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Going beyond product peddling by proving performance. This week, George chats with Jed Williams, Chief Innovation Officer of the Local Media Association to discuss how personalized, business-specific data can help you drive sales in 2018. Tune in to hear them discuss how to execute a better customer needs assessment, the post-sale quarterback strategy... and something about a #blowything. If you don't want to miss an episode, subscribe now. Join in the discussion on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter! Guest: Jed Williams Jed Williams is the Chief Innovation Officer at the Local Media Association, where he leads industry wide digital revenue and business transformation initiatives for newspapers, radio and TV broadcasters, digital publishers, and R&D partners. These programs include Innovation Missions, Chief Digital Club executive networking groups, and LMA’s strategic consulting practice. Previously, Williams was a Senior Analyst and Vice President of Strategic Consulting at BIA/Kelsey, where he managed the company’s consulting division. He has led projects for AT&T, Constant Contact, Google, Time-Warner Cable, and Yahoo!. He has also advised local media companies such as GateHouse Media, Advance Digital, CNHI, Raycom, and Valpak. He previously also helped lead business development and strategy for two venture-backed technology companies, Vendasta and Main Street Hub. Williams’ insights have been cited by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Digiday, Bloomberg, FOX Business, and the BBC, among others. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and corporate meetings. He has written extensively on creative destruction and disruptive media and his work has been published and taught by the Columbia Journalism School and the Yale School of Management. > Connect with Jed Williams on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for more industry insights. — Coming up on this week's edition of the Conquer Local Podcast, we speak to Jed Williams, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Local Media Association, working with media organizations all over North America. You'll learn why you need to be thinking about a CNA 2.0, and what is it. If you're going to do this job, you've got to get really serious about consultive selling. And Jed will talk about process, structure, and data from his work with hundreds of media organizations. It's all coming up next on the Conquer Local Podcast. George: Jed Williams is the Chief Innovation Officer for the Local Media Association. He's joining us today on the Conquer Local Podcast. My friend, thanks for coming on board. Jed: Mighty George Leith, it's a delight and pleasure to be on your podcast and I'm so excited that you guys have launched us. George: Well, it's been a long time in the making, and it's a huge commitment when you say you're gonna do a podcast every week. I'm not regretting it yet because I get to talk to fantastic people like you. And when I was looking at the list of who I'm going to talk to first, Jed Williams was on that list. You and I had the privilege of working together for a period of time and then you went off to your calling at the LMA. Can you fill people in a little bit about what you do on a day-to-day basis? Jed: I'm happy to do it. And actually the time I spent in Vendasta with you is one of the best times in my career. You know, as you know, I'm very passionate about the cause of local media and the challenges of local media and what they need to do to forge sustainable and profitable paths forward, and that's what the Local Media Association is all about. So our mission statement at a high level, and I think it's worth underscoring this, is we work with local media companies of every shape and size, color, and dimension, whether it's radio, TV, newspaper, digital peer play, whatever it might be, to help them discover and develop new and sustainable business models. So it's a very heavy and important charge. And my task there, you know, I like to joke, the Chief Innovation Officer sounds on a business card. It's fancy and pretentious, but what the heck does it mean day-to-day? What it means is I've got to work with these members day-to-day at an executive level and on the ground floor with sales managers, sales teams, product managers, etc., to figure out what are they investing in to transform their businesses? Where are the new digital business models? How do they build more effective sales structures? So my job, my charge, is to design programs, initiatives, strategies for them that help them achieve exactly that. George: I like to think that... I talk to a lot of salespeople and sales managers and chief revenue offices in my travels, but I think that hands down, Jed, you talk to more. So we're looking to get some of those insights back from some of those discussions to us so that we can start to understand what an account executive needs to do when they're dealing with their customers to provide the most value and to make sure that they're that trusted local expert. So, you know, first thing I wanna dig into is some of the things that you're seeing in the last 24 months, and what's that pace of change? What's it like right now out there in the street? Jed: I mean, in a word, it's unbelievable. Maybe another word would be dramatic, would be existential. I mean, I know I'm using big words here, George, but I'm using them on purpose. I mean, that's the culture of change and disruption that we're in in media and particularly in sales. What's happening with advertisers, what's happening with digital advertising, what's happening with digital marketing services, who are the competitors, the flattening of the space. I mean, let me give you a number to put these into context, because we all here this number about the number of phone calls that a local business and SMB gets on a weekly basis or a monthly basis, right? And you and I, you know, we've seen the stat, oh, it's 39 or it's 40, it's something like that, which, by the way, is a ton. So I was talking to "The Dallas Morning News" not that long ago. Pretty successful local media company transforming itself, big digital agency presence. And they were talking to several of their auto partners, and they asked them, "How many phone calls about marketing and advertising do you get in a month?" You know what that answer was George? George: I'm interested to find out. Jed: Eighty nine, 89 phone calls in one month about advertising and marketing. That is... Now, granted this is Dallas, fifth biggest market in the country. I get it. It's not Dubuque, Iowa or Tucson, Arizon, but this is what our sales forces are up against. And I don't mean that as a fear tactic, I just mean that to say, if we're not rethinking every part of the operation, every part of the organization from the talent that we're bringing in, the professional development and the training and education that we're giving them, the support that we're providing them and fulfillment on the backend, the cultural buy-in in an executive level around the important of what they're doing in digital sales, data, and systems to help them have smarter conversations from the very first moment that they touched that client or prospect, and, by the way, sales manager and coach that really gets them and is there to promote them and help their path forward, then you don't have a chance in digital. It takes all of those things, and it now takes all of those things to breakthrough, because of the number of competitors that are out there, whether it's SaaS companies, whether it's vertical providers, whether it's the dominant platforms like Facebook and Google, whether it's Pure Play digital agencies. If you're a media company, you are up against all of that. You need to be reexamining every part of sales infrastructure. George: You know, and I will say to you that there's always been a lot of calls happening on the prospect, especially if you're an auto dealer, you're low hanging fruit for every sales organization out there that's trying to sell even the blowy thing that goes on in the parking lot that attracts people that are driving by or the guy in the gorilla suit. But the difference being today, and I'd like you to really dig into that, is the quality of the sales rep that is on those 89 calls, they're top shelf. Jed: They are, and I think they are for a couple of reasons. One is you're dealing with a different generation and a different sort of quality of salesperson that was raised digitally, that is very fluent digitally. Like this is all they know and all they do. You're not teaching that 25-year-old about digital platforms and digital tools, like this is how they were raised. It's innate to their DNA. So a lot of traditional media companies have that challenge. They're trying to reeducate or educate from scratch a traditional seller versus, you know, that very savvy 25-year-old coming out of the school, whatever the case might be, that really knows digital. I think the other thing is when you look at so many of these organizations, so I'll give you example. And I know we're gonna talk more about this in a little bit. But at LMA we lead these trips called innovation missions, and we'll go see progressive media companies but we'll also go and meet with disruptive technology companies. Those might be platforms, those might be software providers, etc. An example of one that we went to visit last year is HubSpot, up in Boston. You know, a fascinating company. They've had a great story. They had their public IPO. They're incredibly, as you know, George, I mean, incredibly metrics driven. Everything about that organization is fueled by data. I mean, it dictates every single decision that every sales reps and every person in that organization makes in every minute of every day. And so data is fuel. Data is oxygen. Data is power in your sales force, in understanding what the key sales activity should be, who you should be calling on, why, what you should be offering them, where they are in the journey and in the sales process. And I think that is something that media companies are up against more than ever, is not just thinking through your talent, but really thinking through how data-driven and how metrics-driven are you as an organization. And the answer is you better not just be driven, you better be obsessed by that. George: So I've got a great relationship. I'm the rep that's been calling on a client for 20-some odd years of knowing the owner of the business, now I might dealing with the son or daughter that's taken over the business on a day-to-day operations. I've been relying on my relationship. I haven't really been training myself too much on new products and services, although my organization is starting to sell new products and services. These are the sales reps that are really being disrupted by these data-driven organizations that get it, because the client is starting to look really deep into the offering saying, "Am I really getting the value that, you know, Old George has been professing that he's been giving me?" So that's where we're seeing that disruption, isn't it? Jed: That's exactly, yeah. I mean, I think at the end of the day, look, if you're a traditional media rep, you're a tea seller, you're a newspaper seller, you have a relationship with that furniture store, auto dealer, hospital, whatever it might be for 10 years or 15 years. That's nice. Maybe that gets you the first conversation. But if you can't actually solve specific problems for them, I mean, I always come back to, in any part of our business, but particularly in sales, the jobs to be done framework, if you don't really understand their jobs to be done as a business and you can't deliver on those with absolutely clear discernible ROI and attribution on what they're spending and why and what they're getting back in return, in the long term, you're going to lose because you're going up against organizations that understand products and understand solutions that can do that and have data and have trained their sales people to be able to have that conversation. So, you know, that all... just handshake and "I'll be back next month," I mean, none of that stuff works anymore, and so I think that there's such a focus on ROI with the SMB, with the advertiser... Look, they are, as you know, George, like they are as lost as the traditional media salesperson that I'm talking about. So they're looking for an advisor more than ever, and I think they're pretty ruthless and pretty objective about the person that walks through that door and truly understands their jobs to be done, gives them elegant, great customer service, and then delivers on that promise with products and services that deliver clear ROI. They're going to be the winners. And they aren't just the traditional advertising products that we've all known about for 50 years and they aren't even traditional digital advertising products. If you look at the digital advertising market, George, it's growing, but a lot of that growth is gobbled up by Google and Facebook. The digital marketing services opportunity, that is twice the size of digital advertising. According to Burrell, that's a $1 billion market and, you know...or, you know, excuse me, it's a $700 billion market and digital advertising opportunities are $350 billion market. So you've really got to understand all the options that are out there for a business and where the money is moving and be able to move in these directions. George: So then previous episodes of the podcasts we talked about the proof-of-performance layer to the sales process. And you've just touched right there with some really good data that you better be showing ROI. When do you think in the sales process should we be setting the stage for looking at the proof of performance and "Did the things that I sold to the customer start to work or not?" When do you set that stage? Jed: I think you set it pretty early. I don't think you set in the first touch point because I think you're learning in that first touch point. But I also want to talk about that for a second, George, before we get into reporting and managing client expectations, and that is sort of the era of the customer needs analysis. I really believe we're moving from CNA 1.0 to CAN 2.0. CNA 1.0 was "I got my little form and I wanna walk in there and take 30 minutes of your time and ask you a bunch of questions about your business." Well, here is the challenge. Every one of those 39 or 89 or whatever the number is you wanna believe, every one of those people that's making the phone call and asking to come in there wants to do the exact same thing. How much time does the business have to explain themselves and answer the same set of CNA questions for every single person knocking on their door? It is really much more about do you have data and information about them where you can come in from the first touch point and be helpful to them and provide information that they didn't know and help further their business as a result. So that, you know, that old era of "Let me come in and do a capabilities assessment," I think we're moving way beyond that. So I think there's a different kind of CNA required upfront to be a truly effective multi-platform seller. But then I think after you do that, to answer your question directly, pretty early in that process, when you're coming back and you're putting in solutions, and notice I don't say products, I say solutions, when you're putting solutions in front of that business, you need to be framing expectations around that early on. You know, "Here's what happens first and next, and after that, here's how we're gonna tell you about that, here's typically how long it takes for something to take effect and for you to see results, here's what the first results might be, here's the second results. We're gonna come back and calibrate with you on those on a recurring basis." I think you've got to be upfront with people. If not, particularly with products that are new to them and they don't know... Let's take something like SEO, search engine optimization, if you don't set those kind of expectations on strategy, tactics, and what they can expect to see by when, they will draw their own conclusions. And if you allow the business to draw their own conclusions, you are asking for trouble. And so I think it starts very early, but I think it also gets back to this notion of customer success as important as sales is and data in informing sales, customer success and service are a real differentiator for media companies or any successful sales organization. And that means that you're constantly coming back and delivering results. But you're not just showing them a dashboard, you're not sending them a 20-page report, you're doing real analysis, putting it in context, creating prescription on what's happening next or what you encourage next and why, and you're doing that on human touch point. You're not sending them an email with the PowerPoint saying, "Take a look. We'll see you next month." Like that, in this era, none of that is good enough. So I believe, to, you know, kind of tie it together, I believe that that expectation setting happens early, George, but it doesn't happen once. You are constantly calibrating with the customer on that. George: You know, what you're leading me to believe here and you're making very compelling point, it is that an annual sales cadence where I go see the customer once a year just isn't gonna cut it. And even that I'm going to have to see that customer on a regular basis. So we go back to a couple of episodes ago, we were talking about the monthly cadence but not just sending the report in an email, not expecting them to log into your multi-million dollar dashboard that you built, you're going to have to sit down with the customer and relate it back to that original presentation and start to adapt the tactics that you're using because the change is there and I don't know if everybody knows 100% when they set out on a marketing strategy if it's gonna work or not. You've got to see what's happened over the last month and make that adjustment, and that's what the prospect is actually looking for. If, you know, you've got 89 people calling on them, what is going to put you into the top three or the top two that they think about when it comes solving these problems? Jed: Amen. And also, to your point, what's gonna get you there and what's gonna keep you there, right? How are you constantly aligned with them where they know, "Hey, this guy is in communication with me. If something is not working, he's telling me that. If something is working, he or she is telling me that." Like we are always building and refining this strategy. And I think what's interesting about it is, if you think about it, you know, George, in the first part of this podcast we talked a lot about the role that technology can play in economizing and improving the sales process, you know, using data to figure out your key selling activities or learn more about your prospects and build digital audience and snapshots and things like that. And all of that is great. But in some ways, what we're talking about here is as manual as you can get or it's certainly more manual. We're talking about old fashioned...you know, I mean, sweat equity, building and maintain rapport with the customer, getting in front of them, taking the time, walking them through them, this taking the time to build an executive summary for them to give them context to build prescription. You know, these are old-fashioned things. But I think in this competitive flattened environment, they're more important than ever. And I'll give you an anecdote here to make this a little more specific. George: Sure. Jed: There's a company that we work with that's a midsized radio group. And I think, you know, they built their own digital agency,, it's got its own brand, I think it's done really well overall for the market that they're running and who they're up against, and they have a really...they have done a great job of saying, "Okay, we wanna be in front of the client this way in this very..." you know, how do I wanna put it, "...sort of customer touchpoint, you know, in front of them, at least once a month. And for the clients that we do that with and we do it in a sort of standardized form with certain guidelines, our retention on them is X. And if we don't do that, if we go see them every six weeks instead of every four weeks or every eight weeks instead of every four weeks, our retention on them is Y." And I don't know exactly what the difference is, but I can tell you there is a delta. And they have found that four weeks or under, George, is their inflection point. They've got to be in front of the client every four weeks at minimum or less. If they go beyond that, that churn, you'll hear the leaky bucket problem starts picking up for them. George: Jed, I've got an interesting stat for you from 20-some years ago when I actually started hitting budget as a rookie salesperson. It was when I started seeing my customer more than once every eight weeks. You know, it hasn't changed. But there are organizations that think you can just go in once a year and make the sale and then send them a report and you're gonna be fine. Those are the people that we will gobble up, 'we' being the greater 'we' on this call, we'll gobble up because we're going to start to adopt a monthly sales cadence and that's where you're going to talk about what you've delivered to the customer. What I found when you have that monthly cadence is also where you identify all sorts of cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Jed: Absolutely. And I think, you know, one of the bigger points here is when you say 'the collective we'...and I really like that. We as an organization are a company, we're going to do this. It's going to be a standard. If you're gonna be on our sales team and you're gonna win on our sales team, you're gonna do this, you know, by gosh and there are no ifs, ands, or buts, there no exceptions to it. And you know what that comes back to, that means the managers have to be bought in, and that means the executives of that media company have to champion this. And there can't be exceptions or it can't be, "Well, that guy or gal has been in my organization for 10 years and they're really good at selling TV or they've only missed one month." When you start doing that, you start bending rules, you start making exceptions. You gotta have buy-in at manager level on this. You gotta have buy-in and championing of this at the executive level, and then you have to have process around it. And the process means, "Okay, who's doing what here? Is the sales rep doing everything after the sale to go in and look at results and build that report?" Probably not because we want to focus on selling. But we also want them to be the one that has the touch point with the client out in the field. But if they don't have the time to do all of this, then who is? Well, you better have some sort of dedicated role that does this. Maybe it's a digital specialist for each product, maybe it's an account manager, maybe there's some sort of streamlined quarterback roll on the back end in your sales organization that brings all this together and then builds that report and then sits down with the rep to explain to the rep what's happening so that the rep is communicating this the right way, because you know there is a break in the chain there too, George. If you leave the reps to their own devices, you can have some mismanaged expectations and miscommunication. George: Jed, I wanna jump in there, though, let's talk about the crutch, because what we've noticed, and there's a lot of media people at that are listening to the podcast, what we've noticed in these media organizations is if you bring in a digital specialist, that doesn't mean that the legacy sales reps starts to learn digital, it's just, "I'm gonna bring Brent along in the call because he's my digital specialist." Jed: Yeah. Well, I'm with you. I totally agree with that and we can't buy into those crutches because at best, it's incremental improvement. But it's not transformative improvement in sales forces. What I'm really talking about, George, is on the back end. After the sale, who owns the customer after the sale or at least who owns the reporting? Who's building that report? Who's making sure that's put together in a consistent fashion that everybody is meeting their responsibilities? I mean, if you're the social media specialist and you're the SEM specialists, and you're the website specialist, how are we making sure that all that data is brought together in the right way? And then who is sitting down with the sales rep and going, "Okay, you know, you don't gonna get a 'get out of jail free' card. Like you got to go out and talk to your customer about this." You know, you're responsible for their results and that includes their digital results. But we need to make sure that you're telling the story the right way and here's what we found and here's what to focus on. I'm really getting it. What is that dedicated post-sale role that brings all this together and then gets it back in the hands of the sales people with that expectation of they're going to go back out and touch the client? George: Jed, we can go on for days and days and days I'm sure on this and we will get a chance to do that as we head into the convention season and the conference circuit. And you do more of that speaking than anybody I've met and I'm looking forward to spending some time face to face. I'm gonna ask you the question that I ask all of our guests. How do you see in the next 12 months is sales transitioning away from a guy or a gal with a bag? Jed: Well, I mean, we've hit on a little bit of this. I think if you are a product peddler and a product pusher in 2019, a year from now, you're more in danger than ever. So I think, you know, one of the things we talked about, you know, as to how do you get beyond pedaling products and particularly pedaling your own, you know, traditional products or your sales blitz and we're gonna focus on this this month? I think the answer is you gotta be really serious about consultative selling, and I know that gets talked about a lot. But what I mean is... Let's talk about that CNA 2.0 that I mentioned a little while ago, George. Are organizations doing that? Are you training relentlessly to that? Are you holding your reps to account for the fact that that is a standard part of their sales process now the minute that they touched that customer or that prospect? Are you actually tracking? How many of those sort of new age CNAs are being done to make sure that the right questions are being asked and the right inputs are being gleaned to then build the right solutions? I think it starts right there with the redefining the CNA, holding the reps accountable, tracking their every single activity, and then to the other point we made, then being absolutely consistent and present about how you're, you know, maintaining that cadence with that customer, how you're calibrating on their needs, how you're managing their expectations, and then, obviously, how you're adapting the campaign or the solution to continue to drive the best results for them. It's the whole sales continuum. And if you're not doing all of those things, there are people out there that are putting process, and structure, and data, and talent, and leadership in place to do it in your place. So that's the challenge you're up against. George: Jed Williams, Chief Innovation Officer from the LMA, and we're gonna put all of your links for your LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile. Jed produces a ton of content throughout the year, and we'll give you some links if you wanna learn more from the awesomeness that is Jed Williams. I really appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us from Austin, Texas. Look forward to seeing you out on the conference circuits this spring. – I've worked with Jed for about a year or so and he always says some really good insights, and I actually think his insights are getting even better because you can tell that he's spending a lot of time in the field working with sales organizations. But let's just go over what Jed covered here in the last 20 or so minutes. CNA 2.0. You don't just take out a questionnaire and ask the client questions because everybody is doing that. You've got to come up with a better way to do the customer needs analysis. Inside media organizations, you really need to understand what jobs need to be done because after that sale is made, there needs to be somebody that fulfills the sale and then prepares the report to show the client that proof of performance. So who is on the backend of the sale? Who is the person doing the work to make sure that all the things that the account executive talked about come true? And then we've got this 89 number, the 89 people that are calling trying to eat your lunch. It's way bigger than the number I gave you back in the day when we started the podcast on how many, but it just...I don't really care what the number is, it's just there is a lot of people out there that are trying to do the same thing that you're doing and what's going to set you apart. So that's what all this thing is all about. That's what the podcast is all about is to give you the skills and to dig deep into that what that sales process looks like so you can stand apart. I did also mention about a blowy thing that does come out of your marketing budget, by the way. Anything that you do to promote a business comes out of the marketing budget, and I love the blowy thing. I always throw that... Put that in a hashtag, that'll be great. More coming up in the Conquer Local Podcast next week as we continue to make sales great again. I'll see you when I see you.
In this episode, Steve Nudelberg, sales trainer and author, tells us about his new book, Confessions of a Serial Salesman. Tune in to learn how you can adapt his 60-30-10 sales rule to your own career and how you can transform networking into a lifestyle choice, rather than an event. Listen now! Connect with Steve Nudelberg on LinkedIn A wealth of experience, shared George: It's another edition of the Conquer Local Podcast joining us all the way from sunny Florida, Steve Nudelberg. We're gonna talk about Steve's new book, "Confessions of a Serial Salesman". Hello, my friend. How are you, Steve? Steve: It is wonderful to speak to you, and you are correct. It is wonderful to be living in the sun. George: I saw that you were attending a golf game, I think that's an ongoing thing for you because you do live in a beautiful Florida. We're gonna talk...maybe we'll talk about golf, but we're definitely gonna talk about sales today. Steve and I were introduced through a mutual acquaintance and he said, "You know, you gotta get Steve on the phone and on the podcast, and talk to him about his new book, "Confessions of a Serial Salesman". But before we do that, let's get a little bit of background on Steve Nudelberg, and your career training high-performance sales organizations all over the world. Steve: So it's really been a fantastic ride for me. My career is really more of an entrepreneur building out my own sales teams, and it wasn't until college five years ago that somebody reached out and said, "Hey, I see you've done this amazing job with your own businesses. Would you come in and talk to my group? I've got about 100 bankers that are getting together." And in all candidness I said, "I don't really do that." And he said, "Well, come on, we can figure it out." And I said, "I wouldn't even know what to charge you." And he says, "Come on, we'll figure it out." And long story short, I got in front of the group and in 90 days, gave them actionable steps that created measurable results. And well now, wouldn't you know I'm spending my time, you know, visiting sales teams all over the country, all over the world, adding to a measurable activity that can create results. So I'm having the time of my life, I so enjoy to give that portion. There's a part of this that I never thought I would really enjoy as much as I am, and that is really being able to affect other people's lives by information that I own and possess and have worked on my whole life. 27 Rules George: Yeah, I remember the day when I realized that I was helping other people be successful in training salespeople, it was a huge epiphany that, you know, all those years of toil out on the street, calling on clients, working with organizations and you realize, yeah, I actually have something of value. So the book that you've come out with, "Confessions of a Serial Salesman", 27 Rules for influencers and leaders, I've had a chance to power through it in the last 24 hours. And I found that it just validated things that I've known for quite some time. But also it was a bit of a reminder. Steve: For me this was my system, my process that I put together years, and years, and years ago on how to deal with living in a sales environment. You know, candidly it's the number one profession where you're gonna deal with rejection. And unless you have a process to deal with it, so some of it is mind, some of it is body, a lot of it is spirit. And then for me, when I'm not getting the results I want, it gives me that format to go back to, just the way great teams look at film, I look at it and say, "What am I not executing? What parts of these 27 rules? And so people have read the book and given me similar feedback to you by saying, "Hey, you know, this one works for me, this one didn't work," and so I shared it as my manifesto. I think the proudest moment for me is that my oldest son who's a college football coach, wrote the foreword. And him and my other son obviously grew up in the light of those 27 rules. So they had taken it, applied it to their lives and I think, you know, what's great for me is when people give me feedback and say, "Well, what happens if I do this, or I do that or I remove this and add something?" And I love that constant back and forth because whatever it is, whatever process you create, the closer you stick to it, the greater the results are going to be. So it's really, you know, one of those students of the game. I like paying attention to success, I've been fortunate to have worked around other great sales professionals, and so I don't think there's a lot of new ideas. I think it's sort of putting it together in a format and then executing it. George: Well, your son Mark in the forward he said, you know, I've been following these rules because you had really forced the mind of the boys these things that they should have a look at and they both have been very successful. Steve: Yes, you know, no surprise that they wound up in coaching because they have this value proposition that they're willing to share and, you know, give 1 of my rules, rule 27, and maybe one of the most significant ones is that if you develop a mindset that you're willing to give well, then the universe gives back. And I give specific examples of how that works in the business world but, you know, listen, they are products of my upbringing. I am fortunate that they took to it, that they have discipline, and now they have their own set of principles that they delivered to young minds, you know, in college football. But again, there's so much to be said for process and, you know, again, when I see people that are not successful, I can look at their process and say here's where you have opportunity to grow, to change, and you know, certainly change is happening in our world at a frantic pace. And so to keep up you have to hold on to some, you know, values for your own self. And this has really been my life's work and so proud to share it. 60-30-10 Rule George: Steve, one of the things that I have as a takeaway from reading your book and meeting you in person was the 60, 30, 10 rule. Can you go through the 60-30-10 rule for salespeople? It was one thing that just, boom right between the eyes it just hit me that this is...and it's so simple. I want you to explain it because I think it really can help some people. Steve: So for me when I'm consulting one person or an entire team, I can look at someone's calendar and basically gauge their success from their calendar. And in that particular, you know, in that chapter I speak about the 60-30-10 rule which is how to break up where you're spending time. And so I believe 60% of your time should be forward facing, in front of clients or client opportunities. We developed a term called RPOs, revenue producing opportunities, and 60% of your time needs to be out there, 30% is in research and development. And development means developing yourself, developing your product, developing, you know, there's so much learning that takes place to be good in sales and to learn about your prospects, to learn about their business, to be educated about many things so that you can have rich conversations. And then 10% should be spent on admin. And where I think most of the salespeople that are struggling they have that formula upside down. So by breaking it down and showing people that you can manage your day, and again, it becomes a process, how you manage your life, how you manage your day, how you...all of these things, that particular formula can be used as a snapshot for a day, a week, a month. And life is a game of adjustments just like sales is a game of adjustments. And it gives you sort of the borders to look at where you're spending your time, and teams and people that manage the clock better than others win. So, you know, it shows up at the end and so the rules sort of interact with each other, but pulling something like that any one of them out they all make sense. And so I'm thrilled that you took that away as something that was a bull's eye for you, and I specifically write about Tony Nugent, who was the...he just retired, he is the number two guy at Met Life and he has trained thousands and thousands of salespeople. And so by being around great sales professionals you pick up best practices. Networking... or not working? George: Let's talk about networking. I don't think you can be an effective salesperson if you're not able to network, and that was the one thing that I noticed, you know, you and I met through networking. We met through not just one, not just two, three people who had said to you, you know, you need to talk to this George guy from Vendasta, and vice versa was, you need to talk to my friend Steve Nudelberg. Networking is the lifeblood of any business and of any great salesperson. Steve: So, you know, the way I phrase it, we came up with a term which is one of the rules in the book is that networking is only one letter away from not working, and we came up with that because in studying people's habits, they look at networking as an event rather than a lifestyle. So people will say, yes I have a networking event tonight, I'm gonna show up at 5:00 o'clock, I'm going to have two drinks, some bad hordeurves, I'm gonna hand out some business cards and then the networking is over. And when I train, I try and tell them that networking actually starts when you're waiting in line at valet because people buy people they know, like, and trust. And when you go to a networking event, people have their guard up and have different agendas. But if you meet people just on the value of who they are, what they are, we're doing an open event bootcamp if you will, sales bootcamp next month. And somebody I know that lives in Idaho that I met on a plane is coming with a couple of his salespeople. So, you know, I've met him on a personal level, we engaged on a personal level, and then business tends to happen in the steps that follow. So one of the biggest rewards for me about my business in general has always been the value of the people I know, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. So my passion for networking is I've always been a very curious person and I genuinely connect with people to listen to who they are, what they are, how they've done it, how they've gotten there and I think when you and I finally did meet the reason why we spent three hours together is our ladies connected you, and I connected. And I believe that we will be friends for much longer than we could potentially do business. So I didn't go there to show up and make a transaction. I went there to make a friend and then hopefully somehow, some way we will either do business or you will refer me business, or if none of that happens I still made a friend and there's a real value in that. Connecting with your personal style George: I do have to tell you, you know, we're sitting in the Conrad hotel in beautiful downtown Miami on Brickell Avenue, and we're waiting. I was there with Nance and we just had finished a holiday and I said, "Hey, we have this lunch meeting with Steve and his wife." And in walks this very confident man with this beautiful woman who is equally as confident. And we sat down, we started to have a conversation, and I know that I read a couple of places that you credit Michelle with your personal style. And, you know, you always come ready to ready to get the job done. You look great, you know, you're up early, you're living the life. And it could just be living in West Palm Beach just has that effect on people, but you know, in your book you do talk about Michelle kind of helped you connect with your personal style. Steve: So I think one of the most significant changes in the selling world is that people buy people first and then whatever brand they represent second. And so your personal brand is a very significant thing to understand and develop. And I think when I talk to salespeople all over the globe, that's a point of confusion. They don't understand, what do you mean my personal brand? How do I develop it? And so I was very intrigued with it. I had very deep conversations with Michelle, she has a fashion background, and she helped me identify a place that was very comfortable for me. And so developing my personal style is something that is memorable to people and they wind up either buying that or not buying that, in very quick fashion. So for you, you saw us walk in and you reacted positively to it. Equally it could have been reacted negatively to it and that's okay because I don't think, you know, that brands are for everybody. And I think the more you align with the people that you're supposed to connect with on that personal level, that opens up the gamut of opportunities that you may not be subject to if you're just trying to be there for a transaction. So we had a wonderful afternoon that day, listened, learned, we talked about everything under the sun and, you know, what could possibly be bad about that? And so, you know, it's funny because one of the things we talk about is working on the weekend. And, you know, to me everyday is a day that I can develop relationships and do all the things that I like to do. And then those turn into business, so it was a very productive day on so many levels. And look, you know, we've invited you to come do to Palm Beach and I know that the next time we're together we will have a blast. And how great is that as a takeaway? Oh, and by the way we're doing a podcast and we might do some, you know, networking together, or business together. But I think if you develop your priorities in the correct way the business happens to come to you. People-first philosophy George: We're speaking to Steve Nudelberg, "Confessions of a Serial Salesman" is the name of the book, and we're going to share inside the notes from the podcast the way that you can get access to Steve. And let's talk a little bit about your company and the work that you're doing with some of those major organizations that are out there. Steve: So, you know, I think what we're understanding is that, you know, sales leaders are frustrated. They are using typical training modules which are product and service and price-based. And, you know, our philosophy is people-based. And so, you know, we're talking about this new phenomenon called social selling which is actually using social media as a stage or a broadcast channel for you to tell your own story. And I think the fear is that in order to be successful in these channels, you have to open up and be genuine and find out who you are. And so we're helping professionals across categories, across, you know, geographic boundaries, anywhere, any time, people are developing this connection with who they are, what they represent. And then we're giving them access to these tools that allow you to expand upon that, and certainly Vendasta does an amazing job, you know, in the social media world and the social digital world. So they all interconnect, so the rules are different, the playing field is different, and we're helping people understand the possibilities. And by creating these, you know, metrics, and these plans, that deliver results, we've been highly successful and developing great friends and great relationships everywhere. So, you know, the name of my company is On The Ball Ventures. I think one of the differences with who we are and what we are is that we genuinely develop new business as a core value proposition for ourselves. And so when we talk to other salespeople, we're able to develop sort of a camaraderie because we're not just training it, we're doing it. And George, you and I, when we got together, you heard specific examples of companies that we've connected to other people that they would have never met before that that connection has developed new business opportunities. And so that's how we're programmed, that's how we've always been programmed. We live and breathe the philosophy of how sales organizations should do it, so we don't just come in and train, we actually do. And I think the takeaway that most sales leaders are getting from us is that once we are engaged, we are delivering them relationship capital that should turn into new business and pay for whatever investment they've made in us. And that's a mind boggling concept. George: Well, Steve, thanks. It's exactly what we're trying to do here with Conquer Local, is open up our listeners' worlds. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up. And the book again is "Confessions of a Serial Salesman", the author, Mr. Steve Nudelberg from On the Ball, and thank you for joining us today, we really appreciate it. Summary Steve Nudelberg wrote this new book called "Confessions of a Serial Salesman". I read it in about eight hours, it really didn't take that long. And probably was only about two and a half hours of nonstop reading. And what it is it's validation, it reminds you of things that you need to be doing. The other thing that I find from Steve, he's been there, and he's done that, and he's doing it on a daily basis. And he actually has changed his tactics over the years to match the way that sales is changing. And he's a real big believer that you need to do that too to be successful. We really appreciate having him on the Conquer Local Podcast, my name is George Leith, I'll see when I see you.
How do you conquer the highs and lows of sales performance? In episode two of the new Master Sales Series, George Leith explores the connection between being an exceptional prospector and maintaining peak sales performance. – The 10 Elements of Prospecting This week in the "Conquer Local Master Sales Series, Prospecting 101." I've got 10 things that you need to do to make sure you continue with peak sales performance. Too often sales people have highs and lows. They perform at an outstanding rate, crush all their budgets, exceed plan, and then the next month, they go dark. What is it? What is that phenomenon? How do we solve it? It's called keeping the funnel fat. We're gonna dig into those 10 items, Prospecting 101, this week on the "Conquer Local" podcast. So how do we get that peak performance? And prospecting really is the key to this. We need to be putting new opportunities into the funnel all the time, and it's a hard thing. It's hard to be disciplined to always be prospecting, because you have the whirlwind of all this business that you brought in last month, that you need to make sure is being serviced properly, and that all the things you promised are coming true. So there are some things inside your organization that you need to be aware of. And one of the things is making sure that you're not setting expectations that are outside of what you're delivering. I can't believe that I have to say this, but I find it to be something that I do have to train on for new sales people and maybe for older sales people that think that they can still get away with lying. You just can't lie anymore. And listen, I've made the mistake. There's been lots of...well, it wasn't really lying. What I did was, I was telling the truth in advance. And then it just didn't come true. But what I mean by this is, research is really easy. We have this thing in our pocket. And we can do research. And as soon as you leave the sales call, where you have made some promises to a customer, they're online trying to figure out if you're full of shit or not. We are programmed as a society to be skeptical. So you need to make sure that you're delivering on your promises. So that's number one. Let's put that right at the beginning. Now let's move into the things that you can be doing to make sure that you keep your prospecting funnel fat. 1. How are You Going to Make Your Pitch Stand Out? So the first item that I wanna touch on is, when you're preparing your calling script, whether that is a live presentation or something that you're doing over the phone...and I was just on a call this morning with a group of fine folks in South Africa. They call it telesales in South Africa. So if you're doing telesales, or you're doing face-to-face sales, and you're preparing the script, what you're going to say, remember there are 100 other sales reps that are calling on the prospect. How are you going to make sure that you stand out with your pitch? What are the things that you're going to say, so that they go, "Oh. Yeah. I remember Brock. He was fantastic." He was the one of 100 that stood out. You're going to have to be in the top three of the sales people that are calling on that prospect. I always push to be in the top three. Oh who am I kidding. I always push to be number one. But you gotta be in that top three. There's 100 presentations made. There's three of them they're going to consider. How do you make sure that you're in the top three, so you have a shot at winning the deal? 2. Long Emails Don't Work The other thing, long emails don't work. It's ridiculous to think that that frigging novel, that you sent to the customer is gonna be read word for word, paragraph for paragraph, with 21 attachments sent to it. People are busy. Just think about your day. Think about the emails that you've read recently. Too long, didn't read, TLDR. It is an acronym that's being used by tons of people. The presentation was too bloody long. Put a synopsis there at the beginning, give them some stuff in the appendices, so if you run across somebody that's data driven, they can drill into the information, so it looks like you did your homework. You still need to do your homework but give them a compelling reason to move forward to speak to you more. So make sure you're respecting the time of not just the person reading the email, because this applies to the presentation that you're making. More words doesn't mean you're gonna get the deal. In fact, the more words that you speak, the stupider you may look. So make sure that you are coming up with a concise message, make sure that you are respecting the reader or the audiences time, and don't take too long to get to the point. 3. Ask Questions to Invoke a Response Let's move on now. You wanna make sure that you're asking questions to invoke a response. Some of the questions you may ask, you might already know the answer to. But what you're trying to do is to take the prospect down a path that's going to get them to realize that the solution that you're presenting will solve their problem. And sometimes, when you're thinking about communicating with a prospect or client, it really is an art to craft that message, so that you have that, "Ah-ha" moment across the desk, or across the email, or across the telephone from you, or even if it's on text. So you wanna make sure that you're asking questions that get you a response. 4. Think About Texts & Tweets I want you to think about your emails like they're a text message or they're a tweet on Twitter. Now this is a real art. And it, kind of, goes counter-intuitive to writing a proper email with proper grammar. But texting and tweeting, there's nothing proper about it. Just ask Donald Trump. It's about delivering a message in 140 or 280 characters, or very short and to the point. And some of the customers that I have the best relationship with, I just text them. So we are a texting and tweeting society. Get to the bloody point. Respect your prospect and your accounts' time. 5. Always Add Value Now you wanna make sure that you're adding value. "So George, you just said that I can't send a long email, or I can't send a long message, or I can't spend two hours in front of the prospect," and yes. You can't do that. But you need to make sure that you add value. What you don't wanna do is just be the pontificating blowhard across the desk that doesn't have anything to back up all the shit that they just said. It's number one, annoying, and it's not professional, and the deal is just gonna go to someone that did their homework and was able to present it in a way that again, got the prospect to have that, "Ah-ha" moment. So by all means, add value with documents, and links, and case studies, send emails that aren't asking for money, send emails that are just giving that customer more knowledge around the things that you're trying to educate them on. Your product offering, your service offering, how it solves their problems, and the fact that you're a trusted local expert. That's what we need to be moving towards. 6. Focus on When the Email is Received The next item, we need to focus on not just sending the email, but we need to focus on when it's received. So think again about these text messages. What I love is read receipts. Because when I send a text message to somebody, I know if they read it, and then if they ignored me. It's super annoying when you send it to them, and it asks them a question, and it says read, and you don't get a bloody answer back. That's what we need to be like when we're sending out email campaigns. Because here is the key. The moment that the prospect is at their hottest...so the hottest lead that you can get is someone who just opened an email. Whether it's, you're trying to get a hold of them to collect some copy...so it's somebody that's bought from you, and you're trying to fulfill on the things that you said you were going to do, when they open the email, pick up the phone and phone them. Now you may not want to say to them, "Hey. I noticed that you opened my email." Some people find that to be really creepy. But what you will say...and this is the way I'd like you to craft it is, "I recently sent you an email covering off the things that I wanted to present to you, offering you some of the information about your business, that I've discovered, or asking you for some things that I need so that I can do the things that I said I was going to do." And the reason that it's so important to understand when that email was received...and there is a ton of solutions out there that can track this information for you, is, that's when you're top-of-mind with the prospect. That's when you're most likely to get the result that you're looking for which is some sort of action on the call to action that you sent to the customer. So focusing on when the email is received is a vital piece of the puzzle. When we are able to train sales organizations, that communicating at the point that you know the email was received, we see an increase of 20% to 40% in productivity. Meaning, they're able to move forward on the goals that they have, whether that's revenue, or whether it's getting fulfillment done, or whether it's driving customer success. So those are some big lifts in your performance. 7. Know Your Prospects Communication Preference You need to understand what your prospect or your client's communication preference is. This is a really, really important point in 2018, because there's so many bloody ways that we could communicate with a prospect. Let's list off some of them. There is carrier pigeons, there is smoke signals. You could send something by dog and pony. You could also just hand deliver it. You could send it by snail mail. There's text messages, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, email, and the list goes on. But what's most important is understanding that your prospect and your clients have a preferred communication method. And that's where you're going to be able to message that person and get the response and to drive the thing forward. I believe the text message is the most intimate way to speak to a client. And I really encourage sales teams to have a great relationship with their A accounts, where you can text them. Does that mean you're always gonna get a response? Maybe not. But I believe that it's a more intimate way to communicate than with emails. 8. Research Leads & Have Intel Pushed to You You need to research your leads and have that intelligence pushed to you. So what the hell does that mean? Research actually can be a dark hole. And I love talking to sales people. So why didn't you hit your budget this month? "Oh. I was too busy doing research on this new initiative that we have." Okay. So you were too lazy to do what you're actually getting paid to do which is talk to customers about the offer that you have. Research can be a black hole. And what you wanna do is come up with robots that can do your research for you. And thank God we live in 2018 and not 1918. Because in 2018 we can get robots to just push intelligence to us, when it happens online. It happens on stocks. So I use Seeking Alpha as my stock app. And if anybody writes a story around the stocks that I have inside there, I set up my portfolio, and I wanna know what's happening with my stocks, as soon as the story is written, it just scrapes the internet, and it sends that information to me. Now the other way that I could do this is, I could go online and research everyone and look at my list of stocks, and oh, it's just annoying when I think about how I use to do it, compared to how I do it, because I found this amazing app. So the research that you need to do is, what are the tools that I can find that can get me intelligence without having to do it by hand? And I don't mean by hand, going and doing it by hand with a piece of paper and a pen and going to the library. What I mean is, doing it by hand by going to Google and searching for various things. Just come up with a way to automate that. And there are tons of solutions out there like the award-winning Snapshot Report for Vendasta. So there is the shameless plug. But it's such a fantastic tool. I was on a call with a client in South Africa. And their sales team was doing nine different searches on every client. And with a Snapshot report, we can just do it with one push of a button. That's just one example of an amazing research tool that gets the intel pushed to you, rather than you having to go find it. It is a game changer. 9. Become Known as the Trusted Expert Now I talk about this a lot. I can't stress it enough. You need to become known as the trusted expert. So you notice that I didn't say trusted local expert. I'm just talking about the trusted expert. I'm looking across the counter at my friend of about 15 years, maybe longer than that, Mr. tBone, from the Sound Lounge who produces the audio for all of the "Conquer Local" podcasts. When we thought about doing a podcast, we were, like, "Well, we can use the in-house studio with a shitty microphone." And I'm like, "No. We're not doing it. If we're gonna do a podcast, we're gonna get tBone to do it." Because tBone and I have been working on audio projects for those 15 year...we should really come up with how long it's been, but I think it's 15 years. And I trust that he's gonna do a fantastic job. He's an award-winning producer. He's going to take our podcast to the next level. Now I'm going a little bit overboard here, but what I'm telling you is, if you are a trusted expert, you will just get the next bloody deal. Because what happens is, you just remember, the person that has performed for you, "Oh. I need to run an advertising campaign. George has always taken really good care of me. Hey. George. I've got five grand that I wanna spend with you." As I got to be better in my career as a sales person that is what would start happening. The same thing can happen if you're a flower shop. You put together great bouquets of roses. Somebody gets in trouble with their significant other. They decide they're gonna have to give some flowers to get out of the doghouse. "Oh. I'll just go to Bill's Flowers. He does a great job. I could go buy them at Costco, but then my significant other will know I paid $29. And they want to extract $99 worth of pain out of me. So I better go to Bill's and get the custom flowers." Anyways, my point is, if you are the trusted expert, that is prospecting. By becoming the trusted expert, you will get the most amazing prospecting effect of all time called referrals. I don't do a lot of cold calling anymore, even though I really like it. I actually really like cold calling. I've done it in New York. I've done it in Chicago. I did it...and at Charlotte one day, I actually sat in the parking lot waiting for a guy to come out that wouldn't answer my phone calls. I actually, kind of, get off on cold calling. But if you are a trusted expert, you don't have to cold call. They call you. They're like, "Hey. I was talking to Bob. And he said you're the person that I need to speak to." Those referrals come in. And referrals are one of the most amazing prospecting effects that are out there. 10. You Need to Keep the Funnel Full Always be prospecting. Dedicate time to prospecting. And this is something that I have tried to do throughout my entire career. Have I done it all the time? Probably not. But I think I've done a better job than most people. Prospecting is something that is just built into my DNA. I'm always looking for the next deal. Even when I can't handle the deals that I have, I'm still looking for the next deal. It is just something that I wake up in the morning, and I just instinctively do. And that's what good sales people are like. I don't care if you're in insurance business, if you're selling golf attire, you're selling cars, the best people if you sat them down and had a beer with them, they would tell you, I'm a great prospector. Here's what I want you to do. Just a really simple thing, five before 9:00, and nine after 5:00, that is if you work 9:00 to 5:00. Most sales people probably work longer than that but make five prospecting calls before 9:00 and make nine prospecting calls after 5:00. And keep the funnel fat. That's a tweet. We're gonna send it out. But that's what you need to do as a sales person. If you do that everyday, five quick calls, five people you wanna talk to about a opportunity. Book an appointment with five people. Nine of them after 5:00, just five o'clock, boom, nine quick calls, you've got all set up. And that will help you keep that prospecting funnel together. You need to be rigid in scheduling your prospecting time. Don't let anybody take that away from you. That's how you keep the funnel fat, and you keep your productivity at that seven out of eight cylinders. I don't know if eight out of eight is possible all the time. But I think we really can shoot for seven out of eight, and that's where we're going to get peak performance. That is this week's episode of the "Conquer Local Master Sales Series, Prospecting 101." We hope that it helps you hit your targets this month and in the months to come. I'm George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
75% of global SMBs will be run by millennials by 2025. People don't shop like they used to, and local businesses don't look like they used to. Yet, these increasingly young and savvy local business owners still need your help if they want to stay top of mind with their audiences and stand a chance against the Walmarts and Amazons of the world. The first piece of the modern customer journey is awareness, and this is where local businesses must leverage digital marketing tactics to convey their value propositions to prospects. To speak to this element of the modern customer journey, we welcome Sandy Lohr, CEO of MatchCraft. All the way from sales to CEO, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge on Search Engine Marketing, and shares her insights into this complex digital sales process that continues to evolve. This is the first edition of the New Marketing Stack Series, stay tuned for more great content! — Introduction George: Welcome to "The Conquer Local" podcast. I promised that we would start to bring you some additions all around the digital marketing stack, and the customer journey for SMBs or SMEs. SMB is what we call them in North America, small and medium businesses. SME, small and medium enterprises is what they are known as in Europe and other parts of the world. I've got a great guest for you today, all lined up from California, the CEO of MatchCraft, Sandy Lohr. Sandy arrived at MatchCraft about three and a half years ago after a long career, almost a 10-year career as the SVP of sales at Advanced Digital, which is part of the Conde Nast group. I remember when I first met Sandy, I had the privilege of joining her for dinner after a convention in San Francisco, and I was like, "Wow, super smart lady." And also very inspiring. I'm gonna ask her, during this episode, how she made it from sales to the CEO chair. Because isn't that all of salespeople? We all wanna be CEO one day. And we're gonna find out what Sandy's take is on the awareness stage of the digital marketing stack. So, you know, you might think that, Oh, George, reputation management guy. We'll get to reputation at some point in time. But we got Sandy on the phone, so let's talk about awareness first. You have to have awareness around your brand. MatchCraft is running hundreds of millions of dollars of ad campaigns on search, on social, and on display using their proprietary technology. They're in 24 different languages, and over 6,000 salespeople around the world. And Sandy is running that organization. I count some of those people like Brad Peterson as some of my really good friends, and we're privileged to work with them on a day-to-day basis. So, we're excited to have Sandy Lohr, the CEO of MatchCraft on this special edition of "The Conquer Local" podcast coming up next. — George: It's the latest edition of The Conquer Local podcast. George Leith with you. I'm very excited to welcome the CEO of MatchCraft, Sandy Lohr, to the program. Sandy, thanks for joining us. Sandy: Thank you, George. It's a pleasure. And yeah, you're speaking on a topic I love, conquering local. Sandy's Background Check George: You and I met a few years back, right when you had just moved into your role at MatchCraft. First, maybe give people a little bit of an overview of your company and, you know, what you folks do? Sandy: Sure. So, MatchCraft, we're located in Santa Monica, California. And we serve clients that are trying to run digital campaigns for thousands of clients, hundreds of thousands of clients, and do it in an automated platform for search, for social, and for display, those are the areas that we focus on. And we do that in 44 countries. This is our 20th anniversary. And we try and pride ourselves in both the technology side, but also in service, and understand that our clients end result is keeping merchants on our platform. So, we look at retention as one of our major metrics to make sure that ultimately if we're serving that local merchant best, that means we're serving our clients best. George: Well, you know, that really sums it up. So basically, a media company or an agency would reach out to you to help scale, you know, up to thousands of accounts through, you know, SEM, social media advertising, display advertising, and your platform then you continue to develop is, you know, the industry standard, I guess, is the way that I would describe it if you're speaking to anybody in the media space. And speaking of media space, that's where you came from before you arrived at MatchCraft. Tell us a little bit about your role before you became the CEO. Sandy: Sure. Well, I had great training. I came from the client side. We were using MatchCraft when I worked for my previous company, and I was overseeing advertising, sales, digital sales, grew up in the print world. And when print became digital, I took that ride. And so I was working for a company out of New York that has markets throughout the U.S. from coast to coast. And my job was to try and find the best solutions to serve local merchants for sales reps. And so I've spent over 30 years selling, and working, and serving local businesses, and working with sales reps to do that. So, I get the pain points, and it really helps me understand today kind of how important go to market strategy is for sales teams that are tasked with the great job of serving local merchants, but also how complex that is with all the different media choices there are today. From Sales to CEO George: So, you know, I wanted to get that piece in there that you did come from the sales side, because our audience, as you know, are sales people all over the world. We're very excited in our latest audience numbers, and we're getting a lot of repeat listens to various episodes. And the reason that, and you and I were together in Croatia here recently at the Center Convention and I asked if you'd be a guest so we could talk about, you know, the local consumer journey. And that's what these folks that are listening to Conquer Local are interested in, is tactics on how they can super serve their customers. And I thought nobody better to speak about that awareness phase of the customer journey than you, Sandy. I also think that it's inspiring, because you came from the sales side and you're the CEO, so any tips for aspiring sales leaders that wanna be the CEO one day? Sandy: Well, first off, be careful what you wish for. It always seems like that's the path you want, you know, then you get to anything and it's like, "Wait a minute, why did I want this set of headaches instead of the headaches I had before?" But now, it's my privilege. I feel quite blessed to be in this position. But let me tell you, I've duked it out all the way. I grew up from the sales side, and throughout college worked full time and helping make sales calls both face to face and on the phone. I know what rejection is all about. I've been rejected all my life. And I would say that work ethic, and flexibility, being able to adapt and change. And the other thing I think I learned too late is just expecting to work hard and thinking that someone will notice it's kind of how I grew up. And what I realized is it's also part of making sure that you're noticed, you have to be relevant, and have your own voice, and tell your own story just like you're selling as a profession, you also have to have an authentic story about yourself that you are able to convey as well. And I think all of those things combined, but it's just staying humble, and never forget where you've come from, and understanding whatever you're asking people that you manage to do, and knowing what that is firsthand, and knowing what that job is, and rolling up your sleeves and not being afraid to get dirty and not being afraid to make decisions and fail and learn from those. Those are all part of what I think is important career pathing, whether it's media sales or anything else. Hot Tips for Selling Digital George: So, MatchCraft operates in 44 countries, you just celebrated your 20th anniversary, you got 23 unique languages that you serve, SMBs as we call them in North America, and SMEs as they're called in the rest of the world. And there are 6,000 sales reps that go out and represent your product. Let's talk to those 6,000 sales reps and, you know, the a thousand or whatever it is today, what? Three or 4,000 sales reps that listen to us on a weekly basis. What advice would you give a sales rep when they're making a presentation around selling ads? And we're specifically talking about your suite of digital ads. Sandy: Yeah. Well, I would say the most important thing is always coming from the customer's perspective. And it's too hard when you're a sales rep, and I've lived this, that you've got a sales manager, and they've got quotas, and they've given you quotas, and you've got this number that you have to hit. And so sometimes you're going out with the wrong intentions when it comes to that local business. And so, marching in with your latest and greatest things that you're trying to sell, instead of marching in with what is best for them and looking at where they are and what they need to do. I think that would be one advice is just trying to balance your job and the demands that your boss is putting on you with being authentic with what's best for the client and providing results that are best for them. And I'll give you an example that, again, on the MatchCraft platform, we're running ads for search, and for social, and display. And there could be some incentives in any one of those areas that as a company, they're putting pressure on salespeople to try and go out and sell more search, or sell more social. And your client might be in a situation where, based on their consumer journey, and the path to purchase, that one of those works better than the others, but you have competing interests. And so, at the end of the day, if you're being true to that merchant as to what works best for them, that is ultimately going to keep that merchant, you're gonna be able to grow that merchant, they're gonna trust you, you're gonna provide transparency. And that, in the end run, is gonna help your manager and hopefully you convincing your manager of that and showing it by your own results is gonna be the journey that takes you the furthest. And I also think that it is more competitive than ever, the job of a sales rep. There are many different statistics out there, and I've heard several of them that have been part of your show on Conquer Local, George. But one of those is I think Gordon Borrell and also LSA Charles talk about the 23 different media salespeople that are calling on the average local business every month. And that local business needs to understand what you're bringing to the table that sets you apart. And ultimately, they don't wanna deal with a different person for all the different things that you can offer. For instance, the staff that you can do through Vendasta. And so, being the one that they choose and trusting, that means not being afraid of bringing in the good news and the bad news. And my advice is not going in and over promising to begin with. Look, if understanding the media mix, and the digital stack were a science, that'd be easy. We just go in and say, plug in who they were, what their business was, and you'd come up with this budget and say, "All right, this is what we do. This is gonna work." But it's not like that. It's a journey, and it needs to change, and we need to tell our businesses, "I'm gonna do everything I can for you to make sure it works. And we're on this road together. And I'm gonna bring in the good news and the bad news, and we're gonna make the changes with what works and push more in that direction, and what doesn't work we're gonna change." And it's a constant formula that it needs to be tweaked, because what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. But not being afraid of that and bringing in the good and the areas that need improving, that earns you trust, that transparency, to me, is one of the key differentiators today. George: It's almost like you read my mind. Because I was reading LinkedIn earlier today. And I saw Gordon posting about these 30, 20, 17, how many people are calling on the customer. And I'm sitting there reading, and I know he wasn't presenting it in his post as new information. But we've always had this. Like, I look back at it, and I was doing the math as I was driving over here. I'm not very good at math, but I was doing the math. I remember when I was calling on a local car dealer in 1989 in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. There were five radio stations that were calling on that client, there were three television stations, there were four different newspapers, there at the time was three different directory companies that were calling on that client, and I'm not even counting about billboards and all other things that that customer...so, you know, with quick math there, we're talking 25 at that time. So there always has been somebody that's trying to eat your lunch, if you are a marketing rep. And I think that when you move from being a salesperson trying to hawk what your manager wants you to sell, to serving that customer. And I'm glad that you brought that up. Because, you know, here's the thing, the rep needs to stand out from those 23, and the best way to do that is not to lie to them, tell them the truth, the good and the bad, and deliver on the things that you talk about. Sandy: George, sometimes you see this when you're working with some of your clients that sometimes you're even competing within your own company. So, there's somebody that's handling vertical sales, somebody that's handling geographic, and there's even disputes internally as to what ends up in what end. And, you know, sometimes it's a competition. We even compete against ourselves. It's kind of painful. George: Whose client is that? No, it's my client. No, it's my client. Banks = Digital Disruptors? Sandy: I was just gonna say, you know, you're talking about, we always think about the media reps, but recently, I mean, the Royal Bank of Canada, think about competing against this. And this is really important that sales reps understand this. The Royal Bank of Canada not only is going out and offering marketing programs to the businesses that are using them for business banking, but they're lending them the money. They're saying, "Hey, we're not only gonna talk to you about marketing, we're gonna give you the money for marketing. We feel so good about our marketing program, we're actually gonna give you the money." So, that actually eliminates the, "Well, I don't have any money for it. I don't have the budget." And, I mean, that in itself, think about competing against that as a sales rep, you have to be so confident and an expert as to what you're offering and yet understand that those merchants, especially today, they are all over the place with their own knowledge. You've got Gen Z and millennials that know a whole lot more about digital than when you and I first started calling on businesses. And so, you know, you have to be able to show your value and your expertise, and meet them head on. But anyway, it's interesting, we always think about competing against other media reps. But Royal Bank of Canada, or Dell computers, that is going out there and saying, "Hey, local business, since we're offering you your computer, and your software, and your security system, how about our digital stack as well?" And that makes it really hard. George: You know, the other piece is, the Royal Bank of Canada or whatever banking institution that is making the sale, doesn't have to worry about collecting the money because they have access to the account. Sandy: Yeah, good point. George: So they're gonna get paid. And I think you're gonna pay that advertising bill because you don't want your bank account shut off. It's a real interesting...it's an interesting play. I've thought a lot about it, because, you know, we all talk to the same people in the space. As the stacks start to expand and you have insurance agent selling advertising and you have advertising agent selling insurance, how does a sales rep stand out from that? And I don't think that you get the guy that you bought your car from to fix your plumbing. So, again, it comes back to who's going to be the trusted expert. And it really isn't a product problem, and I like to say that, you know, when you and I were in the media business, if you wanted to start a newspaper, it was not cheap to do that. It was expensive to do that. And if I wanted to start a radio station, I'd have to apply COTC, or to the FCC to get a license, and then I had to put a stick in the ground and it's gonna cost me millions. Now, if I wanna sell digital marketing against the incumbent company, I just phone one of the providers and I sign up online, probably don't even have to go through any sort of process and I can get access to the technology. The Modern Customer Journey George: So, you know, being that trusted local expert is a really important piece. When we look at the awareness phase of the customer journey, advertising, there's a lot of choices. How do you think that a local business should navigate that space? Because it's so bloody confusing. Sandy: Yeah. Well, I look at it as kind of the circle if you follow the consumer, so. And this is kind of your story from Vendasta too, which is, first, they have to know you're there. So, you have to have a website, and as part of that website, it usually means that you wanna drive people to it, so you have to have listings and distribution, and then that means you also need people talking about you, so you have reviews, so then you need reputation management, you need your presence setup and all your social. So, I just talk to them in a way that makes sense, which is, "Hey, tell me how you shop, and tell me how people find you?" And just walking them through that and then ultimately that leads to, "Okay, well, now we need to find the best ways for people to find you." And there's multiple touch points along the journey. And when people are starting out, and they're researching, and they're using Google, and then when they're ready to buy, and just going through all of that, and they wanna hear what their friends are doing, so affirmation on social. And just walking them through that journey, but ultimately assuring them that if you're a sales rep and listening to this call, you're likely using Vendasta, or some other solution that's providing you with this opportunity to have these multiple channels through one single sales rep. And so when you're out there talking to them, it's not their job to have to say, "Well, I think we should try this, or I think we should try that." You need to know that based on their situation and what they're trying to do, you come up with the channels, and the traffic choices, and the presence choices that work best for them. And again, my advice is not to go in with this altruistic, "Hey, I know what works best." It's to go in and say, "Look, if I were just dealing with this one merchant in this local market, I wouldn't have enough information to be able to be as confident about my offering as I am, because I not only have the information that I'm gonna get from your business, but I can back that up with information of like businesses that I have access to all that information, all that machine learning, all that data, for all the other like businesses that are on this platform that Vendasta brings to the picture, and MatchCraft brings to the picture. So, that local merchant gets the advantage of that aggregation of all the other businesses that local sales rep is representing, and bringing in. And that you can't, you know, that local business couldn't do that on their own. They need you to to be that expert and to bring that into them, and how else are they gonna compete against Walmart? They can't afford to find their own and make arrangements to have their own search solution, or their own social, or their own display, or their own presence, they need somebody to come in that has leveraged the buying power of bringing that to them, by bringing other businesses to help pay for all of that expertise. And so that's why I think there's, not only the expertise, but bringing technology solutions to local businesses through the aggregation of these platforms. That's why I think local media companies really have the ability to be the best solution for a local merchant. George: So you were alluding to the platform that you're responsible for. When I see a campaign that is run on the MatchCraft platform, there is that automation that's there. So we don't, you know, necessarily have to have a human that's in tweaking it. The other thing is, we all know what it's like when we meet with a customer and we say, "What are your keywords? What should they be?" And they give you that glazed over look, they have no bloody clue. But you actually at MatchCraft have a clue because you've ran campaigns for sound engineers, or for dog groomers, or for hair salons, and you know what keywords are ranking. So that proprietary data that you have and that machine learning is one of the key components of the MatchCraft offering. Sandy: Yeah. Well, thank you for the plug. You're right. And, you know, there's no way to buy that. I mean, that comes from doing it for 20 years, and it also comes because we have, in Santa Monica it's kind of a melting pot here in the U.S. because of all the universities, all the tech companies that are here. And so, from a language standpoint, we can bring in native language consultants that actually are from the countries that they're writing the keywords and the ad copy for. And they actually have to go to their home country and live there a certain number of months every year so that they're kept up on the current terms and everything else. And it's far more than translation, they have to watch the performance of that ad copy and of those keywords and constantly tweak and add different match types, add different negatives, add longer text, etc. And make sure that that's an evolving process, it's not just a checklist that it's on. But, you're absolutely right. And that's really hard to replicate, that would be really difficult for any one company to do. It's been a journey for us as well. And that is something unique that we're pretty proud of. Are We Getting Better at Serving the Customer? George: Well, it definitely is an interesting time in this space. And I wonder, are we getting better? Like, do you really feel when you're out meeting with the groups and, you know, there's been a lot of change in sales organizations, and change in VPs of sales, changes in CEOs, and consolidation in the space. If we look at this thing compared to, you know, four years ago when you walked in the door as a CEO of MatchCraft, do you think that the space is getting better at serving the customer? Sandy: I think it's definitely getting better. And I think the competition is demanding that. I think it's probably why we have so much turnover from sales reps and managers, is that either the good ones are being recruited and are hard to hang on to, but also the ones that either choose not to adapt to the complexities of digital sales, or the ones that it's just not the right fit for them. Either one of those scenarios, there's no room in an organization to be patient anymore. There's just too much demand and too much riding on it. And for every person that we aren't serving properly, the cost to an organization, short term and long term, is just too great to be able to put up with. And so, I think we're definitely getting better. I do think that it varies in terms of, and I think Charles Laughlin from LSA would show you that in the tech adoption, it varies by region. You probably see this too, George, that when you're dealing with globally and looking at clients, merchants are in a different place in different areas. And in the Americas, the tech adoption is somewhat greater than it is in Central America or South America. In those countries too, you have businesses that may not ever have a desktop website. They may have a mobile website and never do anything beyond that, and just have a responsive site on mobile. And so there are nuances regionally, globally. And I think that's an important aspect to understand too is to have the expertise on the sales side matching up to where your businesses are. And I mentioned businesses and millennials, but there's a stat that LSA has tracked, and it's 75% of global small businesses will be millennial owned by 2025. And that's not that far away. And that means a different way of selling, and I think you see it now as you train people. Businesses are more savvy, our sales teams are more savvy, or they wouldn't survive. Sandy's Favorite Resources George: That's a staggering stat when you mention it. And, you know, we've got baby boomers that are exiting from their businesses every single day, and trying to capture the value of that. And we're dealing with new buyers on an ongoing basis. One question that I wanted to ask, because I know that I've had the privilege of seeing you speak at a number of events over the past couple of years, and I know that you're always reading, and you're always consuming information. What are some of your favorite reads right now, or some of your favorite places to go to get information on, whether it's technology or on this local marketing space that we're in? Sandy: Well, other than Conquer Local... George: Thank you for that. Sandy: So, I watch a lot of TED Talks, and I think they help me in a lot of ways, including sometimes falling asleep at night, but I always think that's interesting. I also have different social content creators, Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary Vee, and "The Gary Vee show." I like watching him. And he's a phenom. I remember when he was just an immigrant with his dad running a liquor shop in Short Hills, New Jersey, and the story he can tell now, he's a little raw, so, caution, don't throw me under the bus when you listen to him, he likes the F bomb a lot. But I think he's a genius, he's straightforward. And so I really follow him a lot. TechCrunch just keeping up on trends, and just really my Google alerts on a daily basis. Accompany is another one that's kind of important for me on the people side that kind of combines my calendar to anything that's happening on any of the people that I'm touching on a daily basis, get alerts brought to me so that also helps me save time in finding things out. But those are the ones that come top of mind. The Future of the Awareness Phase George: Let's look ahead. There's been a lot of change in the last five years. It's actually staggering when you think of the amount of change that's occurred. Where do you think we go in the next five years? What, you know, and five years is actually a long snapshot. So maybe why don't we look at the next three years, where do you think we end up in three years? Sandy: Well, we're betting here on the idea that it has to be simplified, multi-channels, and where consumers are going is very important to understand that. So, from a path to purchase, what we're doing at MatchCraft and our next iteration, and next product launch in terms of major is to have a single budget and have it be able to optimize that budget for phone calls, or whatever objective that merchant wants across search, social, and display. So, across Google, and Bing, and Facebook, and Instagram, and Google Display Network, and other networks, and have them compete for those dollars based on who performs well. That's our ultimate goal. And having the ease of being able to set that up in a single campaign. We call it multichannel, not omnichannel, because omnichannel to me ties in all those media you were talking about from billboards, to bus advertising, to print and broadcast. And that's not what we're focused on. We're just focused on digital solutions, and social, search, and display at this point. But tying all those in. So just making it simple and eliminating the complexities of having the sales rep or the advertiser have to say, "Well, I think this one will work better than that one." And having algorithms automate finding those solutions as best as they can, I think will be one thing that will be commoditized. I don't think we're the first, we hope we're the best. But I think you'll see that trend coming. And then I think, it's just everything that has to do with shopping is going to get bigger. So, one of the things that, you know, obviously, Amazon's a huge entity, and walmart.com is a huge entity. How do local businesses compete and win, either with Amazon or without Amazon? And I don't wanna overreach and pretend like we've solved that, because we haven't. But that's one of the areas that we're truly focused on, is helping small businesses be able to compete with the armchair shoppers, and how to incorporate, whether it's the Shopifys of the world, or the shopsprint.coms, and how to tie that in and be better than what exists today. George: Well, that is a great place to wrap it up. I really appreciate you joining me today. I know you've got a very busy schedule with, you know, have to go to Belize for the weekend, and then into New York next week. So thanks for taking a little bit of time to join us on the podcast. And always a pleasure getting your insights. I remember that first dinner that we had in San Francisco. I was super impressed by this woman that I heard so much about, so, thank you. It's an honor having you on the podcast, Sandy. Conclusion George: So let's wrap this up. There are some nuggets in there. Not only the fact that Sandy said that she gets her information from the Conquer Local podcasts, I didn't even set that thing up, that just happened. But the interesting thing is, look at that stat of 75% of global SMBs will be run by millennials by 2025. We better be ready for that as sales organization. Because that means we're going to be dealing with a consumer, a buyer, that is way smarter than we are because they grew up with the Internet in their hand as a research tool. So we should be thinking about that. And then having it from one place. There was an overwhelming theme in what Sandy said in that podcast, was that, businesses aren't looking to deal with 23 different people. They wanna deal with somebody that they trust, and you need to be able to bring them the solutions that will solve their problems. Even before you think about how you're going to hit your quota, or hit the bonus, or hit the incentive, you better be thinking about solving the customer's problem because this is a marathon, it's not a sprint. And on every single call, you should be coming at it from the customer's perspective. We're not putting those words into her mouth. It's just what the smart people are doing in the space to be successful. So, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Sandy Lohr, the CEO of MatchCraft, one of the smartest people in the space when it comes to serving those local businesses, not just in North America, MatchCraft is serving them all over the world. This is the special editions of the digital marketing stacks. Special editions of "The Conquer Local" podcast, bringing in experts around each nuance of the digital marketing stack. We've got all sorts of great global experts to come in the next few weeks. In fact, we haven't even put a time limit on this thing. If we're still doing this at Christmas, or even in January, that means we found great guests that can speak to the nuances of the digital marketing stack. My name is George Leith. I will see you when I see you.
Increase your client retention rate by 50%+. Discover data-proven results and tips to help eliminate churn. Jackie Cook, Chief Strategy Officer at Vendasta, gives us the low-down on churn, not just as topic but because churn is everything, churn is the inverse of growth. In this weeks episode she shares the results from her comprehensive study on churn. Jackie and her team compiled data to give us the details on how to bring down churn, she provides some great tips, insights and when to go back to the client to check in. Get the churn study here! __ Introduction George: We are continuing with the "Conquer Local" podcast all around selling the digital marketing stack to your customers. We are putting together the thought process around this series of podcast. We're like, "Who are we gonna get in to talk about awareness? And who are we gonna get it to talk about websites? And who are we gonna talk about listings?" We tried to do that. We tried to bring you industry experts that have been focused on those solutions and solving those problems around the stack. You can't just sell one thing. What we need to be doing is solving more than one problem. And I have a guest online that is gonna speak all about that, our Chief Strategy Officer at Vendasta Technologies, my colleague, Jackie Cook, joining us on this week's edition of the "Conquer Local" podcast. Hello, Jackie. — Jackie: George, it's a pleasure. Finally, you asked me. I'm just honored. George: I really appreciate you because, you know, you're not even done your maternity leave yet. How's Lex? Is he with you right now? Do we get Lex on the show, too? Jackie: You know what? He's been on half of these calls that I decided he get a break today. So, I'm giving him the day off with Grandpa. George: We're in-studio with the one and only T-Bone, our sound engineer, producer Brock. And here's what I'd like you to do though, Jackie. Can we make sure that you play this for Lex in his headphones so we can get him an early start on being at "Conquer?" Jackie: He's one of your top subscribers, don't you worry. He's conquering local and diapers, and so much more. George: I just love that when you ram the "Conquer Local" podcast down your young son's ears when he can't even fight back. So, that's fantastic. What we're talking about and there's nobody better to talk about this topic, and the topic is, when I go out and figure out what the solution is for my client, there's a number of things that you have learned through your team in digging into the data. So, can we set the table around why you're here and what we're hoping to learn out of the next 25 minutes or so in the "Conquer Local" podcast? Churn is Everything Jackie: Today's discussion is all about churn, and not because churn is a topic, but really because churn is everything. Churn is really the inverse of growth. So, if we figure out in glean insights about churn, we can become better sales professionals. And obviously, and in turn, help our partners grow and our customers and their customers, and your customers grow. And so, today, we're just gonna be covering a churn study that we actually pulled together for last year's VendastaCon in beautiful Banff, Alberta. We shared some of the insights. I'm gonna talk a little bit from that study. And, of course, we're going to be continuing to feed into that study and continuing to learn a little bit more about churn from your partners. George: When we are out talking to customers, and that is our media partners around the world, and we bring up this data, it's...you know, there isn't one vice president of sales, Chief Revenue Officer, CEO that isn't like, "I need a copy of that," because it really brings to life to something that we probably knew and we felt. But now, we've got some real data to back it up. So, I'd really like to dig into that. Data in Black and White Jackie: You're absolutely right. And let me just preface this. This isn't our data. This is our customer's data. This is our partners who have told us in the field, "You know, this is what I'm finding." And we just got the privilege of working with so many brilliant partners that we could kind of pull together not only what they were telling us, but actually back it with data. And so, the study was conducted by, I'm gonna give mad props to a gal named Stephanie Goertzen who is on our business intelligence team. She was the one that...I'm the eternal optimist and she's the eternal realist. I would throw out questions and say, "You know, can we dig into this?" And she was the one that not only produced answers, but made sure that those answers were verified in, you know, black and white. There's no gray in this. So, that's what we're gonna share with you today. George: So, I'm... you know, we're waiting with bated breath. What was the number one finding of this study that just knocked you on the floor when you saw the data? Jackie: Well let's build up to that a little bit because I think that's the most exciting thing. What we went into the study was really testing a number of hypotheses. Some of these hypotheses were tested and verified what we thought in our guts. And others, actually, disproved what we thought in our guts. Some, we didn't have conclusive evidence. But really, the three topics we wanted to understand was what's making customers leave, when did they leave, and really, what can the impacts of growth with by looking at churn data? Really, it came down to three things. One is sell customers what they need. That's nothing new. That's what you've been really talking about on your podcast a lot, George. And the "Conquer Local" is all about being consultative and being helpful rather than just ramming, you know, digital products down our customer's throats. Two is making sure that customers have the ability to participate. And three is being that single trusted provider. As George mentioned, you cannot be the listings guy or the website gal, or the social group. You really need to be that agency of record, that single trusted provider, so that when they do have a need, you're right there to capture and to help them along that digital journey. George: Well, I will tell you that in my career as a salesperson, the one moment that I dreaded was when I was talking to one of my top-10 customers and they brought up that they were having a conversation with somebody else. So, let's say the ability in 2019 to have all of those solutions at your avail as a trusted local expert, we've never really had that before. So, it's very exciting where you're in front of the client and they bring up a problem or a need that they have, and you're "Oh, I'll go over here to Marketplace and I will enable that Product. Now I have it and I can solve that problem." So, you know, it's an exciting time as a true marketing consultant if you are one, and I know there's...you know, all of our listeners aspire to be that, to be able to offer those solutions. Nobody Knows Your Customers Better Than You Do Jackie: Absolutely. And it is really as much of a defensive play as it is an offensive play. You might have a specialty. And what we found in talking to our partners is they might not know listings in and out and top to bottom like someone else does. But if you can make sure that you just know enough and really partner with the best technology providers and the best partners to help cover that area, then you can provide a need that...you know, you don't necessarily need to be the most expert or the deepest expert in some of these areas. You just need to have the ability to point them in the right direction. So, what we say is, you know, you don't need to be selling every solution in the whole market, but you need to be able to offer a solution when the need is there, and find them that solution because nobody knows your customers better than you do. And that's your core value proposition. Keep looking in those technology a lot more than you do, but nobody's gonna know your customers better than you do. And you better keep that relationship because it's sacred. George: So, the ability to take that relationship and add more products and services to solve more problems, there's a big opportunity for a win there? Jackie: Yes, absolutely. And I mean, speaking of some of the data, what we found is, actually, when we looked at the difference between solving or selling an offer in one solution to offering two, three, four solutions, and as we grow the study, more solutions to the Marketplace, we saw a drastic difference and a huge impact on the level of retention that these customers had. So, just to kind of jump into it, you know, when we looked at folks who only sold one solution, we saw retention rates after. So, just to kinda tee the study up, what we did is we looked at 100,000 SMBs or local businesses across North America and we looked at partners who had been with us for a minimum of two years, right, so we could keep that consistent data set. And every dimension we looked at, we looked at how long could retention last, I guess, through these different variables, so a survivor analysis. And what we found was, specifically, when those agencies who sold more than one product, the difference was astounding. So, those that sold one product, we saw retention rates after 24 months of about 24%. And that continues to grow as you sell two, three, and four products. Those accounts or those local businesses that subscribe to four products, we've seen retention rates as high as, like, 75%, 78%. And what that really leads us to believe is that it's not just a one-product shop or one solution they're getting. They're solving more of the problem for that local business. Therefore, because they're that agency of record, the switching cost is just that much higher. George: You know, when I'm talking to sales reps, especially traditional media reps that have transitioned to digital, they're saying, "Wow, there isn't as much margin and I'm not able to make as much commission." But when you start putting together solutions that have four, five, six, seven products, the margin starts to go up dramatically because you're adding more value. You could charge more money because there's more value there. And now it starts to be a compelling discussion around, "Yeah, I should be selling this to the customers." The data doesn't lie. It shows us that when we add more value, our churn goes down dramatically. Jackie: Exactly. And so, it's not only just a question of margin. It's how many more months you're gonna keep them, you know. Websites is a classic. I don't wanna sell websites. There's not a lot of margin in things like hosting. I mean, your website, to a lot of businesses, that's their anchor. That's sort of what they deem as "My website is my marketing," right? So, what the data showed us is that even if you sell one more product, add one more product to your stack, that'll increase retention by nearly 20%. So, do the math. Even if it's not a lot of margin, of course, there's gonna be hard costs in servicing that website. But if you can really create efficiencies, that can keep your clients around longer. The Offense and the Defense George: It's interesting when I look back and...here I go. I'm gonna expose my age again, but I look back over my 30 years of selling solutions. It was way easier to take a customer that was advertising with me every 90 days. Four times a year, they would do some sort of a campaign to take that customer and convince them that if we invested more in their marketing a couple more times during the year, you were able to see that revenue number go up and also see the benefit for the customer go up, and there is more of a chance to move them towards months of recurring revenue. So, this is exactly what you're talking about, is not only are we able to take those episodic customers that may just come to us every once in a while for an ad campaign and layer on other solutions to solve problems, but we dramatically reduce churn. What I say is when you get a customer and they run ad campaign with you and that thing ends, it's anybody's game. That customer's wide open now. Whereas, if you get them on something that is recurring and it's solving their problems, and sending them notifications, and it's giving them value on a monthly basis, that's where you mentioned earlier, it's defensive as much as it is offensive. You're protecting that client against other people that are phoning and they're trying to sell them similar solutions. Jackie: You know, George, you make a really good point. And the upsell really did have an impact on the retention of that customer. We also looked at when that upsell happened. So, we looked at, you know, did the upsell happen at the 3-month mark, the 6-month mark, the 9-month mark, or the 12-month mark? And we actually found that when a salesperson came back to revisit that customer at three months, it had the greatest impact on retention. So, it's important to know that not only is it important that we sell customers what they need, but going back to revisit and to address that need...you know, say, they've been sold a reviews and reputation management product or an automated solution at a DIY level, well, making sure that they understand how to use that product and if it's servicing their needs is crucial in not only retaining that customer but, of course, increasing the basket size or the share of wallet of that customer. George: Well, and I'd like to say the DIY is actually lead gen. And if you're doing it properly, you get the customer on DIY because that's what they value the most, like, "Oh, I can do this myself," and then, you follow-up after about 80 days. So, I don't like waiting until the full 90 days. I like to come in just before the 90 days and say "Hey, I've been noticing that you haven't really been engaging and there's a few things you've been missing out on. Let's go back over the value of what we brought to you and I may be able to look after this for you." And a lot of times, the customer would go "Oh, thank God. I don't have time. This is a huge time investment and yeah, like, you told me that under the gate that is was going to be, but I've tried to do this myself. But yeah, would you please just take this off my plate so I can do what I do best which is run my business?" It really isn't rocket science to go back to the customer, to assess them again, and then to come back and either solve the original need with a larger solution or to move on to some other problem that they have identified. Maybe they are responding to their reviews and they're saying, "Hey, I should start doing more social posting." "We can help you with that," or maybe "I've noticed that my website isn't converting as many leads as it was supposed to." "Okay, we can help you with that." So, it's about...for some of our people listening on the phone, they've been around a yearly cadence. So, they've been around every six month-cadence of going back to the customer. That is not going to cut it in the 2019s and 2020s, and the decade beyond. The customer is looking for that trusted provider that's going to be there when they need them to answer questions. And according to you and your data, which doesn't lie, that need point is around the 90-day. SaaS: Both a Beauty and a Beast Jackie: Absolutely. And that's really the difference with today. A lot more traditional means is that SaaS is a different beast. It's completely different from the sell them on a one-year contract. They come back right before the year is up and sell them again. Inherently, in SaaS, it's earning that customer month over month. The beauty is monthly recurring revenue. But really, you're earning that customer and showing value month over month. And so, coming back...and it might be a converse charge. It might be that, you know, they bought the big package and they're just not seeing value in it. But by visiting them after 90 days or 80 days, or early on in the relationship, you are making sure that you're right-sizing and revisiting what that value is for that customer so that you prevent that churn. George: So, what was the other thing that you found inside that study? Because there was a lot of learnings from that work that Stephanie did to analyze those, and I believe it was around 100,000 businesses that you analyzed the data on. Jackie: The thing that jumped out at us was around engagement, actually. And working with the product division in our company, we understand engagement is very important. But really quantifying that and putting some parameters around what is engagement, what types of channels of engagement matter, the frequency of engagement, and then, of course, when that engagement happens. And so, number two is really around inviting customers to participate. We had a hypothesis going into this, you know? Does delivery model really matter? Is it really important that we give them DIY, Do-It-For-Me, Do-It-With-Me, Do-It-Yourself? Does that really matter? That’s just kind of more salesmanship in giving them a few options. And what we found is, by digging in, we looked at engagement on a few different levels. So engagement, first of all, we define as someone who actively logs into the software, someone who opens an email or a notification, and someone who is generally showing any type of engagement that we have access to. Now, what we can't see, of course, is any type of engagement that a salesperson has with a business. We're only looking at system engagement that we have control over here at Vendasta. So, when I did this presentation at another conference, they said, you know, "There could be other pieces of engagement that we're not even looking at that have impacts." And that's absolutely the case. But what we found is there are some local businesses that engage rarely. And what we found is...not surprisingly those had the highest level of churn and the lowest level of retention. And then, those that engage once per month, we found a slightly higher increase in retention. But really, where the rubber hits the road and where we see the largest impacts in the difference of engagement in retention is when they start to engage once or more per week. So, for those that engage once per week and those that engage daily, we had a huge, huge retention rate. The ones that engaged daily and, of course, we don't have 100,000 local businesses that engage daily. If we did, we would all be static. If we could get businesses, and that's really...can we be valuable enough that they are engaging daily? Well, for those that saw value and did engage daily, we saw 85-plus percent retention rate over two years, which is just amazing. And so, what we concluded was that customers who engage early on in a relationship have a 20% increase in retention rate and customers who engage even once per week have a 30% higher retention rate than those that engage once per month. George: We're talking about the SaaS software business. And this shouldn't really surprise anybody that is a scientist of SaaS is that engagement were somebody either logs in to your dashboard, opens a notification on email or by text. The other thing that can help with engagement though is a salesperson phoning the client and taking them through the report so that they can actually explain it. Because if you can get them to understand the value inside whatever reporting mechanism that you're delivering early on in the relationship, you will see that engagement go up. So, you know, when we're training reps, I always wanna say, "Yeah, we got some robots that can help you deliver the message. Whether it's understood or not is still in your court as a rep because I believe you have to take them through it a few times so that the SMB, SME, whichever we're using depending on our jurisdiction, so they really can understand what you were saying inside that report." Understanding the Data Jackie: And something that we try hard, you know, in the product is to make it understandable and engaging. But something we say in our executive team here at Vendasta is data for data's sake is gonna...you know, people are gonna drive their own conclusions. What you as a rep has to do is walk them through that, even a very first report so that they perceive the data in a way that you want them to perceive because they could come up with their own conclusions, and it could provide a negative experience. So getting off on the right foot by investing in proper onboarding, taking them through a proof of performance report or an email notification so they understand what's happening is really the key to all of this. George: We've been through the fact that if you sell more products at certain periods, you can reduce churn, and that also should be a strategy call not just in there to sell them more things, you're in there to solve more of their problems. We've also talked about the fact that you just can't be a point solution provider because the churn is off the charts if you just sell them one thing. What were some of the other findings? Have we hit all of the findings or is there something lurking under all that data that we need to know? Jackie: The other one which, I mean, is no stranger to this podcast is really selling customers what they need. One of the data points we looked at was what happens when we use that snapshot report. We take a grade F, let's say, in social. Can we look at those customers that were sold a social package versus those that were not? And what we found is that there was a meaningful difference between those that were sold of something that their snapshot report said they needed versus those that perhaps the reseller or the sales rep was comfortable with. And I know this is especially difficult when I'm helping launch sales teams, but sometimes, they tend to go with perhaps whatever the comp model is around or perhaps what they're very comfortable selling. But really, what we wanna make sure is that we're selling customers something that does address a problem in their digital journey or the customer journey that can make a difference in their business because, for the long term, it is really better off. George: Now, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't package certain solutions because there is a common need set across various businesses. So, I like to...let's use startups. Well, they're gonna need listings because they're invisible online, probably gonna need a website. They're probably going to need build some sort of reputation by hearing from their early customers about their experiences. And with Jackie, I really wanna hit home on this, is you're selling them what solves the challenge or problem that they have. So, I remember a couple of years ago, I was giving a presentation in Google in London and somebody yelled out of the crowd. They said, "What's the best package that you see selling on the street?" And I'm, like, "The one the customer needs." And that really is a change for some industries because, for some industries, they only sold one thing. We're selling ad in the newspaper. Now, the needs of the customers are larger than that, and we've been hearing about that in these episodes of the "Conquer Local" podcast around the digital marketing stack. We had just a scintillating two-episode edition with Christian Ward around data. I could listen to that guy for hours because his giving me all new scripting points around how important the data is that a local business person has. We also heard from Deepak Surana at OutboundEngine about how important email marketing was and collecting the email address of the customer. So, there's just so much more that a business needs in this world of marketing because it's hard. Marketing a local business is not easy in today's day and age. So, we really appreciate the data that you and your team have been able to sift through, Jackie, and giving us these learnings as salespeople so that we know...you know, we all are time-starved. We know where to point the gun where we can help the most people and solve the problem. So, it's great hearing this. And just in conclusion, any things you want to leave us to take away so that when we're out on the street with our army of conquerors out there, that they're remembering some of this information and how it can help them? Jackie: You know, one of the things that has really stuck out to me in that is a quote by one of the guys at Crazy Egg. He said, "You know, in SaaS and really, in business in general, you don't win by getting there first or having the best idea. You win by continually solving the problem better." And so, just knowing that if you're staying close to your customer, understanding deeply their needs, you will always...you know, it doesn't matter what shiny new technology comes through. As long as you understand their business best and how to map those needs and identify unserved or unidentified needs, then hopefully, at the end of the day, you're the one that takes the business. George: Jackie, when are we gonna get you back full time? Jackie: I haven't even announced that internally, but I can say it'll be soon enough. Times like these, it makes me really excited to get back to our partners and our customers and get back in it. I'm thrilled with our whole ecosystem. And I can tell you, having a kid is amazing, but we've got really something exciting here in this space we're in and I can't wait to be back. George: It's exciting giving you a couple of hours off from Lex time and I'm sure that Grandpa's enjoying that grandparent time, and we're looking forward to having you back on full-time basis around the Vendasta hallways and on planes traveling to visit our partners. Jackie: Thanks for having me on the show. Conclusion George: Jackie Cook is the Chief Strategy Officer at the one and only Vendasta Technologies. Let's go back over those takeaways from the podcast in that churn study. Number one, you wanna be out in front of your customer before 90 days trying to solve more problems because we found that 90 days and around the 6-month period, and around the 9-month period is where there were some cliffs when it came to churn. So, if we can get in the middle of that and solve more problems, we are able to keep that customer. You don't wanna just be selling one thing. That's a problem. Point solution providers. We need to add on other items to your stack, and that's what this entire series has been about, is the digital marketing stack and becoming a trusted expert on those inflection points so that digital marketing stack and the customer journey for your SMB. The other thing is we need to sell them what they need. But it's important that we find out what the need is. And a lot of times, the local business person doesn't even know. So, that's why we need to use some of the tools at our avail to find some of those insights, and then to present to the customer, "Here's what you need because I did the research for you." So, the churn study, a very valuable piece, we have a link inside the "Conquer Local" podcast document where you can download it and you can have a look at it in all its glory. I always enjoy having guests from inside Vendasta because we live and breathe this stuff on an ongoing basis. So, thanks to Jackie Cook, our Chief Strategy Officer, for joining us. The best place to reach out to us for the "Conquer Local" podcast is on my LinkedIn page, and I'm getting more and more people reaching out asking questions and giving advice around what we should cover in upcoming episodes. We appreciate that plus, bam, a brand new "Conquer Local" website. It's been completely redesigned. It is encompassing the new Conquer Local Convention, which is happening the 10th of June through 13th of June, in San Diego. I'm not going to insert any Will Ferrell jokes at this time. Hey, we're gonna be in San Diego. We're gonna conquer the beach this year at "Conquer Local," June 10th through 13th, and all the details are at our brand new website at conquerlocal.com. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
Winter is coming to the marketing landscape, and change is inevitable. So, what will tomorrow hold? This episode is a special one as we reflect on the first full year of the Conquer Local podcast. We bring back the big guy, CEO of Vendasta, Brendan King. We address everything from why we branded the show "Conquer Local," to our formula for giving agencies and enterprises the tools they need to turn themselves into recurring revenue machines. We also discuss the DIY and DIWM models and why it's beneficial to get your clients engaged in the process of digital marketing. And lastly, we explain why SMBs demand more performance from digital marketing compared to more traditional ways of marketing channels. __ Introduction George: It's another edition of the Conquer Local podcast starring our CEO Brendan King. We're gonna get Mr. King in here to talk about the year in review. 2018 is in our rearview mirror. 2019, 2020 right around the corner and Brendan always seems to be thinking a couple of years down the road so we're gonna dig in to that head of his and see what he sees coming down the road and some of the things that worked and some of the things that didn't work in 2018. We're trying to think of what guest could we get to do a wrap up of the year of conquering. No better person than the guy who's paying the bill for this and that's CEO of Vendasta Technologies, Brendan King, joining me on the line. Mr. King, let's dig into the year in review. It's been a little over a year since the brand Conquer Local was created. You know we've 45 episodes of the Concord Local podcasts. We've had guests from all over the world. We now have listeners from 19 different countries. We are in the top-five ranked business podcasts on iTunes. We really appreciate all the feedback. We're getting tons of comments. I just got one today, this morning on LinkedIn about an idea for a future episode and I wanted to look back and I wanted to...when we had the vision of coming up with Conquer Local little over a year ago, did this thing reach where you thought it could go in the first year? Brendan: You know what, I think it's exceeded expectations and I'm really excited about the Conquer Local brand and I think our partners are excited about the Conquer Local brand also. Conquer Local: Bringing us all Together George: Why another brand? I think we should get that out there so people can... Like why do we have to create another brand? We already have a brand called Vendasta Technologies, but this has all been done out of the Conquer Local brand. Brendan: Well, you know, Vendasta is the brand behind the brand. We're a white label company. You know, that's one of our key differentiators. We don't promote our own brand. We promote our customer's brand. That's why around Vendasta you often hear the phrase, we don't succeed unless our partners succeed. And that's why we don't call them customers. We call them partners because truly unless our partners are building their brand and selling products, you know, we're not going to succeed. So we didn't wanna promote the Vendasta brand directly. And I'll give you a good example of how this manifested itself. At the last VendastaCon, which is now gonna be Conquer Local... But at the last VendastaCon, you know, we have a lot of our vendors there and our partners love our vendors' products. You know, their best of breed products. But our partners wanna promote their own brand. They're used to dealing with Vendasta products and they want to white label, you know, all the other products, whether it's a website or SEO or whatever other products that we have. But our vendors, they were partaking in the VendastaCon conference. We had it in Banff, as you recall, it was a fantastic conference. I was climbing the mountain with a group of vendors. We're looking at the streams that had turned to ice and they were saying, ''You know, this is a fantastic conference.'' They said, ''We've always have wanted to have our own conference, but, you know, it's a lot of work, it's a lot of effort and we feel like as a vendor of yours that this is our conference too." And it really took that to heart and said, you know, why don't we create a brand that we can share, you know, with our partners and with our vendors that we can use together? And Conquer Local came to be. And so now, you know, when our vendors come, they can be part of the Conquer Local and it can be their conference too and the same with our partners. And I think, you know, that's really what you've done here, George, with the Conquer Local brand, is you've taken it to the sales world and provided them with a forum and an area where they can really learn and discuss sales. George: Well, one of the things that we ran across when we were doing webinars in the early days was I would always get a request, "Hey, can you put my branding and my logo on that webinar?" So then we'd have to record a new webinar. And what we've tried to do with Conquer Local is to give a piece of content that doesn't give away the brand. So it protects the white label that could be used from start to finish in a sales meeting for a salesperson. That's also one of the reasons why I've tried to keep them around 15, 20 minutes because that's about as long as the sales person's attention span is, is about 15 to 20 minutes. Those of you who know salespeople, or might be involved with salespeople, would know that we just don't have that long of an attention span. Brendan: Well, I mean, I think as soon as a salesperson hears a good idea...and if it really resonates with them, they're pretty much done. They wanna go give it a shot. George: No person easier to sell than a salesperson. What are some things this year that you don't quite think that you got to that are important? Like, you know, we always talk about we're winning here and we're winning there. What are some things that turned out to be a challenge of getting across the line that you wanted to accomplish when it comes to the Conquer Local branding and helping people conquer local? Brendan: I think we need to get more prescriptive on how we can help our partners' salespeople succeed. So, you know, we're working very hard with the vendors and with our own products to be able to package them together and give a really proper go to the market. And I think everyone, wherever there's a change of behavior, it's tough. So we go out to sales forces and we sign up new partners, and they have the best intentions to change their behavior and do different things. But whenever you try to do that, it's super hard. So I think we really need to get better at helping our partners understand what their salespeople are selling, how they're selling it, you know, what metrics are around it, including, you know, lifetime value and churn and really turning them into recurring revenue machines. We didn't quite get there. And in 2019 I'm confident that we're really gonna put together a sales machine platform, where we'll be more prescriptive to help salespeople really pull their company and change the revenue trajectory. The Shifting World of Agencies George: Two customers that I want to talk about, and let's start with what we call at Vendasta an agency. We'll get to the enterprise organizations in a moment or two, but you have this agency, customer and partner I guess is the term that we're going to use. They have a different set of challenges than maybe those large enterprises. Can we talk specifically about the agency? And I'm sure you've got a couple of stories about really successful agencies that you've heard about in the last year. Brendan: Yeah, sure. So mostly when agencies come to us, you know, they're smart people, they're trying to help local businesses succeed. And the way that they're doing that is they're looking at all the problems the local business has and they're trying to turn them into “A” players across all aspects of that digital area. So whether it is their website or you know, their online presence or whether it's their reputation or whether it's their advertising or their, you know, their loyalty programs, these agencies are trying to do that. And how they do it is they try to find the best products they can, and they sell those products to the local business. There's a challenge there. And the local business has three or four different products. They don't tie together very well, and the agency then ultimately runs into a scale problem. So they also, you know, they try to prove performance. So they're knitting together all these different reports, and they're spending a lot of time with those customers reporting on what they're doing and trying to prove performance. And so they always hit a scale wall. You know, that is really the problem that we're solving. And I've had, you know, I do have a couple of guys. I'm gonna call out Joe. I was going down to meet a vendor, which is Zenreach. And I thought I was just meeting the vendor for dinner, but as I walked up, I saw that Joe was there and I've never met Joe. And Joe's going, ''Is this Vendasta, is this Vendasta?" And, he's saying, ''You know, my girlfriend won't even let me say the words Vendasta anymore because you know, she wants me to stop talking about you guys.'' The point was, is he actually said to me, he goes, "You guys saved my life." He said, ''I had an agency, and I had 12 or 13 people working for me. I couldn't scale it and eventually, I almost lost the business. And I was gonna quit and walk away.'' And then he goes, ''But then I found you guys.'' And I'll tell you the feeling you get when you realize you've actually really helped somebody, nothing can be better than that. Nothing. And you know, he was truly grateful that he had a way that he can actually run his business. He knew the names of four or five people at Vendasta on a personal basis that basically, you know, when he sells a customer, you know, we're doing, we're building the website, we're doing the blog posting. We're responding to reviews, we're doing the social posts and Joe's using our agency to do that and he's scaling and he's able to stay in business and make money, and he's happy as ever because he's running around the country just selling. It was an amazing story. I was humbled. George: You know, when you talk about agencies, sometimes old school media people are thinking ad agencies where you know, they make 15% on every ad that they place and they come up with some sort of strategy. But this whole idea of being a digital marketing agency, this is an exploding industry around the world Brendan: And there's so many different kinds. You know, we have all our personas here, like you know, website Wanda and you know, Shelly's Social and you name the different sort of personas that we have. But there are many kinds, like Joe, his work starts as an Instagram influencer. So he goes to his small business customers and says, ''You know, hey, you're selling hiking and mountain gear.'' And then he says, ''When we place an ad, we're gonna amplify it by having people who are experts. So he'll go find Instagram people who have a following for outdoors posting about outdoors and equipment and stuff. And he has them sort of endorse the ads that he runs for those customers, and he amplifies them. And so there's that. There's a new type of agency springing up all the time that, you know, website is still growing and growing. You've got social, you've got, you know, some that are doing just reputation, others that are doing, you know, Facebook and Google ads. There's so many kinds. When I think about agency, I don't even think about the traditional agency really all that much anymore. All Systems Go for Enterprise Partners George: Let's move to the enterprise type of partner because we do have a lot of listeners that work for enterprise organizations that are making this switch from selling the newspaper ad or the online banner or the radio ad or the television ad into selling the full stack. We've seen a lot of challenges in that space over the last seven years. What do you think is... are they winning? Are they starting to get this thing moving in the right direction? Brendan: I think they are. I think it's a tough job. I mean to switch your product mix from a few products to thousands of products, get them right and then be able to have the knowledge that the salespeople need to be able to deliver those, whole different problems. So when you have a large salesforce, they used to all be on-premise mostly, and you know, the ticket sizes of a yellow page ad, newspaper ad, radio or TV spot is large enough to support that, probably still is for some of those larger advertisers. But as you move into the smaller companies, you really need to change to what I like to call SaaS whenever Software as a Service. But it's a recurring revenue thing. It's like what insurance agents sell when they sell insurance, they don't make any money the first year until they built up a base where they get those renewals. And that's much the same in today's world of digital solutions. Even if they're low ticket, they build up over time and provide a lot of opportunity. In order to be able to sell that, and win and be cost effective and efficient and make money, you need to have a system in place. That's what Vendasta does. We use data about the local business in that snapshot report to actually mine the entire customer base and look for opportunity. When a small business is interested in something, then you're able to contact them at that time, in that moment. And that is when you can, you know, solve a big problem for them, write a solution, which in turn will lead to more opportunity down the road and will, in turn, turn those little companies into the advertisers that do spend big bucks on even traditional advertising. So in order to do that, you need a really integrated, scalable platform that a sales manager can see the pipelines and understand where the dollars are and understand where the opportunities are and be able to help their sales teams find that and deliver over it. Local Businesses and Their Digital Expectations George: I wanna ask you a question that I've never asked, but I'm interested to get your take on this. Why do local businesses grade digital so harshly? Meaning you give them the report and you show them that there's been some value there and, unless it's 100% done, it seems that they have a problem with it. I'm wondering if you have a take on why this has happened. Brendan: You've never asked me this. So this is interesting because look, let's face it, I was an advertiser in the old days back in my previous life; I had a retail computer store. And I spent a lot of money, you know, newspaper and radio and TV and bus boards and I never knew which of that advertising worked. You know, I knew 50% of it worked, I just didn't know which 50%. With digital, you can actually see the results, but people then demand even more performance from that. It's a really weird.... it's really ironic actually. Look, when you can measure something, you're gonna wanna expect the results from it. Whereas if you're used to spending money and you know it, some of it works you just don't know which, but you have to spend that money anyway. So the truth of the matter is that, you know, I don't really have an answer for you, but I think it's because you can measure it. That's why they expect that measurement and that's what they need. George: Do you think that salespeople are leaning on the fact that you can get that measurement to help close the deal and to really deal with the elephant in the room with the prospect because they've been buying this stuff as you mentioned, and I've sold a lot of it? T bone has produced a lot of it where we're like, I don't know if that ad's really gonna work for the customer, but that's what they want. So we'll run it and we'll take their thousands of dollars and then we'll deal with it after the fact. And now the fact that I can measure it to kind of lean on it during the sale, so now it's really important at the end of the month. Could that be it? Brendan: Well, no, I think some of it's it, but I think I want to make a really big distinction. What's happened is that people have in the past used to spend on advertising because that's what there was to drive people into their store. But as this sort of access to information has changed things, you've gotta worry about a reputation that can spread super fast. You have to worry about all these other platforms. What's happened is that the money that goes into pure advertising is, you know, it's still growing but at a really reduced rate. The money that people spend on marketing solutions like on a website, on a Facebook page, you know, on in-store Wi-Fi or any of those SEO, those things have grown dramatically. As a salesperson selling advertising, you've got two problems. One, you know, you're selling things you're not used to selling. They're a lower price point. They're recurring, so they do build over time, and you have to come to grips with that and understand how to do that and how to compensate on it as a company. And that's what these big enterprise companies are struggling with, right, switching to this, to these other products. But you also have this transition to this digital medium, which is whether it's AdWords or Facebook. In the past you, when you couldn't measure it, you didn't know. And now the creative is really important. It's really important that it actually works because it can be measured. So it's not an easy game. Online to Offline - The Holy Grail George: How important is offline attribution going to be? You and I have run into people over the last seven years that, we've figured out offline attribution and we kind of look at it and go, okay, have you really, because we've heard it so many times. Do you think we're gonna get there anytime soon? Brendan: Look, you know Google's doing it right now, but only at huge scale. Look, O2O, online to offline attribution is the Holy Grail. I mean if I could spend a dollar and I knew I was getting back four dollars that's my perpetual money machine I spend... you know I like I say to our marketing department if you can prove that ROI, you have an unlimited budget. You know the same thing is with local businesses. If you could actually prove it and prove that attribution, you know, of course, you just spend more. The problem there is if everybody can do it, the effectiveness goes away because everybody will do it, right? It still comes down to the offer. It still comes down to what is it you're offering and what value you're providing your customer not just...not straight advertising. I mean if you advertise a crappy business and people know it's crappy and it's not worth anything, I don't care how much you spend on advertising, it's not gonna help you out. If we step back rate to ONO there are technologies moving forward, but you know, so are privacy laws. So it's always gonna be, you know, if I can connect you to a credit card transaction, I can get that sort of online to offline attribution. I can see you saw the ad; I can use your phone to track you into the store, so I know you went there. And then I can use your credit card or your phone to track the purchase. You know, I don't know where we're going necessarily with that. I think there's privacy concerns, but boy, it certainly is the Holy Grail. You know, we're working to be able to help our partners help their businesses track that as best they can. If you're putting money into advertising, you really wanna make sure you're getting the return and you know, like you said, George, we've got people coming in every day telling us they can do it. I've yet to, you know, to see it to be 100% accurate, but it's getting better. From DIY to “DIWM” George: You have a famous statement that every piece of software that touches a small business' hands, we build in a DIY format and then put a do it with me layer over top of it. Why have you been so adamant that the company from its inception builds DIY first? Brendan: People don't give small businesses credit. They say, oh, they'll never do this. They won't do that. They don't know what they're doing. They need our help. Well, it's true they need your help, but small businesses are a lot smarter than people think. I think today, oftentimes a salesperson walking into the business is walking into a trap because you never... you know, he's walking into a guy who's spending his cold hard money on, you know, whatever it is Instagram ad say, he's gonna know quite a lot about that. And why it's important to me is that businesses invest their time where they get a return. Now, if there are things that they can say, I can offload that and have somebody else do, they will. No business wants to sit there and fix all their listings online. They're gonna hire somebody to do that. Whether it's automated through a product like Yext or you know, Uberall, or whether you actually wanna go above and beyond to do some actual claiming. They're gonna find that out because they can because it makes sense. So, and I'll give you a perfect example. I book all my flights. You know, I am old enough to remember a time when the only way you could get a flight was to call a travel agent. There was no online, it was super hard and they took a very long time. Well no business person in their right mind would do that themselves; it just didn't make sense. So you outsourced it and you went to a travel agent through your secretary. The next sort of step was as soon as it became easier for me to do it online myself than to explain to somebody else to do, it was the day that I was gonna do it. And I have to this day. And I believe that that's the same with all of the tools directionally we're providing these local businesses. They're gonna look at it and they're going to say, ''Oh, the guy's asking if I have, you know, a pet-friendly environment,'' whatever it might be. For me to then explain to my marketing agency how to respond to those things doesn't make any sense. In fact, I want that connection with the consumer. So there has to be that do-it-yourself connection built into the product and then the small business is gonna say, ''You know what, you guys figured me out. You're running these ads. I'm not gonna build these ads and run these ads. I want you to do it.'' So there always has to be that different component too. So that's why we coined and trademark the term, do it with me. We believe that there's this do-it-yourself aspect and you have to have it. There is permission to play. Small businesses want to log in, go see, check and see what their.... you know, what their agency is doing and that's great. And they should be able to do that. And then there's the do it for me aspect where they're saying, “Hey, you're the expert. I want you to do these things for me. Go ahead and do them.” And then there's the things in the middle where it says, you know, I'll write the review but I need you to approve it. I need you to make sure it's right. And so that's the do it with me. And so we have all three of those aspects covered. George: The thing I really like about DIY, do-it-yourself as a, as a sales tactic. Here's what I find. You sell to a customer; you've got them running; you're six to eight months into the contract. Things are going well; they have zero clue what you're doing. You just bring them a report at the end of the month and do your song and dance as to why it's working, and here's the metrics that we're measuring. If that customer starts to log in and do some of the things and take some of the ownership, they're way more engaged. Brendan: You got it, you got it. And they're going to see the value. A lot of our partners in the early days were saying, ''Geez, we don't even want the small business to do it.'' They were scared they were gonna lose their value. No. Exposing them to what you actually do just increases your value. George: Well, it's been a heck of a year in conquering local in 2018. Is there anything that you want to touch on that you see happening in the future? I always like to ask this question of our guests. What if we were to put you in front of a crystal ball, where do you think we're gonna be in 24 months? Brendan: We're a white label platform and our goal is to turn our partners into recurring revenue machines, turn them into a sales growth engine. I think that as we bring products in, we're going to allow our partners to provide an end-to-end solution at scale and the ability to make money as they do it. It doesn't sound like a big change, but it's a fantastic thing that we're gonna do in the new year. Conclusion George: Really appreciate you joining us on this year in review edition of the Conquer Local podcasts. We've been speaking to CEO and founder of Vendasta Technologies, Mr. Brendan King. Brendan: Thanks George. George: The Conquer Local conference coming your way, June 10th through 13th and Mr. Brendan King will be there as always kicking off our conference and wrapping it up, and he usually likes to look in the future and that's what we tried to do here in this episode. It's interesting, the DIY thing, he loves to use that analogy and just think about this for a moment. We did use to go to a travel agent to book all of our travel. The moment that it became easier to go online and book your travel, we stopped going to travel agents. So I think that's gonna happen to marketing. I think it's going to happen to online marketing at least pieces of it, and we can start to see that today where we have a group of millennials that are starting to take over their parents' businesses and they're looking at... they don't look at social media like, "Oh my God, social media. I don't know." They look at it like, "I understand this thing inside and out and I wanna participate." So we need to continue to learn as salespeople and we need to continue to meet the needs of our customers. And what I've been finding in the last few months when I'm out on four-legged calls with reps, I always try to get them to log into something while I'm on the call. And I always show them the value proposition of digital marketing on my phone. I very rarely bring the laptop out. Now sometimes I will bring the laptop out, but I always start the conversation on the phone because the minute that we can get our clients to start consuming this information on the phone, we've got them hooked. We know that they're going to start to rely on that information on a day-to-day basis. So I thought it was really interesting to get Brendan in here talking about it because he's been talking about it for a couple of years now and to actually see it start coming true is really, really valuable. Conquer Local, the conference is coming your way on June 10th through 13th where we'll talk more about these tactics of how to present digital marketing solutions in front of your customers. You can get details at conquerlocal2019.com. Buy your tickets today. It's right around the corner. I can't wait to see you on the sunny beaches of San Diego, California for the 2019 edition of the Conquer Local conference. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
The secret sauce has spilled! Sales prospecting tools and techniques are revealed to help Conquerors Conquer Local. Chris Montgomery, CEO of Social Ordeals, has come a long way since he first started using Vendasta's products. Chris is proud to be a Vendasta Partner and ready to share his wisdom. Chris and George explore different sales prospecting methods, how to attract the right kind of salesperson, and a few tips for the agencies and entrepreneurs of the world. Chris is a serial entrepreneur and knows what to do and what not to do when it comes to building a successful digital agency. Chris is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with over twenty-five years of sales, marketing, and digital advertising experience. He has worked with companies from their early stages of development, as well as late-stage ventures. Chris was the founder of 411web.com, co-founded Digicities, and was responsible for the sale of the company to AmericomUSA. Chris is an innovator and uses his experience to take a realistic approach to how businesses unfold in the marketplace. Introduction George: It's another edition of the Conquer Local podcast, and joining us on this week's episode, Chris Montgomery, the CEO of Social Ordeals from Burbank, California. I've known Chris for a number of years, he's one of our strongest agency partners around the world selling the platform and working with customers. Boy, I'll tell you, he really gets involved in the day to day operations of his business and he understands his clients very, very clearly. I can't wait to dig in to what makes a successful agency with Chris Montgomery, the CEO of Social Ordeals coming up next. George: It's the latest edition of the Conquer Local podcast. We're coming to you from the beautiful Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California as part of Conquer Local 2019. These are special editions of the podcast because we get a chance to corral some of our attendees that I've been wanting to talk to for a while. Joining us in our makeshift studio is Mr. Chris Montgomery, the CEO of Social Ordeals. Chris, thanks for joining us. Chris: Yeah, thanks for having me. George: You know, we've known each other for a number of years. I will say that Chris is probably the most successful agency that we have in the United States using the platform, and congratulations on that success. It's an interesting story how you arrived as a Vendasta partner about three or four years ago. Chris: Yeah. You know, I kind of took a break. I sold the company, thought I was semi-retired there for a little bit, got bored and made some bad investments, had to get back into the marketplace. I came across Vendasta literally on my couch one night and then turned around and became a partner. Sold my first customer from that exact same seat about a week later. George: You know, you and I met face to face at a restaurant in Marina del Rey, California here a few years ago. In that meeting you said to me, "I'm not following you on Linkedin. I'm not going to connect with you on Linkedin." What was going on with that? Chris: Well, that's a funny story because I had a lot of Vendasta people want to connect with me on LinkedIn, and I felt that, you know, I didn't want anybody knowing what I was using to get the success I was getting with my clients. The success that we got at Social Ordeals was solely off Vendasta products. That's all I sold. So I didn't want anybody to know the secret sauce. George: So interesting. That's changed a little bit. You know, what changed? Chris: I realized how hard it is to do. These sales aren't easy. At that point, it didn't matter to me if they knew about Vendasta because I've been doing this now for six years and you've got to be dedicated and make sure that you're putting your all into it. George: So I really like that we were able to have this conversation because I think what you've identified, and I've been saying this for quite some time, we have a white-label platform. That means you put your brand on it and it becomes your own thing. But the software is vitally important to help solve the problems of the customer. But it's all in the way you position it and feed it as an agency to those clients and the level of service that you provide and the way you set the expectations and the way that you understand the solution. Understanding the Technology You Sell Is Essential George: The one thing I've always admired about you is you dig deep into the software. Like you know that thing inside and out, and we're hearing from you on this isn't working right or this could be better if we do those kinds of things. How important do you believe it is for our audience to understand the technology that they are selling? Chris: I think it's really important. I think understanding how the products work, how it's going to unfold in each industry, 'cause it will be different for each industry. I think it's important. I think the flip side of that is if you're understanding the product, you've also got to understand your client and understand their needs. If the product's not working properly, and I'm going to a client and saying, “I'm the expert with the best strategy,” then I think I get a little stressed out if the product's not working the way I need it to work. Chris: So Vendasta has been phenomenal with that and the product has always been strong. So that side has been easy for us to manage. George: When I arrived at a software company, my background is in media sales, I owned my own business for a while and I didn't really understand agile software development and what that whole concept was about. I have a much better, you know, thanks to Dale Hopkins, the CTO and the folks in the R&D department that I get to work with on a daily basis. I understand it. I think iterative improvement is a really cool thing because we’re saying, "Okay, here's the thing that we have and we get feedback from the customers." You being the customer of Vendasta, but then your customers are giving you feedback too saying, "Hey, I'm a veterinarian. I want to do these things. It doesn't quite work properly for me," but yet we're able to iterate on that with that feedback loop and to continue to improve that. Chris: I think that's strong for on the agency level to be able, if we don't have the solution, to be able to have ... I always say that I have the best technology partners behind me because I feel like I have my own programming team. If there's something that my client needs or it can work better, that's a powerful thing for me to be able to relay that to my client. Going Up: How Products and Passion Pair to Offer Solutions George: You've got a great story, and I don't know if we want to dig into specific solutions, but I do want to tell a story about the elevator repair gentleman that you're representing. So it's one of your clients. We went for lunch here a few months back and you told me the story, and it's really stuck with me. To be able to rank for elevator repair in Los Angeles, California on the first page, how are you able to do that? Maybe give us a little background with the client. Chris: You know, it started with the fact that we are utilizing all the Vendasta products, and he quickly rose up in his first nine months into his number one position in San Dimas, California. The client was happy for a while until he realized he couldn't really put ROI on what he was doing. He said, "Chris, I love everything you're doing here, but guess what? There's no two-story buildings in San Dimas, so it doesn't matter. Nobody's searching for me in San Dimas." So he's like, "I want Los Angeles. I want Pasadena, I want this." Chris: So what we did was searched Vendasta's marketplace. We found a great product. One of their SEO products, SEO Network, and we turned around and just took the keyword that Google uses, what I call their proper search. So elevator repair was their category. There's no other category underneath that. What we realized by taking Elevator Repair Pasadena or Elevator Repair Los Angeles, that it rose up all of their keywords and all of their markets. Within three weeks we were number one on Google, Yahoo and Bing and all of those markets. George: You know, it's an amazing story. When you speak around working with your customers, I noticed something and I'd like our listeners to take this one piece away. Chris is super passionate about helping those clients and I think that's a big reason why you've had that success. Chris: Yeah. I love seeing a problem and then being very confident that the products I have will help solve that problem. That's the biggest part of sales is when you have something that you sell that doesn't really work, with these products it works. So all I have to worry about at that point is just understanding my customer and getting them to trust me to be their digital adviser, and the rest is going to fall into place because the products work. George: So this story of how you found Vendasta on the coach, technically eating some potato chips too I think is part of the story, and now 2,000 businesses that trust your agency. It's an amazing story but it definitely hasn't been easy. Chris: It hasn't been easy. I've gone through a lot of sales reps training. I still sell on a daily basis. I'm constantly in sales meetings. I jump on save calls if it's a customer ... I think you have to take the passion into it. If I have a client that I know the products are helping them and working them, and they're canceling, I'm the first guy that I'll get on and get onto a save call, but not just a save for a client that's spending a couple of hundred dollars. The fact that we're losing a relationship bothers me, and I want to understand why. If they're going somewhere else, I want to explain to them, "You're not going to get anything different going to anywhere else. The grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. Tell me what your needs are and let's figure out what we need to do." Road to Success Paved with Trial and Error, Hard Work and Long Hours George: Well, it's a great lesson for those that are ... maybe you come across the podcast and you're considering getting into digital marketing. Like, hey, this looks like a great thing that I'm going to do. I think it's important that people understand that there is trial and error. There's no silver bullet that's going to just make you a millionaire overnight. The other piece is there's a lot of hard work that goes into it and a lot of long hours. If you are prepared to make that investment, there definitely is a profitable business model there and a great business. When we're talking about your customer base, how important are strategic partnerships? Chris: They're a big portion of my business now. What I've realized is that there's a lot of businesses out there, either web hosting companies that aren't offering upsells, website companies that want to offer upsells, but they don't have the manpower to do the work on the back end or even membership groups that want to add value. Once you strategically partner with them and give them a piece of the action as you're going along, you're going to get a consistent lead source coming from them. I think it's the future. It's basically a paid referral coming through. George: So membership groups, the first thing that comes to my mind is Chamber of Commerce. In my immediate career, I've always worked with Chambers of Commerce. A great thing, I actually was President of the Chamber of Commerce in my hometown for a while. That's not really what we're talking about though. We're talking about other sorts of organizations rather than a Chamber of Commerce. Chris: Right. So we're talking about businesses that are offering, that are selling products, that could be a company that has eye doctors that's selling them their products to do their glasses or dentists that they're selling the teeth whitening products or supplies for them to be able to do that in house. George: So in our largest survey of local salespeople that's ever been conducted, and nobody's told me that they did a bigger one, so we're just going to call it that. But we just recently completed this survey of the number of salespeople that we have inside the platform and the listeners to the podcast. We sent it out, we got the survey back, and the number one thing that salespeople were having a problem with was cold calling. What this membership group does for you in the strategic partnership, and I'd like our listeners to really understand this. It's not called anymore now because when Chris makes the call to these customers, he leverages that membership group to warm it up a little bit. Chris: That's exactly what we do. Now we're going in from that cold call. It's not a cold call. We go into a warm call with introducing yourself and we're being referred in, so now they're already open because they have a great relationship with that strategic partner. So they opened their doors to us. A lot of people don't trust the digital side of things because there's not a lot of people that are giving them great products out there. So when you have a great product that's offered over here at Vendasta and the marketplace products that are there, you're able to go in with some confidence and gain that business. George: Well, let's cover off that other piece a little bit where you hit on something that I think is really important for people to understand. There is a ton of snake oil out there, and when we go in to talk to a prospect, they're a little jaded and they're testing you. They're really looking for somebody that's going to stand behind what they're doing, are you going to be here in six months, are you going to be there to answer my questions if I have them. That's been a big part of your success as well because you're standing behind the solutions that you're selling. Chris: Yeah. You know, I stand behind the solutions, but I focus on my own reputation. Like I make sure that I go out there and if I've got clients that, you know, as they're utilizing the service, I want them to give me reviews. So we pride ourselves that we've got several hundred reviews, five-star reviews online. I tell a client when they ask me about a competitor, I usually pull it up online and notice that they're at a 4.3 or a 4.4. I tell them like, "Hey dear customer," if they question a contract or whatever, I'd come in and say, "Listen, you're not going to be my first bad review. I've gotten nothing but five-star reviews online and I'm not going to bring you in the door, I get it that there's businesses out there that have taken people for SEO and they've taken them on different things," so we pride ourselves on our reputation. We get past that because- George: I think it's a really important point. I have said for a long time, it blows me away the agencies and media companies that are selling digital marketing services, and when I Google them and I have a look at them and do a little bit of research of late, you look horrible online. You guys have done a great job of that. I also noticed in your social posts you're amplifying the positive comments of those customers and highlighting them, you've got their permission to do it and everything else. It's a great marketing tactic, it's the old testimonial in a brochure thing, but you're just using online and all the tools that you say your customers should use, you use yourself. Chris: Absolutely. Dedication and Experience Make All the Difference George: If you were to give advice to a new entrepreneur, there's been a number of new entrepreneurs at this event, but for the first time, the last couple of conventions that we had, we invited customers. In this one there actually are some prospects that have been in the pipeline, and I'm sure you've talked to some of these folks that are thinking of getting into the space. If you were to give one piece of advice to a new entrepreneur that's entering into digital marketing, what would that be? Chris: You have to dig deep and make sure you have the dedication. You've got to come into it for the right reasons. If you're coming into it thinking that you're just going to have a $1 million business tomorrow, it's not going to work. You really have to care about your customers. George: I've got one more for you. You covered that off. Is this a million-dollar opportunity if you run it right? Chris: It is if you put the dedication in, you have to put the dedication in. If you're not doing that, you don't care about your customer, then it's not a million-dollar business. George: Piece of advice that you would offer when it comes to attracting the right talent because you haven't done this on your own. You've built a team to do this. You have advice on some tactics to find that right group of people? Chris: You have to find the passionate sales rep out there that's not necessarily worried about a commission because the rest will come. You'll get those good people as you get down the road and you find the passionate people that enjoy sales. George: So we hire a rookie salesperson and what I've found is that they have a tendency to rush the deals. You spend a lot of money getting a great lead in the door, and if that rep doesn't have the experience to make sure they set the proper expectation, you might burn the lead and lose the value there. So how have you overcome that? What sort of training regime do you have in place for the reps? Chris: I now go after seasoned sales reps. I don't go after rookie sales reps. I recently hired a guy that came to me. He had been selling rocks for 13 years, literally selling rocks and sand to construction companies. I quickly hired him, my COO, my CFO was like, "What are you doing?" I'm like, "This guy has been selling rocks for 13 years with the same company and turning million-dollar deals." I go after nothing but seasoned reps now, and I spend the extra money for it. I don't want that $30,000, $40,000 a year guy. I want that $60,000 to $80,000 a year guy that's going to bring me results and I don't have to train him how to sell. I just give him a good product that he can stand behind and know it works. So I don't go after the rookie sales reps anymore. George: So the reason being, I'm reading into this, I don't know the answer to this, but I'm going to ask the question. It's cost you too much money to go after rookies, or has the business reached a point where you can just buy those reps rather than build them? Chris: Yeah, I mean it's easier to get that rep, that experienced rep than to train rookie sales reps to try to figure out the process. George: You've been at this for a while and I know that you are selling on a regular basis. What sort of prospecting tool or method are you using to go out and talk to those new customers? Chris: The snapshot, the snapshot's everything, without the snapshot you're setting the stage now with these customers with a snapshot tool, but what I like to do, and I teach all of my sales reps to do is we don't go out there, I don't look at a snapshot until I have that client ready to go. I want to discover the snapshot and what's in the snapshot with the client in front of me. It's more organic. So I teach my sales reps how to go through the Internet and to be able to go and find the things that they're going to look for on Google, but we do it in real time and discover it with the client. So sometimes I'm surprised, I'll get a client that may be great. I had a veterinarian the other day that was number one for veterinarian in their market, but then I turned around and said, "That's great, but what about dog vaccinations or cat vaccinations?" Chris: They weren't part of that mix, so I completely go off the cuff with a client and I really want the client to understand that I'm coming to them from an organic place and a truthful place, and let's go discover it together. How can I help you? Conclusion George: Well, I really appreciate you taking some time out and joining us. There's definitely some learnings inside our conversation for those that have been in this space for a while. You can learn from Chris because he's been doing it for the past number of years, or if you're a newbie and you're just getting started, you can learn from some of those hard lessons that you've had over the last few years. But congratulations on your success, and we really appreciate the partnership and looking forward to the upcoming next four years if we get to work together. Chris: Yeah, I'm excited. I love Vendasta so I'm excited for the next four years. I will definitely be here. George: What a great episode. We could go on and on and on with Chris. It's really interesting hearing his stories from the front lines. You know he understands the products and solutions that he's delivering to his clients probably better than most. He's dogfooding those products. He's using them on a daily basis. He knows what works and what doesn't work, and he's not afraid to say, "That's not the right tactic. We're going to move or we're going to adjust." That analogy around the elevator repair company in LA and wanting to get ranked in the market and what they had to do. You know, you really can tell that Chris loves seeing a problem and knowing that he has the products and solutions to solve those issues. So we'd like to thank Chris Montgomery, the guy who's doing it every single day and he just keeps growing his business year over year. It's actually quite impressive. George: More episodes to come. We release every week right here on the Conquer Local podcast, but not just that, we've got this amazing new community, and the Conquer Local community is living on Slack. Go to conquerlocal.slack.com to join today, and the community continues to grow pretty much on a daily basis where we get new members and then those members are able to create channels or to answer questions or ask their own questions of the Conquer Local community. So join today. It's at conquerlocal.slack.com, we'd love to get your feedback. Talk to producer Colleen or myself on Linkedin. We really appreciate those comments. Keep them coming as we continue to help salespeople around the world in the local space conquer local. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
Is your presentation different every time? Why? If you have something that's working, why would you change it every time? Our extraordinary host, George Leith, walks us through the importance of having a talk track. They can also be called a value propositions. In this episode, we're going to discuss writing talk tracks and building compelling value propositions. Talk tracks get a bad rap of being a way to keep a salesperson in a box. A talk track isn't an "insert name here" and run through a presentation like a robot. The purpose of a talk track is to identify problems and then work on writing a talk track on how your product or services solve those problems. By finding a sense of urgency or finding things that are critical for various reasons, you can start thinking about that when writing talk track. George is a thoroughly experienced, educational, and inspirational sales and marketing keynote speaker who can enlighten your company or professional association on best practices for transforming sales and utilizing social media’s innovative concepts to align your digital media marketing with current trends and prepare it for the unpredictable times ahead. As a sales transformation keynote speaker, author and guest university lecturer, he has a unique ability to demystify concepts and inspire businesses and professionals to understand and truly embrace the potential that digital transformation has for many business objectives including sales, business development, and marketing for B2B, non-profit organizations, as well as government institutions. Introduction George: It's the Conquer Local podcast, our sound engineer tBone, we are in the sound lounge beautifully appointed studios here in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with producer Coleen. George's Top Tips. I had John reach out to me on the LinkedIn channel and he said, "How do you write the scripts?" I think there's a lot of... people get really freaked out as salespeople to go, "No, I'm not using the script. I don't need a script." Does that mean that your presentation is different every time? Because that's just freaking weird. If you've got something that's working, why would you change it every time? Now, we have to have some personality and that doesn't mean that it's something... You can't walk in as a robot and go, "OK, here is a presentation. What was your name? Insert name here. Oh, yeah, Joe and what..." You can't do that. That's not what I'm talking about when I'm talking about the script. George: Gib Olander, our EVP of Product calls it vignettes. Ed OKeefe, our EVP of Marketplace likes to use the term lyric. I like to use a term that was taught to me by one of the smartest sales managers in the business, Craig Diebel, from Fort Worth, Texas. Everything good comes from Texas, and he asked me to come into his offices, beautiful downtown Fort Worth and help them with their talk track around digital marketing. That was five years ago, and I've been using that term ever since because I believe that this is the missing piece for salespeople, it's writing a talk track. I think it's also called a value proposition, and we're going to talk all about writing talk tracks and building compelling value propositions. Here's what it's not; here's what it's not; it is not what marketing gives you. It's not what the product team gives you. George: The product team builds up a product and they come up with a value proposition, they put on a one-sheeter, they maybe build some nice animations or maybe they write a video or some email marketing or they do some Facebook stuff, and they do some crazy marketing things. And they never put it in front of actual customers and see their eyes roll back in their head when they don't understand the words and there is not a lot... I'm not saying all organizations, just most come up with all this great stuff over here in a bubble that has not been tried. They're like, "Oh, we had trusted testers." Who are they? Then they show you the list of trust testers, you're like, "Oh, yeah, those people don't even sell anything." I want to put it in front of real people, and I want to get the real story down. George: I'm not saying you don't need marketing because I'm a big believer in marketing and I love it, it's called air cover. It gets in there way before I come in with the street troops. Softens the enemy up, gets them ready to say yes. You do need marketing, and I love animations. Who doesn't love animations? Family Guy, boom, it's great stuff. But what we need to do is we need to get across from the customer and we need to test what works in the presentation and then we need to keep using it. That's the key to it. I remember when we first started building out inside sales inside our organization, hired a consultant, brought him in, Butch Langlois, good buddy of mine, Toronto, Ontario. But Butch told us something that they found when they were building up their inside sales team was that if you changed one word in the script that you knew was working. George: So a script that was written by somebody that run sales organizations, is good at telling stories, and good at building the sales story, and then that person actually takes the script that they've written and uses it a thousand times and closes a bunch of deals. If some close rate comes of it, now you know you've got a script that works and you can use that script. But if you change one word, it may change your close percentage by 10% or something like that. That's how important it is to find the proper value propositions that are resonating with your prospects. In its simplest terms, a value proposition is the positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide your prospect and how you do it uniquely well. That's the definition. What we need to be doing is describing the target, the problem that's solved, and then how we beat all the other people that deliver those solutions. Use the Four U’s to Build Your Talk Track George: Let's dig into how we're going to build those value propositions, or as I'm calling them, talk tracks. Because in digital marketing, you've heard us in previous episodes where we talk about the marketing stack. That businesses need a new marketing stack. I really liked that positioning because they probably haven't even thought about it as a stack, and then you can start to work your way through the customer journey that they have. Not their customer journey with you, but their customer's journey with the business person. You've heard me... let's cover it again, there's the awareness stage, that's all the advertising, then I got to be able to find you because I'm starting the research stage. Consumers are going to 15 different places to research the things that they're buying. That's where reviews and social come in, and then we've got the website where the transaction could occur for an e-commerce business, or maybe that's where we request more information or fill out a form and become a hot lead. George: Then we have the sale itself and then we have the opportunity to build loyalty and to build that raving fan that we can upsell. Here's the talk track, that's the talk track around the customer journey for small or medium-sized business. When we start working on that value proposition, we want to talk about the four U’s. Here come the four U’s, the first is the problem unworkable? Does your solution fix a broken business process where there are real measurable consequences to inaction? Meaning, again, there's some fear of loss. Will someone get fired if this thing isn't solved? Now that's a pretty compelling reason. If the answer is yes, if we don't fix this problem, somebody's going to get fired, usually, the person who could be getting fired becomes your internal champion if you've got the solution to the problem. George: As the common theme of, the Conquer Local podcast, needs-based selling, figuring out what problem you're able to solve uniquely for that customer is very important. Is fixing the problem unavoidable? Meaning you've got to fix this problem because there's some sort of governance or regulatory control, or if you're not... Is it driven by a fundamental requirement that it has to be controlled or solved by? If that answer is yes, then the group that is impacted by that will likely be a champion. For those of you in Europe or maybe you are listening to us in California or in South Africa, GDPR, or this privacy act is something that we are going to have to start solving. We're going to have to solve it inside our organizations and we're going to have to start solving it for our businesses. Finding the people that are impacted by privacy and GDPR, those folks would likely be your champion. George: Is the problem urgent? Is it one of the few priorities for the company? If you're selling to enterprise organizations, you'll find it hard to command the attention of the buyers, they were the C-Suite, if it isn't an urgent problem. We're trying to figure out those various problems with the four U’s. The other one: is the problem underserved? I find this in marketing space where they are doing some sort of marketing; they're doing some sort of promotion; they're doing some sort of listings management, SEO, something like that. But it really isn't being done right. It's more calls than not that I'm on where we're trying to unseat some other organization that's dealing with it. It's very rare that we hear, "Oh, no, the group we work with is amazing. We've got this group, they knock it out of the park." Identifying the issues is BLAC and White George: No, I've just done a call with a 932 location restaurant chain the other day. We were talking to their head of marketing and they're on their second listings provider and things are going not very well for a second time. In my mind, the problem isn't being solved, and in this case, it's underserved. I love these types of prospects because if you can come up with a great talk track and some case studies and some testimonials or some advocates that can say that you're really great at solving this problem, you get a really good opportunity with that. You want to qualify the problem, and this is the black and white tests. Get ready, here comes an acronym, BLAC is B-L-A-C, blatant, latent, aspirational, or critical. What you're looking for is the biggest white space. We're going to put the graphic inside the materials that we provide with the episode, but I found this online and I'm like, "Whoa, this is some great stuff." George: You're looking for the white space. On the left axis of this graphic, you have blatant up in the top corner. It's like boom, it just hits you right in there, it's right there, there's the problem. You got latent, you don't really know where it is. You got aspirational, oh, it would be nice if we could change this, but nobody's going to die if we don't. You've got these latent problems that are aspirational. Well, it's tough to get those things sold and solved because it's really just not that important. The one that you're looking for is the one that's in the top right-hand corner of the graphic. If you're looking at the graphic now, you see where I'm coming from. Where you've got that's where the biggest white... you're looking for the biggest white space and if the white space is around a blatant problem, that you could say, "You've got a blatant problem over here and it's critical that you solve it." George: All right, now we should write a talk track or a value proposition around that. A few of the exercises that I would like you to go home and try, or if you're at home, stay there and try them is I want you to identify some problems. And then, yeah, I want you to work on writing a talk track on how your solution set solves those problems. Here's the problem, I need more customers. Now that probably is an aspirational thing and it's not something that's really urgent or critical. I need more customers. Now, what if you had bought a whole bunch of bananas and those bananas were nearing end of life? The product or service that you are offering, it's a product called bananas and you've had them for a while and now it becomes more urgent that you have to sell those bananas. Because they're going to rot or you're going to have to just donate them as a food bank or something like that. George: That's where it changes from selling. It'd be nice to sell a product or, no, I have to sell the product because it's about to come to its end of life and it's going to cost me some money. By finding that sense of urgency or finding things that are critical for various reasons, we want you to be thinking about that when you're working on those talk tracks. Here's another problem, I have a slow website. You're working with a customer, you run a needs analysis, you run a snapshot report, you find out that the prospect has a slow website. You can go to that customer and you say, "You have a slow website and here's some things that we could do to improve it." You see that there's your talk track that you've written and the value proposition is, "We're going to work on your website." But unless you connect some sort of urgency to that conversation, it is actually a latent problem, it's not a blatant problem. George: If you could prove to that business person that they were losing business because they have a slow website, you see where I'm going with this and with these exercises where you could just say, "Here's the things that I'm trying to solve for the customer." But if you tie some urgency or tie a critical need or tie a buyer persona that has a critical need to it, now you're able to write a value proposition that will give you some action and a faster action than, "No, I just need some more traffic to my website." Like that is latent, that is aspirational. It's going to take a long time to move that forward. It's not just about writing the value proposition of how you solve the problem, but it's also about attaching some urgency to that value proposition. That's an art, and it's something that needs to be practiced over and over and over again. It's going to be different for different types of customers. Conclusion George: That's really the thing that I love about sales is there's no two presentations that are exactly alike. You're like, "Oh, I just went and did the same presentation I did three days ago." No, if you've done it correctly and you have done the needs analysis, you've written the talk track that solves it, it's going to be unique every time. Then the other thing is based upon the type of person that you're dealing with, you're going to have to be a chameleon. It's one of the most important skills that a salesperson can develop, is that ability to be a chameleon and to pivot the presentation or the value proposition based upon whether it is a blatant or a latent need, or whether it's an aspirational problem or critical problem that you're solving. When you see the graphic that we've attached to this, it paints it very clearly. George: We also put in there a couple of these exercises where you come up with what the problem is and then you work on writing a value proposition with that lens of blatant, latent, aspirational, and critical. Value propositions, writing those scripts, those vignettes and talk tracks will help you be more effective when you go out to try and conquer local. These are George's Top Tips. My name is George Leith, I'll see you when I see you.
A stellar LinkedIn Profile contains five key areas: Profile picture, job title, about description, experiences, and endorsements. From picture quality to endorsements representing you, your professional brand is the key to all new opportunities to build your brand and set yourself up for success. Morgan Hammer, Relationship Manager, Mid Market - Sales Solutions at LinkedIn, joins us from Chicago's windy city to talk about how to Rock your LinkedIn Profile. Morgan shares how to create a LinkedIn profile that brings your personal career story to life, whether you’re just starting, seeking to advance, or making a career change. Morgan offers tips on tailoring each section, starting with the key insight that a LinkedIn profile is unique and shouldn’t be approached exactly like a resume. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Morgan has been living in Chicago, IL, for the past 5 years. Her LinkedIn journey was not a typical one, as she was a nontraditional hire coming from a retail background. Prior to LinkedIn, she managed several different shoe departments at Nordstrom throughout the Midwest. This is where she found my passion for working with other people in a sales environment and ‘style flexing’ to learn what makes each person happy. In Morgan's current role as a Relationship Manager at LinkedIn, she gets to help clients revolutionize their selling process to optimize their time and capitalize on all potential revenue. My priority is to help each client build their process through our leading-edge technology, embedding social selling as part of their sales cultures and processes. She loves learning about her clients' goals and how they can create a plan in place to achieve them. When she isn't working, she is trying out new restaurants in Chicago and playing with her adorable 6-month old Covid puppy, Max. Join the conversation in the Conquer Local Community, and keep learning in the Conquer Local Academy. Introduction George: Have you ever wanted to have a better LinkedIn profile? I'm sure you have. And I have searched high and low to come up with an expert on Rocking Your LinkedIn profile, and understanding Sales Navigator. And how the LinkedIn platform could work better for you as a sales professional. So coming up next, the Relationship Manager for Mid-markets out of Chicago, Morgan Hammer from LinkedIn will be joining us on the podcast. I met Morgan about a month ago. We've been talking about how we could utilize the LinkedIn platform and Sales Navigator for our organization, and how we could teach our channel partners to utilize it, and then how they could turn around and teach their customers to utilize it. LinkedIn it's a force to be reckoned with. 690 million users all over the planet. It is the place where people go to do business, unlike other social profiles where you might go to waste time. And we are going to speak to Morgan in a moment about how you can have a better LinkedIn presence and how we can understand the value of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. As we continue with the Conquer Local Podcast. Joining me all the way from the windy city and I don't mean Winnipeg. From Chicago, Morgan Hammer with LinkedIn. Hey Morgan, thanks for joining us. Morgan: Hello, George. Thank you so much for having me. Super-excited to be chatting with you today. George: Morgan and I met about a month back and you are Relationship Manager for Mid-market accounts. Morgan: I am. George: But before this, what were you doing before you arrived at LinkedIn? Morgan: Before I arrived at LinkedIn, I actually managed the shoe department for Nordstrom in several different locations throughout the Midwest. So, made the jump from retail to tech and I have never been happier. George: So, you're doing B2C, like consumer-based sales- Morgan: Yes. George: And leading teams in various markets and now you are on the B2B side because LinkedIn as a B2B platform, that's what we're hoping to really dig into your mind in the time that you've been there and the things you've been learning- Morgan: Yeah. George: Quite a bit of growth on the LinkedIn platform in the last few years. And B2B as you know I just don't know how somebody would do business with it. Morgan: Right, absolutely. And especially with this work from home, going into the offices to meet clients meet potential prospects, it's not happening anymore, right? And so, it's been so much fun to just be straightforward to watch this sales process evolve and also just how people represent themselves on their virtual profile. So, it's been such a fun thing to watch during this pandemic, I think that's one silver lining for me, because LinkedIn is now becoming necessary, right? And how do you represent yourself virtually? So, it's super fun. George: One of the things that I've been noticing is, and this isn't just recently, this has been going on for about two, maybe even three years. As I would make a contact with an enterprise type customer, I would have multiple people from that organization come to my LinkedIn profile and pretty much in real time I could see that they were on the profile. And I made a point of doing some learning and realizing that I needed to place more content there, that was speaking to that audience because they're on the platform. You're like, "Oh, I've got my blog over here." Okay well, but they're not on your blog, they're in LinkedIn. Morgan: Yup. George: And how are you speaking to them in LinkedIn to be that authoritative voice that you might be on a website or you might be somewhere else? The other thing that I've been noticing is that, some profiles leave a lot to be desired. Morgan: Yup. Rock Your LinkedIn Profile George: And I work every day to make sure mine is not one of those, but you have a program called Rock Your Profile and I'd love to ask some questions about that and understand. I like that, Rocky Profile- Morgan: Absolutely. George: Sounds good. So tell us about it. Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. Rock Your Profile. I also love the professional creeping tag that you made there, that's what I like to call it. Right? I love that we can see who's creeping on you on LinkedIn, right? And how can we make that connection? So, really Rock Your Profile, what are some easy steps to make a super-impactful LinkedIn profile, right? Because, I can even speak for myself that five, ten years ago, I had this perception of LinkedIn being a suit and tie kind of platform, right? Where that's not what it is at all. You need to have a skillset in order to be on there. Right? I mean, Rock Your Profile, I just ran a session with a group of college students about three hours ago. So, what are five things that you can make changes to on your LinkedIn profile? And let's say it would take you George no more than 20 minutes, in order to have more of a compelling profile, right? And I'll give you a high five here to make it look more like yours, right? Profile Picture Morgan: So, first one that we're gonna go for is your picture. I mean, the amount of people that I see that have these glamorous and head-shots now is incredible, right? Because of the time that they're putting into it. So, just having a professional picture, I don't wanna to see a hat on, it should show truly who you are as a professional. And if you have a professional compelling photo you actually get... I think it's somewhere up as 11 times more views and more opportunity for people to professionally creep on you, just because people wanna see who you are. Right? So, that's step number one, as far as how do you Rock Your Profile? You put a good picture up there. You put a good banner photo up there. We put up a generic blue banner for you, but put up a great banner profile to show a little a snippet as far as who you are as a person. Mine right now is the skyline of Chicago. So, what's yours right now, George? I know it was something great up there. George: Well, mine is the design crew put together the Top Gun 51 Award that I was fortunate enough to win this year. So, we're promoting that out with the channel partners. But, I agree, I find that the banner is definitely a missing piece. Producer, Colleen does not like my chosen profile picture right now because she said I could have rolled the video I had to wear I had smile, but I actually was not able to find a smile in the video footage that I pulled that photo from . Morgan: Okay, I think your photo looks great. I think it looks great. George: I do have a bit of RBF- Morgan: No. George: But I won't explain that acronym even though I'm trying to outlaw acronyms. Job Description George: What about the line underneath, where I see a lot of different things there and I'm wondering what's best practices when it comes to Rocking the Profile on your descriptor? Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. So, job description. So, this is gonna go two different ways. If you are actively looking for a new job, you wanna be as straightforward as possible with the role that you're currently in. So, we're not trying to reinvent the wheel, right? If you're an Account Executive, you're not a sales specialist modernizing client sales approach. You're an Account Executive, right? The reason why I say this is so when recruiters are on the tool, they can just look for you and they can find you as easily as possible. Now, if you're happily employed and if you're truly a mover and shaker whenever it comes to your industry, you really wanna showcase what you're doing outside of maybe your typical nine to five. Shake it up a little bit. Like, are you inspiring others? Right? That's something that we love to say at LinkedIn is we love to play with our logo. Are you an innovative thinker? There we go George, that's another pun for you there with the LinkedIn logo. But really whenever it comes to your job description, if you are looking for a new job, be straightforward. If you're happy growing with where you at, add a little pizazz whenever it comes to your job description. Something that I've been loving to see recently is plugging in if you're a parent, you're not just let's say an Account Executive you're also a mother or father to three. So, love seeing that personal touch in there whenever it comes to people's job description. George: I think some people might've read some blog from four years ago that said, "Don't put anything personal on your LinkedIn profile." I don't think you're saying let's take the pictures on the Gold Coast down on the beach and put that up there. You're saying, say something that's relatable and speaks about who you are as an individual. Morgan: Absolutely. I mean, you still wanna be able to give that personal touch because as we all know people hire, people buy from people that they like, right? And if we're talking about five years ago, I mean, five years ago we had 360 million people on the platform and now we have 690 million users, right? It's totally evolving. It's still a professional platform, grow yourself and expand your network but also add that professional touch, right? Because we wanna work with people and have these kinds of conversations with people that we genuinely like. So, throw in there what you like to do on the side. I mean, I throw in there how I love to travel, I like to attempt cooking sometimes. It just really adds up personal touch more than just, who are you whenever you're working? Right? Skills & Endorsements George: So, we could talk about the About Tab but it's your resume and written in a way that explains it. But I wanted to talk about where we get into the featured tab, where you can put some content there and then as we get into the experience that's more about your resume, then we get down here to Skills and Endorsements. Can we talk about how do I get a better rank on featured and how do I get a better rank on Skills and Endorsements? Morgan: Absolutely. So, whenever it comes to featured, I mean, it's just going to be purely your activity in there, right? You've gotta be active in the platform. And then Skills and Endorsements is something that's come up more and more recently, because just imagine the confidence that you would have if someone were to come to you and say, "Hey George, do you have a referral?" Or, "Hey George, do you have someone that I can talk to?" And you can say, you know what I do but also go check out my LinkedIn profile. This is what this is becoming. It is the one place, the most trusted network, right? For three years in a row people can go to your LinkedIn profile, know that it's gonna be the real deal but to your point, right? How do you ask for it? How do you approach that? I mean, this is something that I recommend simply reaching out, In Mailing the person, being straightforward about what you're asking for, but also being cautious and recognizing who you're asking this from, right? Is it someone that you worked on a project with at work? Is it a manager that really, really recommended you in the past? Is it a current friend? Right? You've gotta just ask. And this is something too that I always tell people, if you're gonna ask for a recommendation you've gotta be willing to give one back. So, just be as prepared. George: So, I'm underwater there because I have 12 and I've only given out five, so, I've got to up my game, get karma help me. Morgan: Now to be fair. Yeah, you gotta make it fair there George. Sales Navigator George: So, as we Rock the Profile, I think people are starting to get it and I know that it's a question that I get asked a lot. Once you build the foundation, it then is you're just building on that foundation. So, getting the foundation is really the key component, and understanding what's going to help get you that engagement. Now, let's go over to Sales Navigator. Morgan: Yeah. George: And I would like before we go there quickly though I'd like to talk about the premium part of the platform. So, what happens when I buy premium? And why would I want to consider that as a professional? Morgan: Absolutely. So number one, let's go back to it, professional creeping. I can see any time that George looks at my profile through having the premium account, I just call it super low hanging fruit. I can tell you whenever I was a job seeker and I had premium, I mean, I still have it. The ability to see who is looking at my profile is game changing. I mean, low hanging fruit, George, if I see that you're looking at my profile I'm sending you an In Mail one minute later, right? "Hey George." Super casual, not bringing up the fact that you just viewed my profile or maybe you've looked at it 10 times that day, which I'll get notifications about. But I mean, that's a game changer to my clients, to my fellow peers that are looking for new jobs right now, right? That's the number one reason. Second is gonna be, how do you expand the degree of profiles that you can look at? So premium, I'll tell you I can speak of myself. Whenever I was a job seeker totally changed the game. George: So Sales Navigator, I have been working on that platform for a couple of years now. I probably don't spend as much time as I should but what I've noticed here recently in doing recruitment where I ran some queries to try and as we were doing the next 100 and we're trying to add these sales professionals, it's been quite powerful. But also I've been using it for prospecting and for contact building. What are some of your favorite parts of Sales Navigator and what type of individuals should think about Sales Navigator as part of their tech-stack? Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. By far my favorite piece of Sales Navigator is going to be the home screen. Every single morning I grab myself my cup of coffee and I pull up Sales Navigator. So, just to give you a snapshot kind of an overview description here of what the home screen looks like. I have the ability to save leads but also save accounts where every morning that I log on my home screen is going to show me alerts that are coming up within that account. So, let's say a decision-maker changed companies or they changed jobs, it will give me that alert. George, it gives me alerts whenever you're mentioned in the news. So, I can just easily reach out to you, congratulate you, send you an email, right? And then who needs it in their tech-stack? I mean, if you are looking to prospect, if you're looking for lead gen, if you're looking for churn mitigation of current accounts, if you are doing any kind of sales or prospecting in general to grow your business, you need Sales Navigator. There is nothing else out there right now because to be quite honest with you, no one has the professional database that LinkedIn does right now. And I'm not just saying because I work there. George: Well, I liked that you brought up churn mitigation because it's something that I'd been thinking about and it just happened here recently. New job posting and that was your champion at one of your largest customers. And you're like, "Whoa wait Morgan's not at LinkedIn anymore?" Morgan: Absolutely. George: And you're gonna know about that because what's the thing we brag about the most, we get a promotion or a new job. The other thing is, what if one of the net detractors in one of your relationships was just promoted to the decision-making position, you've got some work to do there. So, by knowing where people could be going inside an organization and the hierarchy, and then knowing when they leave that organization. Now let's throw this out and let's not talk about churn for a moment, let's talk about a referral. Morgan: Yup. George: If you see that someone you worked with four years ago who loved you and was a raving fan got promoted, moved to another organization, got a new position, that's the perfect time to touch that person with. And I love the fact that you said InMail, and I actually expected it because you are at LinkedIn but I find that some people are like, "No I sent them an email." I'm like, "Okay great, did you send them an InMail?" Morgan: Yup. George: And there's some interesting stats on open rates for InMail inside the LinkedIn platform as compared to email. Morgan: Yeah, open rates. I mean, and I'm absolutely gonna go back to the churn mitigation and the buyer circle piece. I mean, on average there's between six to eight people on the buyer circle right now and if you're connected with one of them who's gonna sign the contract and they leave, I mean, I don't know what you're doing next with that deal. Right? If you don't have a plan B to go to your deal might be short. But InMail, I mean, this has been a game-changer. People I can speak for myself George and I'm sure you're the same, the amount of emails that we're getting right now work from home. You might be stuck in front of your computer, but on average there's a 2 to 3% InMail or email read rate right now, right? It's just dropping because of the amount of spam that's coming through online shopping, I'm sure is at an all-time rise. So, they're target in me right? Now, InMail response rate though, right now we're at about an 18% average response rate. Where the next question that I get is, why? I mean, InMail it's one way more direct, two, way more to the point and three, it's coming from a credible source. It's not coming from firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see exactly who's sending you this message. So, that's been just transformative for my clients because these C-level, these decision-makers, are they always checking the junk folder of their email? Probably not. So, what's your next go to? It's InMail. Pre-filled Forms George: And it's just a whole new way to communicate. Now, another item, it wasn't on our list but I know you can handle it. I wanna ask about this- Morgan: Bring it on. George: Capturing leads inside the LinkedIn workflow through promoted or downloading a piece of content or something like that, I see it more and more happening. They're getting me to- Morgan: Yup. George: Cause at first I was just, "Oh I wanna try sort of, sign up for this thing that I'll never even care about again." But now I'm actually get, I'm like, "Ooh, I care about that, let me sign up for that thing." And what I love about it is I click the button to accept the download whatever it might be and I don't have to fill anything else out, I'm completely captured. But when you put that on the flip side, for those of us that are maybe looking to build a more robust demand gen funnel, or we're looking to capture leads. That everything you have to fill out in a form capture reduces the likelihood that you're going to move forward, whereas LinkedIn just takes the information on your profile and populates it. Morgan: Yeah 100%. George: So, what are the stats behind this? It's pretty amazing. Morgan: It is absolutely incredible. So, whenever you kick someone to, let's say a new site or you kick them to a new form and they have to fill out their own information, there's a 60% drop-off rate, right? I mean, you don't wanna fill out your name and your email more times in a day than you already have to. So, that's the number one reason why we make it so accessible. I mean, as far as overall success rates and what that looks like for companies, that's gonna vary as far as like, what's being targeted or what's the goal of the company right through this form? But that's simply why we make it so easy because we want as many people to be captured as possible. So, not only do we make it easy for the potential lead gen and the form and the client, but we also make it easy for the member, right? You're genuinely interested, we don't want you to have to fill out your email five times in a day. And so, as the client, so you don't have that drop-off rate, we fill it in for you and send it your way. George: Are there any things Morgan in the platform that you would recommend to a brand new LinkedIn member? So, maybe I have had a profile for a while but I was not Rocking it, so, I listened to the Conquer Local Podcast, I'm now a Rocker. What other things... Where should I click next to get some cool goodness? Morgan: Absolutely. The number one thing that I would say even for myself, was underutilized for a while are our free webinars that we offer, and LinkedIn learning courses that are periodically unlocked. I mean, I can speak for myself, I went through an Excel course a couple of years back and it was life-changing. Especially now, again work from home, I feel like we just keep saying it I'm a broken record, but what can you do in the comfort of your home in order to grow yourself? Right? But absolutely LinkedIn learning, free webinars, how can you get that feeling as far as being in the office and growing yourself but still sitting at home in your home office. So, put those up they're hidden gems. George: And I gotta ask about groups. Because I get asked to be in all these bloody groups, do I really wanna click that button? Morgan: Yeah. If you're interested, click it. You've just gotta know that you might be getting alerts about those groups as well. Right? Groups is the other piece though that's really gonna add a great personal touch to your profile. Because if your interests are shown, if your groups are shown, I mean George, do you know that's how I learned that you were a part of podcasts? I look at your interests, I look at what groups you're in. Right? You can learn a lot about people by the groups that they're in. Just again, be prepared to get alerts and notifications about groups that you're a part of. Conclusion George: Well, we've been spending a few moments here with Morgan Hammer, Relationship Manager Mid-market for LinkedIn, teaching us how to Rock our Profile. Teaching us how to utilize Sales Navigator for success. Teaching us about LinkedIn learning and groups. Morgan, thanks for joining us on this edition of Conquer Local and thanks for helping us Rock our Profiles. Morgan: Absolutely George, thanks for having me. George: Well, Morgan's great at telling stories and articulating value, and I've enjoyed working with her over the last month or so. You now have your five steps on how to Rock Your Profile and making sure that you have that professional picture, you're taking advantage of the banner real estate. Have your job title there and a very clear description of what you do? In your About, you're talking about what you believe in and what your organization or what you are all about. And then, you can get in the experience which basically boom, resume. And then we can find out a little bit more about Activities and Skills and Endorsements. And Activity, as you heard from Morgan is what you're doing on the platform. It's the posts, it's the publications that you're putting online. And then those Skills are the courses that you've taken and the skills that you possess and those Endorsements come from your audience making them very... They have a lot of authority. And when others look to that they trust that user-generated content. Then we got into the Sales Navigator and I completely agree with Morgan's assessment by using that as your hub and having either your account list in there, or having your list of prospects there, or maybe your list of recruits, you're able to see when they make changes to their profile on the LinkedIn platform. And then you can reach out using LinkedIn and you may still wanna use email as well or texting or however else you can speak to those folks. But keep in mind that LinkedIn InMail has a much higher open rate than traditional email platforms. So, utilizing all of those tools. there's a lot more that we could dig into and as the months go by, we'll continue to bring on more and more LinkedIn experts to teach us about how to utilize this platform. You remember back about a month ago, we had Nina Blankenship come in and talk to us about how you could build viral video loops on LinkedIn, and now Morgan Hammers teaching us today about how we could Rock our Profile and utilize Sales Navigator. And we'll dig into some of the marketing efforts that you can use on LinkedIn in the weeks to come. George: If you'd like to speak to Morgan Hammer from LinkedIn or any of our guests like Nina Blankenship, you can do so in the Conquer Local Community. It's a chance for you to continue the conversation, or maybe I didn't do a good job of asking a question that you wanted me to ask of Morgan. You can go right into the threads inside the Community and say, "Hey George, missed this important question. Morgan, I'd like to know this." And she'll be watching and she will respond. It's just one more of the great things that producer Colleen and the Conquer Local team have brought to you our listeners in the last 12 months through the Conquer Local Academy, the Community, and the Podcast. So, make sure that you're logging in to the Conquer Local Community and the Academy, and of course keep listening to the Podcast. My name is George Leith, thanks for joining us. I'll see you when I see you.
This week our host, George Leith, goes over 39 ideas for you to pick and choose from the next time you’re struggling with what to post on social media. Now, this list isn't to be implemented all in one day. However, it's important to understand that this is social media, and content can come from absolutely anywhere. Don't get stuck thinking you must post your offering and only your offering. Social media is a place to connect with your audience. Be authentic, be honest, and most importantly- be confident. Show the world who you are and what you're up to and watch opportunity unravel. The 39 ideas for when you don't know what to post on social media: Remind people of who you are, write a post about how you started Behind the scenes Personal story or struggle Share a quote from someone who inspires you Share your morning routine Share what inspired you to create your product, service, or brand Ask a question Post a poll on a subject Share a review of your favorite book Ask for recommendations (apps, tv shows, local restaurants) anything related to your industry Host a giveaway Post a how-to tutorial Build infographics Weekly recurring post (tip Tuesday, fantastic Friday) Share learnings from loss or failure Celebrate a win Post a testimonial Share the secret sauce of your offering Throwback Thursday Motivational Monday Thank your followers Post something seasonal or highlight a holiday Talk about top pain points and how your solution solves it Share a client success story Share a tweet Let a team member or fellow influencer take over your social for a week Show someone else using your product or service Do a shoutout or mention other brands Shoutout or mention of your clients Host an interview with a guest Give people a compelling reason to join your email list Give your audience a gift Post about events you are hosting or attending Post upcoming speaking events or presentations Share contact information for each channel you are on Ask your audience how they found you Share your other social profiles Answer FAQ Post new blogs, case studies, and other written content from your website Tag @ConquerLocal if you end up using any of these ideas, we would love to join in on your conversation and see what you created! Join the conversation in the Conquer Local Community and keep the learning going in the Conquer Local Academy. Introduction George Hi there, I'm George Leith. It's the Conquer Local podcast master sales training. And we're gonna try something a little bit different. If you've been listening to the podcast over the last four seasons, you'll know that I love my lists. The eight things that you need to do to be successful today. The 21 things that will help you master blackjack. No, we've never done that, but I do love my lists. And in the history of this show, we have never had 39 ideas, but today we do. 39 ideas when you don't know what to post on social media. This has actually happened to me. I know I need to be on social media, but what the heck do I put there? We get this question a lot. So today we're going to dig into not 1, not 2, but 39 ideas when you don't know what to post on social media. It's all coming up next on this edition of the Conquer Local podcast. We are going to rapid-fire these 39, but in between, I'm gonna tell you some stories. That's kind of the plan because 39 is, I've never had to tackle a list like this before, but we want to give you a lot of components because the question we all have, we know we need to be on social media. Not really sure where we need to be, or maybe we've determined where we need to be. Then what do I do? Get Personal So an overarching theme is get personal. People don't often buy into a brand or a product until they can connect with the story behind the brand. So social media is an amplification of something that we've always known, and that is that stories sell. So if we're selling the brand or we're selling the product or we're selling the solution, we need to get personal. 1. Remind people of who you are, write a post about how you started Number one is to remind people of who you are and write a post on how you got started. It's almost like that quick little bio of how we got here. Selfies almost always perform the best. So get past being camera shy and let's start showing the world who you are. 2. Behind the scenes We want you to think about going behind the scenes, that's number two. Do a video of your operation. Ah, but I don't have a video team. Well, the good news is most of us have a video camera right in our pocket, on our phone. And those organic videos of you showing the operation and the cat runs by, that's what people want to see. They want to see that view of what's happening behind the scenes, and the more authentic you can make it, the better. It's great content. If you're in an industry where you're on-site in different locations, like real estate, home services, record a video tour and post it on your channels. 3. Personal story or struggle Number three, share a personal story or a struggle you're going through. The chances are you're not alone and your followers will be able to relate. One of the things that I'm struggling with right now is Don Cherry is not in the hockey hall of fame. I don't think that's fair. So I posted online the other day about a news story where they're saying, yeah, Don did some things he shouldn't, but he should be in the hockey hall of fame. My top performing post for the last four months is that post. And I produce some great content. So sharing a personal story of something you're struggling with, like Don Cherry not being in the hockey hall of fame, might just be one of the best performing posts that gets eyeballs to all of your content. 4. Share a quote from someone who inspires you Number 4 on our list of 39, share a quote or multiple quotes from someone who inspires you. Let your audience see where you find motivation. What are the things that are touching you and speaking to you? 5. Share your morning routine Number five, share your morning routine. When I first read this, I was like, nobody wants to know what the heck I do every morning, but then I put it together into a post and it performed quite well. Might be the ridiculous time that I get up in the morning, might be I get more work done by eight o'clock than most people do in an entire day. But a lot of people found value in that. And I've even had some people that say, I want to adopt some of that morning ridiculous routine. 6. Share what inspired you to create your product, service, or brand Share what inspired you to create your product or service or brand. This is people understanding the why. Why are you doing what you do? What is your inspiration? Keep in mind that engagement is everything. There are a few easy wins when it comes to content that everyone wants to interact with. And you want to try these ideas to get the action going in the comments or the likes or the sharing of a post. And for goodness sakes, if someone shares your post, go in and thank them for sharing it. Follow that trail that's been created. 7. Ask a question Let's look at number seven. One of the things that we've found to be very effective is asking a question online. You have your audience that you've built. You put a post out there and you ask them for their opinion, because people love to weigh in with their unique view on different topics. 8. Post a poll on a subject Number eight, host a poll on a subject. It's kind of like asking a question, but you get to dictate where the answers might go to get the thought happening. Instagram stories, Facebook and LinkedIn all have great options for these polls. And nothing will give you a better read on where your audience is when you ask a question or you run a quick poll. 9. Share a review of your favorite book Number nine, share a review of your favorite book. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for a good book. Recommendations from my peers or people that I aspire to follow and learn from are always a great way for me to discover that next new book that I want to be reading. 10. Ask for recommendations (apps, tv shows, local restaurants) anything related to your industry Number 10, ask for recommendations on books, TV shows, apps, music, local restaurants, or anything else related to your industry. 11. Host a giveaway Number 11, host a giveaway. Nothing will get followers commenting and tagging their own friends faster than a great giveaway. Giveaways are a way to reward your followers by giving a boost to your own engagement and your followings at the same time. It could be something as simple as a white paper, a case study, a book, if you happen to have one, you want to give away the audiobook or the online book that you've written. Many like Instagram and Facebook have specific disclosure statements you may need to include when posting any kind of giveaway. But as soon as you figure out what the rules and regulations are, you then can utilize this idea of a giveaway to engage your audience. Be a Thought Leader Our next components, I want you to think about this theme, be a thought leader. You have years, sometimes decades of experience in your field. Or if you're like me, you sometimes have multiple decades of experience. You want to emerge as a thought leader from those scars and the things that you've learned. 12. Post a how-to tutorial So number 12, post a how-to tutorial. We've done a lot of these over the years. They're some of the most engaging pieces of content that we've ever put forward. Video does really well in terms of traction and performance. So nothing better than a Loom video out of your demo. And you could show something that you've solved or a how-to tidbit that might be relevant to your audience. 13. Build infographics Number 13, I'm a big fan right now of building infographics. Infographics are those things that trap you on Pinterest, where you're like, the 39 things that George Leith wants me to consider when I'm posting on social. Infographic coming soon. It's one of the tactics that we are diving into this year. We found that infographics are making for great snapshots on a particular topic, and it becomes the gift that keeps on giving. They're highly sharable. And if you do 39 things like we're doing today, that could become 39 individual social posts that roll up to a larger infographic. So build an infographic is one of our key items, number 13 on our list. 14. Weekly recurring post (tip Tuesday, fantastic Friday) Share a quick tip. Try a weekly tip Tuesday or fantastic Friday. It can work for any industry. There are little tidbits that go a long way to branding your organization or you as an individual. 15. Share learnings from loss or failure Number 15, share the learnings from a loss or failure. Nothing says being a leader more like being authentic and showing where you might've lost and what you learned and where you grew out of that loss. And social is a place where that authenticity is expected. Social is all about oversharing and telling this big story. So you can go into that environment and talk about where you might've failed. It's a safe place to do it. 16. Celebrate a win Number 16, on the flip side, don't be afraid to celebrate a win. And I go back to an event that I was, I go back to an event I was at a number of years ago back when we could travel. And I was teaching business owners about how to market their business. And someone said, well, if I share that on social media, it's gonna be like I'm bragging. And I had to educate them that that's marketing. You are winning. You're good at this. And you're putting it out there so that a larger audience can see that this is where your sweet spot is. There's nothing like a good humblebrag to get your followers in the corner, to back up your hard work. What might even happen when you post that is people who've experienced your proficiency will come in and say, yes, Coleen's amazing at that. 17. Post a testimonial Number 17, post a testimonial. So this isn't you bragging. This is your audience in their words talking about how you solved a problem. It builds an enormous amount of credibility. 18. Share the secret sauce of your offering Number 18, share the secret sauce of your offering. I want you to think about this because I've talked to a lot of folks and they are reluctant to declare something as a secret sauce. They don't think it's big enough, but a true secret sauce is actually quite simple. And it's something that you could deploy over and over and over again that is yours. So look deep, figure out what your secret sauce is, and then promote it as such. That's number 18. Classic Content Considerations Classic content considerations. It just wouldn't be a list of some oldies, but goodies. These are ones you've likely seen, but you don't really understand that it's gonna help you. You might be doubting their ability to boost your online presence. 19. Throwback Thursday So here's number 19. Remember the first time there was a throwback Thursday? It's still a thing. Try reposting old blogs, graphics, quotes, professional milestones, or maybe share a personal or work tip that you figured out. That is a throwback Thursday. Something from back in the past. It also shows how long you've been doing it. If you've been at this for five or six years, and you can pull something out of the archives, it's great. It shows that you've been around for a while and that you are a trusted expert. 20. Motivational Monday Number 20, we all remember motivational Monday. It's still a thing. If you look at that hashtag and you research it, you'll find that all sorts of people are promoting around number 19 and number 20, throwback Thursday, hashtag motivational Monday, so utilize those. 21. Thank your followers Number 21. It's an oldie, but a goodie. Thank your followers. Just thank them. We just got to 500, come up with an animation, put it on there, have a celebration. 22. Post something seasonal or highlight a holiday Number 22, post something seasonal or highlight a holiday. I thank my American customers on American Thanksgiving every single year. It's just something that I do. And it's from the heart. I would probably send them a card if we still did things like that. But I do it online. 23. Talk about top pain points and how your solution solves it Number 23, talk about top pain points and how your solution solves it. Addressing the pain and how you are best at the world at solving it and it is a play you've already ran. Keep talking about that. That's number 23. 24. Share a client success story Number 24, share a success story whenever they happen. And I find people are reluctant. You're at the client. You've solved their problem. You got a chance to shoot a video right there, onsite. Do it, post it right from their doorstep. Share that success story organically, number 24. 25. Share a tweet Number 25, good old Twitter. Share a tweet that you like. And it's hard. I'm on Twitter maybe once or two or three times a day. I got a bunch of followers and I just forget to retweet, share a success story, but there's an audience there that is consuming information from my brand. So you want to share a tweet that you liked, number 25. Lean on Others Next up, we want to lean on others. Leveraging the audience, influencers, a network to get your content around like-minded individuals. So we want you to try these ideas for posting while leaning on others. 26. Let a team member or fellow influencer take over your social for a week Number 26, let a team member or fellow influencer take over your social media for a week. That's scary. No, if you get the right person there that can bring a fresh perspective, 26 can be very effective. 27. Show someone else using your product or service Number 27, show someone else using your product or service. So you've done all the demos yourself. Now let's get a customer using it. Let's put it in the hands of our audience where they can see a real live customer using your solution. 28. Do a shoutout or mention other brands Number 28, do a shout-out or mention other brands. Congratulations to so-and-so, and it might be an adjacent brand in your industry where you want to tie yourself to that audience. It might be a customer of yours that has been successful. Those shout-outs can help you expand your audience. Think about tagging another brand or account within the post. It's a great way to encourage and reshape your audience. 29. Shoutout or mention of your clients Number 29, a shout-out or mention of your clients. This is where you tap into your friends and family of your clients, and then tag the customer in your posts. And we see a lot of this recently. In fact, on LinkedIn, it'll actually notify me if posts aren't getting good engagement. It suggests that I tag individuals to get a broader audience. 30. Host an interview with a guest Number 30, host an interview with a guest. There's an easy way to accomplish this. You set up a video call on Zoom or Google Meet, hit record and conduct the interview, and then post that online. And what you're going to find is that video far outranks everything else that you post online. So hosting an interview with a guest is a great way to get that holy grail of engagement, which today is video. I want to talk about in our last nine tips, the social mechanisms for growth. Here's a few more mechanisms you can use to grow your social audience. 31. Give people a compelling reason to join your email list Number 31, give people a compelling reason to join your email list. But remember, what's in it for them? How do they benefit? Not just join our list here. Give me a reason. 32. Give your audience a gift Number 32, give your audience a gift. If you've got something, a freebie, a freemium, a discount code, make an offer to your audience. 33. Post about events you are hosting or attending Number 33, post about events you're hosting or attending. Now, I like this. I am attending this event. We used to use this back in the day when we went to actual live conferences. The reason we did it was people were searching that conference, they were searching that hashtag, and you wanted them to know you were at the event. The same thing is true of webinars, virtual events. You want to post that you are there attending, or you want to post that you are hosting one of those events. That's number 33. 34. Post upcoming speaking events or presentations Number 34, post your upcoming speaking events or presentations. I've done this for years. It's a great way to show yourself as a thought leader and a bit of a humble brag around the audience or the ecosystem that you're building. 35. Share contact information for each channel you are on Number 35, share your contact information with every channel people can connect with you on. So what do I mean by that? You have a LinkedIn profile. You have Facebook. You have a podcast over on iHeart. You have all of these different channels. When was the last time that you just shared your contact information with the way that people can connect with you? We're in 2021 folks. We don't just have a phone number anymore. We have all sorts of other places where people can connect with us. And we have to make sure that we're sharing all of those contact information channels. 36. Ask your audience how they found you Number 36, ask your audience how they found you. I find this is a real tough one. How did you come to connect with me? I have a lot of people reaching out to me on LinkedIn. It's one of the questions that I ask most times is, how did you find me? Well, on your website or over here on this, or I was a part of this mastermind group. Those answers that you get on how the audience found you will show you where you need to double down. And it might even surprise you as to where your connections are actually coming from. 37. Share your other social profiles Number 37, share your other social profiles to connect on. So it's very similar to the contact information component, but it's just sharing those social profiles in a regular cadence. One thing we've started doing for the podcast is Subscribe Sunday. So we found that there was a hashtag there. And then we promote the various channels that the podcast is found on. And lo and behold, our metrics go up on those channels when we started that initiative. 38. Answer FAQ Number 38, answer frequently asked questions. It's such a simple thing, and it can have such amazing results for your brand. So if you know there is a common question that is asked of your organization, put it together into a post because if 1, 10, 1,000 people have asked that question, pretty good chance that anybody that's coming to your channel will have that question. And by consuming your thoughtful answer to that FAQ, it positions you again as a thought leader and works on that trust matrix. It removes the fear of the prospect on what might be the next step. 39. Post new blogs, case studies, and other written content from your website And finally, drum roll, please. Number 39, post new blogs, case studies, and other written content from your website. This is that full-circle analogy that we talk a lot about. So you're producing a blog. You're producing case studies. You wrote a white paper and you post it once on one social media channel. You are not making the hay out of what my colleague Dan McClain likes to call a big rock. You went through the point of building this amazing big rock, hammer it, keep promoting it over and over and over again. There's an old saying in the media business. When you are sick and tired of telling the story, tell it again and again and again. Your audience is just starting to understand it. Conclusion So we hope that this exhaustive list of 1 through 39 will help you in the coming months as you try to figure out exactly what you should be posting on social. We'll be back with our wrap-up in just a moment. I'm not going to give you the entire list of 1 through 39. We're gonna do that inside the notes, but the next time you're struggling with what to post, call up this list and decide on how you can make the 39 your own, whether you're aiming to post once a week, three times a day, once a month, don't forget about these foundational elements. Present a good variety of different content. Be authentic, share your story over and over and over again. Get some frequency to your message. And make sure that you're connecting with others so that you can grow that web, grow your audience through the connections that you're making. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter at Conquer Local. Thanks for joining me on this master sales series edition of the Conquer Local podcast. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
This week we welcome Robert Davis, Vendasta Partner and CEO of KOR Unlimited. KOR stands for Knowledge, Opportunity, and Results. Robert has 25 years of sales and marketing experience within the financial services industry. As a financial advisor, he provided sophisticated financial solutions to 250+ high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as small-to-mid-sized businesses. The opportunity presented itself to start his own agency, and he approached it with the same results-oriented, incredibly methodical, and passionate approach he carried throughout his financial career. In this episode, Robert takes us through his approach to starting and running an agency. This includes; the 3 P’s to keeping your sanity, why positioning matters and how to position your agency, how to structure your day with categorized tasks and time allotment, prospecting with efficient funneling, and real-time, in the wild Google My Business audits (a must-listen tactic). Conquer Local is presented by Vendasta. We have proudly served 5+ million local businesses through 50,000+ channel partners. Learn more about Vendasta and we can help you build your dream agency or learn more about Vendasta’s Affiliate Program and how our listeners (like yourself) are making up to $10,000 off referrals. Join the conversation in the Conquer Local Community and keep the learning going in the Conquer Local Academy. Introduction George: This is the Conquer Local podcast, a show about billion-dollar sales leaders, marketers leading local economic growth and entrepreneurs that have created their dream organizations. They wanna share their secrets giving you the distilled version of their extra ordinary feats. Our hope is with the tangible takeaways from each episode, you can rewire, rework and re-imagine your businesses. I'm your host and creator of the show, George Leith, and we're very proud to feature Robert Davis, a long time Vendasta partner, all the way from New Jersey. Robert is the CEO of KOR Unlimited. KOR stands for knowledge, opportunity and results. And with 25 years of sales and marketing experience in financial services, Robert brings that rigor to his day-to-day agency operations. Robert provided sophisticated financial solutions to 250 plus high net worth individuals and families, also small and medium businesses in his career. Get ready conquers for one of my favorite Vendasta partners, Robert Davis is coming up next on this week's episode of the Conquer Local podcast. My good friend Robert Davis, joining us on the show today, CEO at KOR Unlimited. Robert, great to have you on the podcast and I can see you because we're recording this and I can see you video-wise but the last time you and I broke bread was at the del Coronado at Conquer Local, the conference, the last time we were all able to get together. So it's great seeing you and great having you on the show. Robert: Absolutely George. Amazing, and yeah, it was quite a while ago. I really hope that we can get back to that meeting in-person but to actually see you now, it's really a breath of fresh air. Good times. What's Behind A Name? Why Is Branding So Important? George: Well, it's great having you on the show. And KOR Unlimited can we, KOR is an acronym and I'm killing acronyms this year, me and Elon Musk. What does it stand for? Robert: Great question. And I got to say off the bat typically what we've been experiencing a lot is people they think of KOR they say cora. I don't really make it a habit of purposely misspelling words to be clever, but there is meaning behind KOR and KOR, K-O-R is knowledge, opportunity, results. It is the three tenets of which we live by. So three tenets which we engage with our customers and our clients. And real simple, we are really big believers that if we can help our clients, not only understand what they have in terms of digital marketing, but why they have it and how it kind of helps flatten their learning curve. And when you do that, you strengthen and deepen the relationship they have with us. And then the opportunity itself comes into focus, once we have a good grasp of the knowledge part. George: I remember when you and I first met, we had a long discussion around your philosophy. And I recognized right away that you very much care about your customer. You very much care that you're delivering what your promises are. And it's interesting this idea of knowledge first, then uncovering the opportunity and then making sure that there's results being your philosophy for the way that you're running the business. How did you arrive at this like is this your first kick at the cat or how did you get here? Robert: I'm a big believer that how you name your business and your name in general it truly does matter. And without saying too much, it matters because it will be remembered. And we wanted something that we knew that when people start to get a hold of it and it really started getting traction, they were gonna remember it. So for us KOR made a lot of sense because it not only spoke to who we are, but also what we do in terms of our process. Getting our clients to understand again, what they have, why they have it, having those opportunities come into focus, opportunities for where we can direct marketing dollars or reposition a marketing strategy to be something more efficient. And then as long as you're the type of individual, and we ask this question of all of our potential customers, as long as you're the type of person that actually takes action. And we understand that people like to take some time to review and think about it but as long as you're type of individual that takes action, we really believe in that we can deliver favorable results. So we say knowledge meets opportunity meets results. KOR Unlimited. George: So are you working in any specific niches or what's your ideal customer profile for your organization? Robert: Oh, we don't have a specific niche because I look at it from this standpoint. If I go back to my previous career in financial services, I was a big believer that everyone needs some form of financial services. It's just my job as the advisor to help you identify what those needs are and help move them up a little bit higher on the list of priorities. When it comes to digital marketing especially local, every business needs some form of marketing, whether it's listings management, reputation, social media engagement and so on. So for us, we don't really specifically deal with any one particular vertical. What we do is though, we make sure that each relationship is given the attention upfront so that we can better understand where they are currently, help come up with a plan to devise where they wanna go and help them find the solutions and pick the steps to get there. Prospecting: Networking And Real-Time Google My Business Auditing George: One of the reasons Robert that I like asking the niche question is it leads me into how do you prospect then? What is the tactic that you use to prospect to find those new customers for your organization? Robert: Excellent, so we actually have four prongs or four tracks in which we prospect. The first one and the most robust one is we network, network, network. And what I mean by that is we are affiliated with professional organizations like BNI, local Chambers of Commerce. We've affiliated ourselves with our local department of business and economic development. We do speaking engagements with professional associations like CPAs, attorneys. As a matter of fact, we do a lot of speaking engagements with auto dealership groups, very very robust groups. And we also do public speaking at local community colleges, within specifically their vocational departments. So if they have an automotive department let's say, we'll come and we'll speak to the students there 'cause we know that once they're done and they get their certification, and they're now launching their businesses, they're gonna think of us first because they remember us being there to talk to them about marketing. And secondly, we do what we like to call real-time Google My Business scans and review audits. Some people might call it canvassing, but whenever I'm out whether I'm having dinner at a restaurant or I'm at a local business, I'm always on my phone pulling up their local Google My Business listing. 'Cause what I'm looking for first and foremost, is whether or not it's claimed. 'Cause that's very important. If it's not claimed that's an opportunity to have a conversation. And then secondly, I'm looking at the reviews. Not so much for the review score, but I'm looking at are they engaged in their review thread? Meaning if they're responding to their client reviews or customer reviews. If they're not, then that's easy for me to step up to the manager or even the owner and ask for permission to take a deeper dive into their business. George: Robert I've got to dig into this. What you're telling me is you're sitting in a business or you're driving by a business or you're thinking about going to talk to a business. And just by looking at Google My Business or Google business profile as they've renamed it this week, you're able to figure out whether there's an opportunity with that prospect from that one tactic? Robert: Absolutely. All I'm looking for is a means to start a conversation. I'm not providing any solutions at that time, but I'm doing something in a way that kind of makes them feel, oh my goodness, you know what? We're overlooking this. And what happens is when I'm looking at their Google My Business listing, and if I'm looking at their reviews and I'm seeing that, wow, they have five stars or four stars, what I typically will say is you know what? I gotta tell ya, I'm so amazed at your establishment here. We were looking for a place to eat this evening. We came across your location. We saw that you had five star reviews and we were really blown away. Here's what I do. And I explain them a little bit about KOR Unlimited, but more specifically, I say, "I'm noticing that with all of your reviews, no one's responding." No one's saying thank you for that input. No one's saying thank you for that feedback. Or even if the review is unfavorable, no one's engaging with them to say, hey, we appreciate the feedback, we're always constantly striving to do better. Thank you for that. And when you position it that way, the manager, the business owner is always like, you know what? You're right, we need to be on that. And that's when I ask for permission again to take a deeper dive and what I mean by deeper dive, I'm talking the snapshot report. How To Position Your Agency George: So when you're talking to that restaurant owner or other customer that you're prospecting, how would you define yourself as an agency and as an owner of an agency? What's the reason to believe Robert that you use to build that trust? Robert: It's interesting you asked that question George because I often find that the agency owner, especially the newer agency owner deals with that conundrum almost daily. And that is how do they position themselves? Are you a marketing agency and from my experience, when I think about a marketing agency, I think about a firm that does absolutely everything soup to nuts. That's industry specific market research. They analyze consumer behavior. They're able to take a product from its inception phase all the way to go to market. And they have access to all sorts of media platforms, television, radio, print, exhibitions and so on. And that's just not us. We don't have that kind of scope, not yet at least. So then we have to ask ourselves if we're not a marketing agency, then are we a purveyor of software? Do we resell software solutions that are designed to help local businesses grow their brand increase revenue? I like to say yes we are. But those are really more so the solutions. We have to first find the problem and diagnose the problem. And how do we do that? By positioning ourselves as consultants first. Consultants provide information. Consultants are the guides. Consultants help make sense of what is otherwise a sea of noise when it comes to options that a business owner has to choose from when it comes to marketing vendors. So we are a consulting firm and what we do is we provide information, i.e, knowledge. And that knowledge we guarantee is gonna help you define what the opportunities are for growth within your business. Does that sound like something you'd be interested in Mr. Business owner? Absolutely. Well, let me your email address and your telephone number by the way and I can give you a call. Structuring Your Day: Tracking Activities And Determining Value From Intangibles George: It's an interesting approach and I love how it's more of a hybrid approach between the three, because you definitely are speaking to them about their sales and marketing. You definitely are providing them with software, but you're doing it in a lens that is around the entire outcome of the business, not just one tactic. I remember when we met one of the things that you and I bonded over is how do you structure a day? And we're digging into that with you today. I got really excited to get you on the show because I know you and I share some common ground on having structure around a day. So how does Robert Davis structure his day? Robert: Oh, wow. So for those listening I know that some would say, well, that's a lot. Well, some would say I'm a little bit of an OCD personality and that's okay. But I'm really about doing things with purpose, being deliberate in my actions and be able to really track my activities. So one of the first things that I do and this is to everyone out there, I work with four separate color coded calendar storage. I've got a calendar specifically titled KOR Unlimited. I've got a calendar for recurring. I've got a calendar for tasks and workflows. And finally, I've a calendar for personal. And the reason why I do this is that it enables me to check off or check or uncheck one of those calendars so I can see very quickly what my week looks like. But more importantly, I first think about when am I available, when do I wanna be available to my customers and clients? So I have to ask myself, KOR Unlimited right now is open from nine to five, Monday through Thursday. And we're open from nine to three on Fridays. And what I've actually done is I've broken that down into 38 actual hours in which if someone were to call our telephone number, you're gonna get an answer on the phone. Now, I'm sure, again, a lot would say that's a lot but wait, it gets even better. Because of those 38 hours George, only 29 are available for anything having to do with running my business. And the reason why that is because I have to eat, I like to workout and every morning I have what I like to call a standing appointment with myself to discuss what we call "what's on tap for the day." So from 38 down to 29 is what I actually have left for what I like to call activities that drive business. And of those 29 hours, two hours a day I set aside specifically for admin tasks and operational tasks and the remaining four hours a day, exclusively those towards revenue generating activities. And what I mean by that is every day I try to have at least two to three, one hour phone calls with a new prospect or existing client. George: So what I love about this is the level of detail that you bring to your entire day. Like you have virtually every hour mapped out and you're utilizing that time to its best result. When you came up with that concept of I'm gonna spend this much time talking to customers every day, was that early in your career or was this something you learned after a period of time? Robert: This came very early in my career. 'Cause remember thinking back now I spent almost 20 years in financial services. And during that time, when you're dealing in intangibles and were dealing with sales of intangibles, you really have to figure out how did you have a productive day? We're not typically processing paperwork that comes in your inbox and then you look at your outbox end of the day. Do phone calls count, do contacts count, you actually getting off a pitch if you will, does that count? So early on I devised what I call a 25 point system. And what I had to do simply is this. If I were to accumulate 25 points every day, I knew I had a productive day. And those points can be divided up into contacting a lead, actually the contact person on the phone, asking for an order, even more poorly asking for referral was sometimes worth three points. Scheduling a new appointment was worth a point. So with a mixture of activities throughout the day, as long as I could accumulate 25 at the end of the day, again, I knew I was productive and I knew I was getting closer and closer towards my overall goals. George: I love that idea. And I love the idea of weighting it because all actions are not measured equally or lead to that outcome that you're looking for. Some of them are more important. Robert: Absolutely. And that goes back to one of the things I really live by and it's some people would say that they've heard this kind of a methodology before. I call it the three Ps to what I like to call keeping my own sanity. And that's purpose, process and pay off. Again, everything that I do as long as pertains to my business and even my life I do with some modicum of purpose. In other words, I try to be delivered to my actions. I have meaning behind my choices. And I always have to ask myself what is motivating me for this particular action. Some of us have heard the phrase, what's your why? I take a little bit beyond that 'cause it's not just my why, it's what's the why for the customer, the potential client, or for that matter anyone that I come in contact with, what's the value proposition that they get out of engaging with me. The 3 P's To Keeping Your Sanity: Purpose, Process, Pay-off George: So I wanna just unpack these three Ps because I think this is what I've been looking for. And maybe it's something that I can put to use as well because I'm liking what I'm hearing. There's a lot of structure here. I've been struggling with reaching my goals because I'm all over the place and I'm like I need to get some more structure. So we've got purpose, being purposeful, figuring out what's motivating. Simon Sinek finding our why, but then we get into the number two in the three Ps. And I believe that it's around process. So let's talk about what are you doing there in the process stage of this? Robert: Now, this is a behavioral aspect. And it's something that has to be developed over time and very simply document, document, document. The sooner that we can get into the habit or the behavior if you will of outlining our steps taken. steps taken, I don't necessarily mean as it pertains to our business. I'm talking about just in our day-to-day lives. Think about the first time you learned how to tie your shoelaces. There were steps involved in that process. And then as you got better at those steps, the process became easier. So again, the sooner we can get the habit of outlining the steps in a particular process, the better it will be when it comes time for us to create, draft, test and even finalize the workflows that we all use in our business models. Workflows such as client acquisition models, new client onboarding models, existing client advocacy models, and of course support and service. But one thing I will always stress is that with a process though, it needs to be repeatable George. 'Cause otherwise if it's not repeatable, then there's no way for you to really track and gauge if it's working. George: Robert, I gotta ask this question before you go on because I think this is really important for our audience to understand. How many times do you test it to make sure it's repeatable? Robert: Again, I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. I cross a lot of T's and dot a lot of I's. So for me, minimally, I try to run through a process at least five times to make sure that it's not a fluke. I'm not big on probabilities like if you flip a coin, how many times does it come up heads or tails? I just say five times is a good number for me. But what's really cool George, and it's really important is that the last piece of this process, it needs to be something that you can teach to the next person. 'Cause if he can't teach it, then you're not gonna be able to scale. You're gonna be really limited in your growth. So once I've tested it and then I'm able to teach it to someone and they can pick it up and they're not confused or overwhelmed by it, I know I've got a winner. George: I'm sitting here on pins and needles on what the third P is and why it's a part of this algorithm that you've written. So we got purpose, process and. Robert: So the last one, it's pay off. Initially, it was value in terms of what's the value proposition. But then when I took a step back and a 30,000 foot view, I realized I have PPV, which is basically paper view and I'm not selling fights here so I changed it to pay off, right? So pay off in simple words means what's the benefit. And like I said, it's not just for you, but for anyone that you come into contact with. How does your purpose, your process for executing on that purpose impact someone else's situation for the better? And my feeling is that when you can articulate that response clearly, then you're truly on the path to distinguishing yourself from the masses or in our case masses means competition. George: Well, basically in the last 16 minutes or so, Robert Davis, the CEO of KOR and what does KOR stand for again, Robert? Robert: Knowledge, opportunity, results. Put it like this, I use it in terms of digital marketing, but actually it can be used in any aspect of life. If there's a passion that you have, there's something that you have an affinity for, something you're striving towards, if you go after it with the pursuit of knowledge first to educate yourself, get yourself skilled in that, the opportunities are gonna present themselves. As long as you apply yourself and stay committed, they'll deliver yourself results. George: So basically you just got a recipe of how to build a successful organization with a couple of different acronyms that lead to some methodologies that Robert has been embracing for a number of years and finding success with. Robert, we truly appreciate you joining us on the show this week and sharing those learnings with us. And I have always admired the structure that you bring, the rigor that you bring to your business on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I'm envious. I wish I was a little bit more structured. So every time I talk to you I'm hopefully gonna take just a couple of pieces and be a little bit more structured. Maybe get back to me in six months I'll let you know if people are saying, "George you're a little more structured." And I'll go, "That was Robert." But thanks for joining us on the show today and taking some time out of your day-to-day of helping local businesses. And we appreciate your partnership and the learnings that you gave to us. Robert: Thank you very much, George, it was my pleasure. Conclusion George: I have to write a personal thank you letter to Robert because his stories this week are speaking exactly where I am and that is, I need to get more structure. I need to organize my day better. Like this guy is dialed in. Here's our team's top three takeaways from this episode. How do you position yourself as an agency? And what you must do is to understand the value that you're delivering to your customers. And then how to structure your day. Deliberate in your actions, purposeful in what you're trying to accomplish. In fact, let's get to his three Ps to keeping Robert sanity. And I'm gonna adopt these. The purpose, what motivates you and why. The process, documentation is everything. The sooner you get in the habit of outlining your steps, the sooner it becomes repeatable and teachable. In fact, you get more brain space because you've got everything dialed in to a proven workflow. And then the last P is pay off. What's the benefit now not just for you, but for anyone that you come into contact with? If we think about those three Ps, I agree with Robert, you definitely would be a lot more sane and probably a lot more productive. If you liked Robert's episode, be sure to listen to the next time you're waiting for coffee, walking the dog or in the car. Episode 424, learning from your misadventures with my man, Larry Long Jr. Misadventures are bound to happen throughout your life and it's how you react, grow and help others learn from those experiences, that's what matters. Episode 316, optimizing the sales day from Steve Benson. Steve provides conquers insight into how to optimize their often chaotic and hectic sales days. Or episode 336, be the trusted local expert from our master sales series. How to help your small and medium businesses get back to business by being the trusted local expert. And what does it look like to reopen and how to communicate to the local business community? That's just three of the over 200 episodes we produced in the last four seasons to help you conquer local. If you found value in this episode, please leave us a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. This feedback will help us grow and better adapt to what you want to hear in future episodes. Be sure to subscribe to the Finny Award winning Conquer Local podcast as we continue to welcome extra ordinary sales leaders, marketers and entrepreneurs. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
Are you looking to perfect your sales pitch? Tune in to this week’s Master Sales Series as we delve into “close prospects and open relationships.” Salespeople are not born, they’re made. While getting leads is hard, closing them is more complex. In this episode of the Conquer Local Podcast, George Leith highlights the ten elements of a successful sales pitch, how they all start with a dialogue, and why it is important to spend your first 90-days proving your value to your client. For review, the 10 elements of a successful sales pitch are: Research Understand the problem Know your offering inside and out Ask questions Tell a story Use contrast Focus on benefits > features Differentiate Show a success story Follow up If you've enjoyed this episode of the Master Sales Series, stay up-to-date with weekly episodes by subscribing to the Conquer Local Podcast, and leave us a review. Conquer Local is presented by Vendasta. We have proudly served 5.5+ million local businesses through 60,000+ channel partners, agencies, and enterprise-level organizations. Learn more about Vendasta, and we can help your organization or learn more about Vendasta’s Affiliate Program and how our listeners (like yourself) make up to $10,000 off referrals. Are you an entrepreneur, salesperson, or marketer? Then, keep the learning going in the Conquer Local Academy. Introduction George: This is the Conquer Local podcast, a show about billion-dollar sales leaders, marketers leading local economic growth, and entrepreneurs that have created their dream organizations. They wanna share their secrets, giving you the distilled version of their extraordinary feats. Our hope is with the tangible takeaways from each episode, you can rewire, rework, and reimagine your business. I'm your host, George Leith, and today we're talking about closing prospects and opening relationships on another Master Sales Series episode. Salespeople are not born, they're made. The best reps have a formula that's repeatable and scalable and they have a framework for repeatable success. That's how they win new business time and time again. The tip of that spear is perfecting the pitch. The base of the handle though is to build a long-term relationship. When you close a prospect, you're opening a relationship. What we're going through are the 10 elements of a great sales pitch and how to apply those elements post-sale. Generating leads is hard work. At Vendasta, marketing is responsible for driving a large percentage of those inbound leads. Our sales team is responsible for filling in the rest of their funnel. Let's face it, getting leads is hard and closing them is even harder. Sales conversion rates across industries only have an average of 2.46 to 3.26%, which means that more than 95% of conversations are just that, conversations. Getting your pitch right is a huge driving factor in pushing up that conversion number. But the other part, the one that gets left off most blogs on this topic is the customer growth and follow-up. I hate the word close. Much of the work with a customer truly starts when a sale is closed. If you ask me, this is the opening, the beginning. Close kind of makes me think it's the end, but really it's the start. Agency owner, Mike Giamprini, said on the Conquer Local podcast, "We'll spend a good 90 days proving to the customer that we can impact their online presence positively, and we can make them look better, appear relevant, appear more often, appear consistently online, and get them ready to drive eyeballs to their businesses. So 90 days later, we'll create an opportunity to sell some paid search to that customer if it's relevant and that is if it makes sense for them." Now, I like Mike's format. Spend that first 90 days proving your value, then find a way to add more value. This all starts with setting the bar or establishing clear goals. When a salesperson can consult with their clients to establish a framework for success, then both parties have aligned expectations of the sales relationship. A client should be able to review various key performance indicators and see that their money is being put to good use. 90 days is long enough to build solid rapport and it's also a very good time to check-in. I recommend checking in at least at the 30, 60, and 90-day mark when you're immediately post-first sale. The person who made this sale is the person that should prove the value. We've updated our model at Vendasta so the BDR who makes the initial sale stays with that partner for a period of time. And our customers love that new model. We do introduce the account manager, but the person that brought the deal across the line stays in the deal. That's how we can pass that customer into a new motion inside the organization, ensure that the onboarding gets that customer to get to their first value. These components ensure that when you close, which we don't like that word, when you start a new customer, you're ensuring that the expectations that have been set are being met and that that customer is finding value in that first 30, 60, and 90 day mark. Let's get into it. The 10 elements of a successful sales pitch are research, understanding the problem, knowing your offering inside and out, ask questions, tell a story, use contrast, focus on features and benefits, differentiate, show a success story, and follow up. When you go into a meeting with a prospect, the more you know, the more likely you are to have success. To address the concerns of your prospects, thorough research on them is vital. When you're underprepared, it comes across negatively and can leave a bitter taste in the prospect's mouth. Put yourself in a better position to understand their needs from a business and personal standpoint. For instance, if you know they're looking for a CRM, try to understand the kind of customer that they're seeking, then you could fill in the blanks with relatable words, use language and content that they're familiar with. This helps them see you as the expert and you get a better picture of what it looks like if they were using your solution. Your investment in research makes it evident that you genuinely care about the needs of your prospect and it makes it more likely that you'll strike a chord. If you see that LinkedIn post your prospect made, they mentioned about how much time they spend drafting proposals, lead with your new smart proposal builder tool, that's the obvious move. Research After the sale, research and understanding is even more critical. At the 30, 60, and 90 day check-ins that I've recommended, your research will prove that you didn't just enter their life to sell them something, you came in to make a difference. And you truly care that the solution you sold is making that difference. You need to understand the impact your product or service has had and be able to speak to it articulately. Understand the problem Number two, you need to understand the problem and their industry. The sales pitch should talk less about selling and more about helping. How can you help your prospect solve the problem? Define the problem and clearly outline the solution, concisely articulating what you do, and relating it to the challenge your prospect is facing and that will empower both of you. You'll have clarity on what you're trying to accomplish and the goal to the prospect will be obvious. What do the products or services you offer accomplish? How do they help your prospect? What is that problem that you're solving? So now, when you're following up, you need to address how the problem has been solved. That might mean reviewing data to show the return on investment and getting anecdotal evidence from your customer or even a before or after snapshot. I like to go through an executive report with a customer and highlight what's changed. Also highlight additional opportunities where they can grow. Be transparent, set those realistic expectations. You don't have to solve the entire problem in 30, 60, or even 90 days after the sale, what you do need to do is illustrate your progress. Show where you're making adjustments to the tactics in order to achieve the goal. Show that you can explain the unanticipated blockers that you're coming up against and propose a solution at the same time. Remember, the customer came to you because you are the expert. Know your offering inside and out Our third item is knowing your offering inside and out. This comes with consult of selling. When we talk about the sales process, we're a student of the customer. We're asking lots of questions. We're looking for the nuggets. Then we develop a strategy that matches the needs of the customer. And if you know your offering inside and out, you can make it work for the customer in a specific, measurable, and valuable way. Post-sale, check in regularly to make sure your customer is experiencing the full functionality available to them. Walk them through how to use the product to achieve the results you were selling. In one of the later check-ins, this might be a good time to look at additional products and services depending upon the needs of your customer. Now that they've got a website up and running, let's make sure that they're following a social media strategy. You've proven why listings need to be correct, maybe they're ready for reputation management solutions, and so on and so forth. Ask questions Speaking of fourth, ask questions. A successful sales pitch begins with a dialogue. Rather than starting with an opening line that's all about you, try posing a question or a few. Asking questions makes your pitch more interactive. It engages a different part of your prospect's brain. Use open-ended questions like, "Have you ever noticed?" "Did you see this in your current setup?" "What's the biggest challenge your business is facing right now?" Not only will asking questions ensure that your prospect is more engaged, but it will give you better information. You already know everything about your offering. What can you learn in this meeting? The more they speak, the more customized you can make the conversation, the follow-up proposal, and the solution that you offered. You can really dial into the needs of the client. Don't stop asking questions after the sale. "Is this working the way you expected?" "How can I improve your experience?" Work with your prospect to set goals on timelines and then revisit those goals on a regular cadence. If you've worked with them to set the expectation of improving their digital advertising click-through rate by 1% in the first 90 days, make sure that you're checking back in regularly and reporting on the current progress. Also, I think it's important to report on the things that you're changing in your approach to get them the outcome that you agreed on. Tell a story Tell a story to engage the prospect. Stories are one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal and telling stories helps the prospect remember you. Analogies that explain your product can be helpful as well. Stories are way stickier than facts and figures alone. If you need convincing, here's a few stats, stories are 22 times more memorable than facts and figures alone. Our neural activity increases five times when we're listening to a story. Storytelling lights up the sensory cortex in the brain allowing the listener to feel, hear, taste, and even smell what you're talking about. We wanna connect with customers in an emotional way. We want them to feel our story and we want them to remember our story. People remember stories and not facts. Telling them stories to illustrate what they've accomplished. Good companies, tell stories, and great companies tell their customers stories. If you are seeing success with a customer, ask them if you can use that story as a case study. This story format centers them as the protagonist and the hero and it will clearly illustrate their success. And it's a huge win for you. You can use their story as future marketing collateral. Studies show that 92% of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase. A case study gives your next set of potential customers a story to latch onto and a way to understand what you do. Use contrast Item number six in our top 10 list is use contrast. Now, this is an art. Use from here to there in your narratives. Where are your customers now and where could they be if they used your products or services? Imagine your customer's life before and after using your solution and then tell a story of what happens to them when they make the decision that you want them to make. That's the benefit that you'll include in your pitch. What is the main problem that you solve for your customers? Use the answers to these questions like, "What is your biggest challenge?" And that will allow you to highlight the contrast. Now here's an example. If your prospect's biggest challenge is getting new customers, you can use data, a story, and some imagination to show them the benefit of using your product. Here we go. "Right now, your digital ads are getting a click-through rate of less than 2%. Let's look at this report. You're making about $2,500 a month from your conversions. Now, if we deploy the trusted process that I was explaining to you that we've ran for other organizations like yours, and we talk about creating compelling creative, testing regularly, building directly related landing pages, and then verifying our work across many platforms, this usually means that my customers have a click-through rate of over 5%. So in your case, with the metrics that we're measuring, it would mean increasing your monthly revenue from your ad campaigns from 2,500 to $6,250 a month." Would that be a good start to getting new customers? You can see that that story along with the data and the information that you've garnered from the prospect during the discovery process is a compelling way to tell your story and to get the buy-in from the prospect. After you've been working with a customer for a while, show them how far they've come. You used to be up late every night, missing some of your children's extracurricular activities, trying to get your digital ads to work. But now look, they're performing better, you have more customers, and you're not doing the work yourself, you have more time for your family now. And what you're doing there is you're highlighting the economic benefit for the business with their personal life, and you're showing them that you care in building their trust. Focus on benefits > features Number seven is focus on the benefits, not the shiny features. When you're describing what your products or services do, you should always lead with benefits rather than the buttons. No one cares if your social marketing tool has the functionality to find keywords within a 25-mile radius. They likely do care that you can proactively find customers by typing in a word like flat tire and connect Twitter users to the right business. It's easy to get caught up in a direct feature-to-feature comparison. Our competitors may be doing that, but we can do this better. This could be compelling, but it's usually a tit-for-tat analysis that leaves your prospect trying to tally up your value rather than truly experiencing your value. Looking at feature matrices and comparing dollar for dollar are signs that your prospect is focusing on features and not benefits. These pieces of the puzzle are worth consideration, but they simply can't be the focus. Now after the sale, this is much more intuitive. Illustrate what your customer has achieved and then you can bend this rule by reminding them how they did it. That doesn't mean a highly technical explanation of what's been achieved. Use a contrasting narrative like I described before to drive home the benefits. Differentiate Now, number eight, you must differentiate. Now you get to delve into your unique selling proposition or USP if you like acronyms. And I think you know by now that I don't. Why should your audience choose you and not your competitors? Very interesting question. Your brand positioning statement should be unique to you. A competitor just can't swap out your company name and replace it with theirs. It's your unique selling proposition or your brand promise. For example, Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, also used to say he sold hope and not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service. Neiman Marcus sells luxury, while Walmart sells bargains or price rollbacks. Vendasta delivers incredible online experiences, not simply a platform for agencies and service providers to market, sell, bill, fulfill, and deliver. I'm sure you can see the difference and your prospect will feel it too. Differentiating, especially post-sale, doesn't mean you need to mention all of your competitors, but don't be afraid to mention the competition, but don't focus on them. Focus on what's different and special about you. You don't wanna slag the competitor. Not only do you want customers, but you want brand loyalists, they care about what you do and why you do it. When customers truly buy into your brand promise, that unique selling proposition, they'll support you proudly, opening, and refer more business your way. Show a success story Show a success story. Once you've explained the benefits and clearly defined what you do, leave your prospect with a success story. Show them someone who has done this before and explain the tactics they use to achieve the success. The story will stick and give them a concrete understanding of how all of what you've said translates to the real world. After the sale, you can share other stories of customers in similar situations who created a process for repeatable success. The more relatable the stories are, by company size, niche, and industry, the more likely they are to resonate. When you can highlight the tactics used to achieve success, it's incredibly beneficial. It works to create a playbook for your customer and perhaps this customer could be your next success story. Follow up And finally, drum roll please, number 10, the follow-up. Following up after you've made the sale is even more important than following up to make the sale. Customers who feel sold to and not cared for quickly become resentful. Follow up regularly, see how they're using your products, how they are feeling, what you can do differently. If you do this early on in the post-sale cycle, it's easy to course correct. Think of a plane going just one degree off its flight path. For a short time, not a big deal, the pilot can course correct and still land within a small window of the original arrival time. But that one degree goes unnoticed for a long time, and the consequences are huge. Your plane is running outta gas, you end up thousands of miles away from where you're supposed to be, and you can't really course correct at that point. I can't tell you the number of times I've been on calls with customers that felt that they were neglected. It's really hard to get them back on track. Conclusion And those are our 10 elements of a successful sales pitch to make sure your relationship stays on course. Let me give them to you quickly for review. Research, understand the problem, know your offering inside and out, ask questions, tell stories, use contrast, focus on benefits, not features, differentiate, tell a success story or 10, and always follow up. If you like this Master Sales Series Episode, Discussing the 10 Elements of a Successful Sales Pitch, check out some of our past episodes like 413, The Benefits of Marketing to Existing Customers, and our two-part series, 323 and 324, Converting Leads with Existing Clients. Please subscribe and leave us a review and thanks for joining us this week on the Conquer Local podcast. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.
Annette Blaylock is the founder and strategist of Insights Media Solutions, a brand consultancy agency, and with over 20 years of experience in Marketing and Sales, she has worked in some of the largest media companies in the US. Annette launched hundreds of successful campaigns, placing millions of dollars in ads for brands like Pfizer, Simon Properties, GM Dealers, and ConAgra Foods. She also consults on personal brand strategies for Corporate Executives and Creative Entrepreneurs. Her work won numerous awards and accolades for sales and marketing excellence. Tune in as we chat with Annette and learn more about her goal to achieve 1 million dollars in revenue by 2023. Conquer Local is presented by Vendasta. We have proudly served 5.5+ million local businesses through 60,000+ channel partners, agencies, and enterprise-level organizations. Learn more about Vendasta, and we can help your organization or learn more about Vendasta’s Affiliate Program and how our listeners (like yourself) make up to $10,000 off referrals. Are you an entrepreneur, salesperson, or marketer? Then, keep the learning going in the Conquer Local Academy. From Media Sales To Entrepreneur Introduction George: This is the Conquer Local Podcast. The show about billion-dollar sales leaders, marketers leading local economic growth, and entrepreneurs that have created their dream organizations. They wanna share their secrets, giving you the distilled version of their extraordinary feats. Our hope is with the tangible takeaways from each episode, you can rewire, rework and reimagine your business. I'm George Leith and on this episode, we welcome Annette Blaylock. Annette worked in the media business and media sales for almost 20 years at large media organizations like Spectrum and iHeartRadio. She wanted to start her own business. So she launched a digital marketing agency and did that in 2021. We're gonna talk to Annette about the challenges of being an entrepreneur and her very lofty goal of getting to a million dollars in revenue some time in 2023 and how she convinced her husband to come out of retirement to help her with her growing and scaling business. Annette Blaylock is coming up next on the Conquer Local podcast. George: Ron Burgundy's favorite city, San Diego, California, and Annette joins... Did you know that Annette, that you are living in Ron Burgundy's favourite city? Annette: I did not, but I can understand why. George: I was just there a couple of months ago. I actually really enjoy San Diego and I'm happy to have you on the show. We went through your bio in the introduction, but I wondered if you knew this, that you and I are both media sales professionals in our histories. Annette: I did actually, I listened to your podcast, so... George: Oh, there you go, that's great. Everybody listens to the podcast. Well, I was super excited to get this time to ask a bunch of questions, because when I look back, you started your business and had left some great organizations that you worked for previous, but what was the catalyst to just go out on your own? Annette: I've always been an entrepreneurial type. And I think a lot of salespeople are in sales and marketing. So throughout the years, I've had some great experience in corporate, but I saw a big piece of the puzzle missing, especially with clients and getting results. Even though we were able to drive traffic to their website or whatever or create these wonderful campaigns on TV and radio. A lot of times they didn't have a good website or they were missing attribution setups. So they always didn't know where the traffic was coming from or the traffic just didn't convert, because they had a bad website. George: Yeah and it's so interesting because I probably have said this a billion times. I'm sure that producer Colleen has the exact count over the years. But if you could own the customer's website, you control the marketing plan. And where I wanted to go with this is if the organization that you're representing in the case of you and I both coming from previous media organizations, if it's not on the rate card, then you can't offer the website component. Was that your experience in your past? Or how did you come to this point, I really need to be able to give 'em a lot more to help them with the problem. Annette: Right. And I think that came in when the digital marketing space was brand new and we were starting to sell other digital products besides the traditional channels that we were offering before. And so once we learned and got more into the digital marketing space, I was able to see, wow, we can offer so many other things. But that piece of the puzzle, of the website, was a big component that was missing. And also integrating all of those other apps with the website so that it can make everything work and we can have a full 360-degree marketing plan for them. And that's what I'm involved in now. George: And it's great that you brought that up because that 365 view is really important. And I wanted to interrogate this finding that I have. I remember during COVID I had this customer and friend of mine and I got a call. They need sales training. I'm like, oh, okay, I got time. I'll do some sales training. But what I found was, it wasn't actually... They did need sales training, don't get me wrong. But what it actually was, was a new journey for their potential customers. And they weren't considering the entire journey of even discovering them on the website, their social media presence was horrible. They weren't even in interacting with Google My Business, yet people were speaking to them on that virtual doorway. So the 365 component, is a real big piece of that. So of the customers, you have today, the question I wanted to ask, what percentage of them do you control the website? Annette: I would say if I don't... About half. we build half of their sites. But the other half, I do have some control, because I have backend access and I have access to their Google analytics. George: So you got the website piece, we've got the opportunity to offer more products and services. And with these clients, if we were to look at basket size or the number of things that you're helping them solve problems on, is it website, social... Is it five things, is it eight things? What sort of level are you getting to when it comes to how many problems you're solving? Annette: Well, I'm trying to solve as many problems as I can, but usually the strategy is that we have a discovery call and we look at the website and see what pieces are missing, especially when we run the snapshot report. So once we view that we are able to see areas of opportunity. And then when we put together a program that addresses each of those areas of opportunities in every single stage of the customer journey. So that could mean maybe if they have a bad website let's start with a website redesign. And then social media management, reputation management, active campaigns, or some sort of CRM solution. And then paid advertising, of course, because that's the background I come from. But usually with paid ads, like social ads, Facebook ads, TikTok ads, radio ads, TV ads, and so forth. George: I wanted to ask that question. Thank you for leading me. I have so many notes and there's so many things that I wanted to ask. When you were working for those large media companies previous to starting your own organization, how many times was it, advertising consultant? Like it was... Your title was around just ads? Annette: Well, that's mainly what my title was. So when I was working at corporate, we visited with the client and just basically did a needs analysis. But we're only able to offer a TV or radio package. George: Right, So I guess the point I'm trying to make is very ads heavy. So the client saw you as an advertising consultant, not as a digital marketing consultant. So how did you make that switch? Because you're able to offer everything now in the role that you have today with your own business and you're able to go out and find great solutions. How did you make that switch? Annette: Well, I had a client that came to me and said, Annette, I really like what you do with the radio. But what else can you do? What else can you help me with? And so I had developed really good relationships with our clients. And at some point, I saw the jump and opportunity to jump as a freelancer or as a solopreneur and help that client more in-depth with their marketing. So that's how I started. I left corporate and started on my own in that way. George: Was there a period where you were tired of... You got to a point... 'Cause I know I've heard this from others. It got to a point of it sucked to say, no. They say I've got this problem. Could you help me out with it? Well, I'm not really able to offer that. Did you feel some of that? Annette: Well, yes, absolutely. And sometimes I would refer them if I had someone I was networking with who was a web designer, for instance, I would refer them to that person. So I developed a referral network as well, but that's as far as I could go. George: Right, it's the lead club breakfast. We all like those, right? Annette: Exactly. George: You go to breakfast and somebody was there with, maybe they were a paving company and they could tell you all the new parking lots are being made. And then you run back to the station and put in the book that you want that lead. We all did that I'm sure. How many of your customers that worked with you at the large media organizations came with you when you started your own thing? Annette: Actually, one. I have one car dealership that came in on board with me. And then after that, I just started getting referrals. I started networking and getting new customers that way in various forms, whether it be through a referral partner or just me cold calling on my own. George: And in that cold calling though, it was people you were familiar with, or was it green field? Like we're just in a brand new area where you gonna go find new customers? Annette: Right, so I started... I say cold-calling, but it's sort of a warm call. So I joined the chamber and I joined some networking groups. And then I started connecting with those people that way. Just say, hey, I'm part of the chamber, I would love to talk to you about your marketing and so forth. George: And I'm really excited that you said that because I know I work with lots of folks that are building their own business and they really think that they can go by a lead list. And there's some magical piece of technology that will make money happen in the middle of the night. Have you ever found anything like that? 'Cause I'm sure I could... You and I could both sell a lot of that if it existed. Annette: Yes, no. Cold traffic is really hard to convert. George: So let me ask you about this sale. 'Cause I could see it in the notes that the team put together. I guess you had another sale that you had to make when you started your own business. And that was to convince your husband to come outta retirement because you couldn't handle all the customers that you were getting. Annette: Exactly. So that happened about a year ago. I had a book of business and I found myself really struggling trying to fulfill all of these deliverables for our clients. And I just was working a lot. I'm still working a lot but in a different fashion. George: I wanted to say congratulations on that pitch because I don't think that if I was retired, you could convince me to come outta retirement. But good work on that. Getting Ron to help you out in your business and congratulations on the scale. So the other... I just love this in the notes. You're gonna get to a million dollars sometime in 2023, that's the goal, right? Annette: Absolutely. So the one thing I really learned well when I was at corporate was monthly and quarterly goals and meeting those expectations. And that really... If I had it visualized and planned out, that really drives me to succeed towards those goals. And I took that practice into my own business where we do have a salesperson in-house and we get together and review the monthly and quarterly goals so that we can... How many people do we have on the pipeline to meet that number? And so that's where that came from. George: So the science that you learned in your career, that if you put these goals in place... And I'm glad you're bringing that up, because the successful organizations where we have solopreneurs that have been born outta corporate previous opportunities if they bring some of that rigor with them, they got a hell of a lot better chance of getting to the goal. And a seven-figure company, that's no small stretch to have built that, especially part of it you're building during a bloody global pandemic that nobody saw coming. But let's talk about, aside from the goal setting, what are some of the other tactics that you are deploying to achieve that $1 million in annual recurring revenue? Annette: So I take that goal basically... Let's just say it's X or a hundred thousand dollars in a quarter or whatever that may be. I'm just putting a simple number out there and we just work backwards. Well, how many people do we need to close to get that? And then I go up the pipeline, well, if I'm closing four deals to get to that a month, then how many people do we need to talk to or pitch and how many people do we need to call or reach out to, to at least schedule those appointments or schedule those discovery calls. So we have a process that we go through and then we just... Every step of the sales pipeline has goals and KPIs. George: I'm always fascinated to talk to entrepreneurs like you that have come from organizations that have this built-in rigor around pipeline, numbers, the culture is all built around that. So now you also have... You've gotta bring your husband Ron in, you've added a sales hire to help you drive even further customer contact. Who is the ideal customer profile? Well, you talked a little bit about automotive earlier, is it just automotive dealers or where are you going to find these clients that like working with your organization? Annette: Right, so even though my husband and I both have automotive background, me pitching to auto motives and he was a former auto dealer. We are really specialized in local businesses. So, we get involved in our community, we join the chamber, we network with others in the local community. So our plethora, or our book of business, mainly deals with just local business, local IT service providers, HVAC companies, service companies, professional services, attorneys, and such. And how we differentiate ourselves is that we really network or try to get customers in awe of where we live and work. There's a lot of companies out there that wanna reach out to somebody in New Jersey, from San Diego. And for me, that doesn't work. George: Well, so the hyperlocal focus that they've gotta be a local business, you're using the chambers. And you obviously have a networking background, because some people you go, yeah, go to this event. You don't know anybody and have a beer and maybe start to meet... It just gives 'em anxiety and they can't do it. So you had that skill. Question I have, when you go to talk to these new local businesses, whether they be referrals or maybe somebody you've met through a networking event, how do you overcome the... Are Annette and Ron gonna be in business in six months? When you're starting something brand new and you're not representing a big national brand, I think there's always a little bit of anxiety in the customer's mind as to, yeah, this sounds great. Annette and her company, they look amazing. Will they be here down the road? How do you overcome that sometimes, unset objection? Annette: Well, it's difficult because our space, our digital marketing space has some bad players kind of like there were some bad plumbers and there's some good plumbers. And so I think that the way we overcome it is our background. We have over 20 years of experience in digital marketing and advertising, we rented an office space. So we're here entrenched in the community. We're not going away in six months. So when we talk to them, we talk to them very casually about their business, and then we offer a free snapshot report. And so after we review that, we invite them to our office. Sometimes we do it virtually, sometimes we do it in-house. George: Well, and I think I know the answer to this, but I'd love to hear it from you. What does that snapshot report do to help build that trust? What are you hearing from customers when you present? And snapshot is a Vendasta product. But really what it is, insight, space selling. You've done a bunch of research with that tool. You found out some things, what's the thing that really tips them by using that tool? Annette: I think a lot of them are... Some people are surprised and some people are not surprised. And they tell me, yeah, I haven't been doing a good job in digital marketing. I have to really get into the 21st century. And so, we just review areas of opportunity and we don't really talk about tactics. We just casually mention how social media can improve this or that or how reputation management can really get them listed, in several directories online and increase your visibility. So, it's just a casual conversation. Then we ask them questions, We ask them what is your biggest challenge? And we do a mini discovery call with them. George: How open do you find these customers to share? I work with a lot of different partners, we do some calls, we ask some questions and I hear some of them saying, yeah, it's really hard to get them to open up. It's really hard to do that needs analysis sometimes. How have you been able to overcome that, to get a customer to open up to you and really share where they are in their journey of digital transformation and taking advantage of the amazing opportunities with digital marketing solutions? Annette: I think that snapshot report does open up an opportunity for the customer to say more about their business. Whereas if you were just doing a straight discovery call, it would be a little bit more difficult, especially if you're asking open-ended questions that opens the space for them to speak about their business. But I think that having that tool in front of you and just going over step by step and listening to what they have to say, builds this immediate trust factor. George: I see in the notes from the team, when we were getting ready to have this conversation, you've been able to achieve 90% retention of your customers. How? That is an unbelievable number and congratulations. How have you been able to keep 90% of those clients? Annette: Thank you. Well, we stay pretty close to them. So every month we schedule a monthly review where we review all of their campaign performances, how they're improving online, where we can do a better job. So we're in constant communication with them, not every day and sometimes not every week. But at least once a month we have that sit down where we spend maybe 45 minutes to an hour and reviewing their marketing. George: So, thank you. And I love that you're saying that, because so many times I find that organizations that are struggling to hit their revenue goals, it's because there's a leaky bucket there. And it's hard enough to find a customer once much less to get somebody that you can retain. And then to ignore them, means that now you got competitors that are selling to them, you've got maybe budget constraints happening and they're not seeing the value on a regular basis. So, you're doing the hard work and at least once a month, you're talking to the clients. So I'm glad that you're saying that. I've been saying it for a long time, but I'm glad that I'm hearing from you that you're having this success. Now, here's the catch-22. I'm wondering if you're experiencing, because you have to communicate with these customers on a monthly basis and because you have to stay close to them to maintain that 90% retention rate, are you having issues in scaling and coming up with components that can be repeatable? Annette: Sometimes, it depends on exactly what it is. It could be the way we do our proposals or the way we book discovery calls. But yes, it's getting to a point where we might have to hire a second salesperson. We recently hired a project manager to manage some of the scheduling part of it and reporting. George: Besides getting Ron to come out of retirement, your husband, what was the catalyst to make the decision to hire a salesperson? Why was it salesperson first and then project management? I think that's the way that it came together. Annette: It's funny you should say that George because I wanted a project manager first and not a salesperson. And Ron's coming from, managing big auto dealerships, he's like, let's get a salesperson first. And he was absolutely right. So we hired a salesperson and then we were able to backtrack into a project manager after that. George: I don't know, again, I'm sure you will, tell me if I'm wrong on this, but is it because you both reached the agreement that you didn't have the processes dialed in yet and you wanted to do them yourselves? Now we got more time, we got a sales rep and we can now really dig into what we're delivering to the customer and see if we can find a repeatable process. Was that where you were headed with that line of thinking? Annette: We had some repeatable process, but hiring a salesperson really improved upon how our processes work. So because we had that goal in mind, like X amount per month or whatever, the only way to achieve that, because I was tapped out and I had no project manager is to hire a second salesperson. now in the interim, that second salesperson was doing both project management and account services and sales. But now that we hired a project manager, we've been able to move that task over to this person. And so the salesperson can focus more on selling every week. George: Annette, when you started in the media business and not as long ago as me by the way because you're way younger than I am. But you started in the media business. I'm sure the training was unbelievable. Like you just went in, spent like six months, you went to this university, they trained you on everything you got manual. It was unbelievable, is that true? Annette: There was a lot of training, but there was a lot of useless training too. George: So when-- Annette: The corporate minutia exists. George: Well, I'm joking around this, because I don't think any company really has their training dialed in, but the reason I bring it up is, now you hire a sales rep and it's you and your husband that have started this business from scratch. How are you able to train that sales rep, knowing that we all have had bad experiences in our past with less-than-ideal training programs? Annette: Exactly. So I spent a lot of time with this person going through, just different processes, what our ideal processes are. We've went through phone scripts, we practice them, we trained them on our CRM and on our platforms, we watched training videos on how to deliver a snapshot report, and all of this stuff. I mean it took about two weeks' worth of training before I actually sent them out and started making calls and introducing themselves to the community because I wanted to make sure they were confident in what they had to say. And also I trained them in overcoming objections. But I didn't want to burn leads either. George: Well, it's interesting, the Genesis, and then the story of how you got to where you are today with this organization and to get a rep up and running and proficient in a very short period of time, speaks to the skillset that you bring to it, that's for sure. Congratulations on all the success. And for what you're telling me that million dollars is definitely within reach with what you've been building. I would love to give you the last word though and with this question. You've been at this since 2021 when you decided to leave corporate, start your own thing, hang your shingle out there and be an entrepreneur and live the American dream. If you could do it over again though, what's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs of, I just wouldn't have done that one thing right there. Annette: I'm doing it all myself. I would've really gotten some sort of support whether that looks... And for every business, it looks differently. For some people, it looks like hiring a VA or from others, it might be the support of a spouse or something. It's just that... It gets overwhelming. I get overwhelmed with all that I had to do and I would've gotten help a lot sooner. George: But I'd love to interrogate that a little bit more if it's okay. Is it the loneliness of being an entrepreneur where you're out there fighting the battle by yourself and not having people that you can... Especially coming from a corporate world, you were on a team and you had resources that you could reach out to, is it that loneliness, or what are you referring to that it would've been nice to have? Is it the workload? What's the item? Annette: It's for me... I mean, I'm sort of an introvert or extrovert. So that collaboration was a big missing piece in what I was doing and trying to fulfill client deliverables. So the collaboration, the assigning of mundane... Not mundane, but just tasks that other people can do, so I can focus on the bigger picture, that would've been a lot more helpful. George: No and thank you for that. I see the trepidation of saying the word mundane, but at the same time what I've found is, there's a whole bunch of people out there that want that work and value that work and bring a lot of value to the organization. So I agree with you. And a VA is not that expensive. To get somebody to just take these eight things off your plate so you could focus on the customer. That's great advice. And thank you for being so open and sharing in your journey, because that's what we try to do here is to provide content and provide great guests like you for our audience that maybe can give them ideas or give them concepts they haven't thought about or maybe be the catalyst for them to start their own thing and be their own boss. And it's a very inspiring story that you've told us about the success that you have had along with your husband in building Insights Media Solutions from back in April of 2021. And we wish you all the best on your way to that goal, that wildly important goal of $1 million in revenue, sometime in 2023. I'd ask this, Annette, will you just send us a quick note so that we can announce to the audience that Annette hit her million dollars. I would love to be able to do that at some point and congratulate you. Annette: Absolutely George. George: Thanks for joining us on the show today and have a great day. Annette: Thank you. Conclusion George: Annette had me at a million dollars. No, she had me at 90% client retention. That's one of the measurements that you want to have on how successful your business is. And when you have 90% client retention, it's time to pour gas on that fire and maybe hire some more people and take the processes that you've built and start to scale them. And then you've got a hope of getting to the million dollars annual recurring revenue. And keep in mind, Annette and her husband did this in 24 months. And I'm telling the truth in advance because she hasn't quite hit that milestone, but I'm sure we'll hear soon from Annette and Ron that they got to that number. So here's a couple of takeaways as to how this power duo has been so successful in building this business. The first thing, website. If you control the website, you control the client. We've said that a million times on this show, we've had numerous guests that have told us that to be true. And now we're hearing it once again. That's the first item. You can't just buy a list of leads, put them out there in the ether, and hope that you'll make money in the middle of the night. It's not a thing. It can be something that can help you find new customers, but it's not the only thing. And Annette and her team have went back to the old, tried and true. Let's go network, let's meet some people. Let's go to the Chamber of Commerce. We're focused on hyper-local anyways in the San Diego market. So where can we find a bunch of business people that are hanging out? The Chamber of Commerce is a great place to do that. And I love that she's using that approach. Then she's using some technology that shall go nameless, to show some insights to the customer and build that trust and rapport that they know what's going on. And they have some insights that can help that customer improve whatever state that they are in today. And then they layer in the products, services, and tactics, but, and a big but, they always make sure that they follow up with the client. They're very close to their customer. I can't tell you the number of times I've talked to people in this space and I'm like, so what's your retention rate? Nowhere near what Annette's is. And I ask another question, How often do you talk to your clients? Once every six months. Yeah, it's no wonder your retention rate is so low. And it's also no wonder that usually the answer that these clients give me is, yeah and I don't get a lot of referrals. The reason that you don't get referrals is because you're not doing a great job for your current customers. So why would they refer you to a friend? And when you're at networking events, you don't get that network effect, because when people ask your clients that are in the network event, how great of a job you're doing, they say, ah well, I never really hear from that company. So I love the fact that Annette leaned in on that and said at the very least, we talk to our customers at least once a month. That is the bare frigging minimum if you are going to be successful and build your own startup to a million dollars in recurring revenue in 24 months. You just don't have a hope if you don't follow through on that client service... Customer service. Yeah, really it's that basic. But a lot of people don't do it. Thanks to Annette Blaylock for joining us on this episode of the Conquer Local Podcast. And if you liked Annette's episode discussing scalability, let's continue the conversation and check out episode 527, scaling your business with Jason Herman, or episode 448, rewiring your brain and how to navigate opportunity with Cathy Poturny. Please subscribe and leave us a review. And thanks for joining us this week on the Conquer Local Podcast. My name is George Leith. I'll see you when I see you.