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Interview with Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion and River Pools and Spas

  • Danny InyDanny Iny

Many of our readers are already familiar with Marcus Sheridan, a.k.a. The Sales Lion.

If you aren’t, you should be. Here are two good reasons:

1. The Sales Lion is an awesome, awesome blog – Marcus consistently puts out fantastic content that you would do well to read and learn from.

2. Marcus walks the walk. He started TSL after growing his pool company, River Pools and Spas, to the largest company of its kind in the world using content marketing and inbound marketing.

Marcus was kind enough to take the time to chat on the phone about his successes, and philosophy about business, marketing, and community.

Here it is, 33 minutes for you to enjoy:

Interview with Marcus Sheridan

Here’s the full transcript:

Danny: Hey Marcus, how are you?

Marcus: Good man, how are you?

Danny: Great! I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview, I really appreciate it. I’m sure your pretty busy between, between your pool business and The Sales Lion, so…

Marcus: Oh man it’s all good as a matter of fact I was cutting the grass and my son was actually getting in the pool, he’s the first one of the year to brave it, and it makes sense, because boys are, you know, they’re crazy like that.

Danny: Haha!

Marcus: So I’ve learned to, I don’t even argue. I just lucked out, you know me. And so yah man! But it’s a pleasure, it’s a pleasure to talk to you sir, I am, I’m grateful for the opportunity to chat about subjects that get me all fired up.

Danny: Well thank you. So I’m going to do a quick intro just for the benefit of our listeners and then we’ll jump right in, does that work?

Marcus: Sure bud!

Danny: Perfect. So, for the benefit of our listeners, Marcus Sheridan runs a blog called The Sales Lion which is how I connected with him, where he talks about marketing, business and life success. Marcus also runs a company called River, Pools and Spas which he grew to be one of the largest companies of its kind in the world due to inbound marketing efforts and an incredibly popular swimming blog, excuse me, swimming pool blog at RiverPoolsAndSpas. Marcus, our audience at Mirasee is small businesses in the 0-10 employee range and many of those businesses are not online. I think they’d be very interested in the story of your pool company, can you share that with us?

Marcus: Yeah man, you know it’s, our pool company is, was like a lot of small businesses, that I see today especially, they really had, we really had no rhyme or reason in terms of our marketing. I called it a shotgun approach, we tried a little bit of everything. We tried every outbound technique you can use, whether it was radio, print, direct mail, TV, magazines, newspapers, I mean I swear I’ve done everything, I mean really I’ve tried everything in terms of marketing, and, for the longest time we were spending a ton of money on it and we could never really quantify our results and it was just getting less and less effective you know with the information age and I realized that in 2009, when the economy just went down the gutter, you know basically I was talking with my business partners and we realized that we had to do something dramatically different than we had always done and certainly dramatically different than anything in the swimming pool industry, and that is we had to embrace content and we had to embrace, really the, like I said the information age. And so that’s when we started blogging that’s when started producing video that’s when we started really teaching the world about swimming pools. And from that experience, just to give you a little idea Danny, I mean, 3 or 4 years ago our advertising dollars were somewhere around 250-300 thousand dollars a year or something like that. In 2010 I spent less than 50 thousand dollars on advertising. So just general marketing I spent less than 50 thousand dollars, right? But our sales have, even in this economy when people aren’t buying pools, our sales have remained steady. And so, we’ve made, we’ve actually made money which is for most pool companies that’s unheard of right now and it’s all because of content and inbound marketing. It really, and I’ve said it before many times, it saved our business.

Danny: That’s really interesting and it’s really impressive. It’s also, as you said, it’s a very different direction than most pool companies tend to take, I guess, unfortunately for them.

Marcus: Well I mean, you know, I mean the problem is you got, you got a blue collar industry like a lot of other blue collar industries right? You got roofers, you got landscapers, you got all the mechanics, I mean you name it, there’s tons of people that are working in the field and then all of a sudden one day they get tired of having the boss and they start their own business, right? And the issue with that is, you know, and when you know, if you remember the E-Myth kind of talks about this, you know, you got the person that is hands on and you got the person, you know you got the person you want working on your business and in your business. So I mean, everybody wants to work in their business but very few entrepreneurs, especially small business want to work on it. And our shift was, hey, why don’t we start working on it why don’t we become great marketers. So, we used to see ourselves as a swimming company that sold swimming pools, right? Now we look at ourselves as a marketing company that happens to sell swimming pools. It’s a very, very different paradigm shift and that’s the way that we’ve gone about things but it’s been unbelievable, I mean, I turn down more jobs outside of, you know, Virginia Maryland, which is where our area is, than I do inside of it, just because of the sheer volume of leads that I sell, I sell all the leads that I get because I sell so many, you know, so I make money off of all the leads that we get from our website – right now it’s the #1 swimming pool website in the world. It was easy though to dominate this niche because like, you know, like I said, nobody’s really doing it – you know you just don’t have enough people teaching consumers. In any blue collar industry and so like, um, now that I’m actually working with people, kinda like you, you know, on marketing, I find that, it doesn’t really matter what niche it is especially in the blue collar market, you can dominate it within 6-12 months, if you’re really serious about content production, and you really start thinking like consumers, and not so much like business owners, if that makes any sense.

Danny: It, it makes complete sense… I’m curious, where did the inspiration to do this come from? I mean, you mention you know the economy was going down the tubes and, that made you think you have to do something different, but the economy was going down the tubes for everybody, and nobody else thought to do this.

Marcus: Well, yeah, I mean, at least not so much in the in the pool industry, and I think, you know, when it comes to, blue collar people they tend to learn the hard way it’s very, very unfortunate, cuz the hard way is you can’t feed your family, ok? That’s the hard way. You go on unemployment and you can’t feed your guys on a Friday. And that’s a sad road to walk when you have to do it, and I think anybody who’s been a business owner has been down that road before, you know, at least had to take out a loan to pay their guys or something like that you know and so, you know, I don’t like that I find it utterly uncomfortable and for me, it was this clear um, understanding of where we were headed in terms of the way that we shop, right? So it used to be if somebody bought, let’s say, a swimming pool, that they would open up a phone book, they would call 3 or 4 companies, maybe based on the ad that they saw, and, then they would have ‘em out and the process of selling a pool would begin. So it completely changed where people stopped even opening the phone book, they started searching first on the internet, and they based their judgments on who they would call on the value they got from the website itself, right? And, if the person did open the yellow pages, what they would do instead of making the call is they would be looking for the URL, right, of the website for that particular company. And so then they would go and they would look at 5 or 6 websites for different companies, choose the websites; top two or three that they like, and then they would call the company. And so, regardless, the yellow pages became obsolete, um, which is kinda funny because after like they ripped off people for years, ya know? Ha, ha, I like writing about them!

Danny: Yah, as they say, karma’s a bitch!

Marcus: Ha ha ha, yeah, it is, it is, you know, talk about a nasty monopoly. They had one for a long time but they, you’re right, the karma came back on ’em, big time. And um, so it’s a beautiful thing now; because, if a business is just willing to be a teacher of men, whatever it is that they offer, right, they’re going to be really, really successful, they’re going to earn people’s trust, you know, when you really earn people’s trust, and you and you really specialize in content marketing, selling is much easier. Margins are actually much higher. It’s the easy route to go but most people think it’s, it’s harder. And, it’s harder because, it’s not just, “here, let me throw some money on a table, and tell somebody to fix my problem”. No, they actually have to, you know, put their duff in a chair, and maybe, type, right maybe actually, write an article, or maybe go out on the field and produce a video. Cuz the stuff that I’m talking about, it ain’t just applicable to pool guys, I mean I’m, it ain’t just applicable to blue collar industries, it’s every industry. I’ve worked in a lot of places now, a lot of different industries, I haven’t found one that this didn’t apply to—I tell you, one, not a single one because we are living the information age and if you use it the right way and people say that community is going to be the most successful every time and it doesn’t, I don’t care if you’re a podunk, you know, if you’re just a little podunk ditch digger, whatever, you’re, landscaper in Nebraska, you can be successful; through the power of social media and through content marketing, one or the other, or both. You know, and, of course, we, we leverage both. Some companies are going to leverage twitter, some are going to leverage, you know, Facebook, some are going to leverage blogging more than others, and some are going to leverage all three, you know, it’s not a one size fits all. But the guys that accept this, you know that get on the train now, they’re going to be successful. The ones that don’t get on the train, that continue to do things the way they’ve always done it and think that they’re actually going to make a recovery when they, the economy comes around, they’re crazy. It just ain’t workin’ like that; they’re going to find they’ve lost their business, and their competitors have passed them by. I mean, what’s funny about this is because of, because of the shift, right, David slays Goliath every day now, every day, because David doesn’t have a bunch of red tape, and David is able to go out there and use a slingshot, right, and that slingshot is content marketing, it’s social media, and it works, it’s very, very fun to watch and I love watching these little guys kick tail.

Danny: I completely agree with you, and something I really like about your story is that you did it with selling swimming pools, and, it reminds me a lot of Adam Ginsberg – he’s one of the guys who did really well on eBay early on – and he was selling pool tables, like, billiard tables, which are big, bulky, expensive items, not at all the sort of thing you’d expect to be able to sell easily on eBay, right? And he did very well, he made a killing, and I think, swimming pools is kinda similar in that way because, a lot of the blue collar industries you’re talking about, you know, the roofer, the plumber, they’re going to say “this is a hard thing to sell online”. Sure, you can sell books online, you can sell mp3s, you can sell all kinds of things online, but this is not the sort of thing that people are looking to buy online, you know, landscaping services, interior design, etc., and yet, you’ve done it really well, so I’d love to hear: how would you respond to that?

Marcus: Yah I mean, it’s you know, it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, when somebody tells me that internet marketing, marketing online, won’t work for their product or niche. It’s just so, it’s just ridiculous. I mean, I could think about a thousand other words that are negative to say about that concept. I mean, here’s the deal, okay, if the thing exists, and you have to buy it, well then, it’s worth writing about, talking about, and marketing online, and it will work, and it will work well. You know, people all the time say “Well, how about if I market XYZ product?”. So you’re telling me your product doesn’t have questions that come along with it, are you telling me that nobody in your niche has ever asked a single question about your product? I’ve never found question, I mean a product, that doesn’t have 50 questions that come along with it, and the first guy that answers those 50 questions and does a good job of it and really shows it, he dominates his niche. It’s so ridiculous, man, I mean, it is so out there. I mean, granted there are industries where there’s a lot more education. I mean, you know and I know: marketing is a big one, right? So people write about marketing, you know, it’s more difficult for a marketing company now that teaches people maybe about marketing, to get online and to dominate because marketers understand you’ve gotta be on the internet, you’ve gotta do this. You know, notwithstanding, heh, heh, heh, you can still make it work, right? You can still make it work: it doesn’t matter if it’s super saturated or not saturated at all, it’s all, it all works to hold the course, and the ones that hold the course are very, very successful.

Danny: Let’s talk about holding the course because that’s an important concept, especially when you’re talking about content marketing. You know, I mean if your listing something on eBay or if you up an Adwords campaign, at least, in theory, if you do it right, that’s, you know, people get exposed overnight, so you see pretty quickly if it’s working or not. Content marketing takes time, you’ve got to accumulate all that content, you’ve gotta put it up, Google has to notice, people have to start finding you and that whole thing takes time – you were saying 6 to 12 months?

Marcus: Yeah.

Danny: When you did this the first time, because, you know, now, you know, you’ve done it, there’s blueprints people can follow, they know 6 to 12 months, they know what the benchmarks are; they can track their progress.

Marcus: Right.

Danny: But when you were trying a bit of everything you wouldn’t have seen results from this overnight because it’s not an overnight results sort of thing. What gave you that conviction to stick with it and keep doing it for 6 months, 12 months until you really started seeing results, and not stopping after 3 months saying “ah, this isn’t really working”?

Marcus: Yeah, well, you know, for me it was almost like – I’m sure you too did this Danny too when you were playing video games, right – and, you start playin’ ’em, and, you start to get better and you want to continue with playing the game. Well, I haven’t played video games for years, but when I got into content marketing it was almost the same thing, because every night I would open up my analytics, and I would look at the articles I had written, how many times they’d been read, where it was ranking with Google, you know, what keywords I was capturing, and I noticed slowly my ranks just kept going up, and up, and up, and up and I was getting more and more keywords. You know, we’ve been dominating  long tail marketing. It’s been hard for me to type in a question about fiber glass swimming pools and not have us somewhere on the first page. You know, you go right now and type in how much a fiber glass would cost, we’d be number one. If you type in stuff like, you know, who makes the best fiber glass pool, whatever type of writing you use; fiber glass this, fiber glass that, we dominate all those things and we show up on the first page and so, a-after each article I started to say okay, yeah, this article worked, and I worded it in such and such a way, and I scored on the first page of Google, and so, wow, now I’m starting to get this traffic and oh look I’ve got a lead because of this particular blog article that came in through this particular organic search and this was the phrase, and wow, that is very, very cool, I like that. And so I just started seeing the “buh-buh-buh-buh-buh” you know that happens naturally when you content market, right, properly. And it’s just very, very fun to watch it all happen and I just got into it, I got into it a lot and I really, really enjoyed it, just, watching it all grow and each and every month you know our traffic is just increased, increased, increased, now. I mean, it’s nothing for me to get a couple of thousand visitors a day on my website, on my swimming pool website. And it’s impressive to get a couple of thousand visitors a day on a swimming pool website, especially one, heh heh, one that’s in Virginia. It doesn’t really work that way. But, that’s how it happens I mean there’s, there’s companies in the pool industry and have a hundred million dollars of sales, a year. They’re national companies – I mean they’re public companies. When it comes to website traffic, I kill ’em all, because of the long tail, and because of content. You know, they dominate maybe with a couple of the short tail phrases, you know, the ones that don’t convert very high, but when it comes to the long tail keyword market, it’s mine, man, I own it, and it’s because I produce more content than anybody else. People say “Well you’re just naturally a writer” well that’s just a bunch of crap, it’s just not true at all. I’m not actually a writer, something, if somebody looks at my writing, whether it’s on River pools or on The Sales Lion, when I just started, they weren’t very good. And they’ve slowly gotten better, right, and they’ll be a lot better in a year then they are today. Nobody’s just a natural writer it just doesn’t really work that way, so we all have to work for it so when business owners say “I just can’t write, I’m no good at writing”, I just don’t really care it doesn’t really matter to me because you can, I mean, you can talk to customers, right, I mean we all communicate with our customers; a customer comes up to you and says, “How much is this” and we tell them an answer, so, we can do that, but we can’t write about it? I mean that’s just simply not true. I mean, we can’t make a video about answering the questions? Simply not true. We can, we choose not to, we feel it’s not that important, right? But once we feel that it’s that important, then we’ll embrace it and we’ll start to see the results. And I, I’ve had guys, man, that were podunk, like, dudes that had never messed with computers, right, that really just had been, you know digging holes or whatever for the swimming pool or the landscaping company, and within 3 months they’re blogging two to three articles a week and becoming very, very successful at it. How does that happen? I mean it’s just hard work, man, it’s just the desire, right, there’s no other way around it, I mean it’s just a strong desire to do it. But it does work, I’ve seen it over and over again, it’s just the guys that don’t know that pay the price, the guys and the gals, they’re makin’ it happen, regardless of the industry.

Danny: It’s all, you’re right, it’s all about motivation, I mean you know I can’t write, I don’t like to write, it’s it’s not what I do, it’s not what I’m good at, it’s like, yeah, what if I give you a thousand dollars to write me an article? It’s like, okay, well then maybe I’ll give it a shot, right? It’s all about the motivation.

Marcus: Yah oh it will happen really, really quick, you know? It’s just funny to me, man, it’s just funny to me, you know, it used to take me a couple of hours to write a blog article, right you know, I mean today it takes me like 15 minutes, on a lot of them. I mean, for me, I mean especially for River Pools, right, because I’m just you know I write so quick, you know, 400-500 words, okay, you know, it’s just done. So, it’s just, it’s just one of those things it ain’t easy you just gotta try it, it’s like anything else in life, everything else, it’s like any other skill, everybody can do it, I mean I know I’m beating the dead horse, here, but it, that’s just the way that it works.

Danny: For sure, and it’s not easy at first, I mean just like any other skill. Anything you want to learn how to do, it’s not going to be super easy at first, and once you put in that time to get there, that’s kind of your protection that’s your barrier of entry to every Tom, Dick and Harry who, you know, wants to write their first article in 15 minutes and then be done with it.

Marcus: Right, that’s right, that’s right, that’s right.

Danny: I mean any real skill anything worth learning it takes time, takes energy.

Marcus: Yes, content marketing is no different, it’s no different, but man I’m living proof, I’m living proof, like I say: anybody looks at my stuff from a couple of years ago and they will see that I was a terrible writer. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. But it came around – really, I didn’t even know how to properly format a blog, a blog title, make it look friendly to the eyes, for the first 3 months of doing it, at all, you know – I just wasn’t any good but that’s okay, I mean, that’s okay, Google still picked it up, Google still started to like it, and everything just started to roll on it’s on, eventually,

Danny: Mmmhmm. You incrementally improve. I mean, even when you’ve been doing it for a while and you’re getting good at it, I had someone send me an email this morning and point out something, frankly, quite stupid that we’re doing on Mirasee that never occurred to me, you know? It never occurred to me at all and I appreciate that it was pointed out so now we can fix it. But anything at a time, you know, you find them and you fix them, and it gets better.

Marcus: That’s exactly right and I mean there’s so many tools out there now, so many people that want to help – It ain’t gotta be as hard, you know what I’m saying? I mean it’s you know, for me, I didn’t know how to do what I’m doing, right, I just kinda figured it out on my own. But, today, I mean a couple of years later there’s so many resources I mean like how to blog the right way type of resources? You know, websites like yours and mine, it’s like, it’s there, it’s there. You gotta read ‘em, and apply the principles, and your learning curve goes way down. It’s so much easier.

Danny: Yeah. No, I completely agree. So, Marcus, tell, let’s talk about your new website let’s talk about The Sales Lion. Because, you were already doing, this is something that I find interesting, when you’ve got someone who’s uber successful and then goes off to a second career, writes a book or anything like that. You’re already doing very well with River Pools and Spas, what inspired you to start another website and business?

Marcus: Well, you know, I’m not a pool guy, really. I mean, so, the thing I haven’t mentioned here is I love, I love talking, I love teaching, I love helping, and I’m not particularly passionate about swimming pools, it’s just kind of an industry I fell into I mean, I like it, I’ve got a pool, you know, put my pool up recently as a matter of fact, you know, and my kid jumped in it this morning, which was kinda crazy cuz it’s still pretty cold. I’m passionate about teaching, and I saw something that worked for me, and I saw the need for it, with small businesses, you know, that 99% were just doing things all wrong, I mean just utterly, utterly wrong. And so that’s when I just, had to do something, I just had to have an outlet, right? And so, I just started to say, “you know what, I want it to be a blog, and I also – this is one my things, too – I wanted to write a book, about marketing, about sales marketing, things like that, and I had talked to a few agents and nobody really cared about me at all. And why should they? I mean I was a nobody, right? So I knew I needed a platform, and so The Sales Lion that’s exactly what it is, a platform where I can speak, but it’s a ah very communal, tribal thing for me, I mean I’m very, I mean you know that, I’m big into the community and I want to help people, and I feel like the more I give the more I’ll get back, you know, the law of reciprocity – I believe in it very, very strongly, I’ve seen it work, it took me a while to understand it, but once I started to get it, everything really changed with that blog as well. Because as I mentioned before, starting a blog about marketing, about sales, about self improvement, is way, way more difficult than having a successful swimming pool blog where there’s no competition.

Danny: No, I hear you. Marcus, actually, you were starting to go towards something that I would like to talk about. As you know there are a lot of stereotypes about the world of marketing and sales, and those stereotypes aren’t always flattering. One of the reasons that I really enjoy and respect your work is your commitment to quality and integrity in all the work that you do. I don’t quite understand why this attitude isn’t more pervasive, but it isn’t, and yet it’s something that you clearly stick to do very strongly, we try to do the same… why do you think there’s this disparity, especially in the world of online marketing?

Marcus: I mean, I don’t know man, it’s just one of those things where you know, people that sell things they might get a bad name, and what it comes down to is that it’s reality that whenever money is involved, people get, people get all crazy, right. And so you have good and bad experiences and it’s just very much out in the open with online marketing because the bad people are magnified, right, so, the bad people are not the majority of people that market online.

Danny: Right.

Marcus: So, my swimming pool company, it’s online marketing, it’s internet market, you know we have this where it’s internet marketing is is just ah, going out and selling e-books and nothing, and that couldn’t be further from the truth! Internet marketing is you teaching anybody anything they didn’t already know online – anything at all. That’s what internet marketing is – It’s teaching people, and through teaching comes trust. And through trust comes sales, ultimately, hopefully, right, that’s the idea, right? And so, it makes no difference whether it’s a company, whether it’s a restaurant, whether it’s… it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s all the same it’s all the same thing. But you got some people out there that realize that okay, you know, there’s people in this world that are naïve, that are gullible, if I put some good copy on a page and make it sound very appealing, you know, they’ll buy it. It’s not, they’ve been doing that for years, right? I mean look at every stinkin’ commercial, infomercials, right, how many of those things actually work? You know, you spend $19.99 plus 12 bucks shipping and handling, and you buy this little clothes hanger that folds up. And you just got ripped off. You don’t see infomercials getting attacked as much, right, because it just is what it is, right, it just is what it is. You got good stuff you got bad stuff in every medium that’s out there, I mean, people that want to talk about it bad, so I mean so, so be it, you know what I mean, I just let ‘em, I just let ‘em go, they ain’t gettin’ it because there’s some awesome people out there I’m telling you what there’s people that care, there is a revolution going on with teaching in my in my opinion okay and I’ve seen this more than any other time in the world people have a platform and a voice to teach people. Whether it’s about self improvement, whether it’s about sales, whether it’s about marketing, whether it’s about, you know, how to raise your pet, or how to be a good dad, you know, or how to garden. More information than ever, more giving than ever, more community than ever; it’s a very, very beautiful thing. Okay, so what if there’s 1% that are junky, you’re going to have that everywhere you go. But we can’t judge the whole because of the individual. We still gotta look at the whole and the whole is we have a beautiful movement that is happening. Businesses and individuals have a choice: they can embrace it or they can sit there and say “Aw, internet marketing sucks so, it’s only bad people that do internet marketing.” Come on man, come on, you know what I mean? I know you know what I mean, Danny.

Danny: Oh, I completely know what you mean and I agree with you, like, if there is an aspect of internet marketing that people find distasteful, the solution isn’t to sit it out, it’s to get involved and make sure to bring the same integrity that you have with your offline marketing techniques and other business dealings to your online marketing.

Marcus: Yah, that’s right, that’s exactly right.

Danny: So Marcus, before we wrap up, I want to make sure that our listeners walk away from this interview with a clear action step that they can take to improve their situation and their business I mean, if they take three hours, they clear the afternoon, they heard the interview and they’re like “wow, internet marketing, content marketing, I never thought applies to my to my business but that I realize now that it does, I’ve got to do something about it, I’m clearing my afternoon, I’ve got three hours”, what should they do with those three hours?

Marcus: Yeah, here’s the thing. This is what I would do if I was any business in the world right now, and I really mean it, I tell this to everybody, now I beat this horse all the time. I would sit down with your group of employees, anybody in your office, your company, that’s ever asked, excuse me, answered a single question from a client, from a customer, from a phone call, about your service, okay, so get that your group your team, get it together. Once you’re together sit and brainstorm every question that you’ve ever been asked about your product or your service and write out the question just exactly as the consumer would state it. For example: how much does a fiber glass pool cost? And that’s a good consumer question that everybody asks in my industry, right? Okay, so any question like that, you want to sit down and you want to write. And you do it as a group because there’s performance energy that comes from this, right? And so as you do it you come up with 50, if you can’t come up with 50 you haven’t turned your power on. Because every service in the world, I don’t care what it is, if it exists, it has 50 questions that will come out of this. Once you have done those 50 questions, that is the model of your content marketing campaign. That’s it, right there, right there. So you either need to a) write an article or b) produce a video based on that particular question. So once you have the questions you start a blog, okay, on your website, today. Today. You don’t wait. You just do it. Call your webmaster if you have to. And each question that you wrote is a title to an article, okay? If you write 2 articles a week or produce 2 articles a week, that’s 25 weeks worth of content, so after 6 months, 6 months and 50 articles, you have created now one of the best information driven websites in your industry simply because you answered the 50 questions that everybody wants to know about your product or service. I’ve done this exercise with fence companies, with landscaping companies, with restaurants, as a group, and it’s amazing how it works, it works every time. And it has to be done just like that just like I said, but when it’s done that way it’s very, very amazing. And you’ll never find yourself saying “what do we write about, what do we write about” – there’s no reason you should ever say that. And, the team, when they all have a dog in the fight, you know, then they’re just like “wow, this is great, this is just really great”. They get into it, the power, the power in the team, power in the synergy behind it. So if I was any business owner, any entrepreneur out there, that is exactly what I would do if I had three hours today.

Danny: Wow, Marcus, that is a fantastic value packed answer to that question, thank you.

Marcus: Oh, you’re welcome, man, I’m glad you had me on here, I had a good time! I could talk about this stuff all day but people would go to sleep. Hehehe… 20 minutes is certainly enough of me, that’s for sure.

Danny: No I think, ah, for now just the right amount. I have the feeling our audience is going to want more so ah, we’ll see what we can do in the future. Marcus, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I’ve enjoyed it, I know it’s going to be very valuable to our listeners. I want to wish you tons of success with your business, which you’ve already got, and even more success with The Sales Lion. I’m looking forward to seeing that book come out. Do you have any idea when that’s going to be?

Marcus: You know, my goal is… somebody asked me did you start writing your book, and I said yeah, I write my book every time I write a new blog article, you know, that’s the way I see it I’m writing the book as I go, I just haven’t gotten… I’m doing this to be approached by a publisher, not so that I have to go approach a publisher myself, you know what I’m saying? I would expect that within the next 6 to 12 months I’ll have a contract. A lot of people are like “ah, you know, how can you say that?”, and I say you know I’ve seen it happen. Well I think it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen naturally you know. I mean this year I’ve got some major speaking events for marketing that I’ll be speaking at, you know, as I continue to write, the community grows, that’s just how it works, man, success, it’s just you track success into your life as you produce great work, whether you’re a swimming pool company or whether you’re just some guy that blogs about sales, marketing, and life success principles, like I do on The Sales Lion.

Danny: Awesome. And well alright, I guess with those words of wisdom, which all of our listeners should take heed to and try to apply in the next day, week, month. I’m going to say thank you very much, it’s been a fantastic interview.

Marcus: Danny, you’re awesome dude, good luck to you, good luck to Mirasee, love the name it’s a really sweet name by the way, and I’d like to come back some time and I’m looking forward to your guest post, it’s um, I think it’s going to be out in like you know the next 7 to 10 days or something like that so everybody check that out on The Sales Lion as well Danny wrote a really great article.

Danny: Thank you. All right, thanks a lot.

Marcus: Alright, take care buddy.

Danny: You too.

21 thoughts on Interview with Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion and River Pools and Spas


I just wanted to say THANK YOU! so much for writing out the full transcript. As someone with a disability that makes it difficult to watch/listen to videos, I really, really appreciate you taking the time to do what so many others consider not worth their time. Excellent interview!

Danny Iny

You’re very welcome, KeriLynn! We’re thrilled to have you here. 🙂

Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

Thanks a ton for having me Danny. Sorry I had my mic too close to my mouth, my bad bro! It was a pleasure though man!!



Danny Iny

No worries, Marcus, and the interview is jam packed with solid content for our listeners, so I couldn’t be happier. Thanks, man!


Can you please explain what “inbound marketing” is?

Danny Iny

Inbound marketing is contrasted with traditional/outbound/interruption marketing – the idea is that rather than going out and bothering/interrupting people with ads, you create a situation where they seek out your content, and give you permission to contact them, for example by giving you their email address.


I love how Marcus has leveraged the power of blogging and internet marketing for a typically “brick and mortar” business. Great insights.

Elena Patrice

Ok gentlemen, I’ve been saving the best for last … it’s driven me nuts that today was so busy and I couldn’t respond earlier! I’m going to start by saying first that this was the most relevant, informative post I have read in regard to my business ever. For me it was exactly what I needed to read! Second, Marcus you stated how you like to help people and from what I’ve learned about Danny, I know he does as well; if it means anything, you genuinely (with huge emphasis) have helped me with this interview.

Marcus, I deal with blue collar business all day long; they are actually the niche website design we focus on. (Note that our whole site with the exception of the blog is being revamped and will be completed within days, as we’re rectifying the obvious mistakes we made out of the gate.) Now, I have to give this disclaimer … I wrote children’s books and owned a publishing company for 6 years up until 2 years ago. When my world ended as I knew it, I had to start something up again immediately in order to feed my child literally, so … long story (working on that blog post) the web design world is basically new. There are several reasons we chose this particular niche market; however, I should say it chose us. There is obviously mongo competition in what we do so you can see why I feel that this post is so relevant. It’s been two-fold for me because you touch upon the blue collar business that I adore and are my focus and you offer huge, vital words for my own business.

I cannot express the number of times I speak with the trades and they do and say exactly what is written here. And … I say to them all the time that business as we knew it only a few short years ago is virtually non-existent now and they must truly learn to work their business or they will not make it. Oddly, these businesses have been “spoiled” in one sense that they did throw money at it and now that can’t really do that and shouldn’t that be a blessing? Not having to put out those kinds of dollars anymore? I tell businesses all the time that there are countless avenues that they can travel to build their business and build it strong; however, they MUST do it themselves and really work it (again). Some get it, unfortunately most don’t. I’m not in the consulting, business management aspect; though I sure act like I am simply because I sincerely want for their success and I’m a crusader for small business survival.

Marcus, I am going full-force with video blogging and you mention video blogging. Will doing this be as powerful as article marketing? I am going to pull from the 50 question thing for sure – what a gem! I know to survive and thrive that we have to be so totally innovative, so motivated (and you don’t know just how much we are!), and so up on things to make our way. I am not trying to dominate the web design world obviously, BUT I am trying to dominate the trade web design world because there is a huge opportunity here.

I’m hoping this isn’t too jagged here and makes some sense. I am greatly encouraged by this article and feel there hope for both WGB and for our customers that we have. Like both of you, I want to help them. I also want to be an encouragement to those who have been through the same type of experience as me by being successful in my business and rising out of ashes.

I cannot express my thanks enough to both of you. This really blew my mind this morning when I read it and it’s going to be so helpful going forward. Great interview, great encouragement. Please forgive me for any redundancy I’ll blame it on the time. 😉

Abundant kindness & gratitude,


Danny Iny

Wow, Elena, I’m completely blown away by your comment, and truly honored by your kind words.

If there is anything at all that I can do to help you penetrate this market and grow your business – whether it is feedback, brainstorming, or just continuing to put out the best content that we can here at Firepole Marketing, I am 100% at your disposal.

We really feel blessed to be connected to such fantastic people through our blog. Thank you, Elena, you’ve made our week!

Elena Patrice

You’re a good man Danny – thank YOU so much! Everything you all are doing is right on and beyond helpful; so keep on keepin’ on. 😉 Heaven willing I’ll be able to utilize great services like yours and Marcus’ one day; for now though great content is invaluable (I almost feel guilyt because this is such valuable, selflessly given, information.) Blue skies, always! Elena 🙂

Danny Iny

Elena, you’re too kind. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

Elena, this was really, really cool of you, and sorry I was slow to respond. I love your vision, and the fact that you’re getting into video is very exciting and I’m sure your audience will really get into it. In terms of SEO, the best way to do video is by embedding the video into your blog article, and still having some great keywords to answer the question. So if you can combine them, do it, but if it’s just video, make sure your title are strong and keyword driven (just naming the question is fine).

Good luck Elena!!!


Jk Allen

This was great! Absolutely great. My favorite line… “Goliath has all the red tape…David has a sling shot”! Great analogy Marcus. I tell you man – once I remove these corporate shackles that are wrapped tightly around my neck – I’m gonna be armed to conquer whatever industry I seek to takeover!

Marcus – you kill these interviews man! Your passion speaks for you…your brain doesn’t have to formulate not one word!Danny – Great interview. You touched on some great questions – that certainly brought out the best in my boy Marcus.Happy Friday ya’ll!


Danny Iny

Thanks, Jk! Marcus made it easy – the man is a fountain of awesome information and insight. 🙂

Have a great weekend, my friend!


great interview.

marcus is an awesome dude

Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

Thanks Diller, appreciate the kind words.

Patricia Millman

Hi Danny

Had to come over and see what the Sales Lion had to share. He is one of my fav bloggers and I’ve been a regular visitor to his site from before he was almost famous 😉 What a generous guy Marcus is, with sharing his knowledge and commenting on other blogs to encourage others starting out.

Great interview and even though I feel I know Marcus fairly well now, was good to see him share so much of his walk with us all today. Appreciated.

Patricia Perth Australia

Danny Iny

Hey Patricia, we’re big fans of Marcus over here, too – he’s brilliant, generous and kind, and all around a really great guy.

Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to the interview – very much appreciated, Patricia!

Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

Sorry for my late reply Patricia, but thanks so much for that, it means a lot to me and I hope you got something out of the interview.




Wow, that was impressive beyond belief! I love Marcus’ passion for what he does; I picked up on it at BlogCast FM, and I’m picking up on it here as well! Marcus is always an inspiration to me, no matter which site I find him at 😉

Danny, I’m happy to see you back at your own site for once 😉 I’m kidding, great interview and I appreciate you taking the time to transcript it all as well. That must have taken some blood, sweat and tears! Kudos to you my man.

This has inspired me to get Skype up and running (at last) and get in touch with some people! I’m pumped 🙂

Danny Iny

Thanks, Stu! Yeah, it’s nice to be back here – at least for a little bit. 😀

Getting the transcript done is work, for sure, but it helps a lot to have an infrastructure to support it all – I don’t think I could be doing this all myself. 🙂

Definitely, man, do it – that’s what Skype is for, right? 😉

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