This interview is brought to you by Nigel Cliffe

Paul Castain is a guy I have come to respect hugely over a period of a couple of years. He demonstrates the epitome of what it takes to be successful in the world of social media communication. He lives and breaths by example. He eats his own dog food. By giving, Paul clearly receives. Let me say this about Paul. He stands out in a sea of people as one of those who truly ‘gets it’. I am so pleased he accepted my invitation to be interviewed for Print Media Centr. Although we have never met (but I hope to soon) he has become one of a new breed of people who I sincerely consider to be my friend, entirely driven through social media channels. Enjoy!

NC: Who is Paul Castain and what does he do?

PC: Paul Castain is someone who got way too comfortable earlier in his career and as a result, lost everything he had and went $60,000 in debt. He was fortunate enough to rise from the ashes, rebuild his life and now talks about himself in the 3rd person. My official title is Vice President of Jedi Mastery at Castain Training Systems and I work with companies and individuals to help them differentiate in a marketplace that is littered with “Me too’s”

NC: Tell me about your rock star status?

PC: Well thank you for that. I am flattered to say the least. I started my social media journey 2 ½ years ago quite unintentionally. I was wrapping up a sales boot camp program when one of my participants raised his hand and asked me the following question. “Paul, a few times during this program, you mentioned how you’ve always wanted to write a book. Why haven’t you written it?” It’s moments like this that I am so glad my ego steps in and filters my thoughts before they become audible. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way and before I knew I said “Because I’m scared.” While they appreciated my honesty, I knew I had to figure out why I was scared.

After some serious soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t believe anyone, beyond my sales team knew who I was. If we are to be considered a brand, I felt mine was nonexistent. A quick trip to Google with a query of Paul Castain, confirmed my suspicions when only 3 results came back. I was very disappointed in myself that after 25 years in business, there wasn’t a whole heck of lot to trace back to me. I came to the realization that anyone who would eventually “buy” Paul Castain would most probably begin their journey online.

It was from that virtual groin kick that I decided to do something about it. Today, I have a one of the most widely read sales blogs in the world and a sales community on Linkedin with over 20,000 members. I could go on and on but not only does it make me feel tacky spewing numbers, they are meaningless. The most important thing I have today, is more opportunities than I did when I set out on my “Castain 2.0” journey!

NC: In what Social Media channels are you active and why?

PC: I’m active on the “Big 3” Social Networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin) I’m an active blogger and have a podcast that airs twice a month. I’m on Youtube and will be launching a phase 2 initiative later this year

The second part of your question (Why) is critical!

I’m active on these channels because everyone has their preferred venue and its up to me to show up where they wish to engage. I think anyone who allows themselves to get caught up in the old “I don’t get Twitter” or the “I don’t get blogging” thing is missing out. It doesn’t matter that you or I “get” the venue. It matters that we show up where our audience prefers to engage our brand.

NC: Does Social Media create or close sales?

PC: I believe the answer is a resounding “BOTH!” Let’s get the negative part of this out of the way first. If all you do is spew content and come across as “ME, ME ME” and do a great job of broadcasting without engaging . . . you will turn lots of people off, real fast and then they’ll use social media to tell everyone what an ass you are.

And now the cool side . . .

If you can find a way to create a community of brand evangelists singing your praises, then you generate mucho opportunities!

NC: What was your greatest sales turn-around moment?

PC: It was the day a former boss came into the sales bull pen, listened to the pathetic, younger Paul Castain and then cut me a new one in front of my peers. My biggest problem at that point of my life, was that I sounded desperate and prospects were taking full advantage of it. Once I learned to be more confident and have the guts to walk from a lousy deal, things dramatically changed for me. I consistently made the top 20, my income went through the ceiling and I was promoted to a position where I had 150 reports within 10 months.

NC: Imagine yourself as an invitee to speak about the role of sales at the Google Annual General Meeting in 2015. What would be the emerging trends?

PC: I fear that it might have to be more of a call to action to get back to basic human relations skills. If you take a look at the last 4 years with the explosion of social media, the marriage of social media and sales to form Sales 2.0 methodologies and the massive shift to viewing content on mobile devices, it’s a great indicator that technology will have us knee deep in many more “virtual” relationships. Our call to action then (and now) is not to get so enchanted with the technology that we forget about good, old fashioned “real time” relationships!

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and see our 1/1: Interview Archives for more!

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