Ever been frustrated about making people believe that you are actually good at what you do? Or experienced the struggle of convincing people that you’re more than what they know you to be? In this episode, Susie Carder sits down with Michael DeLon as he shares his journey in building his credibility in marketing through making a book and how it inspired him to build his company, Paperback Expert. He then takes us to how he helps experts build their credibility by creating books without having to write a word! Tune in now and learn how you can also create a book and build credibility for your name, skills, and brand!
You are going to love this guest because everyone that is reading this needs what my guest has. Michael DeLon creates credibility. As the President of Paperback Expert, he helps businesses and owners publish a book to position themselves. As experts in the field, business owners seek out Michael to clarify their brand strategy, make them best-selling authors, and set a profitable podcast. They use these credibility marketing strategies to gain more clients who would love to get more referrals and grow their revenue. Please welcome Michael DeLon.
I am so excited to talk to you, Michael. I did your Credibility Calculator before I jumped on here. I can’t wait to share that with you. It was very fun. The results were surprising. Tell everybody who you are in the world, what your sweet spot is, and what we need to know.
I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for having me. I’m the Founder and President of Paperback Expert. We help experts create their credibility by helping them create a book without writing a word. We then teach them how to use their book in marketing to gain clients, get referrals, and grow revenue.
That is juicy. We’re always telling our students that don’t do it, “You got to write a book.” It is one of those biggest credibility plays. I didn’t understand that until I wrote my first book. All of a sudden, doors opened that wasn’t opening before. I’m like, “That is magical.”
Let me stop there because I’ve been reaching out to people. Business owners a lot of times say, “I’m growing my business. I’m in the first 5 or 6 years. I’ve got to generate some profit before I can do a book. I’m like, “Stop. If you flip that perspective around and create your book, it’s going to generate.” It’s this mindset shift that people don’t understand exactly what you and I experience. It’s a game-changer.
It is an expensive business card. I love when people come to me and say, “I’m going to write a book and make millions.” You’ll make millions from it, but you won’t make millions because you wrote the book.
That’s right. You don’t get rich selling your book on Amazon. I tell the story of Simon Sinek. We all know him. He did his little video and it went viral. He then created his book. He went and did a book called Start with Why. He’s not making his money by selling his book. He’s making his money by selling his ideas through his book. He gets paid six figures for an hour of speech. He is an author and all of it. That’s how you have to think about your book and platform that allows you to captivate the attention of your audience.
It’s a qualified audience. We always talk about qualified leads versus leads. If someone’s willing to buy a book or download your book and invest time in reading a book, we start to have that relationship of building that. I love that. Tell everybody what the Credibility Calculator was because I didn’t know. I’m like, oh, “I’m going to click on this and see what this is.” That’s my personality. Let me tell you. My score was 91 out of 100.
I saw that come through. That’s awesome. You’re way up there. There is still a little room for improvement. I talk about credibility marketing. That’s my lane if I have one. People kept asking me, “What is credibility?” It was hard to define. I created the Credibility Calculator because marketing effects happen in the mind of our audience. What do people think about you? We created the Credibility Calculator. It’s twenty questions. You can take it in under five minutes. It has questions in there that your audience is asking themselves about you. Are you a credible source?
Once you finish the calculator, we give you a score from 0 to 100, and then you’re going to get five videos after that to teach you how to increase the credibility that you have or don’t have in the eyes of your audience. That’s what the calculator’s all about. It’s helping you understand how credible you are in the eyes of your audience.
I love it because I knew what I should have answered, but I’m like, “I’m not going to fib.”
It doesn’t do anybody any good.
I’m not even going to lie. I’m like, “Okay, but that’s not what happens.” Even while I was taking it, it showed me where the room for improvement is. It’s not intimidating. It’s not scary. Sometimes, people get so scared. It’s fun. It’s a way to look at, “Who do I need to help me build my credibility?” Credibility is a strategy. Let me say that. It doesn’t happen by accident. It’s all strategy. You help people create that strategy and create that credibility.
It goes all the way back from your signature message of the brand to how consistent you are in your marketing in a variety of different ways.
Tell everyone your first book on marketing. How did that change your life?
That’s what started my whole company. It started when I escaped from prison. I was in prison for two years. It wasn’t a literal prison. It was an emotional prison because I was in a job that I hated at a ministry that I loved. My wife and I were in family ministry for about a decade. They went through some corporate re-org and I got kicked off the leadership team. I was shuffled around the ministry for two years and I finally got fed up. I said, “I got to get out of this thing, God.” I prayed and he let me go out.
My background’s in marketing. I did Christian radio for nine and a half years. I understand what small business marketing is. I started a marketing consulting firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. That was in 2013 after I escaped from prison. I would call you and I’d say, “I can help you grow your business.” You’d meet with me and we’d have a great conversation. You’d say, “What have you done in the last few years? Who have you helped?” I’d say, “I’ve helped build marriages and families, that’s family life.” You’d say, “That’s honorable. Way to go. Look at the time. I’ve got another meeting. Let’s reschedule for another time,” and you’d usher me out the door. Nobody was hiring me because you didn’t see me as a marketing guy. You saw me as a ministry guy.
I went to my church one day. I was on the second floor and I was pacing the hallways. I was crying out to God saying, “Lord, how do I help Susie because I know I can?” That’s when he gave me the idea to take all of my strategies and put them in a book. I published my first book on marketing back in 2013. I would call you and I’d make an appointment. I’d mail you a copy of my book. A week later, I’d walk into your office, and there it was. My book was on your desk, dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined. You had read my book. In that meeting, you’d say, “In your book, how do you help me do that?” You’d hire me. I started gaining clients.
This is the trick question of the day. What changed between that first meeting you and I had and the second? Did my background in ministry change? No. Did my understanding of marketing change? No. The only thing that changed is how you thought of me. When you got a copy of my book, I instantly became a marketing expert because I had a book. It gave me the Disney fast pass to the front of the line, and you were there with pen in hand ready to take down my prescriptions. That is what a book does for you.
[bctt tweet=”When you write a book, the only thing that changes is how the audience thinks of you.” via=”no”]
It makes such a big difference even more now than ever because people are trying to deem themselves as experts. There are many people that are struggling in the economy and going, “I don’t have the money to do this,” but that’s a secret sauce.
In an economy like this, becoming an author is important because the barrier of entry is higher to create a book than it is to do a Facebook post or even do a video series, or whatever. Those are easy to do. That’s why everybody’s doing it. They carry some credibility when you do them right, but they don’t carry the credibility of being the author. That barrier to entry is so high. Experts have books. Are you an expert or not?
When you look at entrepreneurs because you’re working with authors, speakers, and experts, what do you think their biggest challenge is that they’re facing, and how do we tackle it?
The biggest challenge is they’re chasing and they’re following what everybody else is doing. They think online is the only place to be. They don’t have a clear, compelling message. Your message is what separates you from everybody else. I don’t see a lot of business owners stepping forth to have a clear signature message. You said, “Wealth is your birthright.” Everywhere I see you, I see that. I see your great logo. You’ve got a message and a distinct brand identity. If you put those two together and then bring your passion, your marketing prowess, and all that, then you start growing.
[bctt tweet=”Your message is what separates you from everybody else.” via=”no”]
Most business owners are missing those two things. They show up as what I call a coffee bean. I love coffee, but if you pour coffee beans out on your table, they look the same and they smell the same. In marketing, if you look and sound like you’re competitors and everybody else, you’re not giving me a reason to glean in, choose you, and follow you.
When we’re starting, we’re looking at, “What is Michael doing? What is Susie doing? What is Lisa doing? What is Rob doing? What is Jill doing? I’m going to glean from them.” You can emulate them, but not imitate them. You have that distinction inside of that. I love the coffee bean analogy. Don’t be the coffee bean. Stand out inside of that.
Let’s look at your career and how it has been since you escaped prison. What has been your biggest lesson in business? It could have been a challenge, a failure, or an obstacle. We all have those pivotal moments in business. It’s like, “I won’t ever do that again, but I learned a lot. I learned a lot and it gave me my General stripes.” What would be that for you in your business?
There are so many. It’s hard to choose one. A couple of years ago, I was scared to do video. I thought that I had to show up on video like my prospect thought I should look. I don’t have a great studio. I thought I had to have everything scripted to be a certain way. It kept me from doing video. I finally got to the place to go, “I’m going to show up and be Michael. If you like Michael, then let’s talk. If this bothers you, go away because you’re not going to like me.” What that did is it took all the air out of it and went, “I can now come and be me. I can show up authentically.”
What I have found is when I’m me, I attract my ideal client because they like me. When we’re creating their book or they’re in my coaching program, it doesn’t matter because I don’t have to pose. This is who I am all day, every day. Be genuine. Be yourself. That changed everything for me. That happened about a couple of years ago.
I love that because you’re not saying, “I’ve been doing it for 30 years.” It’s like, “I didn’t want to, and a lot of people don’t want to.” Me, too. That’s one of the things I hate doing. My team is like, I need a video.” I have video production days to go, “Let me do some of them.” There is that, “How do I be in front of the camera? What do I talk about?” You said you have that book. That’s your script.
That’s all your profits. It’s everything. That’s like the hook that you hang your hat on. Everything you do comes back to that message. It makes marketing so simple because you never have to think about what you’re going to say. You might have to think about the words, but your message is so crystal clear. You always have an offer. You’re like, “Get a free copy of my book. Join my purpose.” It makes marketing super simple. It’s just a matter of which channel you want to take that that you can afford to dominate. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, direct mail, or webinar, it doesn’t matter. Those are channels. They all work, but they work better when you have a solid, clear message as you do.
That’s perfect. You’ve got to reiterate. You’ve got to hear it over and over again until you finally get it and you quit trying to bubble on a shoestring, Band-Aid, or duct tape. You quit trying to steal Michael’s stuff, Susie’s stuff, Bob’s stuff, and Jill’s stuff. Whatever that is, ask, “What is my message?” We all have it, right?
We do. Let’s stop there. I deal with a lot of business owners who go, “I don’t have anything to say.” That’s not true. Take somebody out to coffee. Take your friend out to coffee. Start the recorder on your phone or your computer and have them ask you questions about your background or your high school. It’s like, “Why do you live where you do? Why do you do what you do?” There is a story inside each one of you. You’ve got to pull that story out. That story will separate you from your competitors. It will draw people toward you who have common ground in those areas. You all have a story to tell. You need to be telling that story.
[bctt tweet=”You all have a story to tell. You need to be telling that story. ” via=”no”]
Sometimes, you have to have someone pull that out. My marketing team helped me pull this out. She was like, “This is what you say all the time.” I’m like, “I do? I didn’t even know I was saying it.” She’s like, “You do.” I’m like, “I like that.” She’s like, “You say it all the time.” I’m like, “That’s good to know.”
We all need coaches. I’ve got three marketing coaches for my business. I’m a marketing guy, but I’m too close to my business to see it clearly. You need influencers or outside eyes to help you discover what, many times, is lying there on the surface like that. How long would it have taken you to figure that out? It’s probably a long time. Somebody else can see it clearly. Coaches are huge. That’s why I love what you do in helping business owners grow. We need that in our business and in our lives.
I love that you say, “I’m a marketing guy and I have three marketing coaches.” Sometimes, you go, “I should know this,” or, “I already do this.” You already do it, but it’s not working, so let’s get another perspective, whether it’s someone more seasoned, someone younger, or someone that has a different perspective to go, “Ugh.”
I was talking to a client and her ideal client based on all the research I did were Millennials. She goes, “I hate them.” I’m like, “Those are who you said you wanted based on all the things you said.” She’s like, “That’s interesting.” She said her best client was a Millennial. She didn’t describe it that way, but when I said, “Here’s what I’m seeing,” she was like, “Oh my God.” It’s awesome. She goes, “I even said it was my best client, but I don’t want to market to that clientele.” I’m like, “You said it was your best client.”
Let’s shift a little bit. This is the show where we are talking about how wealth is your birthright. We’re seasoned. Michael and I are seasoned. One other thing that I remember when I was a kid is when my mom would say, “If I knew then, what would I know now?” I’m like, “Could you tell us? What is that? Can you tell me?” She’s like, “No. You’ve got to learn.” I’m like, “Okay.” What has been your secret or your strategies for building your family’s wealth? You, your family, and your wife, what have been your strategies?
It’s low debt and high revenue. That is a strategy. Have a budget. I married a woman who, by God’s grace, put us on a budget many years ago. It’s awesome. She gives me my allowance and I can spend it and we’re good. For wealth-building, I’m a huge fan of properly overfunded and permanent life insurance because it gives you the beauty of compound interest and access to capital when you need it. It’s safe and secure, and it provides money for errors. If you look at those three, that’s cash, compound interest, access, safety, and errors. What we’ve done as a family is we’ve put in place a few permanent life insurances that are properly funded to build wealth for future generations.
In fact, I’m setting them up for my children. My son’s 27 and my other son’s 23. We funded policies for them and their wives. Do you have any idea, when they’re 65, how much money they’re going to have in these reserves to get guaranteed tax-free income for the rest of their lives, to be able to give generously to the kingdom, and to have access to capital throughout their lives to buy cars, houses, get college funds, and start businesses? It’s amazing what happens when you structure it properly. That’s been our philosophy. That’s our wealth-building mechanism for the future. I have a 200-year vision for my company. That is an integral part of how we, as a family, are building wealth generationally so that the next generation doesn’t have to start at zero.
How old were you when you started that?
My first policy was several years ago. I’m 56. 46 is when I started. We’ve layered. We’re on probably our sixth policy. We’ll keep adding them to different people in our family because compound interest doesn’t work in our culture because people don’t leave their money alone. They put their money into an investment. It grows, and then they pull that money out to go buy something and it kills compound interest. That’s the beauty of life insurance. It’s the compound interest. Always do that. That’s how we do it as a family. I’m a huge fan. I would love to talk to anybody about that. I don’t sell it, but I’ll tell you my philosophies.
That’s one of my strategies as well. I was 40 and I’m 56. It’s the same thing. I’m like, “Where has this strategy been my whole life?” I have other traditional ones, but that’s been a big one to go, “Oh.” I’ve borrowed from it and I funded my business from it. I love that you’re setting it up for your children. It’s one of those things that you don’t know because we were taught to be afraid of it. They were like, “Don’t do it. You don’t need it. You’re young.” That’s how I was taught when I was younger. They were like, “You don’t need it. You’re young. You’ve got all these years.” Nobody told us it was a good strategy. That’s how the rich get richer.
That’s how they pass it from generation to generation. It’s through life insurance. My second author wrote a book on this. When I first was helping him write it, I went, “This is crazy. No way.” He started talking about how banks own it and how big wealthy people own it. I’m like, “This is crazy. Where’s this been all my life?” I’m a big fan to educate people, pointing them in the right direction, and saying, “Here’s how you can make it work.” I get excited when I build spreadsheets and look at conservative returns over time because of compound interest. That is the magic formula that makes it all work.
Looking back, what’s one thing you would do differently in building your wealth? You’ve got your business. That’s a wealth strategy. You’ve got your real estate. That’s a strategy. You’ve got the life insurance. That’s a strategy. We’re seasoned. We can look back and go, “I wish I would have done this,” whatever this was. What would it be?
It would be living a simple life. For me, it would be not moving. My wife and I have moved about five times. We would build equity in a house, sell that house, and go buy another one. We’d take that equity, stay there for a few, and buy another one. That’s not a bad thing to do, but there’s a play to be made to say, “If you know you’re going to be in one area for a long time, find a great house. Maybe you’ll spend a little bit more at the beginning than you think you should but stay in that house because you’re going to not lose the realty fees and things of that nature over time. If you take those savings and strategically deploy them into a properly funded permanent life insurance policy, you’re going to have more wealth.”
We moved many times for the wrong reasons. We bought houses that were too small. When we started having kids, it was like, “We got to go buy a bigger house.” It’s a yes and no. Be more strategic in buying that first house and stretch yourself a little bit. Stay put, build equity, and invest. That’s what I would’ve changed. I would’ve stayed put. I would’ve bought a little bit bigger than I thought. I would’ve stayed put longer and redeployed that money. Instead of giving it to the mortgage company, I would’ve put it into my mortgage.
That is great coaching right there. Let’s go back and talk about the book. How does somebody start to write a book with you? Most people are afraid. For me, my brain works faster than my hands. All of a sudden, I read and I’m like, “What the heck was I talking about?” What is your strategy? How do you help authors create an amazing book? I want to say that your books are not pamphlets. They’re books.
They’re 120 to 150 pages.
Talk about that. What’s that process? We have a lot of people in our community that are afraid.
The first thing I’ll tell you is to never write a book. What I mean by that is exactly what you said. Never sit down and start typing a book. Number one, it’s slow. Number two, you’re going to self-edit. You’re like, “That’s not what I want to say. Delete.” Our process is we work with thought leaders and experts who can speak and communicate. We have a staff of writers. We’re going to get your brand message dialed in first and then we’re going to connect you with one of our writers. Through a series of Zoom conversations, they’re going to ask you the questions. We’re going to extract out of your brain all of the information that is needed for your book. You’re going to not write your book. You’re going to speak to write your book. That’s our process.
A professional writer’s going to interview you. They’re going to write your book using your words, phrases, and content so the book comes out in your words. It’s beautiful because it takes less than 24 clock hours of your time over 6 or 7 months of our time. This is not an overnight pill. What you end up with is an asset, like you have and I have, that’s going to be there for a very long time.
A book has a shelf life. In our culture, it’s sacrilegious to throw it away. When you put your book in somebody’s hand, they’re going to keep it around. You become a household fixture to build that relationship that’s so important. I’ve got books that I continually go to. That’s what you want your book to be for your audience. We help you get your book created very quickly through a speak-to-write process. We publish you the Amazon Kindle. We make you an Amazon best-selling author. It’s guaranteed. We’ve got a whole process to do that.
Where the real sizzle happens is what do you do with your book? You’ve got it and you’re like, “I’ve got a book,” but so what? If you don’t know how to use your book in your marketing to capture the attention of your audience, convert them into clients, and get referrals all by using your book, you’re leaving money on the table. We have a book marketing program that we include with our book writing program. That is so that once your book is published, you’re going to work with us and we create a credibility marketing game plan for you so that you’ll be able to monetize your expertise through your book.
There are so many competitors out there that do the same thing, but they don’t do the same thing. Part of the realization is people don’t realize it’s an investment as anything else, like your marketing. What’s the average investment someone should invest to get their book done and to get the marketing plan? What is that?
It ranges anywhere from about $24,000 to $40,000. It depends on what you’re wanting to make happen. We decided to do something a little different. We’re small business owners. We don’t always have $50,000 sitting there. If you can afford $3,000 a month, we’ll work with you. Depending on what you need, you can invest that over a 6-month period of time, a 12-month period of time, or an 18-month period of time. It’s a manageable marketing dollar to gain a great asset.
I love that. I was on a Zoom call with clients from the beauty industry. That’s where we started. This client said, “Are you Susie Fields? Is that the same name?” I’m like, “Yes. That was my previous name.” She goes, “I have your book. I still read it today.” That was many years ago. I’m like, “That book still lives on.” It has delved for me. She was so excited that I was the same person. That’s the power of many years ago. That’s instant credibility with her. She’s like, “Do you still live in San Diego? Can we get together?” That’s to go, “There’s client credibility because of work I did twenty years ago.” It’s still paying for itself. I’m asking one last question. What does Michael want to be remembered for?
Michael wants to be remembered, number one, as a follower of Christ. Number two, a dedicated husband, father, and somebody who facilitated growth in others. My mission is to facilitate growth in organizations and individuals. In everything that I do, that’s what I want to bring to the table. That’s why I love being here. I hope I can facilitate growth in your life and the life of your audience. If people will remember that I’m here as a servant of Christ and I’m here to steward whatever he’s given me, to help other people any way that I can, and that I was a loving, faithful, husband, father, and contributor in what I do and what God’s given me, that’s plenty for me.
I love that. Thank you. Thank you for who you are in the world. Thank you for what you’re up to. Thank you for being an example of a godly man and a godly husband. We need to see more of that as women in the marketplace to go, “There are good men.” There are good men in the world. Your wife can attest to that. If you love this episode, please share it with your community. Please tag Michael. How can people get ahold of you? I want to give them that free calculator. Can we give them that?
Go to my website, PaperbackExpert.com. At the homepage, right at the top, there’s a big red sentence that says, “Take your Credibility Calculator.” You can do it there. From that website, you can find me everywhere. You can find our free trainings and learn about how to create your book without writing a word. It’s PaperbackExpert.com.
I love having you. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. Have a blessed day.
Thank you. You, too.
Michael DeLon creates credibility. As the president of Paperback Expert, he helps business owners publish a book that positions them as the expert in their field. Business owners seek out Michael to clarify their brand strategy, make them bestselling authors, and set up their profitable podcast. They use his Credibility Marketing strategies to gain more clients, get more referrals, and grow their revenue.