John Livesay’s Podcast Is Pitch Perfect
Few things in life can compare to the satisfaction of watching your hard work come to fruition. For John Livesay, honorably dubbed “The Pitch Whisperer”, the journey to becoming a renowned podcast host, keynote sales speaker, and storytelling guru was no exception. A rising star in several of his business ventures, Livesay has been featured in Forbes Magazine, made appearances on ABC, Fox News, and even performed as a keynote speaker for TEDx. His podcast, The Successful Pitch, offers listeners inside secrets for delivering an unforgettable pitch, guaranteed to get your investors listening.
Like any great comeback story though, Livesay didn’t start his journey from the top. So, to what does Livesay credit his success?
After a decade of work at Conde Nast’s W Magazine, in 2009 John invariably found himself caught up in a series of major corporate layoffs – despite being one of the top performing sales directors in the business. A crushing blow not only to his professional career, but also his self esteem, Livesay touches on the subject in his wildly popular book, The Successful Pitch.
“I had to reinvent myself, but I decided I wasn’t going to become bitter about it.”
A relentlessly positive attitude helped John navigate a difficult period in his life and eventually led him to discover his own creative calling – The Successful Pitch podcast. Livesay recalls, “My original focus was to build my network of investors, so that when people hired me to help them create a pitch, I could make the right introductions.” What he couldn’t know at the time was that that initial idea would serve as the springboard for what was to become a much larger project – teaching the art of storytelling. But, why podcasting? With so much experience in the realm of high-level sales, what was the appeal of, essentially, starting from scratch?
Livesay explains that, “Podcasting was the best way to be seen as a journalist and to have something to offer them [investors]”. Not only did the podcast give him a platform by which he could establish a foundation of reputability, it also allowed him to offer potential client’s the opportunity for brand awareness and promotion through guest appearances. This approach differentiated him from the competition and earned him a small window of entrance he needed to do what John does best – pitch. Through his podcast, John was able to gain access to a multitude of high-level investors, and entrepreneurs and CEOs, steadily building his network which he would capitalize on in the future.
But the momentum didn’t stop there. While Livesay continued to build relationships with these investors and would-be clients, as John puts it, “suddenly 10 episodes turned into a book, the book turned into TV appearances, and the TV appearances eventually led me to do the TEDx talk. Now I have more and more speaking opportunities.”
Of course, diving headfirst into a start-up was not without its moments of uncertainty. For Livesay, the biggest obstacle in the journey to success was overcoming his fear of failure and the fear of the unknown. In his TEDx talk, Be the Lifeguard of Your Own Life, he discusses these setbacks in detail and how he found the strength and resources to overcome them:
“If I hadn’t found people like Brandcasting, who produces the podcast for me, I wouldn’t have done it The fact that you guys go above and beyond is really what separates you. When I see my guests tweeting out that ego bait, and they weren’t tweeting my podcast before…that kind of stuff is really top notch.”
When asked about advice he might offer to newcomers just beginning their podcasting experience, Livesay had a few things to highlight:
1. Don’t Give up
It may seem like an obvious point, but what most often defeats new podcasters is their own expectations of success and the timeline in which they expect to achieve certain results. As John can say from experience, “The long game is really where the outcome is.” He talks about this idea of failure, and how many wonderful success stories have actually originated from this place of despair in his episode with Jay Samit called, “Disrupt You!”
2. When It Comes to Guests, Do Your Homework
Really knowing your guests and what they have to offer can mean the difference between a one-time appearance and a long-term relationship. Take the time to truly prepare for any guest appearances on your show. If they have a book, an article, or a well-circulated interview, brush up on it! Asking specific questions comes from knowing your material well. At the end of the day, your goal should be asking your guest unique questions, questions that show demonstrate you understand their ideas, their values, and their message.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want
As Livesay is fond of saying, “Your network is your net worth”. Ask your guests to introduce you to other potential guests. Continue to build your network at the same time that you build your brand name – the two go hand in hand!