarter and win?
And on that note, who is, because like we were talking about earlier, wouldn’t it be better to go and figure who is mimic them to get started? Try to figure it out from
Casey Cheshire: Yeah, no need to repeat that wheel for sure. Oh have you ever found yourself in the middle of a show and you realize you’ve got someone who’s bullshitting you? They don’t really, maybe they don’t, but let’s give ’em the benefit out. But maybe they just, they don’t, like you’ve asked the question.
And you ask a follow up and there’s just nothing there.
Nicholas Thickett: I’ve had some people that you could tell that they were using it as a promotional
event. You know what I mean? Where they’re like, they know their lines. And they can regurgitate them and repeat them from different angles and reframe it, but they’re actually not saying anything useful and they’re not saying anything different then I’ve got to ha[00:23:00] a couple a little bit through cause they didn’t want to go and do a pre-call, which I learned after a couple of those that’s a must.
We lessons through pain and Yeah. And I’m like, people follow your LinkedIn content, I get that you have three to five points that. You hit on, but unless you can go and dive into why they exist, what to do about it, and how that all comes together, it’s not relevant to the audience, it’s just marketing.
And as we both know, not good marketing.
Casey Cheshire: Talk to me about that. Talk to me about, I heard you said it a couple times now and I’m really curious about your prep call. You said it’s a must now. What kind of things go into that and do you ever make exceptions?
Nicholas Thickett: Oh, that’s a hard question. That’s a good question. It comes down to one of the things I realized is that like me and you had, we had good energy when we had our prep call. The, that’s why I was so excited for this is [00:24:00] because we were actually having a conversation. One of the things that I noticed is that between that mindset and like their mindset and methodologies on the world, and then also.
Their view of the purpose of the show. If those two the old saying of like willingness to change and willingness to learn that idea, if one’s zero and one’s 10, it’s still zero. If, their mindset and methodology doesn’t align with the way I see the world. Even like remotely and we don’t have good energy, good vibe.
We’re not, I’m just getting talked. It has a horrible interview. Like you, how do you even edit that? Like maybe you can do like short clips and hand it off to them like, here you go, here’s your promo reel. But there’s no substance, there’s no depth and it’s not fun. And I noticed that when a lot of our listeners, the ones that have stayed with us, Is there, it’s your personality as the host.
Your style of going through your podcast is what brings them back. Yes. They love your guests. Yes, they,[00:25:00] there’s more to it, but they really come back for you because they love that style. And when you eliminate yourself from the process, now it’s all on them. And that goes back to now you’re riding trends.
And I think that’s why so many people when they start a podcast, they don’t realize how much work it is. Cuz my God, I was in that boat. There’s so much more, like we were talking about with distribution, right? And they don’t think about the sustainability of it and the real purpose. They just want to get, they wanna get recogniz.
And it’s almost like the sellers that they just go for commission. As soon as the money doesn’t come, what do they do?
Casey Cheshire: What do you do? What do you do in that situation when you’ve discovered your guest as a huckster, aka selling seo?
Nicholas Thickett: I’m honestly very blunt, but I am respectfully, I’m like, as we’re going through, I’m not getting somewhere where I feel like our audience is really going to [00:26:00] gravitate towards it. So you’re doing this probably cuz you wanna promote yourself, right? And you wanna get attention.
The light that we’re shining on you right now, I don’t think is going to bring people to you.
So it’s not even gonna fulfill your purpose. So I’m not winning. You are not winning. Maybe we just cut our losses and I’m happy to give you the footage if you find that beneficial. But I don’t think it’s gonna come, it’s not gonna turn out the way you would like
Casey Cheshire: Have you ever ended? Ended so early?
Nicholas Thickett: of more than a couple times, unfortunately. But that was before when I was getting rid of that pre-call. Cause I was making exceptions and I was just going you right. And you’re saying, did you make exceptions? Yeah. And every time I’ve regretted it,
Casey Cheshire: because you, every time I see something go wrong on a podcast, either I’m in or listening to you, I always think it. My theory is that you can always prevent that with some kind of question or topic or discussion on a prep call. Oh, they’re pitching too much. [00:27:00] I’ll tell them not to on a prep call.
Oh, we don’t know. They don’t, they’re not prepared to answer the question. Oh we can prepare them to answer the question, like anything, or they’re just not a good guest. Cool. We’ll skip all of that and find that out in prep call. So it’s just like such a good investment of
Nicholas Thickett: And it like, like what you did, it doesn’t need to be long either. Cause I know there’s other, other hosts that I talk to and it’s our little inner circle of everybody like this show right? That we’re, sharing trade secrets and they’re like, how long’s your pre-call one guy D does two hours.
I’m like no. Like you should be doing your research before the call to go and validate the journey you’re gonna take your audience on and what you’re gonna be asking. You shouldn’t be figuring out everything. Like it’s not a discovery call.
Casey Cheshire: Oh my God. Are you taking a two hour prep call?
Nicholas Thickett: yeah, it was, he was doing two hours of prepped, basically doing like a discovery on this person’s life to go and find those. And then would do a [00:28:00] one hour recording outside of that, in which they would book two hours. So they would do a half an hour prep again, and then a half an hour to go in.
Casey Cheshire: Does he still do this?
Nicholas Thickett: No,
Casey Cheshire: Okay. Can you introduce him to me offline?
It’s too bad. If he still was, I would love to go through that process, but I’d love to chat with him offline. Maybe. He’ll come on here. That’s fascinating because I understand the intent, right? It goes back to your very first point about, finding the story and all that, but Yeah.
I always laugh when people don’t have time, like 15 minutes to prep for a hour long podcast. So I, I don’t know if I would push a two hour
Nicholas Thickett: And he had the right intent. Like his mindset towards it is, I respect this person and I want to make them look as great as I possibly can and really put the spotlight on them by really understanding them before so I don’t get sideswiped in the middle of an interview.
But how many people do that in cold calling too?
They’re like, I’m just gonna win on the phone.[00:29:00] Or you could do a little bit of research and then it’s a beautiful compliment to a great.
Casey Cheshire: Geez. That’s so long,
Nicholas Thickett: It’s so long. I don’t know how you do. 15 minutes is fast like I get, like you have to do a lot. At any meeting, the more prep you do, the shorter it can be. And especially if you’re sending something before so the person’s mentally, ready. But I was at Pres when you’re, you did your so quick. I was like, wow.
That. Well done.
Casey Cheshire: Yeah.
Nicholas Thickett: know if I could do 15 minutes.
Casey Cheshire: Lots of practice. I wanted to shift over, and this is a question that combines these two topics. So you have stopped midway through with the wrong situation. You’ve called it what it is. Have you done that on a live show? And can we start transitioning? I’d love to hear more about.
Your live show taking? Has it always been live and what’s [00:30:00] that? That been like,
Nicholas Thickett: So the live show originally started because me and Morgan wanted to build in public, and so you, you’ll appreciate this. I was teasing Morgan. I’m like, okay, Morgan. And I respect Morgan, especially as a marketer. And I’m like,
And I’m like, explain this to me. And I don’t mean, and anyone listening, I don’t mean this to be rude.
It w I made it. I made it a bit harsh for the point, not because of the meaning, like the intent behind it. And I said, I make the money as a seller. I give it to you. You spend it to help me make money, but if our past never align and you never help me to make more money, why do you have a job? And it would be no different if sales was doing the same thing to marketing. And marketing is doing an incredible job on demand, creating really good leads that are, beyond just the basic mql. And then the sellers are just not following up or they’re, they’re waiting [00:31:00] weeks so it’s no different, right?
And so I was like, but instead of complaining about it, why don’t we go and build in public and what’s experiment of what it could actually look. And just share our journey with people and do it in a live show format because we loved talking through things and talking, like documenting what had already been done versus trying to go and make up crap as we were going, so I was like, okay, this is what we did this week. And it made it so much easier in a live show format because it was more dynamic. And we also had. Our audience chiming in and asking questions to get clarification. So we weren’t talking it too high of a level, or we weren’t going too deep in the weeds where it wasn’t relevant.
Then it wasn’t till later that someone had recommended bringing guests on to go in, bit like to expand our circle. And originally that’s where the big names came in. We’re like, oh, okay. Who do we know that would has a good reputation that we could go and have a great convers. And there was a lot of trial and error in the start of, [00:32:00] and it goes back to what we were just saying earlier, that it wasn’t a conversation.
They were talking at me. And so it really taught me and Morgan, who is better for a podcast, who’s better for a live show, that dynamics that people want to actually tune in live, not listen to the recording per se. And. You basically too if you go through the pre-call and you never want them back, if you have to go into a hour live show with them, we’ve all went and talked to kids or someone that never wanted to answer your questions and it feels like you’re pulling teeth and that’s what it turns out to be, so luckily we’ve only had add maybe one and we learned very quickly that we’re never
Casey Cheshire: Could other people tell? Because sometimes I have like just a terrible interview like this one right now, and then no one can tell. Just kidding. And then no one can tell and they’re like, that was one of your best ones. I’m like, yeah. I hated every moment of that we were just
not [00:33:00] clicking do for that.
Nicholas Thickett: There’s, because you know what to expect because it’s pattern recognition of how things go. It’s also why I think in the first little bit, you have to sprint to get enough repetitions in to know the difference. And so I would say your first 10 interviews, maybe go and say to yourself that they’re not gonna go live and make that promise that you’re gonna put that person first by putting out the best interview you possibly can.
And if it doesn’t live up to that standard, then do it outta respect outta them. Whether or not it’s for you or not is
moot, right? But.
Casey Cheshire: you’re such a nice guy. What’s but that? But that’s the way it is. It’s focusing on the guest and. And yeah. How much more important is that to prep, knowing you’re stuck in front of other people and it just makes the awkward that much more awkward? With that, I’ve got, this is one of my favorite questions.
It’s, it is brand new. Favorite
question. With a live [00:34:00] show, what would a novice get wrong?
Nicholas Thickett: Ooh, that’s a good one.
Casey Cheshire: I learned it from this guy on a podcast to ask that question. It’s pretty cool.
Nicholas Thickett: I think the hardest part about a live show where a lot of people get wrong is they forget that they also gotta build an audience. Cuz with a live show you have to go and get attendance. So it’s no different than a podcast in per se, but the, to really win at a live show, you need the dynamics of people there. The one thing that I screwed up on as a novice is I just wanted anyone and everyone, but what I realized very quickly into the journey is if I could handpick five to 20 people that I really wanted there, cause I knew that they were my audience. They were at that level of learning where when they ask questions it’s what ev it’s like high school where you had that one [00:35:00] question.
Everybody has that question and finally someone puts up their hand and asks that question, you’re like, oh, thank God you asked. Cause I wasn’t going to, but I didn’t know the answer. So thank you. And I, so it’s less is more handpicked those five to 20 people that attend and then just stay consistent.
That’s the other thing, cuz if you’re consistent, you can re-invite the people. And so it doesn’t matter how much, it just matters how consistently you show up. Same time, same place, same day, like just boom. And then what you’re doing is you build the snowball. And then once you get the snowball rolling, then you gotta ask the big question of why am I really doing this?
And what I notice a lot of people do is they’ll start. Or, and I’m sure you see this with podcasts all the time, they’ll go after sponsors to go and pay for their time to go and host the show, do distribution or whatever else. And it kills the vibe of the show because I know a lot of the GA, or the [00:36:00] sponsors that reached out to me wanted creative control.
So they wanted to go and change our intro. They wanted to go and add different segments in. And I’m like, but if you’ve actually listened to the show, it’s so unnatural to how we talk. Why would, like you’re, you’re asking for, the million dollar prize at a $5 budget, so that’s also a little misaligned.
No thank you.
Casey Cheshire: And these people that attend these groupies, these roadies, it sounds like it doesn’t have to be a large amount. You mentioned 10. It could be just enough so that what you get that. Cool input. Your guest gets the input. There’s some, there’s some wild cards there. That wasn’t the host asking some wacky question on a left field.
It was the get, it was the not the guest, the audience. And so it’s relevant and they wanna know.
Nicholas Thickett: It’s like a workshop or like when you’re, you have you’re managing a [00:37:00] team. They tell you, and there’s been a lot of research on the Golden Numbers eight that is as many people that you can actually get to know at a deep enough level. Back to pattern recognition to be able to actually coach them. And so if you have a small number, and the only reason I recommend more is if those people don’t always show up
Casey Cheshire: They’ve got a dentist appointment and now you’re suboptimal. Thanks.
Nicholas Thickett: Yeah. So you have you got yourself a buffer. Then you know these people well enough that when they show up, and if you think about it through the eyes of change management, why change? Why you, why now? They’re gonna go in as they change their point of view. Now you’re watching your whole audience shift and they’re gonna be asking those questions that everybody else is wondering and they’re gonna be getting that clarification.
So they’re almost like the producer in your ear giving you guidance on what to ask or where to go and dive a little bit deeper. And so it takes it from the solo scary thing to [00:38:00] now it’s a team sport. And that was my favorite part about doing it. And it’s honestly the thing I miss about us. Because we took a little break from doing the weekly live show and I miss it and I miss that part because we were, it was a community at that point, and the feedback was just unbelievable.
Casey Cheshire: Wow. I’m inspired, man. I wanna do that.
Nicholas Thickett: Think you crush it.
Casey Cheshire: It just sounds fun to me, just in connecting with more people than the audience. Final question around this, and I’d love to get to distribution. Live show, any kind of things you need to do to prep your guest who’s maybe used to a podcast like this where we’re just hanging, nobody’s really here.
How do you prep them to be able to roll with a live audience?
Nicholas Thickett: So almost like your email that you send out is basically let them know the rules, like just, manage the expectations. There’s gonna be idiots in [00:39:00] the comments. Ignore them. I will, any comment that’s worthwhile, I’ll go in, I’ll address it later in a q and a, or I’ll bring it up as we go.
That way it just doesn’t distract you and you’re more than welcome to even shut off the comments. You don’t see them. Just so that you don’t have to worry about somebody being a jerk and frustrating you, because there’s always that one person that couldn’t do it, and their sole job is to go and make somebody else feel inferior and that.
The, their gives their bully life.
Casey Cheshire: The troll,
Nicholas Thickett: and it’s bound to happen, but as long as you prep someone and you’re like, don’t worry about the comments,
and then I find that’s good. and also let them know the structure, like I said, of like kind of managing that expectation just so that it’s easy.
Casey Cheshire: I gotta imagine that might be one of the aspects that if you do have a guest want to come back on that. Just the, and the fact that you brought your curated crowd. Who are act, who are active, and a asking these really good questions. [00:40:00] You could have just 80 people, no one’s interacting.
But to have a chosen few who are asking the right, I mean there’s nothing quite like getting asked the right question as a
Nicholas Thickett: It feels so good. Yeah. And it was the first time I saw that, I was like, okay, why did that happen? And why did the guests so ex It was almost I think that’s another thing in life is we don’t give ourselves enough breathing room to reflect and understand why something happened. And so you hear so many people, oh, you got lucky.
Yeah, maybe the first time. But if I want to do it again, gotta figure out why it happened.
Casey Cheshire: More than one
Nicholas Thickett: And so I think if you just give yourself a little bit of space and you like write, give yourself, write down how you feel, and then if something felt really good or if something felt real, like focus on like the extremes and then peel back the onion.
And I, that’s what I started doing. And it, it made it evolve really quickly.
Casey Cheshire: So cool. I You got me inspired, [00:41:00] dude. I’m totally want, totally wanna do that. Let’s talk distribution. And is this distribution with your live audience, is it distribution? Just listeners in general, talk to me about how you view this.
Nicholas Thickett: Live on in is a lot easier because you can, if you build the snowball it, it’s just about being consistent and playing for the long game. If you’re doing it for sales, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s. The sales will come just like a podcast, but it’s because people are following your journey. They agree with your methodology, and they’re changing with you over time.
Not because it’s a transactional piece that you host one live show and magically you just made a million dollars. Like it doesn’t work that way. But distribution on you think about it. So if you’ll, I think the average podcast has less than a hundred downloads per episode.
If you look
Casey Cheshire: That makes sense.
Casey Cheshire: Hundreds a lot
for a small starting show. Yeah. A hun. Absolutely.
Nicholas Thickett: But then if you cut out those beauti, like those really [00:42:00] spicy moments or those really like spotlight moments and you put them somewhere where they can get attention
That now, like Justin Simon does is so incredibly well if you follow ’em on LinkedIn, is he talks about how to go and focus on distribution.
If I have the same amount of effort put into product. If I put a little extra time into that post-production, what other channels can I open up that can give me a wider audience? And there’s some people that just like the shorts, there’s the people that love TikTok, but they don’t go on YouTube.
And there’s people that read LinkedIn posts, but they won’t go and read like an HBR article. And so you’re also playing to the different way people like to consume information. And you might only get a hundred downloads and if they’re the right people, that’s powerful. But now you add in, I got 500 here and a hundred there, and another thousand here and 2,500 there.
It really adds up fast. And if you get those people where they [00:43:00] really see the value and they want to go on that journey with you, the snowball just keeps building and next thing it’s growing and growing.
Casey Cheshire: Love snowballs, man. Love. Love the fact that it can continue and continue. W we both love this thing. That being said, what would you say is the challenging part for you? What’s the most challenging part about shows and podcasting?
Nicholas Thickett: Time, time requirements
Casey Cheshire: Yeah.
Nicholas Thickett: I think is cuz if you think of like return on effort, if you’re not really dialed in, why you’re doing it. I think that’s why so many people give up quickly cuz it’s like a New Year’s resolution. They underestimate the time required per episode. And yes, it gets, it gets better as you do it more and it also gets better as you can, outsource certain pieces that you don’t love doing.
But it’s a commitment nonetheless. And I think. That’s when we first started. What shocked me the most is just how much time and effort. [00:44:00] The easiest part is the production. The easiest part is doing this, especially when you have the right guest and a great host. That it makes it so much fun, but.
Like the prep and the research and getting ready and making sure that they’re ready. And then also all the distribution and like making sure that it lives outside of that first week. I I had Nick Bennett on my show and he reached out to me and he’s Nick when is our show going live?
I’m like Nick Bennett. It’s been live for four months. And he’s so he never thought to let me know or post anything on social. And I think that it’s so common that build it and they will come is the me the mindset that most people have.
And that was just a beautiful lesson from, and Nick is such a great,
guy, that he was so respectful about it, that he helped me see the light and then I never did it again.
Casey Cheshire: You gotta let people [00:45:00] know, and even then they may not share it or pay attention to it, but if you’re right, if you don’t, you’ll never know. Getting the word out there, man. I have a bit of a hypothetical question for you. Let’s say we chat again in 50 episodes from now, 50 50 more live shows from you.
What’s your vision for your show? Where do you see it going? And we chat again and hopefully we chat before then. But let’s say we chat in a year’s worth of time. Do you see changes happening? Where do you see it?
Nicholas Thickett: I think that the industry, the sales profession right now in for the first time in a long time is being forced to change out of necessity, where the stupid advice of just do more is no longer relevant or useful. And so I think in 50 episodes of now of like. How do you succeed in sales and not kill yourself?
In the process, there’s gonna be people that are really listening and [00:46:00] looking for ways outside of the tradition that doesn’t work. And so we’re gonna go in. My biggest thing that I’m trying to push is buyers are not guilty until proven innocent. It is the other way around and it, once you understand that marketing now has more purpose, sales development is about preparing people to buy.
Not convincing them to buy. And it changes the whole dynamic. And I wish people knew. What I’ve seen in the past year is that when you nurture properly and you really build that trust and credibility at scale, that they really understand you. They really understand their own problems because of going on that journey with you that it’s I know that this tailor, this is where I wanna buy my.
And the only reason I’m gonna come to you is when I’m ready to get it customized, because mentally I’ve already bought it.
Casey Cheshire: Yeah.
Nicholas Thickett: But what do most people do instead is they try to chase that person and then hound them to get everything [00:47:00] done. And so they extend this entire process. And so what, would take a they make it a year in all reality, the first 11 months.
When you do it the other way around is demand done at scale, one to few, one to many, the scalable way, and then the last month is all tailoring, but they’ve raised their hand, they’ve opted in. So it’s no longer spam. It’s no longer guilty until proven innocent. Now it’s about, okay, you understand your problem.
Now let’s find the best way to get to the value. You need to move the dial. Or this isn’t worth doing it all.
Casey Cheshire: All right. Make sure it’s worth doing it. That’s how you get over the slumps. That’s how you get over the time. All those challenges, man. Powerful. Not a live show. Maybe the next time we chat we’ll make that happen.
Nicholas Thickett: In.
Casey Cheshire: man. So cool. Thank you for coming on here, [00:48:00] schooling me up on these things, giving me the noce novice lessons that I need to to implement something like this.
I’m totally gonna do that for my my marketing podcast. Gonna just let her rip, see what happens. Cuz I’m dying to know who those people. They’ve been downloading for years. I would love, I’d love to see if we can’t inspire a few of them to come
Nicholas Thickett: I would be very surprised if you didn’t get a healthy amount that come out. And whenever you’re ready, just let me know and I’m happy to go and give you tips. You don’t have to repeat our mistakes, and I can go ahead and clarify a few things. And thank you for having me. Thank you for this. Thank you for doing your research and asking great questions and really creating a great environment to have a good conversation.
And I can only imagine the lives you’ve touched by doing this. And the tacit knowledge and the, the mistakes that people are like, oh Casey said if I don’t, if I don’t do this, then it’s not gonna work. Or if I do this, it’s gonna go better. So thank you so much and thank you for inviting me to be on the journey.
Casey Cheshire: Absolutely, man. Absolutely. Feeling is mutual. And for those listening, [00:49:00] if you learn something, and I freaking know you did because I got pages upon pages of notes over here, front and back. Then share this with someone else. Be a thought leader, like one person, three people, 9,000, whatever. But put your own takeaways on it.
Your own touch, your own spin. What did you get from this? What kind of takeaways around, spotting the bullshit and. The pre-call being so important and what in the stories that we shared about when we didn’t do it and all the pain that occurred. So hopefully that’ll inspire folks. But yeah, if you learn something, share this with thing.
And again, Nick, you’re awesome. I’m so glad to know you now and I can’t wait to follow you and Morgan and see your show progress and grow, and I’m just excited, man. So thank you
Nicholas Thickett: thank you I can’t wait to go and chat again. And hey, when you’re ready to go and do that live
show, let me know. I’ll help you out.
Casey Cheshire: Hell yeah. I’m planting the sword, the flag on the ground right now. I’m gonna make that shit happen. Dude, thank you so much. This [00:50:00] has been just a powerful episode of creating the Greatest Show. We will see you all next time.