Jeb Blount: how to be a great podcast guest

Philip has gone on record saying you shouldn't try to emulate superstar performers. HOWEVER, you can learn a lot from way-above-average performers.

Liston recently interviewed Jeb Blount, and this brush with greatness led to some interesting lessons we discussed in today's episode.

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Full Transcript


This transcript was made by robots, so it's far from perfect.

Liston Witherill
Welcome to offline, a podcast about building a 100% online and remote expertise driven business without the bullshit, posted remotely by me, Liston Witherill.

Philip Morgan
And me, Philip Morgan. You'll learn how we're building our businesses, what scares the shit out of it, and hear from our friends and experts who are building their own businesses to welcome to offline.

Liston Witherill
Philip Morgan,

Philip Morgan
Liston Witherill

Liston Witherill
Is that what you're ready? Is that what you're waiting for? For me to start the podcast?

Philip Morgan
Well, I figured I'd give you the first mover advantage. Okay, you're gonna need it. Oh, I've got some tough some tough questions lined up for you today. Okay,

Liston Witherill
I'm ready. Now, have you listened to the run the jewels album? I don't. Maybe we talked about this briefly on the podcast.

Philip Morgan
So I feel so bad. When you ask that I listened to it once and I thought this is a you know, this is a solid album. Especially you know, these days in the world of hip hop. And haven't listened to it again. Part of it's just been because my mood lately has been more of this indie rock mood and less of a hip hop mood. Okay, so I haven't you express some initial what's the word? assignment too strong. underwhelmed?

Liston Witherill
Yeah, not disappointment, but under a dome, I would say by. Um, so I've heard a lot of people describe art as you want people to love it or hate it, but you really don't want to land in between those two poles. Mm hmm. And I guess it just did. There was nothing about it that felt fresh or different. Or, you know, I don't need it to be revelatory in any sense, but I don't know. It just didn't move me as much as the past efforts. And actually, the second album to me was by far the best and the third one was a little bit Have a miss. And this one was more of a mess, in my opinion.

Philip Morgan
It's interesting because the unit of measurement is the album, right? Like if if music was released as a continuous in a drip drip drip of singles or if albums were not considered albums unless they had 50 songs on them. Mm hmm. We'd be looking at this differently. Have your music tastes changed? Is that part of what's different here?

Liston Witherill
No, you know, I sort of feel like the old guy who still thinks the music that came out around the time I was in high school or in college is still the best music that's ever gonna be made. And I say that half jokingly but yeah, it's partially true and it's partially a joke. I don't know what the hell the kids are listening to these days. I don't think it's that my music tastes have changed that much. But I do expect to hear some growth. I'd also point out that I think you're right, which is not a lot of people think In terms of albums anymore, like my sister, I don't I don't know that she's ever bought an album. She buys singles on iTunes, and that's how she grew up.

Philip Morgan
Yeah, if you listen to Bob or read Bob bless that seal, you know, talk about how people I don't know where he's coming from exactly with this, but how people hated you know, paying whatever CD cost 1618 bucks, I think at the height of the CD heyday, for like one good song. And so, you know, from that perspective, it's, it's like this big improvement that you can just, you know, one it just to consume the app, the song level rather than the album level. And maybe if that's how we were used to thinking about it or not, we're Oh,

Liston Witherill
yes, I mean, it's just a totally different medium now, because when I think of an album like Pink Floyd the wall or the Beatles, Yellow Submarine, or more recently, some of the roots out Or to live quality and DJ high tech train of thought it takes an hour or more to tell that story. And you can't, you know, what you can do in an hour is just very different than what you can do. And now songs are going back to like two minutes. You know, it's I

Philip Morgan
know that if you're judged on a per song basis, and then people create their own like experience of you. And maybe they think you're amazing, even though the last quote unquote album sucked, right? Or they do what I do very often, which is go to Spotify, and just listen to the most stream songs from an artist when they're sort of sampling that artist.

Liston Witherill
That's what I do, too, is like, I'm like, What do other people think is good? And I'll start there.

Philip Morgan
Listen, who is Jeb blunt? I really, I mean, I looked at his website for two seconds, but I don't know who's who's just like,

Liston Witherill
Okay, hold on, hold on. So now, tell me what did you glean from his website? I'm interested. What do you think Jeb blunt does or who do you think he is?

Philip Morgan
He's saying guy, I think okay, I mean, that was the level of depth that I got into it.

Liston Witherill
Yeah. So you're right. So Jeb blunt is the creator of sales gravy.com, which is a sales training business. He's also the author of a very successful author of many different sales books. And he has I learned after talking to him a very successful training business where he has, I don't know, like 50 or 60 employees, something like that, which I did not know at the time.

Philip Morgan
With the books, are we talking like New York Times bestseller levels of credibility or more of a, like kind of a niche, self published approach or?

Liston Witherill
No, no, I think he has major publishers. Let's take a look at that. I believe that okay, Wiley, it looks like is his main imprint. So yeah, fanatical prospecting. I think His most popular book that has 996 Amazon reviews. And yeah, it was published by Wiley. He has three other books with over 100 reviews. He's very prolific Actually, I'm looking now.

Philip Morgan
Have you have you read any? I guess you have not read any of his books, though.

Liston Witherill
That's not true. So he was on my podcast, which is why we're talking about this. And I read his most recent book called inked, which is about negotiation like what are what are the things you could do to finalize a sale? I have also read fanatical prospecting. So okay, he he has a box set that has 1234567 titles in it, which is impressive.

Philip Morgan
How long has he been doing what he does?

Liston Witherill
Um, that's a really good question. I don't know the answer. answer to that I'm looking for the release date of fanatical prospecting, which was 2015. My guess is probably 10 to 20 years. One thing that was immediately impressive to me is he seems to really have the delegation and the team side of it dialed in to enable him to produce this amount. So, you know, he's already written a book on virtual selling, that's 80,000 words which he started when COVID started. So, yeah, yeah.

Philip Morgan
All right. So we bring up Jeb blunt because you interviewed him for modern sales. And then we talked Not long after that, and you were super impressed with the dude. Why?

Liston Witherill
So I was, gosh, I hope I don't offend him at all. Because I thought First of all, he was immediately very nice, seem to know what he was talking about. But I'm going to be kind of crass in the way I see. On this up, he just really had a shit together. So he was first of all first impression is he's in a professional studio, I mean, close to what you would expect from like your local news station. He's got a podium. He's got a big screen behind him. He has his logo, professional lighting up, lighting down lighting, back lighting, front lighting. He has a producer flipping the camera angle occasionally. Mm hmm. And then he's standing at the podium. And so that was the first thing is the pro setup I thought was really it just obviously visually separated him.

Philip Morgan
I feel like there's this line. And it's different for different people, depending on what they do. You go beyond that line. And it looks like you're really Wow, you really worked at that professional, you know, videos set up, and then you stop just short of it. It's like people don't quite Notice that at the same level, but it still has the same effect of like, wow, you just, you look great. You sound great. When I think of what I've seen of Krista, which is not much, he's like gone beyond that line, or he's gone beyond where that line would be for like a consultant. And he's now in the like, I'm an internet personality territory with how he shows up online. And I'm curious if like, how you parse that was Jeb blunt?

Liston Witherill
Yeah, I mean, it was the quality of well produced like Internet show. Mean, which is kind of the the, what I would describe Chris doe as as well. I mean, when you watch his interviews, great lighting, great sound, multiple angles, often in a professional studio, like I've seen, he's had videos where he does kind of a quote unquote classroom setting. But of course, it's incredibly staged, just as like creative live would be, right. But you can see him at the board. And there's people asking questions. And it's I mean, it looks like something you would view, maybe even on Netflix, it's just like it happens to be business related content. But if you think about it, just just switch the subject. And if Chris doe was talking about doing like, focus groups for political questions, it would look the part. And I'm I thought that Jeb blunt was exactly on that same kind of wavelength in terms of how professional it was. Cool. So that was the first thing I noticed. The next thing is, I asked what I wanted to focus on. So he has this book about negotiation. It's called EA. And whenever I have an author, I like to choose one small part of the book and focus on that and dive a little bit deeper. So that I don't get there like canned. Here's the 30 minutes I it's of stuff I say about the book every single time. I don't want that. And so I chose this bit about planning for negotiation, which is, I think one or two chapters in his book, and the book is like, you know, 35 chapters or something. So the chapters are pretty short. And it was not a conversation. I mean, he was like, just firing, you know, like, he, he was like, Oh, yeah, that Okay, hold on. Let me go get my board. Right. And so he goes and gets a flip chart. And he's like, drawing pictures on the flip chart. And I think I'm boring. Hold on,

Philip Morgan
hold up. So this, this is an audio podcast, but he's like in full video mode.

Liston Witherill
Okay. So here's another thing. So back to the professionalism, right. Yeah. When we started, he goes, Okay, so do you want to talk about what do you want to talk about today? And I said, well, initially, I reached out to you about inked I said, but since all this COVID stuff I thought maybe remote selling, and he goes wild writing a book on remote selling, and I was like, Yeah, okay, right. And so I said, Well, what if we had two shorter conversations and I published them a separate podcast episodes. And he's like, great. And he goes, hold on. And so he goes in, he gets his copy of inked, and he sets it on the desk. And I said, Jeff, really nice of you to do that. But I'm not publishing the video. He goes, Oh, why not? And I said, that's a larger conversation. I don't think we have time to have it. And he goes, Well, I tell you what just recorded and send me send it to me and I'll publish it.

Unknown Speaker
Wow.

Liston Witherill
Right. And I said, No,

Philip Morgan
I let me I'm saying wow, because he's just so able to go with whatever you're throwing at him.

Liston Witherill
Totally. That Exactly. It was just like, Oh, yeah, I have someone who will do that. Don't send it to me, my team will. They'll cut it up. They'll put it into separate episodes, and then we'll mention you whenever we put it up. I was like, boy, do I feel like a loser right now? So I, you know, I think that was, yeah, that was just surprising because i have i've never interacted with someone who was just like, totally unfazed by everything and had an answer for everything. So we started recording the first episode, which was all about negotiation, and in particular, negotiation planning, which I'm thinking, well, this is like, you know, one 20th of his book, we'll just have kind of a conversation about this, but man, I asked one question, and I'm pretty sure he didn't stop talking for like, 10 minutes. How did

Philip Morgan
that feel like you're not used to that you're used to being a pretty activist podcast host interrupting people steering the conversation, right?

Liston Witherill
I wouldn't go that far. I try to be an interviewer. I don't. I don't particularly like podcast hosts who constantly feel the need to assert themselves. Okay? Because I just think something's lost. Like, I'll give you an example, right? If Joe Rogan is talking to Hannibal buress, another comedian, they're just gonna it's gonna be banter for two or three hours and they're just going to be riffing on each other. But if he's talking to, he had this woman on Barbara freeze, I think is her name. And she published a book about corporate denial, which is a fascinating topic. He basically asked questions and then she talked right, okay, and then he kind of steer the conversation that way that's more my style on modern sales. But I will say it felt a little in congruent or disproportionate that he was talking so long without and trust me. I was looking for times to jump in. But yeah, he was also talking a mile a minute, which is not a bad thing. It's it I think the main point I'm trying to make is he just knew what to say already. He had the answers. If he was in a corporate training, and someone said, How do I plan for a negotiation? He would have been like, I'm glad you asked, right? And went off on this whole same thing. And it was like that together, where it felt like, this is an enterprise corporate level thing. Now, and so he's like drawing pictures. He's got diagrams. I mean, he's just on it, like he just has. It was just striking. How, I guess just professional it seemed. Now, I don't agree with everything he said. In fact, I disagree with a lot of things he said, and I think he left out some bigger meta themes. Like, should we negotiate? It's like a question that I would ask, right? Like, do you even want to do that in your business and like, how do you think about that? And to be fair, that wasn't the topic. It was how do I plan for negotiation if I have one coming up, but I just I was very blown away by how sort of precise he was the whole way through.

Philip Morgan
Where do you I mean, did you ask him? Did you say like, Dude, this was amazing. How are you so good at this? Or do you have speculation? I'll add like one of the things that I have said a lot is like writing is often the practice for making a point in a conversation, you know, a prospect or client or in a consulting situation or whatever. So I feel like that's one way you get to that level is writing about these ideas a lot. Sounds like he does write a lot. Where do you Why do you think he was so polished?

Liston Witherill
Well, I think a couple things. I think he does write a lot. So I agree with you. I actually. So as fate has it unrelated to this podcast today, I published an article on my site about how to become Come a podcast guests like, how do you pitch yourself? What do you do when you go on? And I had a section in there how to be a great guest. And what I've noticed is better guests tend to write on a regular basis. Even if they go on a lot of podcasts. What I find is, and for me, too, if someone asked me a question about something I've already written about, I'm going to sound over the top articulate about it. And it's simply because I've already taken the time to sort through, how do I think about this? What major points do I think are relevant to make, and how do they all tie together? And so I think clearly, writing is a really big part of it. And I'd be hard pressed to find someone who's a really adept speaker who isn't just charismatic or entertaining, but has substance which is another topic for another time. Who doesn't right? Right, I could not understand how someone could have a density of communication. That's impressive, like Scott Galloway is clip on Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta. So he gives this whole rant about not rant. Actually, that's the wrong word. He gives an impressively logical and structured argument about why higher education is going to be totally disrupted, and it's being accelerated by COVID. Right. And just how lucid and cogent that argument is, is incredibly impressive to do in five minutes. I mean, Anderson Cooper look dumbfounded. I don't think Sanjay Gupta said more than 10 words the whole time, which you're not used to seeing from talking heads on the news. Now, just to apply your question about Jeb to Scott Galloway, by the way, I'm on a first name basis with all these people. Obviously, you know how to Scott Galloway becomes That good or that sharp? Well, I think the answer is doing it for 10 or 20 years is like, you can't discount the value of that. Because, yeah, you know, how many times has he written about or made an argue of argument about higher education? And my guess is 20 to 50, at least.

Philip Morgan
Yeah, I watched that clip afterwards. And I think it's taking away a little bit from him to say, Well, he was weaving together in a sort of a live setting. Things that he's written, like that kind of diminishes the art of the weaving together in a live situation. Like there's an art to that. I think. I think Are you Are you someone who's I disagree with you? Someone else? interviewed someone? Oh, yeah. Yeah, we're gonna we'll talk about that. But like, it's not like eating, you know, from his book on the podcast. Well, so let's do that.

Liston Witherill
Okay, so one of our favorite topic. on here is hip hop. And one of the things that you and I both recommend is black thoughts. 11 minute freestyle on funkmaster flex. Well, it's not as if Black thought is reading that. But he said before he's like, if you ever want to be able to do what I did you have to write. And so those rhymes were committed to memory, separately separate skill. How do I do that for 11 minutes uninterrupted without ever making a mistake? That's a different skill. Right? But you can't have one without the other. And I think that's what I would say about Scott Galloway is like, the substance of the argument was not devised on the spot, the way he said it. And the way he connected everything. Maybe it was the first time it came out exactly like that. But basically, the content was there and he had to deliver it.

Philip Morgan
Yeah, and I think I'm saying I think we're largely agreeing, I'm saying that the delivery of the content is also important. Like you could do really good at the writing part, and then suck at the delivery part. Because you're switching from one context to another, you're switching from this writing context where you have all this time and, and then you're switching into this live context live TV. I don't know if it is anymore, but well, and also saying,

Liston Witherill
you know, with Scott Galloway, or you mentioned Matt Levine early on, or Matt Taibbi, this article, or this journalist who I've been following a lot lately, who's writing is incredible. You know, another thing to mention is there's the substance of what they're saying. The argument, the quality of the argument, how it all comes together, how they tie disparate ideas, but then there's also the style, which I think is why we like those three writers. I know it's why you like Matt Levine,

Philip Morgan
because it's funny. Yeah, he's funny, right? But in this dry, snarky is not the Yeah, he's particular kind of funny.

Liston Witherill
Well in Scott Galloway too. I mean, here, here's a historically extremely dry topic. And we both like Ben Thompson, but pretty dry writing, and but they write about the same things, which is business strategy in particular tech strategy. And Scott Galloway style is completely different.

Philip Morgan
Yeah. I fear that listeners might think we're saying you have to be as good as these people to get on a podcast. You don't, I don't. And I don't think that's it at all. But maybe we can wind up with like, what? Because I feel like the value of talking about these folks dissecting these examples interrupting myself for a second I love pointing people to this particular interview that howard stern did with Madonna. have this really example of just like artful interviewing where, you know, he's, he's somewhat activist in managing the interview, but he's not overshadowing her at all. he's a he's talking about himself. He's not doing what Tim Ferris does, which is kind of make it all about himself. He's just walking that line so artfully. So I think we can learn from these people who are better than we are. What do you think we can learn from them? Maybe that's our our takeaway here.

Liston Witherill
So, I mean, I think I captured this in the article that I posted to my site today. I think the main thing is if so I agree with you. The goal isn't to be Jeb or to be Scott or to be howard stern or to be Madonna. The goal is, what's one thing I can take away from this so that I can be better at my craft? And I think for me, the obvious thing is, if you're going to be a podcast guest and you want to be a memorable one, and you want to be one that's going to, you know, impress the host, which is also important. You got to show up prepared, and I think that there's nothing that Jeb did to support Prepare for my podcast. I don't know that for a fact, I didn't ask him. But my guess is he could have done this on any podcast, he could have had another one immediately after and done the same thing. You know, maybe on one of his other books.

Philip Morgan
It wasn't some special unicorn moment of brilliance for him he had prepared to perform at this level.

Liston Witherill
It was just like pure. Yes, exactly. It was like professional performance. And I feel that if you don't write, and you're self employed, boy, is it going to be hard for you to do any sort of lead gen. If you're not going to make it strictly on referrals. I really think you need to be able to write which seems like a counterintuitive takeaway when we started out talking about podcasting, but I think, you know, I love

Philip Morgan
that this turned into really turned into a podcast about writing.

Liston Witherill
Well, I love I think writing makes you just sharper on all of your opinions on all of your arguments. And you know, if you want a different Get yourself from the marketplace. One of the ways to do that is through ideas. And if you can convey good ideas in a cogent way, then that's going to go a long way for you.

Philip Morgan
It sounds like a dumb question. But I think maybe it's not why does impressing the host matter?

Liston Witherill
Well, you probably want to get asked back, that would be good to always have the option of going back on. I think also, there's a variety of things that can happen after the podcast that are good for you that the host doesn't have to do a link back to your site, marketing it to their email list, marketing it to their social media. If you ever want to call in a favor, have them on your podcast, get them to write a blurb for your book, all kinds of other reasons. So, you know, I think, instead of looking at it as a one time transaction, it's good to show up and be interesting and really show that you care about delivering something valuable to them into their audience.

Philip Morgan
I will add two things and then we'll wrap up. One is that I've gotten some of the same kind of benefits you're talking about from being an really good post a good interviewer, and doing that side of it as well. So I think it works both ways. The second thing is my favorite tip with interviewing authors is wait until their books been out about which might be hard with this Jeb blunt guy, cuz he's probably releasing a book every six months, but wait six months until after the book is out and approach them for an interview, then you can ask them about anything other than the book and they will probably eagerly say yes, because they're humans. They're not machines. They've gotten sick of talking about their book at that point, because they've talked endlessly about it. So you have this window of opportunity to say, hey, you want to talk about this other weird thing. If I wanted to be interview, Ryan Holiday, I would wait till he releases a book, wait six months and then asked him about this parenting email list that he's doing or he's involved in in some way. For as an example of that, listen, it was great talking to you, my man.

Liston Witherill
It was great to talk to you and it was great to be live streamed. Thank you Philip.

Philip Morgan
Feels special feels all tingly doesn't it does indeed. Bye

Philip Morgan