How Books Help You Showcase Your Expertise as a Business Owner
Are you thinking of writing a book to showcase your expertise as a business owner? If so, you will enjoy my conversation with today’s guest, Michael DeLeon. Michael is the founder of Paperback Expert, which turns experts into authors and teaches them to use their books as a marketing tool. Join us as we discuss Michael’s journey from marketer, to minister, to business owner, along with the importance of retaining your own voice in your content, why impersonal, insta-tactics never work, and the importance of authentic storytelling in your marketing.
Transcribed by Buzzsprout
know what we’re doing. All right, hello, hello and welcome to this episode of the Ready at Podcast. I’m excited to introduce you to Michael DeLon. Did I say that correctly? You did say it correctly. Yeah, one for Erin. I always say it helps growing up with people from 22 different countries in the city of Chicago because it made us good at pronouncing things. But I’m excited to have you here today because here’s the thing: I have a degree in journalism, so I’m a bit of a writer, so I love talking to people in that industry. So, before we jump in all that, why don’t you give everybody a little more formal introduction of who you are and what you do?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So let me dive into what I do. Then I want to back up all the way to the beginning. Okay, Awesome.
I love a good origin story.
That’s right. So we turn experts into authors, who turn their books into clients. We do it in under 24 hours without writing guaranteed. Very cool, now let me back here. I was. This all started back in 1990 when I got married to my wife Jill. We’ve been married 33 years. We have four kids. Yeah, thank you, four kids, two biological sons, two adopted daughters. We did foster care for about eight years. Oh wow, about 25 kids.
That’s always been one of my things Like seriously huge.
Oh, I think that’s cool. Yeah, I love it. It was great for us, great for them, and I got our first. We got our daughters from foster care. They were our first and our last kids, so oh my gosh. So back in 90, when my life and I got married, we Jill and our complete opposites. Our first five years were like this. Gotta love it, good job.
What were you thinking?
We, yeah, seriously. We both grew up in church, but nobody ever taught us how to be married. Okay, I’m a follower of Christ, but just reading about it, yeah they don’t teach you how to do how to get along with other human beings?
So the first five years were really a struggle for us. We went to a marriage conference after five years, called Family Life Marriage Weekend to Remember. As part of Campus Crusade for Christ. I sat through a weekend conference and they showed us God’s blueprints for marriage. Erin, I did not know God had blueprints for marriage. It would have been nice to know years before. It’s like duh. So we got the blueprints, we applied them. Our marriage started growing. It was awesome.
In the 90s I was selling Christian radio in Indiana. After two years I realized nobody wants to buy Christian radio. What they want is to sell their products and services. So I had to make a decision and I had to become either really good at selling or really good at marketing. So I chose marketing and I bought the books. I went to the conferences. I followed the gurus. I learned how to do marketing for small business owners. My business grew through the 90s. It was great. At the end of the 90s, God let us out of the radio station to a startup. Back in the days when Amazon was just getting started. You remember William Shatner on the radio.
I am of the age I was in the commercial real estate business during the dot com. Okay, so there you go. So when?
Williams on the radio talking about Amazon and all this stuff. I’m selling banner ads and websites to car dealerships and hospitals who don’t know anything about the internet. Well, that company was started by some friends of mine. It was ahead of its time, which means it went bankrupt. And so, after two years, I’m standing in my living room looking up at the ceiling going, god, what am I supposed to do now? And he spoke to my heart. He said, Michael, I want you to ministry to families and I want you to have a family life. That ministry that changed our marriage. So we were missionaries, so we had to raise our support. It took us two years to do that. We moved from Indiana down to Little Rock, Arkansas, which is where the world headquarters was. I thought I’d hit Nirvana. Why would I ever do anything other than help people build godly marriages? Wow. So I served there. I climbed the corporate ladder. Six years later I ‘m on the leadership team Doing great things. Then they start going through corporate reorganizations and after the third reorganization chart was rolled out, Erin, my name’s not on the leadership team anymore, and so they start shuffling me around the ministry to do whatever. And that began a two year prison term for me, a job that I hated. So after two years I had enough. I talked to my wife. I prayed to God, and said I gotta get out of this place. And God says what do you want to do? I said I want to go help small business owners with marketing, because they hate it and I love it. And he said, go. So on January 1st of 2013, I escaped from prison and I left the ministry and I started a marketing consulting firm. I had a client. I helped them break through some barriers. He’d refer me to you, Erin. I’d call you and set up a point about it. Come talk to you. I said, Erin, I can help you grow your business. We’d have a great conversation. And then you’d say, Michael, what else have you done? Who else have you helped in the last few years? And I said, well, I’ll help build marriages and families in family life. And you’d say that’s honorable, Michael, way to go, and it doesn’t have to do with the time.
Oh sure Me out the door. In terms of social proof, not exactly in alignment.
No credibility, right. And so I went to my church one day and paced the hallways. I said God, how do I help Erin? Because I know I can. And he gave me the ideas. He said take all of your marketing ideas and strategies and put them in a book. And so I did.
I wrote my first book on marketing back in 2013. Nice, then I would call you, set up a point and I male copy my book to you. A week later I’d walk into your office and there it was, my book was on your desk. Dog ear highlighted an underline because you read my book. And in that meeting there and you’d say now, Michael, in your book, you said how do you help me do that? And you’d hire me and the next person I started gaining clients and I thought, wow, this is really a great marketing strategy.
Why don’t business owners do this? Well, I don’t know if you’ve written your book here and I’m not, but it’s challenging because there’s so much to do. So I went back to my church, built a spreadsheet listing everything required to create my book, and I built a system to eliminate the challenges and created my company, which is now a paperback expert, where we work with business owners across the nation to help them create their book without writing a word. We make them an Amazon bestselling author and then we teach them marketing systems and strategies that authors should use to build trust so they’ll convert clients and grow their revenue.
Short story no, no ups and downs whatsoever.
No, I’ve only reinvented this business about a dozen times since 20.
Right, that’s the iterations, so okay. So questions for you in no particular order. Um, is this a version where it is their content? Is it white labeled content? Is it AI content? Is it a mixture of all of that?
Great question. It’s the first one. It’s completely their content. I have a staff of writers.
I’m very excited that you said that.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We have a staff of writers and we actually, once we get your title and your book blueprint done, we know what direction it’s going and what your core message is. One of my writers comes to the table and, through Zoom interviews, we ask you questions because you’re an expert at what you do, you just don’t want to spend the time writing. Here’s one of my phrases: Everybody wants to be an author, nobody wants to write a book.
Right, and it’s so true, and I teach that as well when I teach thought leaders. Content creation, you got to it has to be your original thought. Yeah, you don’t have to write every word, oh heavens, I don’t.
I can’t tell you and I don’t know this for a fact. I don’t know the last book that Tony Robbins actually wrote. He’s a speaker, he’s a thought leader. People record it. They do the work, he approves it.
He approves it, it’s got to come back to you and I love that process. It’s the way we do it. A lot of my content is. I record 15 minutes a week on a live stream so that it’s my thoughts and my energy and my feeling and my emotion and all my things and personality. And then the people who are great with that, yeah, and go and turn it into the things it needs to be.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And let me jump off one more thing: it’s also your voice. Yes, because when I hear you like this and then I read something that you have spoken, I hear the same, Erin, but if you sit down and type and write it, you’re using a different part of your brain and it’s selling.
That was a big problem I had. So I have a journalism degree and I have an MBA in marketing and so when I first became an entrepreneur, it was so funny. Like the first time I went to have some videos done. I wrote my little scripts for him to put on the teleprompter and the feedback I got was these are the most incredibly written horrible for video scripts Because, just like you said, it was how I write, which is very formal, not how I speak, which is monumentally clipped and informal.
Absolutely yeah, and so that’s why we created our Speak to Write process is to really capture the voice of the author. And if, in your normal course of business, you say ain’t a lot, guess what’s going to be in your book? Right, exactly. So, all of that. So there’s so much more than just I’m a book publisher. Yes, I do it, but I’m a marketing strategist who understands how to elevate your credibility and connect with your audience through the pages of your book. That’s the magic formula.
Absolutely, because it really is a credential Like, no matter how virtual, how video heavy our world gets, no matter how limited the attention span. Thank you, tiktok, there’s no credential like a book?
There’s not, and part of the reason there, honestly, is the barrier to entry is so high. I can do a TikTok video really quickly. I can do a video series really quick and new podcasts really quick. It’s hard to do a great quality book. A lot of thought has to go into that. There really is, and I think our audience, the general public, understands that and that’s why authors get that look and the head. You’re a bestselling author really.
So what are you seeing here? I’m going to flip it around for you a little bit, because I’ve talked to a good 20 business owners a week and it’s not. Hey, how are you? What’s working, what’s not working, it’s all the things right. What are you seeing that everyone agrees? The market has changed Kind of across the board. Things are different now than they were a year ago, two years ago. What if we’re not working anymore?
Not working. Yeah, the same old trade. All right, so we can be very opinionated. Good, I love it.
We feel free just to have at it.
I can’t tell you how many emails in LinkedIn requests I get or whatever it’s not requests, but sales pitches, because somebody just graduated from somebody’s course along with about 40 other people and they’ll do it at the same time, there’s no personalization and it’s going for the sale so fast. I got an email today and said I just want to help you. I don’t even know who you are.
Wait, have you looked at my profile? I don’t need that help. Have you even?
looked yeah, I get emails all the time saying we can help you increase your financial, but your finance business. But I’m like, no, no, I help financial people, I’m not. But they’re not doing that, so they’re using AI and other systems Automatic. So there’s no personal touch. Okay, I’m highly personal touch and I do loom videos to touch with my audience because this is how I communicate. If I write a hundred emails, I actually loom 99 of them. Honestly.
I don’t. Well, I’m for someone like you and me. I think it’s important for the energy to come through, and I’m really glad you said that, because that’s a tactic that I have found is working better and better and better Using D, not just typing the DMs, to go back to what you said before, but using audio and video so that your energy and your emotion and your voice and your essence comes through, not just Because people buy because they know, like and trust you right.
Here’s my phrase: People buy you more than what you do, Right? So why are we not leading with you? So it’s all of those trite little tactics that don’t work. What you need to do is delay the sale and build confidence and credibility through relationships, and realize that that alone is gonna separate you in a very crowded market because nobody’s doing it.
Nobody’s doing it, and I love that you’re saying this, because one of the things that I rally against is what I call insta-tactics here. Just do this one thing and in the world of books, you will often see them positioned as insta-tactics. So I love that, coming from somebody who could produce such an output in 24 hours, you’re not saying. This overrides, negates and diminishes the real strategies involved in relationship building. Can this please come through any clearer?
That’s right, yeah, because normally chapter one of your book is your story. Let me give an example. This is one of my favorite examples. I’ve got dozens of them. I think most business owners are in what I call coffee beans. I love coffee, but if you pour coffee beans on the table in front of you, they all look the same and smell the same. And in marketing in business, if you look like and sound like all of your competitors, you’re a coffee bean. You’re not giving me a reason to choose you. So a few years ago I had a coffee bean come to me and he’s a home inspector. Do you remember the name of the home inspector you used for your house? Yeah, nobody else does, and it wasn’t even.
It was only a few months ago and I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. I spent four hours with him.
So how many referrals is he getting from you? Yeah Right. So this guy came to me and said Michael, I’m competitive, I want to be an Amazon bestselling author. I want to do some great things. That’s awesome. So we started talking to him. I said what do you do for fun, nights, weekends, whatever? And he said well, on weekends I’m a high school football referee. And he started telling me about his team and what he does and how there’s refereeing. Football is just like inspecting homes, because you got rules and flags and I thought really, have you ever told anybody that he’s like no.
So we created his book. Erin, it was. I love it. So it’s the official guide to home inspections. There you go, perfect. We branded him as Chris Perry, America’s home inspection referee. Now, when he goes up to the realtors’ offices to get business, he’s in his uniform, his referee uniform, with his whistle on his head. When he goes inspect your house and he finds a problem, he puts a yellow flag on it. We just tied this all together. Here’s my contention, Erin Every business owner listening to this has a story to tell that they aren’t telling. That’s going to bond you with your ideal audience and cause them to remember you and hire you.
And it’s about differentiating, and not with shtick, but with a legitimate story, and so that they get to know, like and trust you. I say video hacks no, like and trust. And I laugh, because we spend all this time and effort and energy cultivating our social media content and for years I volunteered on Friday at an animal rescue. And so again, time, money and energy, photo shoots, paying people Nobody cares. One disgusting picture of me in the possum cage Every right, that’s what everybody wants to see. They want to see. They want to see me on Friday mornings opening the doors and letting the baby ducks run to the pond. They want to see the squirrels jumping all over me as I’m trying to feed them. Right, nobody cares, that’s what they want.
Right, that’s right, it really is. Because I can relate to that. If I went out to coffee with you, we’d be asking about background and stories and family, and why do you live where you live and who do you know, and I’d be finding those common grounds because that’s what connects us. Humans connect through storytelling.
Then we would talk about what you’re doing, how you do it. But too many times it’s backwards in business and it’s like stop doing that. And I think people it’s just like I’ve got to have the business. I’ve got to have business today. Well, that comes through.
Right, exactly and right. If you’re not leading from inspiration, you’re leading from desperation.
And I think it’s a scarcity mindset. I think it’s because too many people have been taught the wrong things.
Yeah, well, yeah, and most of the marketing tactics and tips and all of that that are out there, the courses and all that are they put a face on it. But it gets rich quick. Get rich quick, right, how can you, how can you? I can get you 32 qualified clients or prospects this month guaranteed. Yeah, right, shut up. So it’s taking the long view of marketing business. Are you going to be here in three years? Are you going to be here in 30 years?
Business is a long game. Totally I used to it when I was in the corporate world. I was in a long-term care insurance industry and so we would see people come in and out and you could tell the difference between a company that was a public company, with the decision makers being driven by quarterly right the quarterly numbers or the mutual companies Right. You can just tell in the way that they did what they did. Are they playing a short game or are you playing along?
That’s right. Yeah, and if you’re playing a short game, you’re in trouble because it’s going to backfire on you. Yeah.
So let’s flip the script. What I mean I’m above and beyond the obvious of what you’re seeing is working Relationships 100 percent Credentials, yep, and in relationships and in doing things, doing unexpected things.
So here’s what’s going to happen. You don’t know this yet. After this podcast, you’re going to get a loom video from me.
Go figure, go figure, and, and I’m going to get Wait, I’m sorry You’re going to follow up and actually talk to me. Can you believe that? Can you imagine what would happen?
I’m going to do it at the end of this. I want to get your physical mailing address because I’m old fashioned. I actually write handwritten thank yous to people who have me on their podcast and, Erin, you don’t know this, but I’m going to blow the surprise. You’re going to get a wonderful little candy box in the mail from me Now. You’re going to have three, at least three touches from me multimedia, online, offline, and you know what, in about two to three weeks, if you don’t love me now, you’re going to love me then. But let me say something. All of that is based on systems that we’ve created in our business that function every.
I don’t have to think about it, you don’t have to think about it and it’s. I call it personalized automation.
I love it.
I love it, I call it personalized automation because you can personalize it, but it’s a process that happens automatically. So I have one woman I’ve become friends with through the same way I’ve met you. We’re on each other’s podcast. I don’t even know how we met each other. Somehow I make a comment on one of her LinkedIn posts and the next thing you know she’s your guy, this won’t land, but she’s sending me color street nail strips in the mail.
Because she saw me, like something she said about them, and I went oh my God, me too. And the next thing, you know, I had it.
Like it’s not hard.
It is not hard.
Here’s the other thing. Here’s the other thing, why this works and when it doesn’t work. This type of attention to prospecting and relationship building doesn’t work when you sell $47 things.
Oh, that’s right. Yeah, you can’t do it, it’s.
The only thing on the other end is a possible $47 client, that’s right.
Yeah, you got to know your market, you got to know your business and all of that. But when you’re selling high value, high trust, high ticket items, it works amazingly well and it’s so much more fun.
Like isn’t it more fun to get to people, get to work with people? You like yeah, and you like you, and we already know we’re on the same page.
Yeah, yeah, oh, absolutely. And not only is it more fun, but it helps you get over the bumps, if and when they happen. Because they do happen, if you happen, but because you have the trust and things everybody knows you’re not an evil-willed woman.
Right, can we give each other the benefit of the doubt, because things happen and we know we like each other?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll fix it and go on.
And it’s like treating people like they’re your client way before they’re ever your client.
Absolutely, yeah, yeah. So many times we say we want to get a client to make a sale and I think it’s just backwards. We need to make a sale to gain a client that I’m going to protect and serve for years. Whether you do business with me for years or not, I’m always here.
Right, and one of the things they learned early on was that a raving fan is a lot more valuable than a client.
Absolutely. Oh yeah, because they tell everybody, everybody yeah.
And business, everybody. I ask people all the time business owners, do you like referrals? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, do you have a strategy for referrals? Well, you know everybody talks about me. Yeah, a book is a great way, because you can seed referrals through the selling process, after the selling process, with centers of influence. There are so many ways to use a book, but you can do the same with videos and gifting. It’s just. It’s a strategy, though that plays to. That is I want raving fans who send me their friends, neighbors, relatives, business associates, church members. Oh, there’s five. I just expanded my influence five times. Erin. Yeah, for a little bit of thinking, maybe a little bit of money.
Right Networking, not prospecting.
Absolutely Giving, giving, giving. So.
Love it. So if people want to continue this conversation with you, learn more about you, how you help people, all of the very cool things, what is the easiest way for them to find you?
Good job on grabbing that one. Thank you yeah Good job on grabbing that one.
Yeah, that’s the hub of all things, Michael. We’ve got all kinds of free training, information, videos, you, whatever you need. Paperbackexpertcom.
Fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your ideas and your enthusiasm in the same way.
You are welcome. It’s been so much fun. It is, it is.
It’s been fun, awesome, thank you.
Thanks, Erin, it’s been a great time. Thank you.