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The Importance of Authority Positioning With Mike Saunders

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Rich Goldstein and Mike Saunders met
  • Mike talks about the importance of authority positioning and how he helps elevate brands to where they want to be
  • How having a great story—and credibility—sets you apart
  • The concept of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
  • Mike talks about his book, Authority Selling, creating relationships, and the art of storytelling
  • The value of personal branding
  • Where to learn more about authority positioning and get in touch with Mike Saunders

In this episode…

To have a big impact in your industry, you need to position yourself so that your audience knows who you are, the area of your expertise, and what you have to offer. It’s imperative to build your credibility and set yourself apart from other experts in your field.

As entrepreneurs, we all have competitors in our space that we’re trying to outmaneuver. So to stand out, you have to find ways to get your target audience to see and choose you over the others. And you do this by authority positioning. Through authority positioning, you present yourself as the expert in your field—and the only one for the job.

Mike Saunders, an authority positioning expert and coach, is Rich Goldstein’s guest in this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast. Mike discusses the importance of authority positioning for all types of entrepreneurs and experts, explains how the concept of  Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) works, and talks about the value of a personal brand.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process.

You can email their team at to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host Ritz Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha moments that change everything. And now here’s your host, rich Goldstein

Rich (00:33):
Goldstein here, host of the innovations and breakthroughs podcast, where I featured top leaders in the path they took to create change past guests include Rex’s Ari, Bob Serling, and Stephen Key. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein patent law, where we help you to protect your ideas and products we’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 26 years. So if you’re a company that has software product or a design, you want protected go to Goldstein patent, where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. And you can email my to explore if it’s a match to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American bar association that explains in plain English, how patents work it’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent I have here today.

Rich (01:18):
Mike Saunders, Mike is an authority positioning expert. Uh, Mike is a speaker best-selling author of four books and a successful business coach who holds an MBA in marketing. Mike is also an adjunct marketing professor at several universities and a member of the Forbes coaches council. He’s interviewed hundreds of industry experts on his podcast and cultivates the best of the best from industry experts. It’s my honor to welcome here today. Mike Sanders. Welcome Mike. I rich, thanks for having me. Yeah, my pleasure. And, um, and I’m such a great story. My, um, it’s definitely my favorite story about how a guests came to be on the show. Um, you basically, um, you, you sent me an unsolicited text message. It’s like, you know, like you get those text messages where it comes from a number it’s not programmed into your phone and you’re like, who is this person? And, and, and you texted me because apparently we both using this, this marketing system, we’re both customers of this marketing automation system. And apparently our messages were getting crossed. And so, um, you know, we, uh, I started texting with this random person. We get, we get to realize that we, we both know a lot of people in common. We both have podcasts that are interesting to each other. And so we ended up booking each other.

Rich (02:37):
Yeah, exactly. I mean, normally, um, you know, normally like an unsolicited text message, like that gets blocked know there were no funny photographs associated with it, so that’s one of the reasons why the conversation continue. But, uh, but yeah, so, so Mike really, you know, really great to, to meet you now, uh, after w you know, that, um, kind of random interaction, I

Mike (03:00):
Think we’ll both be telling that story for quite some time. That is a really great one. You know, you see these courses how to get booked on podcasts. Well, I don’t think one of the tips is, um, use the same service as another podcast host and have it go haywire and reach out to them and see how you can fix it.

Rich (03:16):
Yep, exactly. Exactly. And, uh, and by the way, thanks for fixing the problem for both of us. You, you dealt with customer service and you got that all handled. Um, but, but yeah, so, so you’re in, and like your main thing is authority positioning. So basically, um, when someone has, um, when someone has a persona, when someone has an expertise and they’re looking to kind of put themselves out further in the world, get more people to learn about what they have available, what they have to offer, then you help them position that, is that, is that fair or how would you describe it? Yeah.

Mike (03:55):
Well, you have to think about something when you are looking to, uh, solicit or to get a service from some provider you’re analyzing and you’re trying to see, does this person seem credible, or, or what, what do I see about this person online? And so, so many entrepreneurs have competitors. We all do. And the big problem is to get your target audience, to choose you. And that becomes really, really hard to do so you can go through all the courses and figure out how to make a pretty website and all of those things. But at the end of the day, it really gets down to what’s in here, your intellectual capital. And really at that point, it’s still a secret until someone notices that you should be paid attention to. Um, and so I believe that, um, you can yell and scream and go I’m the best. And I’ve got this solution and people don’t care. So what I do is I help entrepreneurs be seen as that expert and that authority, that I’m really a celebrity in their niche, not CNN level, not, you know, not the big national stages, but in your target audience, your prospects will see you as that credible expert. And then you’ve got to do all the other things, treat a right, uh, meet their needs, point out the problem and the solution provide. But I, um, help them with very specific ways to be seen as that expert.

Rich (05:16):
Right. And, and it’s among the people that matter. So, you know, who cares about being on CNN, if, um, if only four people in the CNN audience are the ones which really need to know about you. And so you getting, being positioned in a way that those four people see who you are and see your expertise is really all that matters.

Mike (05:39):
Well, and it’s, and it’s the, you use your true target audience. You, you know, you think about if I said to you, um, if, if I could magically wave a magic wand and put 35 people in a room, um, virtual or live, and you could speak to them and they would need your services, right. Your patent law, uh, services, um, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Well, yeah, but then they still are, and let’s even play that story out a little bit more. Let’s say that there’s gonna be three attorneys that are up there talking, and they’re all patent attorneys, and these are 35 people that need what you offer. So here comes attorney one, two, and three, and, and they all speak. What’s going to set them apart. They all have law degrees, right? Because like, I’ve got an MBA that can Trump, some people that don’t have an MBA.

Mike (06:25):
Well, in your world, you have a J D well, a lot of people don’t have that advanced degree, but in this scenario, three attorneys, they’re going to look and go, okay, does that one look presentable? Do they do, do they resonate? Do I resonate with what they say? But what if, uh, one of the ones, or let’s say yourself, you mentioned I’ve got a free copies of my book in the back. Um, I would love, uh, here’s I, in fact, you know what? I interviewed someone on my podcast recently about, and the other two people are just out there going, sell, sell, sell, buy from me, buy from me. And they’re going to look at rich and go, you know what he was, you know, it just, they don’t even think consciously about, he has a book he’s trustworthy. He has about, I feel like they just, they just, it just, it just feels right.

Mike (07:09):
And they look at the person that has those, what I call authority, positioning assets, things out there that really set them apart and having a tri-fold flyer brochure who cares a website. Hopefully you do have a website, but it’s these other things that you can reach out and you can say, Hey, you know, here’s a copy of my book. I’d love to, uh, give a copy to you and that sets you apart. So it’s those kinds of things that doesn’t matter what line of work you had. You might go, Oh, well, that’s great for an attorney. I’ve got clients who are in a gutter repair. I I’ve heard of someone that was an HVAC contractor at a book. Well guess what if you need a, your, um, uh, heating and air system worked on and here comes two or three people giving you an estimate, and one of them hands you a copy of their book, you’re going to sit up and take notice and go, all right. They were pretty credible. They wiped their feet and they, they seem the pricing was good. I’m choosing the one that really has taken their business to the next level.

Rich (08:05):
Yeah. And, and I would say that if I was in that room and there was like three of us, three attorneys, like, of course, like, you know, I could, I could tell them that. Um, yeah, like, so I have my book and it’s in the back if you’d like a copy. Um, and if that doesn’t work out, I could always say like, Hey, by the way, drinks are on me at the bar, you can come join me. Just kidding about that. But, uh, um, but yeah, th the, the point is that, that the having that credibility sets you apart, it sets you apart, um, in their mind. Uh, and, and I guess the other thing I extracted from that is, is having a great story, right? I mean, so sometimes if someone is not necessarily going to, to be like the expert, like, let’s say they have a product based business, um, one of the things that sells is the story that goes along with it. Would you agree?

Mike (08:58):
Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, you mentioned something, um, uh, in their mind, right? The perception in their mind and in marketing, um, there’s something called the four PS product price place, and promotion and promotion is what your prospects think of you in the mind of the consumer. So it’s, it’s that, that essence, it’s not the logo. It’s not the brand it’s in their mind. So that story, um, penetrates through a sales pitch. And the other thing too, is having those authority, positioning assets, book, podcasts, press online presence, social proof, things like that, that pre-frames your authority and expertise in the mind of your target audience at the most crucial time. And guess what that is before they reach out and interact with you. Have you ever heard of the concept called Z Mont Z, M O T? No. It stands for the zero moment of truth.

Mike (09:55):
You Google it. And an ex Google employee wrote the book. You can download it for free. It’s just a PDF Mont. Well, back in the day, you would go looking for a car and you would go to a dealership and the dealership they’d pounce upon you and give you flyers. And you know, all of that. Well, the moment of truth is let me go buy the car and drive it and do I like it? Well, these days, the zero moment of truth is what happens before that interaction. It’s your research. It’s what you find out about the car, the brand, the D of the dealer, right? Um, and you get your Carfax, you get all of the consumer reports. So what in your business, you know, as a legal or any other, a person listening to this, or watching this a business, your prospects are looking for your solution without even looking for you specifically.

Mike (10:44):
And before they interact with you phone, email in person, whatever the case is, they are doing research and you better have those breadcrumb trail Zima, the zero moment of truth. If you don’t win at the zero moment of truth, you don’t have a chance to wine them and dynamin be schmoozy and have the rapport and have the know like, and trust you don’t get that chance. Oh, but we’ve got the best process ever. Our clients are happy. That’s great, but you didn’t win at the zero moment of truth because someone else caught their attention. That’s a big, it’s a big point. So that authority positioning at the zero moment of truth really sets the stage so that, you know, maybe you get shortlisted to the top two or three, and then you’ve got to then still deliver on the phone, call the in-person, the zoom, and really, you know, listen to their needs and whatnot. But I think zero moment of truth is such a big concept that people don’t understand, frankly. Never heard of. Yeah,

Rich (11:35):
Absolutely. So let’s talk about your book authority selling. I mean, first of all, is that one of the concepts that you talk about in that book?

Mike (11:43):
Yes. Yeah. That’s a really big concept. And the whole point is, boy, do we need another sales book out there? I mean, how to big 10 closes and, you know, people just don’t need that. And, you know, kind of one of the, my little things that I say about the book is you’re not gonna find any sales script, so nobody needs a script, but the, the pre-frame the way that your, uh, brand personal brand business brand is pre-framed in the mind of the consumer, um, using the Zima, but using some of these authority, positioning assets is so critical. And guess what then happens that stage is set for the sales conversation and the potential for the sale to happen is increased dramatically because they perceive you and see you as that expert. So let’s think of it like this. Um, I I’ve worked virtually for 10 plus years.

Mike (12:31):
I mean, I’ve got clients all over the country. I think I’ve got two in the state of Colorado where I’m at. And only one of them I, uh, you know, interact with personally. It’s just the world we live in is virtual. So let’s just use this as an example. Any industry, any, firstly, we’re watching this? Um, no one, uh, that I work with has a website that just dings, you know, sale sale, sale, sale sale, right. Everybody has a website and then all licks interact with phone email, and you have a couple of meetings and then a sale happens, right? It gets multiple steps. Well, let’s say that someone set up an appointment with you for next week and, and they, and they wanted to learn about what you could do to help them out. And it’s a discovery call. It’s a sales call. But ahead of that meeting, maybe you send an email that says, Hey, we’re looking forward to connecting with you.

Mike (13:15):
No pressure. We’re not going to be pushy, but that’s the meeting. We’re just going to learn a little bit about what you need and tell you about what we offer. If there’s a fit, that’s wonderful, by the way, before we connect, like to have you check out a copy of my book on Amazon, I’ve attached a digital version right here. You can read it right away. And there’s a couple of really neat podcast episodes that I was on recently. And I interviewed some really top guests about the topic we’re going to talk about. Here’s a couple of links right here. Um, take a look at some of those and, uh, look forward to talking to you soon. All of that in like two, three sentences in an email, right? Well, now they’re going to look at that and are they going to read your book?

Mike (13:51):
Every single word of it? Nope. Are they going to listen to every syllable of the podcast episodes? No, but guess what they’re going to do. They’re going to go, you know what, that dude’s got a book and I glanced at it. Right. I saw the Amazon listing. I glance through the PDF. I listened to the first part of that podcast episode. All right. Check they’re legit. And I think that pre-frame, before that meeting happens, you then don’t need to go to the meeting and sell as hard as you think you do, because now they’ve done a little bit of homework and I’ve literally had people, um, before a meeting like that, um, you know, we, we have our pleasantries in small talk and it’s like, okay, Hey, you know, I listen to that one episode, I’ve got a couple of questions and we’re just jumping right in. It’s not me on the hot seat with the lights going, you know, tell me why I should pick you. It’s a conversation. And it’s a stimulating kind of like a, um, a back and forth because they know that they can trust what I have to say. And when you can accomplish that, that’s authority selling because you’re really not selling is like being pushy. People feel like that’s what it is, but it’s, it’s not pushy when you can do it the right way. Yeah.

Rich (14:57):
And it’s a really creating relationship ahead of time. So you’re starting with that relationship. And the relationship is one where they already have that trust for you because of, of that Z mot.

Mike (15:10):
Yep. You know, you mentioned story and, and story selling is not once upon a time rich. No, it’s not story, but there’s a story that goes on in the mind of your prospects before they interact with you. And you can mention to some, you know, they might have a thought question. Objection. And you don’t need to answer it with a response. Maybe you could go, Hey, you know what? That reminds me. I had a client that we literally ran this campaign. And here’s what, and you can answer the question by giving a story, an example, case study, however you want to think of it. But we all think in, in stories and you know, when you’re reading through something and someone starts saying, Hey, you know what, that reminds me. Um, just last week you just feel yourself like perking up a little bit, because you want to dive in that. And it really is something that you want to get someone engrossed in what you’re saying, what you’re doing. And many times that is a story, and it’s an art form. It’s not something, uh, that, that comes naturally. You have to think that way, but it really is effective.

Rich (16:11):
Yeah. And I’m also the, the S the story of, of you that they relate to, that they tell the people like, Oh, yeah. Um, so, um, so this guy I’m working with Mike, like he used to, um, like he used to run car dealerships and then one day he decided, blah, blah, blah. Like just whatever your story. And I just made that up. That’s not your story yet, but, um, but just people have a story of a product it’s like, yeah, like this, this, this little drain thing I have is like a single mom came up with it when she was trying to give baths to her kids. And then she realized that whatever. So that type of story behind the product is something that sells

Mike (16:50):
As well. And you know, what ties into that personal branding. Right. Right. People feel like branding is corporate logos and, and messaging, and that’s an element of it. But your personal brand is you you’re the face of the company in many times, entrepreneurs are, you’re the face of the company. Well, your personal brand, your story ties into that. And many times I’ve heard this so many times where someone goes, you know what, um, you know, this one, uh, marketing guru that I follow, he used to be a wrestler in high school and college. And he would say, you know what, one time I was giving this presentation, I just mentioned in passing about my wrestling and this, and I just got flooded at, after the top people like, Oh, I used to be written in there, like that has nothing to do with my business. Or, you know, he was talking about whatever him and his wife, whatever the case is, these little snippets and tidbits people can really attract and connect with. So yeah.

Rich (17:41):
Something that relates them to you, they feel related to you because of yeah. A hundred percent so awesome. And I think it’s really great to like, for product entrepreneurs is like, if you’re going to be the, the face of your brand, and this is something that you, you need to pay attention to, it’s not just about the product. It’s about you, it’s about your story with the product. And it’s about how you position yourself, um, with your audience that has them buy the product, not just the product it’s you. Um, and so, uh, if, if people want to learn more about you and get in contact with you, or even get a copy of this book, how do they go about doing so?

Mike (18:25):
Yeah. So you can check out my website. Uh, I’ve got like a, what I call that authority positioning portfolio, um, at Mike Saunders, three So Mike Saunders, three and you can read, uh, many of my Forbes articles. There is a tab that says books, and you can get a copy of my book, a 30 selling for free, just pay shipping. And you check a little bit about me and if there’s a contact button there, you can schedule the time to talk or send me a text, but that would be the best way to reach out today.

Rich (18:53):
Awesome. Mike, thanks so much for being here. I appreciate you. I appreciate all that. You have to share with my audience and I appreciate the randomness of what brought us together.

Outro (19:04):
Awesome. Thank you, Rick. Thanks for listening to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the and we’ll see you next time.

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