Building celebrity status through T.V. shows allowed Darren Kavinoky to turn his one-man law practice into a multi-million dollar empire. When you become a well-known expert in your field, high profile clients come to you, allowing you to use your celebrity status as a marketing tool to expand your business. Darren gives us the tips on how to turn your business into a household name. We discuss how to use your expertise to pitch, book, and leverage your T.V. appearances into massive success.
Hello, and welcome to Marketing Speak. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer and today I have with us, Darren Kavinoky.
Hey! It’s awesome having you here, Darren!
Let me just give a little intro about all your amazing skills and areas of expertise to our listeners and then we’ll just dive right in. Darren, we met at METal not long ago, just last year. METal is Media Entertainment Technology Alpha Leaders and, incidentally, I saw you get inducted as Man of the Year of METal 2015 a couple of months ago.
Yeah, other than the birth of my daughter and my marriage, I think the biggest moment of my life! No, it’s great. I love METal and yes, that’s how we first met and what a great group of folks.
Yeah, it really is. It’s a high-performing high level group. We met when you were running METal that weekend and I was speaking so that was a great intro to—
Yes, it was Serendipitous. You are the co-creator and the host of Deadly Sins, which is a hit TV show, which I unfortunately haven’t watched yet. I don’t get TV and I don’t even watch Netflix now. I cancelled my Netflix so that I wouldn’t get sucked into the abyss so I am woefully behind.
I hope you’re one of the few, yes!
Yes. I’m certain I’m one of the few, yes. So, Deadly Sins, I’ve heard great things about it but I have not seen it so, co-creator and host—that’s impressive to say the least. You’re also co-host of, Did He Do It?, and the featured criminal interventionist on the TV special, Breaking Point, which also aired on the I.D Network. So, you are quite the television personality!
I have a deep and longstanding relationship with misbehavior and with Investigation Discovery.
That’s amazing! And you’re a sought-after legal expert for different shows such as The Today Show, The View, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and Dr. Phil. You’ve been on quite an array of high-powered shows as an expert legal analyst and you’ve been a well-known criminal defense lawyer for over two decades. You are named one of the top 100 trial lawyers in California each year since 2007—I mean, this is pretty impressive stuff and I’m honored to have you on the show, Darren.
Oh, I’m happy to be here.
So, let’s dig into how to get this kind of celebrity for oneself because you didn’t start with having your own TV show. You probably started by building up your reputation and then getting on one show and then that kind of led into another and so forth. Let’s talk about building celebrity status on TV and on stages—you speak at various events as well and you do a fantastic job because I’ve seen you speak.
I do. Thanks, Stephan. I’m going to turn you into earrings so I can just carry you with me everywhere and hear such complimentary things everywhere I go. And it’s funny, I tell people all the time that if I can do it, anybody can. That, and if I’m a living testimonial to any one thing it’s the idea that, a drunk, blind, half-retarded squirrel can indeed find an acorn–as has been the case with me. It’s funny that when I look back at the business success that I’ve had and, specifically, the marketing success that I’ve had—the true line for me truly has been television. My ability to get myself anointed as the subject matter expert by the CNN, The Entertainment Tonight, and the other media outlets of the world, it’s been an enormous part of my business success. I’m happy to share that with people and it’s one of the few things that I have actually figured out in my life and how to do it effectively so I’m just delighted to be in the conversation.
I think you’ve figured out quite a number of things, actually. We could talk about how you’re crushing it on Twitter and so forth too.
Let’s start with TV because I think that’s the most notable and one of the hardest things for folks to figure out.
Well, for me, it’s funny. It all began quite accidentally. When Mel Gibson got arrested for drunk-driving, anti-sematic rantings, and other sort of misbehavior on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu some years ago, Entertainment Tonight was looking for someone to come on air and do what I lovingly call, “expert blah-blah.” You know, being an expert to deliver some “blah-blah” about what was Mel facing, how are DUI cases investigated, what are these roadside tests, and all that sort of stuff. The lawyer who had been their on-air legal expert stuff—their “expert blah-blah”—was a Family Law attorney who didn’t feel comfortable opining about criminal and DUI cases. He was humble enough to say to them, “Hey, I am not the best guy for this job but I know this guy, Darren, who, I think, would do very well,” and just by way of good luck, they were calling me repetitively to get me in there. There was this huge urgency as they were up against the deadline to upload the story for their East Coast deadline because the show’s produced here in Los Angeles. We spent, maybe, 20 minutes going back and forth with “Are you coming in?”, “Are we sending a crew to you?” and “How do we make this thing happen logistically?” Then I got a call, Stephan, from one of the senior producers of the show and she says and kind off purrs into the telephone, “What are you wearing?” and I said, “Oh, Mrs. Robinson! Are you trying to seduce me?” and she says, “No! No, you idiot! I just want to make sure that you look good on television because if you wear something that is too tightly-patterned, it will fuzz on camera and if you wear something that’s bright white, you might look washed-out,” and somehow, Stephan, all this triggered something on my head that there was an opportunity here. It just so happened that when they called me, I was three blocks from my house and I go whipping into my closet, and grab a bunch of different shirts, ties, and eyeglasses, and I go strutting in to Entertainment Tonight carrying my own wardrobe and they said, “What is all this?” and I go, “Well, look, this Mel Gibson story is going to be with us for more than a day—it’s Mel Gibson—and I know the nightmare, logistically, that we just went through to figure out where’s the crew and how we’re going to do this so why don’t we shoot some different sound bites with me in different outfits and you can release those through the week and you don’t have to have me come back and inconvenience the crew,” and literally, you could see the blood drain from their faces and heads exploded. It was like nobody had never thought about how to solve that logistical issue before and very quickly, I became the field correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and its sister show, The Insider. I realized that I’ve created quite a business problem for myself and then, I needed to look at my law firm through different eyes and through different lenses and engineer myself out of a lot of these day-to-day operations so that I could run around and cover the most important journalistic stories of our generation or any other. Of course, I’m talking about scandals like, The Balloon Boy saga if you remember that at Fort Collins, Colorado, or Tiger Woods and his infidelities, or Jon and Kate Plus 8 when they went through their big divorce. I was actually on the ground in the divorce court in Philadelphia covering that, Stephan. I realized from the business necessity standpoint, I needed to figure out how to recast my law firm so that I could to do this because very quickly, I started to appreciate that by being seen on the magic box in people’s living rooms—the one that you apparently don’t own, Stephan—that I was actually able to charge higher fees in my law firm that people were calling and saying things like, “Well, I hope I can afford you since you’re that fancy TV lawyer and here’s my legal problem,” and very quickly I knit these things together, Stephan, and I said, “Holy smokes! I need to be doing more of these TV stuff and how do I engineer my business so I can,” That became something I became fixated on and, thankfully, was able to solve that riddle. Now, when I look back at my business life and we’ve got a multi-million dollar law firm, we employ 30 people, and when all this started, I was a solo guy. I was a small fry. I was able to leverage that expertise or the perception of expertise that came through television into quite a successful business. I love being able to share that experience with other entrepreneurs and, basically, show them how I did it because, again, if I can do it, anybody can.
Yeah, well you actually just spoke at Michael Port’s Heroic Public Speaking event, I believe.
Yeah, I just had Michael on last month. It was a great episode.
Michael is awesome! I don’t have enough great adjectives in my vocabulary to describe Michael Port and just what a pro he is.
Yeah, for sure. So you talked about, and before we started recording, there’s a three-step process that you walk people through—
Getting booked, not sucking, and then leveraging all the authority and celebrity for your business.
Yes! And I think it’s really important foundationally for people to appreciate those as being separate concerns or separate inquiries because so often, when it comes to marketing, and especially in this world of celebrity, I think people look at it like a stew where things are all just thrown in a big pot. The three separate skills that you just described—the getting on TV, not sucking on TV, and then leveraging your performance on TV to be useful to you in your business are three totally separate conversations with three totally separate objectives and it’s really important to keep that in mind. For the first one—about getting on TV—and what I teach them about, talk audiences about, and share with people, that this is all about the world of the booking producer and how you solve their problems and concerns just in the same way that by unintentionally solving that logistical problem on my first Entertainment Tonight appearance. I ended up leveraging that to this whole career so the first part about getting on TV is how do you get the date? How do you pitch yourself or present yourself to booking producers so that they will be interested in you. The second part is radically different and that is, once you get the date, how do you show up and comport yourself most effectively? Boy, that was a fancy, lawyerly word! Forget about comporting, how do you show up and actually deliver the goods? How do you not suck when the camera and the lights go on because there are plenty of people who are great on the phone or in different environments that when the lights and the camera go on, they get very, very small and–
Yeah, I got a little terrified when I was on TV for the first time, that’s for sure. I even had media training beforehand but that only helped to some degree. It’s intimidating—your first time.
It is! And I suck at it so badly! As a matter of fact, I have a highlight reel that I have available for booking producers on my website but I also have a low-light reel that I show people when I speak. My low-light reel is of all my—I’ve found a bunch of old VHS and beta video tapes of my early TV appearances and, Stephan, I was horrible because I was very locked in to what I thought a lawyer needed to look like and sound like on the air. It was stilted, inauthentic, and it was just terrible. And so, finally solving that riddle was a huge breakthrough for me and I think it’s much easier than people fully appreciate. The third thing, just to complete the thought—the third and separate area is assuming that you get on TV and assuming you don’t suck on TV, what’s the business proposition? How is it that you actually use this in your collateral marketing materials as a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors? That whole third area of how do you use this in your business? Or, how do you use this to develop a career in television? Some people want to go that route. Thankfully, I was able to do both but that’s a very separate inquiry. Frankly, to me, in all starts with pitching. It all starts with, how do we get that date? How do we solve the problems that booking producers are concerned with so that we can get ourselves on? I think there are three separate pitches if you’re a subject-matter expert. If you’re somebody who’s an entrepreneur who sees the value in getting yourself on TV. I think you need to develop three separate indistinct pitches that you need to have, ready to fire, any day of the week. If those, by the way, are news or events-driven pitches, you need to have an evergreen pitch and then you need to have calendar-driven pitches. If I may, I can share a little bit more about each of those in turn, will that be helpful?
Absolutely! Yeah, absolutely!
Okay, great! So for the news or event-driven pitches, understand that whether it’s CNN, FOX News, Entertainment Tonight, or any other TV show, TV, in my view, is just a tool and we first need to ask ourselves, “Where do I want to go?” It’s like that great quote that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there? I think when it comes to television, as well, that people need to start by considering where it is they want to go because the way that you will pitch yourself will vary depending on where it is you want to go so it’s a fundamentally, even before you go pitching, you need you, as a subject-matter expert, need to ask yourself, “What are the three or five or ten shows that, if I was on, would really make a difference in my business life?” That’s the threshold question. Then when we start to get into the pitching, the actual pitching itself, the first kind of pitching that the subject matter expert or the entrepreneur needs to give is a news or event-driven pitch. There is something going on in the world that relates to your topic or area of expertise. You’ve got to be able to convey that to a booking producer in a way that actually solves their problem. Most of this happens by way of an email, it needs to be done in bullet points. It needs to, essentially, answer the question of, “Why should I have you on?” because the booking producer does not want to engage in ‘me too’ journalism, they want to engage in some fresh take on the story. The whole reason that you, as a subject matter expert, are there is to give them some insider view. Some kind of fresh, novel approach that they wouldn’t otherwise have. That’s the problem that you are solving. When you are pitching yourself for a news or an event-driven pitch, you need to convey in that email and those bullet points that, basically, are going to answer the question, “If you are on my show, what are the sound bites that I can expect to come out of your mouth?” and generally speaking, I like to give three or five of those things and give a producer a fresh take on a story. That’s something that you definitely need to have in your reel house. If you’re new, of course, you also—in that pitch email—you need to have a link to a reel or someplace that the booking producer can go to see you on TV because the booking producer is, generally, concerned with de-risking or minimizing their own risk for putting on a bad guest or putting on a guest that’s not going to fulfill on what they want. That’s going to get small when the lights and camera comes on so just as a quick aside, if I was going to say the one piece on collateral material that anybody would need—if they’re going to pitch themselves to booking producers, they need to have a reel. They need to show themselves being interviewed, speaking in sound bites, and actually delivering on what it is the booking producers care about.The whole reason that you, as a subject matter expert, are there is to give them some insider view. Click To Tweet
But isn’t that kind of a catch-22 if you haven’t been on TV before and you need to have some examples of you on TV to show as a reel?
It is and there are ways to solve that problem.
And so, I would suggest to somebody that there are a lot of ways that they can create a reel that looks like TV but isn’t TV that would still showcase those skills. If that’s something that anybody is interested in, feel free to reach out to me but think about ways because—I do this for people all the time—where I’ll actually engage the services of an Emmy award-winning producer and editor. I know people and I am one of these people who can actually interview somebody on camera and showcase their skills. That’s, basically, what it is so you can show that. It doesn’t have to be TV, it just needs to look like TV so there are ways to get that done.
Or, you could start with a local TV station where it’s easier and—
Yes! You just took the words out of my head. There are plenty of smaller, more localized stations that will allow you to get your repetitions in so that you can present yourself more effectively to the big national players.
Yeah. I just had, on Marketing Speak, there is a great interview of Clint Arthur talking about how to get on the local TV.
Yes! I know Clint and I know that that’s an area that he plays very, very effectively. Certainly, a lot of people have used local TV as a stepping stone. As you heard from my original story, just because I fell into it, I fell in doing national but I began when I appreciated that one of the things that would help me hone my skills was getting my repetitions—that Malcolm Gladwell notion of 10,000 hours—I would get my car, drive three hours down to San Diego, do 2 ½ hours or whatever it was to go to a local TV hit for three minutes down in San Diego, then turn around and drive home. Because that’s what I needed to do to get just some snippet of anything to add to my reel and get myself that experience of being in a camera so I absolutely agree! But let me get myself back on track because I will go ADD on you, Stephan, and start chasing shiny objects! That first pitch is the news or event-driven pitch, right? That there’s something going on in the world that you want to capitalize on. The second thing that any solopreneur or budding subject matter expert needs to have in the ready is what I would call an evergreen pitch. If you’ve ever watched the Today Show, for example, and they’ll tease in to the commercial and say something like, “When we come back from the break, you’ll learn three innovative ways to get blood stains out of shirts,” or some kind of story that isn’t dependent on breaking news, that’s solving a problem that a booking producer has, which is, “Hey! It may be a slow news day and I still have two hours of air to fill so what am I going to use to fill that?” That’s where this evergreen kind of content comes in. I know, as a lawyer, I want to have certain evergreen content ready. Also, as somebody who’s developed a certain amount of expertise in the world of television, I have evergreen content that’s available to speak about media-related issues. I have evergreen content that applies to all of my different business channels and I am going to have that ready to pitch and I may not be pitching it every day but I’ll have it ready to pitch in the event that it is a “slow news” day and there’s nothing going on that’s getting traction in my usual spaces. I would encourage everybody when they’re thinking about their evergreen material, that they want to think broadly about their area of expertise. For example, the whole reason I got my start was because a divorce lawyer didn’t feel comfortable talking about criminal law. Well, I don’t have those same concerns and I have gone on TV shows talking about international child custody issues because I believe, as a lawyer, as long as I am researched and being accurate, the fact that I’m a lawyer entitles me to have a point of view on a broader range of issues than just what my law firm does and that allows me to speak to a much wider swath of evergreen issues than I would initially think about so I would just urge people to think very broadly about their area when they’re thinking about those evergreen kind of pitches. And then, yeah—
Now, if you’re pitching something and let’s say, you make it kind of exclusive, this is a unique angle that helps the producers differentiate their show versus all their competition. Is that something that you are kind of locked into? Well, I can’t be on these competing networks or on these competing shows like, I know, a long-time client of mine, Steve Spangler, who wouldn’t go on other people’s shows other than Ellen because Ellen kept inviting him back over and over again. He’s been, I don’t know, a dozen and a half times on the Ellen show but he had been invited to be on The Tonight Show and so forth and he said he would say no because otherwise, that would burn some bridges. So, what’s the etiquette there?
I think integrity is always a great touchstone and I would err on the side of transparency. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pitching your unique take on something to multiple outlets. If multiple outlets say yes to you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going on multiple shows. What I would caution people against though is delivering identical material on multiple shows because that ultimately can burn some bridges. For example, as a legal analyst, when Jodi Arias had captured the attention of not just the nation but much of the world—I don’t know if you caught this, Stephan, but Jodi Arias was this case out of Arizona where a woman killed her boyfriend. Are you aware of this? Her ex-boyfriend? Have you heard the story?
I saw something about it on—
Something about it. I know you don’t own a TV so I just want to be gentle. But when that case had captured everybody’s attention, I was on HLN, CNN, and my own show, Deadly Sins. There were multiples—I was on The View talking about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going on multiple shows talking about the same story. I would just say to people don’t be lazy about it. Deliver your goods in a way where you’re always giving a unique take or fresh wordsmithing. You don’t need to do the same thing in the same way.
Yup. Okay, so you’re going to tell me about the third piece here to getting booked and the calendar-driven.
Oh, yes! Thank you! The calendar-driven, exactly. So, I would say to say to somebody who’s interested in this world that they could sit down right now today and look at the calendar over the next 12 months and there are going to be holidays, events, festivals, happenings, or things that relate to your area that you know are going to happen over the course of the next year and they’re going to be different for everybody. It may be Christmas. It may be New Year’s Eve. It may be New York Fashion Week. It may be Burning Man. Whatever it is that speaks to your area of expertise, you can project out these things far enough in advance so that you can really solve a problem of a booking producer by getting ahead of a story and getting to them and it’s going to be different based on the industry and based on the show. That’s why I said in the beginning—if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there, right? So, you need to be thinking about this as it relates to you and the shows that you want to be on. It will vary but for everybody, you can forecast out some events, some holidays, and some happenings that are definitely going to be occurring again over the course of the next year and start to get with booking producers in advance or start to develop in advance what your take on it is so that you can take something that you can forecast out and turn it into a solution for booking producers because now you are giving them a show segment that you are essentially producing for them.
Mm-hmm. Right. But you don’t start by just saying, “Hey, you don’t know me from Adam and here’s my pitch.” You have to, maybe, have an introduction or there’s some sort of social proof that has to happen in advance, I’d assume, or do you just start emailing people?
I think you start wherever you start. It’s certainly something that evolves over time so my pitching now is much less formal because I’ve been doing it for years. For example, I’m still the legal analyst for The Insider or The Insider legal analyst, I believe is how they refer to me. So, I’ve known those folks ever since the Mel Gibson days so now if I’m pitching something, I’m just calling my friend, Dave, over there and saying, “Hey Dave, I’ve got an idea! What do you think about this, that, or the other thing?” But if I was just starting out today and I didn’t know somebody, there are certainly resources that are out there to be able to find out who the decision-makers are. Certainly now with social media, it’s easier than ever to figure out who the people are that you need to be presenting to and I think you can just start. Actually, Stephan, what you’ll invite is a larger conversation because there are variety of ways that you can do this, depending on your needs, your budget, and your desires so, for example, this is exactly where a publicist can come in. There are publicists that are available at a variety of price points. There’s a couple of different ways that publicists will traditionally structure their arrangement. They will either ask you to be on a monthly retainer where you as a subject matter expert are paying a fixed fee for that publicist to be pitching you to the producers that they know and, presumably, have influence over. There are other publicists that will have what they call a pay-to-play arrangement where they won’t charge you anything until they get you a booking but then you will pay a pre-determined amount of dollars for the booking. It will be a different fee say, for a national show than it will be for a local show. There are pros and cons to both kinds of arrangements. Some people, of course, can’t afford a publicist at all, or they’re into doing-it-yourself, or they just want to—what I found out in my world—is that, the benefit of a publicist was to make that introduction for me but once that introduction was made, I was good and I could nurture and develop those relationships on my own so I very quickly—and I don’t say this with the knock on publicists—but I very quickly learned how to function without one and do these things that I’m describing internally and more informally because those relationships have developed over time. I still pitch myself to producers that are blind, if you will, but I have no hesitation to do that because I’ve been established over time and getting all the hours of being in front of the camera. So, I say yes to all of that but the overarching reminder, Stephan, is that the booking producers are people and don’t overlook the power of sugar, salt, and fried foods and I mean this in all sincerity. I remember one time, I had booked a meeting with the booking producer out of Turner Broadcasting, out of the CNN Mothership in Atlanta. I sounded very cavalier when I was booking this appointment like, “Hey, I’m just going to be in the neighborhood. Why don’t we get together for coffee?” and that was a total lie. Like, I was booking my flight in my hotel to go and have this meeting because I had already seen how important it is to get on this particular show and this was a big deal to me so it was worth a flight no doubt. I get out to CNN and I get to the security desk early for my appointment with this person and when they call up to his secretary, the secretary reports back, “Oh no, sorry. So-and-so had a family emergency and he had to leave so that appointment is not going to happen,” and I remember I turned around and I’m walking from the security desk with this running soundtrack of, “Oh my god, you’re such a loser! What a stupid idea. How could you…” and I don’t know if you ever had a running soundtrack, Stephan, maybe you’re running soundtrack is much more enthusiastic than mine. Sometimes mine is highly self-critical and my running soundtrack was highly self-critical in that moment as I thought about all the money I’ve spent on airplane, hotel, and time, and I thought, “Oh, no, no, no, what would a confident person do? What would a committed person do? What would somebody do who was unwilling to take no for an answer if they were confronted with this situation?,” and I turned right around and I went back to the security guy and said, “Hey, could you call that secretary back and see if she’s willing to have a cup of coffee with me and introduce me to some folks?” She was and she ended up taking two hours out of her day to walk me around, “Here’s this producer on this show! On that show!” and I’m just gobbling up business cards every which way. One booking producer that she introduced me to, we just happened to be standing by the kitchen, one of the many kitchens at the scene and mothership as there. We start joking about the snacks that are available and she mentions to me that she’s a fan of potato chips and that her big nutritional weakness is potato chips and I quickly called my secretary and said, “Get online, put together a gift basket with all these different chips…”
While you’re trying to kill her?
Exactly! But no, I gave her some air Popchips too. I gave her some healthy alternatives. I sent her this enormous basket with a handwritten thank-you card about how great it was to meet her and I can’t tell you how many bookings I’ve got from that gift basket. I mean, literally, dozens! And I think about the cost of that gift basket versus a publicist and that gift basket of all those potato chips got me more bookings than any publicist ever has and so, I share the long-winded story, Stephan, as a reminder that the people that are being pitched, they are just human beings who love donuts and crappy food just as much as everybody else if that’s their thing. I’ll tell you another one—there was another booking producer who, like me, is kind of a fitness nut. You know, when I travel, I always travel with a TRX, exercise straps, and a speed rope and I have to find my hour a day of sacred workout time and I met another booking producer who was just into that as me and we started talking about jump ropes and he hadn’t discovered the beauty of this particular brand of jump rope and I sent him one along with some TRX straps and that was only because I was paying attention to what that person was into and I was willing to invest in that relationship. I offer this up as just think about the people on the other end of the line—the people that you’re pitching—as people. Solve their problems, meet them where they are, and they would be more than happy to put you on their air as long as you can demonstrate that you’re good and de-risk that situation for them because no one likes to get yelled at by their boss for putting on a sucky guest.
Right, and that’s where having the reel comes in. That’s where getting media training and having a lot of experience really saves their butts.
Absolutely! And when it comes to delivering on that, if I could give, folks, one tip or one takeaway—it’s that authenticity trumps everything. I remember, as I said, in my low-light reel days when I came off as very stilted, I would want the questions in advance please so that I could think about what my answers were and do my legal research and strip out word for word what I wanted to say and it came off like an actor trying to get off book at the first dress rehearsal. It was terrible and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it any other way until I was given the gift of a breaking news story. When I was on at CNN and talking about one thing and all of a sudden, the producers in my ear said, “Oh my God, this other story just broke! Can you talk about blah-blah-blah?” Well, of course, I can and the next thing I knew, we were having that conversation on TV and you know what, Stephan? It was awesome because it was organic. A conversation that had stutters and sputters just like human beings do. When I saw that and I compared it with how I looked on the low-light reel? Oh my God! It was night and day! So, I would say that anybody who wants to do this, just get in there and do it. Don’t worry about it having to look polished. Just worry that it’s authentic. Just make it authentically “you,” speak your expertise, and it will be great.
And would you recommend media training as part of the preparation process?
I think media training is a really, really great play because there’s no substitute for the experience. It’s funny. I experienced this learning curve the same way as a TV expert that I did as a lawyer where when I was a brand new, baby lawyer, I went to a lot of seminars, conferences, trainings, and education because I didn’t want to hurt any of my clients. I didn’t want to make a mistake that could land somebody in jail. I don’t care how many seminars you go to about the science and cross-examination. All that goes out of the window when you step up to the podium to cross-examine your first witness live, for real, and in front of the jury. It’s the same thing here where yes, media training is helpful because the more you do it and the more comfortable you are, the easier it is to do. I would say that if you can’t afford to work with a high-end media trainer, anything that you can do to be authentically you is worth investing your energy in.
Yup! So, let’s round out this episode with that third piece—leveraging all this celebrity that you’re creating for yourself and for your business so it would actually drives, bottom line, revenue. Clearly, it has for you. You’ve been able to really grow your law firm; you have lots of staff; get new income sources such as high-paid speaking gigs, keynotes, and so forth—
And you also get paid, I assume, by some of the different TV shows.
So, in a kind of a lightning round here, what would be some of the things that would be maximum leverage points for so many?
Well, I would say, emphatically, that in all of the areas you mentioned, TV has been incredibly valuable. That is, as a speaker, TV has gotten me more speaking gigs and got me higher paid gigs. I do get paid to do some TVs—some of it I do for free and for fun and the only reason that I’ve been able to position myself to do that is because I’ve built up that momentum but in terms of that third proposition in the lightning round of how do you leverage it? Again, I think the challenge most solopreneurs have is dealing things as a stew and we separate out our peas and our carrots from our cubes of beef or whatever. When I look at the business proposition, I view business as being concerned with five things. Marketing, to make the phone ring. Sales, to convert a ringing phone into a paying client or customer. Third, is delivery of your product or service—whatever your rigid is and I don’t care if it’s a law firm, a restaurant, a physical thing, whatever. There is some product or service that you’re delivering. Fourth is, operations or infrastructure to allow the first three things to exist. Fifth is, accounting, which is the language of your business. If you can’t understand your basic accounting, your balance sheet, your cash-flow statement, it’s like a pilot trying to fly a plane without being able to see the dials. I think the business owner needs to concern himself with those five separate and distinct areas: Marketing, Sales, Delivery of your thing, Operations and Infrastructure, and then finally, Accounting. You have to view those five things separately and then, television can apply to many, if not all, of those categories. Certainly, I have a thought-out strategy about how to use television in my marketing campaigns. I also have a thought-out strategy about how to use television and the fact that I am a subject matter expert on television in sales conversations or your in-take conversations. I believe very strongly that sales is not something you do to somebody, it’s something you do for somebody so I view sales as a very positive thing. In terms of the delivery of our service, certainly TV and subject matter expertise is woven into the services that we deliver. All of my staff members, when we get in to our operations and our accounting, we actually track the performance of how these things relate to each other. The lightning round is, be aware of those five areas, manage them individually, and begin to appreciate that being a subject matter expert will improve the performance of each of those areas.
Yeah, I love that—“separate the peas and carrots from the cubes of beef.”
I love it! All right, well, this has been awesome, Darren! I really appreciate you sharing your brilliance and how would somebody get in contact with you if they wanted to, maybe, hire you for a law case or a legal case, I should say? Or, if they wanted to work with you to help them build their celebrity? I believe you have some sort of training programs on that?
Oh, yes, absolutely! If anybody needs to contact me as an attorney, it’s really easy. 1-800-NO-CUFFS, as in “Get those handcuffs off of me.” Let’s face it, Stephan, nobody looks good in handcuffs unless you’re into that sort of thing. No judgement though but certainly, for any legal issue there, NoCuffs.com. Call 1-800-NO-CUFFS. I’m easy to find! For anybody who’s interested in doing what I did themselves as a subject matter expert, go to GetYourselfBooked.com and there you’ll get a free gift and information about how to get yourself booked and certainly, that would be a starting point. Call me. I’m here to be used up though and if I can be of any further assistance, it is just a pleasure to do it. I invite anybody who is listening to you, Stephan, or listening to me now to reach out if I can be of any help.
All right, and you’re also on Twitter. Your Twitter handle is @DarrenKavinoky?
All right! And your website if they wanted to book you for a speaking gig is DarrenKavinoky.com.
Perfect! All right, well, thank you again, Darren! Listeners, I will catch on the next episode. This has been your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
☑ Create a speaker reel of yourself to send to booking producers. If you’ve never been on T.V., local television is a good starting point and is usually easier to get on.
☑ Decide what shows would be best for you to be on as a subject matter expert. Come up with three to five shows that make sense for your expertise.
☑ Go to GetYourselfBooked.com and get a free gift from Darren, plus information on how to get yourself booked.
☑ To come up with your material to pitch to producers, think generally about your expertise-you likely have more to offer than just one topic or subject matter.
☑ Consider meeting with a publicist, generally they can help you find and pitch to the right booking producers.
☑ Think about your business proposition, How do you use your celebrity to develop a career in television?
☑ Use your T.V. Appearances as a marketing tool. You can now charge more and find higher paying clients as a well-known expert.
☑ To get more bookings, stay ahead of current events by pre-planning stories around holidays, festivals or conferences, and other yearly events in your field.
☑ Become friends with people who are close to producers. Whether it’s connecting with an expert on a T.V. Show that you want to pitch to, or getting to know the station’s secretary.
☑ Practice! To become an expert in front of the camera, start with small speaking gigs and local stations to become more confident.
About Darren Kavinoky
Darren Kavinoky is the co-creator and host of Deadly Sins, co-host of Did He Do It?, and criminal interventionist on Breaking Point. He is a certified interventionist, attorney and legal analyst who has appeared on countless other TV and radio shows. He is also the founder of 1.800.NoCuffs and is known as an award-winning criminal defense attorney. You can find Darren on Twitter at @DarrenKavinoky.