Neal Schaffer, Author & Marketer | Writing The Book On Influencer Marketing

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Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). 

Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular social media speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in March, 2020 will publish his 4th book, The Age of Influence – The Power of Influencers to Elevate Your Brand (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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The Success Story podcast is focused on speaking to incredible people who have achieved success through trials, tribulations, wins and losses. In each episode we sit down with leaders and mentors.  We document their life, career and stories to help pass those lessons onto others through insights, experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.






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Neal Schaffer, Scott D Clary


Scott D Clary  00:05

Thank you for joining me on the success story podcast where we speak with incredible people, mentors and leaders unpack their story and offer insights based on how they’ve built themselves up to who they are today. Today, I’m speaking with Neal Schaffer. Now, Neal Schaffer is an authority on digital transformation, sales and marketing. But he’s also the president of his own organization, PDCA. Social, he teaches digital media media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute, and the University of you Vasco de la I


Neal Schaffer  00:40

nailed it. Yeah, and nobody gets finish.


Scott D Clary  00:46

That’s good. I’m glad that was a that was a tongue twister. And, and obviously, you know, being a marketing and sales executive, he is heavily focused on social media brand social selling, and he just released his fourth book, not to plug it, but I think it’s something that we can talk about, and it sort of relevant to the audience, the age of influence, the power of influence to elevate your brand. So Neil, thank you for joining me. I really appreciate it. and honored to be here. Yeah, no, it’s great. So let’s start off. Just give us like a little bit of, you know, your background, where you came from and, and how you got to where you are today?


Neal Schaffer  01:24

Sure, you know, we all have interesting stories to tell. We always say anybody can write a book about their life. So I grew up in Southern California. And, you know, I don’t know how many of you remember when Steve Jobs passed away, there was this video of him doing a graduation speech at Sanford Sanford University. And he was all about connect your dots of your past, which will tell you who you are, and will lead you to your future. So as I connect my dots looking back, right, since you asked me the question, so I grew up like a punk rocker in Southern California, very anti authoritarian, but also intellectual. I also had, I lived in an area where it was mainly Asian Americans. So I was already going to high school birthday parties, where I was the only one that was not speaking Chinese, for instance. So when I went to a I went to a small liberal arts college called amorous college, I went from Southern California to conservative New England with colored hair. And, you know, there, I started learning Chinese. And I did my junior abroad in China. And everything was hunky dory until they had something called the tanaman demonstration. So I’m literally in the middle of all this. And it was really sort of a, like a wake up call that I want to do something that can in some way contribute to world peace, but to really like help people. And for me, that was sales in an international environment where I could meet people and every person I could meet, there might be a way I could help them. This was my thinking. Right? So you asked, we had pulled out of China at that time? No, it’s hard to believe. But Japan was booming. So see you, your college, learn Japanese. I went out there Christmas break to see Japanese friend that I met in China during that junior abroad, and said, I’m going to work in Japan, and I’m going to land the job. And I did. So graduated and I spent my first 15 years in Japan and I I started in finance for various reasons. But I really had the itch to do sales. And within a few years, I was able to basically launch our Chinese sales operations for this Japanese company in in technology in semiconductors. So yeah, so the first 15 years of my career were primarily b2b sales, often launching, you know, markets from scratch. So I did that for the semiconductor company in China, I did it for a Canadian startup out of Ottawa, in software out of Japan, for all of Asia, and then I helped another company in high tech there. So I always thought that sort of, you know, that sort of punk rock always wanted to do things my way very entrepreneurial. And it turns out that I was able to do you know, I was like a country manager or regional VP of sales, I was able to have my own little territory, and basically have my own company within a company, which I really, really enjoyed. Right. So I learned all of our business through doing that, because even though I was sales, I had to wear a lot of hats. Oh, we’re gonna go to a conference, we need to do marketing material. Well, okay, we’ll do it right. But really, it was just meeting people. You know, my father, he’s like, you know, you want to go to university to do two things. You want to learn how to communicate well with people, and you want to learn how to communicate with people from lots of different backgrounds, because that’s who you’re going to meet in the business world. So that business experience was just an instrument. And this is all before social media. So I don’t want to go too far. But But yeah, that’s sort of my background before social media. You’re ready for the second decade of my career?


Scott D Clary  04:36

No, yes. Yes. I do want to dive into the second decade of your career. I want to I want to understand one thing because I think it’s interesting and I can understand where you’re coming from. But for somebody who’s listening, when you said your punk rock background, you go to China and you see like, it’s like your anti establishment in the state is obviously not you don’t experience going to China, you’re going to see much more establish Bushmen in China especially with with like, you know, gentlemen swear, but how did how did saving you know saving or not saving? That’s the wrong way of putting it doing good for the world? How does that translate into sales? Because if I was, if I was not in sales, I am in sales. And I understand that true sales and and being authentic and delivering things that you believe in, can do exactly what you’re saying. But the average person that is not in sales does not correlate saving the world to somebody who’s in sales. So I just want to I want to unpack that one piece before we go on, because it means a lot to me. And it’s probably a lot to do with what you do now. Just that mindset. So I don’t want to say,


Neal Schaffer  05:39

Yeah, I don’t want to say like I’m an anarchist, and not sort of punk rock. Right. But just, you know, I sort of have a distrust of, you know, authority. And I would question when I, when people told me to do things, I think that’s easiest way to think about it. So China for me, I mean, it was a new culture. And I wanted to be respectful of that culture. And I was a student of the world. So, you know, when I was there, yes, it was a communist country. And although at that time, they actually were opening up to the world, it was the first time they were opening up to the world with dung XIAO PING. Actually, it was very different than because people really wanted to talk with me, they wanted to know more about the United States, they wanted to know how much it cost to live there, what salary they could get, if they move, they’re very different from today’s China, which is almost gone back to being not as open as it used to be, let’s just put it that way. And using technology to really, to really follow people online and do whatever they do. So I don’t do much business in China, needless to say, but what I did realize that at a tanaman, and I would go there, I would join demonstrations as a photographer, and I’d be at the front line, and I would just sit down in tenement square, and I just have like, 10s of people all around me asking me questions about democracy. And, you know, in the Western world, what I realized that, you know, sales I wanted to be, I wanted to be on the outside, engaging with people. And I believe that sales is that unique role that does allow you where everybody else is in the office, if we ever go back to Office, after the pandemic, but salespeople are on the frontline, and they’re meeting people, and they’re engaging with people, and they’re socializing, which I really liked. And, you know, when I look around, I do more marketing and sales today. But when I look around, you know, I go into any restaurant, any building anywhere, the park, you know, whenever I see a soccer goal, or whenever I see a light fixture in a restaurant, someone convinced someone to buy that, yeah, everything around me was done. Because there was a, there was a qualified professional, that was able to make that sale. And when they made the sale, I do believe that they were doing it to help their client, but this is the best product best, whatever it is, right? So in our own way. And I’m not saying that all salespeople are like this, just like in any profession, you have the good and the bad. But I believe that the really good salespeople are really passionate, and I was from all this sort of, you know, background that I have, when I joined the sales team, I would I mean, it became part of my life. I would like you know, one time when I was selling something seminars in China, to a big trading company. After you know, the negotiation, we were, you know, having a beer together and the guy goes, Are you like on the board of investors for the for this company, because you you almost sound like an investor. And that was my approach that when I’m in sales, I talked to the CEO, I talked to the shareholders, that’s who I’m working for. Right? So in a weird way, I didn’t listen directly to my managers, but I was listening to the top boss


Scott D Clary  08:33

the most important boss. Yeah.


Neal Schaffer  08:36

And if everything I do is aligned with that, no matter what middle management was in my way, that might be misleading me for whatever political reasons, what have you. And I mean, sales, just like any other organization, you have a lot of that if I was being true to that, that I knew that I would be successful. And I would be able to weather any internal storm because these do happen in corporate America. 100% Oh, yeah. Yeah. So that was really the thought process, really simple thought process. So I had to work for a company where I believed in the product, it wasn’t just do sales for anyone, but it really is. There’s a science to it, but there’s an incredible art to it, because everybody you engage with is different. They all have different issues. You need to be able to you know, I was trained, like and you know, social selling a solution selling spin questions, what have you Yeah, about understanding their needs and delivering a solution. It’s like, you know, if we don’t have the solution for you, I’ll tell you, right, and introduce you to someone who does, because then I know that that person is going to introduce me to a lead later on. So you know, I did write this book about influencer marketing, not to fast forward, but a lot of those concepts actually come from b2b sales, where you had to work with a whole ecosystem partners to get leads, you know, to build relationships that would lead to leads to get introductions internally, to help get intel that would help you, you know, close a deal, whatever. Right. So, so yeah, sales and marketing are a lot closer than a lot of people think in many ways.


Scott D Clary  09:52

I love it. And I love where you’re heading, because I think I think I’m very much in alignment Ben and Moe as as you walk through how you built Your your own company and why you’re focusing on influencer marketing I think your background in sales as well. It’ll start to make a lot of sense. Like the sort of the the lessons and the things that you preach about influencer marketing and brand and whatnot, and why I think it’s important for everyone, but anyways, okay, so let’s go. Okay, so that’s first. Okay, next decade what’s, what’s next? I guess, where are we now? You’re, you’re still, you’re still selling? Are you working?


Neal Schaffer  10:25

Yeah, a big life event got married in Japan. And then five years after we got married, had a baby girl decided to raise her in the US. So 15 years, after living in Japan, I’m back in the US. And for the first time after, you know, basically doing the job remotely, going back to Asia, two weeks, every two months. After we have baby number two, it’s sort of time to take some time off and help my wife and help her raise a kid so and enjoy the joy of being a father. So I did part time consulting for that company. And then I was in the job market for the first time in the United States, where all of my network was in Asia, right? Automatic professional network, at least. So at this time, it’s like, how do I build a network? It’s like, you know what, I’m going to check this LinkedIn, LinkedIn thing out. And I realized as a business tool, this is this is back in, I’m gonna age myself here, right? This is back in 2008. Right? Everybody was not everybody was on LinkedIn. And when they were, it’s like, why would I connect with someone that I don’t personally know? Yeah. That I can vouch for. It’s like, no, it’s a tool. There’s so many ways to use it, if you if you put trust in expanding your network. So I became really active, I became a really open networker. I was helping other people just through LinkedIn messages. And I started blogging, and I ended up getting my job. It was, you know, it was my dream job of like, you know, Director of biz dev and APAC for technology company. But then we the Lehman Brothers crash three, so this passionate person who would do anything and everything for the company, he worked for three and a half months after they hired me, they pulled the plug, right. And that was the first time I had always been the one leaving companies, that was the first time someone pulled the plug on me. And that’s when I was like, you know, I need to create something that no one can take away from me because of how passionate I am. And that was my brand. Right? I realized I need to create a really, really robust personal brand. I’m gonna keep blogging. And as I kept blogging, and it was just about LinkedIn. And this is, like I said, back in 2008, my wife says, you know, what, if you don’t find a job, why don’t you like write a book or something? And I, you know, I got a bad idea. Yeah, well, you know, in 2009, is probably going to replicate a lot of what 2000 22,020 one’s going to look like, people that graduated in that year, they couldn’t find jobs, right, or they had to do free internships for a year. Unfortunately, I think for the next year or two, as we enter an doubtful, you know, undoubtedly winter recession, it’s going to be a similar thing. So while I did interviews, I wrote the book. And as I was writing the book, I was doing a lot of networking locally here in Orange County, California, I live in Irvine now. And people would start to reach out to me and I started getting invited to speak. And then after I started speaking, within the course of two weeks, I had four companies locally here reached out to me saying they wanted help with social media, they didn’t know what they didn’t know, they just wanted my help. And I do not have an agency background, because I have a b2b sales background. But I do have this consultative selling approach. So it’s like, okay, what a companies need, they need strategy, they need education. So I launched a consulting company, this is January 2010. So this is about, say, the second decade starts now, I’ve been doing this for a decade. But you know, when you put yourself out there, right, and this is how influence is created. You are a content creator, I had a blog, you put yourself out there, I was very open networking, my content starts to appear on Google, I have all sorts of people come in, I start to speak locally, I then start to speak nationally, I start to consult with businesses, I start to get referrals, right from my happy customers. And once you get out there, it just continues to go and go and go and go and expand if you do it right. And, you know, since then, I’ve spoken, you know, I’m considered like, you know, this global expert. So I’ve spoken, you know, on four continents, more than a dozen countries, I teach at Rutgers business school, I teach executives also in Ireland, and every two or three years in Finland. I just wrote my fourth book, and you know that that notion about being true to your customer, and serving them has that concept I learned in solution selling has served me very well. Because everything I do is about that every blog post, every book I write, I am thinking about who that who my customer is, and I’m speaking to them. So there’s a lot of BS out there in social media, right? And everyone’s vying for influence. I don’t really care about that, because I’m laser focused on my end customer. And if I can make them happy, I know that all that you know, I’ll be able to continue to grow with them. So yeah, and you know, I never started my own agency. I was a consultant. But I had one company in particular said, Neil, we love the strategy you built. We just don’t have the resources to implement it. Can you do it? So sec. Peck? Yeah, right. And now I do you know, I’d say, in addition to sort of consulting in agency, I do what you’d call France. CML. So half a day, a week, two hours a week, I’ll go into an office here, primarily local businesses here in Orange County, and I’m their CMO. Right a lot of startups, they have experienced people, but they’re not experienced enough. Maybe they’re too Junior, I’ll go in and get a helping hand and actually train and teach them. So yeah, it’s, it’s a variety of things I do, I really enjoy the fact that every day is different. I enjoy, you know, when you go out on your own, even if it’s just a side hustle, whether it’s $50, or $100, when you get that and you realize you did it on your own without a company behind you. It’s an incredible feeling, right? Just incredible. So with every, every, you know, trip, big transfer, I get a check, I get in the mail. It’s just an incredible feeling. And there’s just so much potential, there’s always too much to do. So many people to help and you know, even with this COVID 19 pandemic, the beautiful thing is that I can continue to do everything I’ve been doing. And people just need more help, right? Yeah, people are reading more blog posts, they’re opening my emails, they’re, they’re, you know, listening to podcast, it’s a fantastic time. So, you know, for all you listening, it really comes down to whether you are an expert in what do you actually start to create content around it, if it’s, if you’d like to speak to a podcast, if you like video, do YouTube, if you, you know, like to write then then do blogging. But that’s, I believe, that’s where the action is going to be. And I believe those people are also going to be hot items for companies to want to hire as well, because they have a built in following a built in community, especially, especially if you’re in sales, right? People still want to hire you because you have a Rolodex. But now you’re building a virtual Rolodex, right, you have people that really like you for who you are. And those are the people that are going to become your customers in the future.


Scott D Clary  16:38

So I love so I think that the way you’ve done this is the way that you should do it. Like you just focus on what you love, and you put it out into the world. And that’s who your target customer is, and you don’t care about all the other noise. So I see, you know, you mentioned everybody’s trying to, you know, have influence be an influence, not everybody, I think that some of the wrong people are trying and some of the people that should be aren’t trying, but that’s another choice. But why do you think that people have such a hard time just focusing on what they know, and what they love when they start to create content, and they just sort of go with the, I don’t know, the garbage to be quite honest.


Neal Schaffer  17:18

You know, social media can be overwhelming, and you can be influenced. I mean, we know, you know, fake news and influencing elections, we’re all influenced by what we see. So I, you know, this may be a shock to a lot of people, I don’t go through my news feeds, the only news feed I go through is actually Instagram, and I’m pretty selective as to who I follow. With the rest, I just go in when I need to, I’m primarily looking at my notifications. And maybe I’ll check out what a friend is doing here, there. But I’m not there on the feed, letting Facebook, you know, tell me what I need to see, or letting Twitter tell me what I need to see. Because if you do that you you’re going to tend to see very opinionated content one way or the other, or a lot of provocative content. So I just stay away from that. And I think that really, it comes down to just a very, very, and I realized this at the beginning when I was consulting with companies just a very, very strategic approach. What are you trying to do? Or in the words of Tim Ferriss, or one of my favorite podcasters Pat Flynn who uses this quote a lot, and I’m going to give them both credit, what would success look like? So if you wanted to, you know, if you wanted to try to become more influential, right? Or build a side hustle? What would success look like? Okay, because that’s gonna pave the road, as to what now do I need to do to get there. And when you think about it that way, all that other garbage, that noise just goes away. It’s it’s you, and your internal battle to get yourself out there, right. And inevitably, no matter what you choose, it will come down to content creation. So you better pick something you love to do. Because if you burn out, if you start a podcast, two months later, you ran out of fuel. That was two months wasted, right? So you have to think this is something I want to do at least give yourself a 12 month plan. And it’s cool, we change careers. It’s totally cool. In fact, I encourage it right? Maybe you’ll go back but you know, you don’t variety is the spice of life. You don’t have to stick with the same thing for 30 years. But if you’re passionate, you’re 30 years worth of passion, and you didn’t go for it.


Scott D Clary  19:12

Yeah, I love that. And and the the quote you just said like find what success means to you is that, like you’re you’re so you’re basically saying like not to summarize Tim Ferriss, or I can’t I don’t remember the other gentlemen. But like, if you if you aren’t defined in how you’re creating the content, and you don’t have that set path, then you won’t see the outcome that you want. Even it like I see a lot of people just put stuff out there and not have purpose for putting stuff out there. And I think, you know, I fall victim to that as well sometimes. So is that define what success is? Is that like your Northstar metric that you’d like to achieve if everything goes well, or would you just say just start and figure that out, as you will.


Neal Schaffer  19:53

Let’s put it this way. Okay, let’s put it in the sales paradigm. So in Japan, we already had to learn this methodology that you can apply to any job you do called PDCA. And it’s actually the name of my agency PDCA cycle. And it was created by the godfather of quality control Professor Edwards Deming, like in the 50s. But it’s this teaching that Japanese companies took to heart. And they became, you know, world class manufacturers in the 80s. You know, Sony, Toyota, what have you. So a PC is really simple. If you’re going to have an experiment, right? You want to try to measure, you want to know if you if you’re going to do an experiment, and life is one experiment, trying to build influences an experiment, what are you going to do, you’re sort of going to figure out, well, I want to achieve this. Well, how do I go about achieving that? Well, if I do this, if I do A, B, and C, I think I can do that. So then you actually create the plan you do according to plan, you check. And then you’re always going to be optimizing this never ending circle Kaizen, right? So you’re in sales, right? Okay, you have a zero pipeline, what are you going to do, you’re not just going to randomly do stuff, you’re going to build some following, who’s our target audience, who’s our target customer, who our competitors doing business with, you might do some online reading and try to, you know, get some more intel, do some LinkedIn searches, but you’re first going to probably build a target list, then you’re going to go on the target and see who you know, that might be able to introduce you, you’re going to have a process, right? And then you’re gonna have a pipeline that says, Okay, now I know that if I have 30 people in my pipeline, I’m gonna get calls of five of them, I’m gonna be able to submit proposals for three, maybe I’m gonna close one. And the average value of closing one is like $5,000, like, Okay, well, I need to have like, 360 deals in my pipeline in order to achieve my annual goal, unless that annual, you know, sale value goes up. So I’m very process oriented. And that’s why I love sales. And I also love sales, because I see the results of my efforts in terms of a sales amount. So every salesperson has a process. And or you should have a process you should the good one. So yeah, that’s I mean, the sales process. We don’t talk about a marketing process. But we do talk about a sales process. And this is why I think that all of you listening that are in sales should should get this immediately. It’s all about that, for whatever you do in life. Okay, whenever I want to buy something, I always get three quotes. Because I know my clients do that with me as well, right? It’s a process, right? That does everything I do. So if you want to try to build influence, you’re not just going to haphazardly create content. What is the content that whoever I want to influence is looking for? is the number one question and a lot of bloggers, okay, I have a blog, where I have, you know, 20 or so guest contributors are 25 Every month, I’m not gonna say names, right. And I’m not going to say if they’re past or present. But I have a lot of bloggers who do not who think that this is going to be a great blog post, but it never gets any views. And I know why, because they didn’t do keyword research, they didn’t understand what people are searching for in Google. And just by changing a few different keywords, they can align themselves where people actually search for on Google, like, you know, one of my, one of my top performing blog posts, it’s gonna sound really stupid, but what is LinkedIn and how to use it. And when I first started doing keyword research, I was doing all this blogging about LinkedIn. And I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna use one of these tools. And it’s like, this was like a top 10 search keyword related to LinkedIn. I’m like, Are you kidding me? But you always got to remember, especially when you’ve been doing this for a while, and you’re an expert. There’s always people just starting, right? There’s always beginners, and sometimes you need to dumb down that message to adapt to them. So I know I said a lot. And we sort of went a little bit off topic. No, it’s good. I like it. It’s very good. It’s it’s all its strategic, and it’s process oriented. And if you do it that way, I think that you will be able to better stick to that original plan, and then get to that, that you know, that circle of never ending Kaizen and that’s really where the magic happens just like in sales, as you optimize the sales process, the exact same thing.


Scott D Clary  23:42

And the target and thank you. So the only the one last thing I have like a couple like life insight questions, but I want to ask you just about your book. So the last book you put out age of influence the power of influencers to elevate your brand. How can influencers elevate your brand and are influencers right for every brand? And can influencers hurt a brand as well? So let’s just the spectrum of influencer marketing because you wrote a book on it. So like just a couple of like, you know, I don’t know key takeaways that that are like the the highlight reel of the book.


Neal Schaffer  24:15

The highlight reels that digital influences everywhere. And influencer marketing has been going on for centuries. We used to call it celebrity endorsements. So when you see Shaquille O’Neal advertise a Buick try to fit himself in one. That’s a celebrity endorsement. What we’re finding is that digital influence because it’s everywhere with social media, you know, 2030 years ago, there were like three TV stations. There was one major national newspaper. Everybody pretty much watch the same TV shows and read the same news today. It’s all over the place. And I talked to people like in their 50s and 60s Like I don’t understand, I don’t even recognize any of these YouTube stars on TV commercials now. Because everybody’s influenced by someone different and the viral YouTube video that you saw yesterday is probably very different. than the one that I saw. So now with this, we have new celebrities that have been born. So I consider like the Logan Paul’s, and you know, the Charlie of tick tock fame. These are celebrities, when you’re on a TV commercial, you’re a celebrity, but between them, and people that have 500, connections, 1000 followers, there’s a lot of people that that have some Digital Influence. So let’s say you have 5000 followers on Instagram. And let’s say, you know, you get 10% of people to engage with that, that’s 500 engagements, if you yourself, were to put out a blog post, and then boost that on Instagram, or on Facebook, that would cost you money to get that sort of engagement. And guess what this person is getting an engagement from the audience that trust them, and that probably has an interest in them because of what they’re posting. So because of this fragmented audiences that exist in digital today, it is wise for businesses, because we don’t trust advertisers, we you know, the minute we see sponsored, we sort of want to tune it out. But we trust people, so businesses will never be able to compete with people. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg even said, we’re always going to give priority to, you know, to people rather than businesses. And that’s just the way it works. And we just trust people more than businesses. So with all that in mind, if businesses really want to get word of mouth out about themselves in social media, right, organic social, you’re not going to be seen in the newsfeed because it’s pay to play paid social, you’re an advertisement, everyone’s doing it costs are going up, collaborating with influencers, not necessarily paying someone in Instagram, right to, you know, paying them $5,000 To post a photo. But you know, working with people that actually already, like know and trust your brand. So instead of trying to find someone that’s never heard about you try to actually find people that use you go in your email database, go into your followers, go into your customer database, go into your partner’s work at ecosystem, right? In sales, if you have an ecosystem that exists. If these people are on digital, they’re influencers. So there’s an argument and I’m working on my next podcast episode is probably going to be on this topic of influencers for salespeople. But that’s, you know, it’s the same concept. So it can tremendously help brands. But if you work with the wrong influencer, yes, it can hurt brands, because there’s a lot of fraud out there. And you could be wasting a lot of money and there might not be a cultural fit to. So I don’t think the danger in terms of like, brand reputation is huge, but you want to do your homework, and most companies fail. I’ve had a lot of people read this book, they go, you know, at first book on influencer marketing, they rolled their eyes, we wasted so much money on working with influencers. And then they realized they did it wrong because they work with the wrong influencers. So that’s really in a nutshell, I think that marketers and everybody have been mis educated on influencer marketing, they’ve been misled. They read too many provocative blog posts about the fire festival and, and just all this bad stuff, right? Yes, there are people that game the system. And yes, there are celebrities that will cost a lot of money. Just execute on the Oh costs a lot of money. Right. But your homework and you do it right? It should be a line item on the marketing budget for any company in any industry.


Scott D Clary  28:02

Yeah, no, I love it.


Neal Schaffer  28:04

The book just came out during the pandemic published March 17. Right. But I’m a fighter, like every salesperson, right, in fact, to fight to build that pipeline to close deals. I’m do if I have to, like, you know, in Tokyo, the end of the quarter to meet my quota, I need to get that contract signed tonight, you know, meeting an engineer from Sony on a train platform at 10pm. Right, just to get that contract, and then go into a Kinkos to be able to fax that it’s it’s old school? Yeah. So it’s like, you know, I don’t care what’s out there. I don’t care if it’s a pandemic, there’s so much we can do virtually. And that’s what I want to tell you all whether you’re in sales and marketing, now’s the time to build and develop deeper relationships, right? We all have a lot of time, we’re all at home. We all need help. And we’re all lonely. So this is a great time to be in sales and marketing.


Scott D Clary  28:52

As is this this book? Would this be the book The Age of influence powers of influence, elevate your brand? Is that a book that somebody should read? who’s just trying to build out their brand or other types of and obviously, it’s your See, that’s fine. But I mean, like, is there other readings that people should go to? It could be yours could be someone else’s matter to me that they can sort of start?


Neal Schaffer  29:11

Yeah, you know, so I have, I have a podcast called maximize your social influence. So which is all about building leveraging and monetizing influence in in digital media? So that’s obviously you know, there’s resources. This book is primarily for businesses, because I might my average customers business, but I started writing this book. Uh, one of the things that prompted me one of the trigger points was when I was guest lecturing at an MBA marketing class at USC here in LA. And the number the number of questions I got about, I got asked about influencer marketing at the end of a general social media marketing presentation really blew me away and half of those questions we’re all about how can I become an influencer? Right? So that is a topic for a future book for a future digital community, you know, a membership site that I plan to create. I do talk at the end of the book Why every business should try to become more influential. Because the more influence you have, the more other influences will collaborate with you. And then I talked about there is a chapter on how to build your own influence. But I will say if you were to read the book, you understand why businesses are investing more in influencers. And you can reverse engineer the process and understand what they’re looking for when they’re trying to identify influencers, so that you can sort of tweak your own processing strategy to fit in what they’re looking for, if that makes sense. So it’s not directly No. Indirectly, I think it’s going to offer you advice. And if you’re in marketing, I mean, it’s, it’s a no brainer. Yeah. Because when I talked about influencer marketing, too, I spoke at a USC class, a different USC class a few weeks ago before the lockdown, and mainly they were 20s. In the room, there was a tick tock star in the room that was a student that had a million followers on Tik Tok at the time. And they were like, you know, they understand social, right, they just don’t understand it from a business perspective. Right. Some of them have been successful building out that personal brand and becoming a celebrity. Some have done it intentionally, I think more, maybe not as intentional but for every celebrity, there’s 1000s, if not 10s of 1000s or millions of people that are still trying to get there, right and figure out what the course. So I do think that, you know, if, because everyone listening is obviously pretty active in social, they get it, they follow influencers, I think it’s gonna be really, really good. And if you’re a business person, it’s gonna be really good business book, to understand that concept and where budgets and marketing are gonna go.


Scott D Clary  31:27

Good. Good. No, thank you. Okay, just to wrap this up. One thing I like to bring out of everyone, one lesson, and this is not related to your past in particular, but one lesson, I guess it is one lesson you tell your younger self, your 20 year old self that would help you get to where you are today a little bit quicker.


Neal Schaffer  31:48

I would say execute quicker. I am what you would call I forgot the name of the you know what, it’s probably hold on a minute here.


Scott D Clary  31:58

Look it up. Yeah.


Neal Schaffer  32:00

There is a journal that I got. I get lots of stuff sent to me in the mail. So someone sent me a journal, and the jury, you know, he’s here. Yes, um, it’s called Project Evo. So I should give him a shot because they sent this to me. So Project It’s a it’s a journal like a diary. But it’s based on four different personality types based on their own unique algorithm. So it’s like, Okay, I’ll take the test. So I came out being the architect, it’s like, you know, it makes a lot of sense. So, but if you plan things out too much, right? You never execute? Yeah. And I tend to be more of a planner than executer. That’s why I’m always thinking, you know, move fast and break things move fast. You know, Mark Zuckerberg is famous. Yeah. Just Just do it. Just get out there. Right? What can you lose? And I wish I had, I did a lot, right. But I just I wish I had a little bit more than mentality, I think I might, I might have been able to do more. And part of this whole PDCA approach, right, is that not every experiment is going to be successful. And you may at some point, say, You know what, it’s impossible. Walk away, started to experiment. And that would have helped me just accelerate everything I did in my life a little bit more.


Scott D Clary  33:13

I love it. If people want to get in touch, where should they work? Should they go find you?


Neal Schaffer  33:18

Well, I’m Neal Schaffer, any al sh FF, er, everywhere on social media. I have obviously my website, Neal My podcast is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer. And then you can find my book, The Age of influence on Amazon, or wherever you shop online.


Scott D Clary  33:34

Awesome. I love it is there? You know, I want to actually there’s other things that I want to chat about, but let’s we’ll have to do another one in the future sometime. Is there anything just like closing closing thoughts that you wanted to bring up that that we didn’t get to touch on?


Neal Schaffer  33:49

Yeah, I you know, we’re talking about quotes, right? Yeah. The other two quotes are really guide me you miss 100% of the shots. You don’t take Wayne Gretzky, right. Another Asian. Yeah, 80% of success is showing up, which is attributed to Woody Allen, who doesn’t have the greatest reputation right now. But there’s something to be said for showing up for being there. And we have the ability to do it online. And the people who show up, get the business right to people who show up, develop the relationships. So just get out there. Big World. There’s a lot of people to meet, pursue your dreams. I talked to someone who was an alumni of my same college, he’s like in his mid 20s. And he wants to start a speaking business. And it’s as he was talking, I’m like, do you have all the pieces? You don’t, you don’t need my advice. You need to go out there not do it. Right. And I feel when I talk to a lot of younger people, it’s the same way. Just do it. But if you need opportunities to learn, you need to be in a job where you can learn. I think that’s the other critical thing. If you’re in a job, that’s a dead end, gotta get out. Because if you can’t learn, you’re not going to grow. And it’s you’re gonna you’re gonna reach your objectives a lot quicker when you’re at a job where you can grow. So I’ll stop with that.


Scott D Clary  34:57

Good. Awesome, I appreciate it. Okay, that’s all I got. Thank you, man. Thank you for joining. I appreciate the chat.


Neal Schaffer  35:03

I think it was fine


Scott D Clary  35:04

Alright. Thanks  again for joining me on the success story podcast. Thanks again, Neil, for joining. If you haven’t already, please like, comment, subscribe, and you can download this podcast wherever you can download or stream podcasts. You can also catch it on YouTube. Share it with your friends, family, peers, co workers, and if you haven’t left us a rating please leave us a rating. Any rating is fine. Be honest, as long as it contains five stars no problem at all. As always, have a great week. Have a productive week and we will speak again soon. Bye now

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