Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed podcaster, author and marketing expert Hilmon Sorey about his life, his career, and the work that goes into making his podcasts, including The Winning Zone Podcast and Startup Sales And Marketing Podcast.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I am the co-founder of ClozeLoop a global sales strategy, training, and enablement firm; the co-founder of CoachCRM the only platform for managing coaching plans, activities, and outcomes for sales representatives; author of 8 books on sales and sales management; the host of The Winning Zone Podcast, and co-host of the Startup Sales & Marketing Podcast. So I stay pretty busy!
How and why did you start podcasting?
I am fortunate in that in my work I encounter really interesting thought leaders, authors, and practitioners. On a weekly basis I would find myself doing a poor job of sharing an insight or a practice that someone had conveyed with me in conversation. My enthusiasm for the idea would overshadow my ability to clear articulate what was said. But clients, colleagues and others who would listen would invariably say, “that’s SO interesting, I wish I could have been there.”
So I started thinking about having these conversations in a way that I could bring people along and afford an audience an opportunity to “get ideas from the horse’s mouth.” And The Winning Zone was born!
Startup Sales & Marketing was a little different. It’s very specific to a practice area at my firm. There are too many startup founders who are trying to bring innovative products to market based upon poor or outdated advice, and misconceptions about go-to-market strategy. The have a finite amount of capital, or runway, to make moves that are critical to the survival of their business so my colleague Ned Arick and I decided to open source our expertise and our network to have tactical conversations that equip startup founders with what they need to drive revenue at an early stage.
What are your current podcasts called, and how did you come up with the name?
The Winning Zone is named after a concept in my book Triangle Selling. The Winning Zone is essentially your zone of competitive differentiation. The place where you outpace the competition, and the area in which you should concentrate your focus.
The Startup Sales & Marketing Podcst is pretty self explanatory. It is what it is!
What platforms can we find your podcasts on?
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google, and Audible
What sre your podcasts about?
The Winning Zone (TWZ) is a place for thought leaders, authors, and practitioners who are innovating in the space of management and leadership to come and discuss the topics that are having a dramatic impact on corporate or individual performance.
The Startup Sales & Marketing Podcast brings startup founders (both those who have already successfully met the early stage challenges and those who are in the process) to the audience to discuss go-to-market strategy, tactics, and war stories. Being a founder can be a lonely place. It’s a unique and all-consuming role. This podcast creates a community and discussion around the issues being faced.
Do you host alone, or have guest hosts/partners?
TWZ I host alone. SSM I have a co-host.
Do you edit your own podcasts or have someone who does it for you?
When you say edit, I’m assuming you just mean production. We don’t edit anything. If it’s said – it gets shipped that way! But yes, I do have a team member who handles all post production, drops in music and intro’s and outtros.
Do you script your podcasts, or just chat as you go?
I absolutely do NOT script either podcast. I do my research and then we chat a we go.
How have your podcasts changed or developed since you began?
Originally my intention for TWZ was to bring C-Level executives of growth companies or companies that had recently IPO-ed to the conversation. But what I found was that the audience was actually made up of those roles and they were less interested in hearing from peers, than in hearing from experts and thought leaders who could provide insights on how they can either personally excel or bring concepts back to their team. So I pivoted about 10 episodes in, to meet what my audience was asking me for.
What are you biggest challenges with your podcasts?
The biggest challenge is finding time in my calendar! Guests have been very accommodating with early mornings or evenings.
What are your favourite podcasts to listen to?
I’m currently loving “The Tides of History”, I really enjoyed “Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History”. Do you sense a theme? I’m a huge history fan. I love many of the Wondery podcasts including “Business Wars”, and their true crime series. I think Jason does a great job on The Angel Podcast and All-In is one of the few group formats I enjoy.
How and where do you promote your podcasts?
Exclusively LinkedIn and Twitter. Those two are where I have the largest following.
Do you earn money from podcasting, or is it a hobby?
I don’t directly earn money. But I have had a lot of client engage with my company because of the expertise demonstrated in conversations with guests. A LOT of startup founders reach out to join our startup accelerator based upon the insights and advice we offer on Startup Sales & Marketing.
What’s something you never expected about podcasting? What have you learned that surprised you?
My original major in college was Journalism and I wanted to focus on broadcast. But I was terrible and quickly changed to psychology. I’ve learned that with each episode I become a better listener.
I’ve also been so awed at the depths that people have explored topics that are interesting to them. Human being’s nature for curiosity and problem-solving is truly remarkable. There are many, incredibly fascinating people in the world and I’ve been fortunate to have conversations with some of them.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to start podcasting?
Don’t take yourself too seriously just be authentic. In much the same way that you have a cadre of friends and people who love you in real life… your tribe will find you as an audience if you don’t try to manufacture a personality.
And, finally, are your proud of what you’re accomplishing with your podcast? Is it worth the effort?
I am! I mean, as with my books there are things I reflect on and cringe. I skim through just about every episode and identify places where I could do better. But then I just try to do better! It’s incredibly rewarding. I hear from my audience all the time about takeaways, or light-builb moments… for me that’s what it’s all about!
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