Ever feel like Goldilocks when pricing your services? Too high and you might lose opportunities. Too low and you’re leaving money on the table.
Learn how to get your pricing just right in this roundtable session with a panel of marketing agency experts. They share their mistakes and aha moments in optimizing pricing in their businesses. Their practical advice will help you:
- Charge more based on the value you provide
- Templatize your services to charge the right price
- Streamline your processes with predictable, repeatable business systems
- Avoid client scope creep
Watch now or read the transcript below for recommendations that are on the money.
Devlyn Parsons (00:00):As we get through the round table panel, we are going to save about 10 or 15 minutes for Q&A. Put all those questions you have in the Q&A, or in the chat. And then as soon as we get to that portion, we're going to go ahead and I'll monitor that. We'll ask our amazing panelists all the questions that you have, so be sure to stay engaged in the chat.
Devlyn Parsons (00:22):Let's go ahead and go over the agenda briefly. Pretty soon I'm going to be bringing on our lovely host and moderator, Kim Mortensen. She's going to be bringing on our very talented, close friend, Keap certified partner panelist. She'll be bringing them on in just a few moments here. And then as I mentioned, we're going to take some Q and A from the audience.
Devlyn Parsons (00:43):And then we want you to stay on to the very end because we have a special offer for you. If you were thinking about becoming a Keap certified partner, Alicia is going to tell you a little bit more about it. I'm going to go ahead without further ado and hand it over to the one and only Kim Mortensen, our director of partner development. Kim, hi. Thanks for joining.
Kim Mortensen (01:03):Hi, Dev. Thanks for the introduction. I am so happy to be here. This topic is just so important. It is something that we talk to our partners about, our small businesses about. I'm so excited to bring on some experts that learn from them. They've probably made all the mistakes, too. This is a really great opportunity to be able to learn and to ask the experts. Again, Devlin said it, but engage in the chat and make sure that we're having a two-way conversation on this.
Kim Mortensen (01:40):Without further ado, I am so proud to bring on some of my friends and partners that I've been able to work with for the last nine years. One of our panelists, our first panelist, is Dobbin Buck. He's the co- owner and the chief revenue officer at GetUWired. GetUWired is a full service marketing agency, and they have almost 50 team members. I'm super excited for you to get to know Dobbin, and to understand his unique insight. He knows what successful agency pricing and agency model should be.
Kim Mortensen (02:15):Our next panelist, Lindsey Ardmore. She's always been passionate about automation. She started Star Tower Systems when she realized that there was a need for more experts on the subject. Her candid conversations about life and business make her an insightful panelist on agency pricing. All right.
Kim Mortensen (02:35):And then Ken Cook, he has a heart for local small business, and he grew Prepared Marketing from a one person operation to a small agency, employing a variety of talented marketers. His forthright approach to agency consulting will be a game changer for your 2022 pricing strategy.
Kim Mortensen (02:55):So let's get right into it. Okay, let's go ahead and take the slides off. Dobbin, Ken, Lindsey, thank you somuch for joining us. I am so lucky to call you as friends and colleagues. One of the most important things that you can do for yourself, I think, is to surround yourself by really great people, and I count each of you in that. I am so grateful for the expertise that you're bringing and that you're sharing. I hope that everybody else benefits from this as much as I will.
Kim Mortensen (03:35):What I'd like to do is, I gave such a super high overview of each of you and of your agencies and your businesses. I'd love to dig in just a little bit more. We're going to go around the horn, each of the panelists. So how long have you been in the business? Tell us just a slight little bit of information about your journey, I think, to this moment. Tell us a little bit more about who you serve, what your ideal clients are, and the services that you provide. Dobbin, can we start with you? Yours has been quite a journey.
Dobbin Buck (04:07):It's still quite a journey. It has been, and it's ongoing. I would say that the real beginning of our agency journey really began with our fusion of our relationship with Keap, which was around 2008. We were around before then, but the distant echo of what we're currently doing today began in that time period. We've really grown from a five or six person team to over 50 amazing world class team members, which is amazing because we're in the backwards of North Georgia. We're in a really remote tourist destination. It's a cool place to work and live.
Dobbin Buck (04:52):We have a variety of different channels, which all have different pricing. We have our agency side, which has our retainer pricing. We have our project side, which has fixed bid pricing. And some hourly pricing, which people question whether hourly is good or not. I also have joint venture agreements in verticalized solutions to where I'm taking portions of the revenue from different products that we participate in with influencers. And then also a rather substantial white label team for influencers that we're providing the onboarding implementation training, help desk systems, and other things for today's influencers that want to scale their digital products, be able to sell more, and to be able to sell more without churn or giving their clients a substandard product. So a lot of exciting things going on at GetUWired. And projected into the future, a lot of new things that we're getting into in the coming year. I can't wait to dive deeper. I'm honored to be among such a beautiful group of people. So, thanks.
Kim Mortensen (06:04):Well, we appreciate you being here. Dobbin and the GetUWired team put the full in full service for sure. They've got a lot of stuff going on. But they didn't just start like that, either. You have to build and scale to that for sure and get your stuff down. All right. Lindsey, tell us a little bit more about your journey and who you're serving.
Lindsey Ardmore (06:25):Okay. Hi, everyone. I'm so excited to be here. I'm Lindsey Ardmore. I own Star Tower Systems. This is our sixth year in business. I started when I had a three day old baby. I didn't want to go back to work, and I just wanted to make a little bit of money. Pretty much my only marketable skill back then was my Keap skills that I learned working for a business consultant as an operations director.Lindsey Ardmore (06:52): I started and have since grown a automation agency. We do everything in a very systemized templated churn and burn type of way, which makes our business model a little bit different, but also really, really fun. And it's fun to talk to other partners. It's been fun to talk to Ken and Dobbin about how I serve and what we do, because it is a little bit different.
Lindsey Ardmore (07:24):I serve a lot of female entrepreneurs. I always say that I work with female coaches and consultants, service providers. And some cool sparkly dudes also to come hang out with us. I have a team of six incredible stay-at-home moms, which makes my heart really, really happy to be able to provide that kind of lifestyle for them, but also be able to provide that kind of lifestyle for me, because I have two small kids and I have the most expensive hobby in the world, which Kim knows is horses.
Lindsey Ardmore (07:57):I absolutely love Keap. I tell people all the time I grew up in the Keap community. I started using Keap as a 18 year old, so I've been doing this for 11 years and I've just been through it all with them. So I'm so, so, so excited to be here today.
Kim Mortensen (08:19):Well, thank you so much for bringing your sparkle. We already have people in the comments that they want to be part of your sparkly dude group. That's awesome. Ken, tell us a little bit about your journey. You guys, I have to tell you, I have known Ken for a lot of years, and it took us a long time to have him finally jump in with both feet to join us and our partner ecosystem at Keap. And so happy to have him here.
Ken Cook (08:47):I came from a big agency, 650 people, massive agency, and had a client offer us a year's salary to start my own business. That's where we started, it was just me and him, and grew that to about a 12 person team. I can teach you guys a great lesson on how to lose $36,000 in recurring revenue in six weeks. We blew up our company and moved from full service agency work to pure consulting. Because what we found was pure consulting was where our profitability was.
Ken Cook (09:26):And then we've taken that now and we've said, you know what, even more so we can license just that consulting model. And that's even more profitable as a business. We can do more with a smaller and smaller team. Now all we do is license intellectual property to other marketing agencies. It's a very different kind of model. I think in many ways I started where Dobbin started and we've gone on these two very different paths. But I think if you would've asked me a decade ago where Dobbin is sitting is where I wanted to sit and I just... We kept following where the cash was and where the profitability was and it's led us down a very weird path that I don't think we ever expected.
Kim Mortensen (10:14):I love the focus on profitability. I think lots of times when our small businesses, the businesses that you consult and even yourself at some point, you're like I could be making more money. Am I really valuing my services? Am I valuing what I'm doing? And lots of the times it's really hard to put the proper value on something that you're really good at, and that it's easy for you. It's hard to recognize that. It's not easy for everybody. And people will pay for that. Raise your hand or just chime in, tell us about, do any of you have that aha moment where you're like, you know what, I am giving way too much away? Yes. Lindsey, tell me about it.
Lindsey Ardmore (11:04):Yes. Well, I've been notorious for value pricing for most of my agency lifespan. I really, really like to price where it's affordable for people. What ends up happening though is when you price when it's super affordable, or what you feel is affordable, you often get drug through the mud a little bit. Not that you get taken advantage of, but that inadvertent scope creep that a lot of agency owners and marketers absolutely deal with all the time.
Lindsey Ardmore (11:39):For me there came a point at the end of 2018 where I had started my first mastermind. I did my first product. That year I had created a product that went on to make multi six figures for me. I had all of this stuff and I was still working on everybody's automation myself. And I'm like, I have all these team members, what am I doing? And at that point I took myself out of the business completely. I said, I'm not going to do any of this agency work. I'm not even good at this anymore. This isn't where my heart lies. This is not what I want to be doing. I basically removed myself by processes and templates and really creating what we sell now. I guess that's almost four years later.
Kim Mortensen (12:26):That's awesome. Ken, I see you nodding.
Ken Cook (12:29):Yeah. There were two big moments for me in our agency life. The first was I read this book called Free, and in there there was an entire chapter about pay what you want pricing. I love pricing models. It's an area I really enjoy. And I said, you know what, I'm going to try this with three clients. For the next three clients we signed we told them, "You guys get to decide what you pay."
Kim Mortensen (12:58):Ken, can you get closer to your mic?
Ken Cook (13:00): Sure.
Kim Mortensen (13:01):I can't hear you as well. Okay.
Ken Cook (13:02):We said, "You guys get to decide what you pay." And they paid nearly double what I would've charged them. I said to myself, there's something wrong with me, not something wrong with our pricing, because I really felt like we were only worth a certain amount. And them saying, well, this is what I think it's worth to me really, really changed that quite a bit for us. That was really my first and biggest aha moment about pricing was seeing how was it valuable to other people. The next big one that's a little bit more recent is, we had a mentor who said, "You know what? Why don't you just charge people based on results? So take what you would normally make, quadruple it, and then tell them that they have to pay that amount once you get them the result you know you can get them." And you know what? People love to pay for results. In fact, I'd go so far as to say there's no one here who wants to pay for someone else to work, but that everyone here wants to pay for a result from someone else. We found people would happily pay, again, four times what I thought it was worth in order to get the result that they were after.
Ken Cook (14:24):I think that there's a lot there as an agency that we can say, you know what, what if we use pricing as a lever to change how we're interacting with our customers? Because there's so much around money that's tied into who we are and how we grew up. If you grew up rich or poor, that has a deep impact on how you charge and how you value things. This constant question, well, what would I pay for that? Is in a real way a terrible question, because it's not about you. It's about your prospects, it's about your clients. And in many ways they're going to pay and value things very differently than you would.
Kim Mortensen (15:10):I love that, too. First, to having the courage that your results are going to speak for themselves. And then secondly, putting it in the hands of your customer. That's courageous. That's really good. Dobbin, you've had a journey and you just even talked about, you have almost every pricing model imaginable in effect with the services that your teams are offering. Tell us a little bit about some of your ahas and your takeaways on that.
Dobbin Buck (15:42):Well, the interesting thing is that we can charge a lot more than we're charging at any given moment. To gateway people into a relationship with agency, I could easily double my pricing in many respects. But the edge that occurs is, what is the outcome? What are you making me? What are the results? As Ken was talking about. And results vary. Results are not always indicative of the prowess and marketing ability of the client. Results are indicative of a fusion of a relationship between client and agency that allows things to be successful, especially the higher you get up the food chain becomes more and more important.
Dobbin Buck (16:29):There's a balance that we've had to find between our reputation is pretty flawless. It's very good in the industry, in our ecosystems. So I can ask for a lot more, but ultimately I don't like to be on the hook. The higher the price, the higher the expectations. Many of the expectations boil back down to the relationship. So we want to charge a fair price that we're able to maintain our profitability. So the profitability percentage, which we keep a very strict and close eye on... Melissa Allen, my partner, lives in spreadsheet land to make sure that we're meeting those marks. And with different channels and different lines of business, I can have a greater swath of profitability based on what I'm able to do.
Dobbin Buck (17:25):With agency, it's probably the most tricky one because you're in a lot of custom work. It's all the stuffthat both of my co-panelists are trying to get away from. And they're trying to get away from it for a very good reason. It takes a lot of grit. It's very difficult. And it's a very painful zone to be able to navigate. When you start getting into, like with me, with verticalized solutions, to where we're taking strategies that are time tested and we're able to reproduce them hundreds of times across other people, and we get very efficient. Well, people are paying a premium for that, but they're getting the benefits of years of data and all that have gone into creating these strategies. So it's worth paying a high monthly rate for that.
Dobbin Buck (18:14):And when I talk about verticals on this particular call, we're talking about verticals that leverage Keap as the primary CRM and marketing automation center system at the center of it. So learned a lot of lessons. Lessons I currently learn is going the extra mile. When you're operating at a certain amount of scale and your foundational mode of operation is to provide people with success, you're always pushing the edges of giving them more and more and more and more. When you do that at scale, that becomes more and more and more costly. It's people's time. It's all sorts of different things.
Dobbin Buck (18:59):It gets a little bit complex on how to balance all of this and figure it out. But I think at our size and the time we've been around, one of the things that's been a saving grace is that I have spread it out to... Practically GetUWired as four or five different businesses in one. There's different things we do with each one to maintain our success.
Kim Mortensen (19:22):So you've got some diversity going for sure. You diversified the portfolio, so to speak. If you're making some mistakes and maybe accidentally cutting into your margin in some of your areas, hopefully you're capitalizing it on others. Let me ask a question and dial it back, I think, to your earlier days, Dobbin. But I want to go to Ken and Lindsey, because I think they've been here or are here. And that is... Mika asked this in the chat, Justin's alluding to this, but I think it is coming something around... It's the customized work, and moving into a templated area and scope creep. I mean, I think those things are really interrelated. Could you guys talk to that a little bit more? Because when you can stabilize those things, I think it gets your pricing more set, and then you can get your returns and get into a model that is really working for you. Lindsey, I know you've done a lot of work on this. I'd love to hear about the templatization scope creep.
Lindsey Ardmore (20:23):Yeah. Yeah. That's a huge problem. It comes up all the time because it is such a problem. And Dobbin was just saying, the more work that goes into it, the more money and at scale, that exponentially grows. There was a point in my agency very, very early on where all of sudden overnight my payroll went from 9,000 every two weeks to 18,000 every two weeks. And it was like, whoa. That was overnight that happened, literally overnight. Those types of things really, really were a struggle for me at the beginning.
Lindsey Ardmore (21:06):I'm going to tell you guys a story, and it has to do with all of us know and love Tyler Garnes. Tyler Garnes told me, "I'm coming to your house because this is a train wreck waiting to happen." He said it in a very nice way, but that's what he meant. He came to my house and he sat there with me, and he was like, "Lindsey, I see where you're going, and this is amazing, but it's going to crash and burn. It's going to crash and burn really, really hard." And that literally happened. He told me that a week before this payroll debacle thing happened to me.
Lindsey Ardmore (21:36):I sat there and fought with him over, "Everything's custom. Everything's custom." He's like, "Literally nothing is custom. Figure you're out the process. Figure out how to productize this. Figure out the system that you're putting into these people's businesses. And figure out how to understand what they're telling you that they want. Because if they're telling you this big, huge pie in the sky, you can boil that thing down to a landing page and a welcome sequence. You can really nail all that stuff down."
Lindsey Ardmore (22:04):After that time period, I think that was in November or December time, that next year I was diligent. Everything that we did became a template and a process. Every single thing that I built became something that could be plugged and played into anybody's business. And maybe we combined things in a way that I normally wouldn't right? Maybe we add a welcome sequence here. The pieces and the parts go in different areas than I would normally put them. But when we started doing that, everything became templated. Every single thing inside my business. I don't do one piece of custom work inside my agency. My girls don't do any of that. We have a template and a process in place for every single thing that we do. If they want something outside of that, they get charged handsomely for it because that takes time and effort and energy to do that.
Lindsey Ardmore (22:57):I had noticed Justin's question, and I was going to type back, but he had said something around, "It seems that every engagement is custom and they take a lot more time than I'm getting paid for." And in my experience, the pay was the least of the problem. It was the amount of work that was being spent to try to decipher what this person wanted. When really all they wanted was me to say, okay, this is a lead magnet. This is a welcome sequence. This is a way for somebody to get on a call with them. And then put those templates and those processes into place in their business.
Lindsey Ardmore (23:29):When we started doing that, all of a sudden I can forecast how much it's going to cost me to implement something like that. It'll cost me around $60 for my girls to go build a landing page, make it beautiful, custom branded, make sure they have their email templates all set up in there so they can go edit them, and then to hit publish on that thing. When I was able to start forecasting that out, holy cow, my life changed, my business changed. Everything changed because I could forecast. And that's something that's really, really difficult to do in the agencies, unless you are diligent about what it is that you are doing.
Kim Mortensen (24:07):That's sage advice, great experiences. Ken, tell us a little bit about your experience.
Ken Cook (24:14):We took a very different tactic to solve this problem, because this is a huge problem. Okay. The way that we solved this was, first and foremost, by monetizing what we knew. I talked to hundreds of agencies and there's one common theme that I see. They give away their knowledge for free. How many of us have done large amounts of free consulting? It got so bad that my business partner, he literally sat me down and he said, "Ken, you're no longer allowed to do consulting for free. You can't. I will kill you. You cannot do this because it kills our profitability. I know that you love these people. I know that you care about these people, but you have to think about us for a few minutes." So that was step one.
Ken Cook (25:09):Step two was realizing that the average business owner is utterly ignorant of marketing. I know that's kind of harsh. The reality is they don't know what they're doing. How many of us as expert marketers are relying on a non-expert to tell us what to do? That's that's like me going to the dentist and telling him how to take care of my teeth. Or me going to a plumber and telling him how to replumb the house. It doesn't make any sense.
Ken Cook (25:43):So we said to our clients, you know what? We are in charge, period. You are not. You're going to pay us not only for what we know, not only for what we do, but you're going to pay us to be in charge here. The reality is, if you look at the corporate world, and this is where we do a lot of our modeling, there's no reality where an organization hires a director of marketing. Let's pretend you're the new director of marketing at Nike. Okay. Is the CEO coming in and questioning every marketing move and decision you're making and asking you to justify absolutely everything you're doing? Or is he saying, I made a good hire. I can trust what you're going to do, right? If you can set that as a cultural expectation. I'm the expert here. You're bringing me in because I'm so good at what I do. Trust us. Let us show you what we can accomplish. It removes scope creep entirely, because you're in control of the scope. And things only get done when you say, go get this done, go get that done.
Ken Cook (26:52):We had a client years ago, they came to us and they said, "We need a new website." And I said to them, "No." They said, "But we're the client." And I said, "I know. The problem is you don't need a website. And even if I built you one, your biggest problem is your positioning is wrong. You have no idea why you've positioned the way you've positioned, and it's clearly not working. So me building a new website that looks better with bad positioning is going to leave you in the same spot that you're in." So if you can do these couple of things, we've found that it solved that problem almost entirely, because you're in absolute control. They can't scope creep without you saying yes, I'm willing to go do X, Y, and Z. Because you're in control, not them.
Kim Mortensen (27:44):I love that. I think that brings up a really good point. First of all, Dobbin, let's have you comment on the scope creep. But then also, how do you position the expectation early on so that the expectation is set, and then anything beyond that, like Lindsey said, she charges handsomely? So how do some of those conversations happen? But scope creep first.
Dobbin Buck (28:14):With different service levels, different products, or different services, there's different operational efficiencies which protect us within them. Each one has different sets of rules. Ultimately, we want to define rules that at the end of the day provide results and shine well back upon our team and our brand, because we don't do a lot of marketing to keep our company going. It's all referral and relationship based marketing. You won't see a Facebook ad out there for GetUWired or something, and you never have in the 15 years I've been in it.
Dobbin Buck (28:56):Scope creep is a byproduct of not having a plan, not communicating efficiently, and not being truly professional in regards to agency. We have very exhaustive visioning processes at the higher end on the retainer team that we are going through our understanding of their entity, what they need, we're documenting it, we're making it very clear, we're signing timelines. We live by them, and we ultimately produce what we promise we're going to produce. That takes an awful lot of work. It takes a lot of organization. It takes the team at the beginning that's really providing vision for our client. They have to be astute marketers and creatives to be able to understand what goes into this. There's other things that you have to understand around the client's intellectual property and other things that are leveraged in this stuff.
Dobbin Buck (30:04):We currently at GetUWired go through great pains for setting expectations properly, saying what we're going to deliver specifically. And if there's ever a variation on that, it isn't piled into the agreement that we currently have in place. It becomes a secondary agreement or something. With retainers as an example, it might mean here, you're going to need to wait for an opening on our team and get a second retainer for us to be able to go in that direction, because it varies from our plan right now. I've learned all the lessons. I've felt all the burn. I promise you. This isn't like I woke up one day and had some answers. And this continues to evolve. New ideas, new ways to be more efficient.
Dobbin Buck (30:53):And at the end of the day, it isn't just looking out for ourselves. It's really looking out for the client. Because if you stick with the plan, you stay with the vision, and you can execute and get things done efficiently, they're going to get more bang for their buck. They're going to get the results that they want to get. Ken alluded to this. They will get in the way of their own success, because they have ideas that aren't founded in real world experience in marketing and what it takes to pull something off.
Dobbin Buck (31:27):This topic is one that everybody complains about. I'm sure the people on this call are like, oh yeah, yeah, I'm in the middle of that stuff now. But there is a strength in it. Ken maybe had a little bit more bravado than I would throw at it. I'm not like, this is the way we're going to do it, or my way or the highway type of thing. But it is like, hey, if you want to work with us, this is the way that we work. This is what we found to be successful. And this is the way we're going to do it. If we divert from this, we might not be a good fit for each other.
Kim Mortensen (32:11):Well, I love it. And it goes back to a lot what Ken and Lindsey were saying too, and that is clients aren't hiring just for you guys work hours. They're hiring for a result. And they're also hiring because you're the expert. They need to allow you one, to be the expert because they hired you because they were confident at one point. You need to be sure that they allow you to be the expert.
Kim Mortensen (32:33):And the other thing also is that these principles and these things that you do that you're really good at, it doesn't matter if it takes you 10 minutes to implement for them, or it takes you 10 hours. You need to price it based upon the value that it is to your client. I think Ken went through some really bold, bold exercises to find out what the market really valued the stuff that he was doing. And I love that. I think that's so courageous and so great. All of you have made your journey through that. So Lindsey, do you have anything more to add?
Lindsey Ardmore (33:11): I just wanted to say on-Kim Mortensen (33:13): Expectation and...Lindsey Ardmore (33:14):Yeah. Expectation agreement. So we actually do an expectation agreement because everything that we do is very templated. Everything is systemized. We can guarantee them exactly what their process is going to look like. When you get into really crazy custom work, that gets a little bit more wonky. And like Dobbin was saying, maybe there's addendums that need to happen, or we're going to have to adjust how we're going to do things and be a little bit more flexible.
Lindsey Ardmore (33:39):But when people come to us in our agency, because we know what it is exactly that we're going to be giving them what assets we need down to you need four pictures, this is what those pictures should look like type of vibe, we actually give them a contract. After their big contract that they signed with us... I call it big. It's kind of funny, but it's a couple pages long. I have a one page expectation agreement that outlines exactly what they can expect from us, exactly what they need to deliver to us before we start work, how long it's going to take on the nose, and when they can expect to receive their first revision.
Lindsey Ardmore (34:14):Since we implemented that, I think that was two and a half years ago, like Dobbin said, things changed. We're constantly evolving here all the time, too. But when we started doing that a couple years ago, all of a sudden things changed. They were thanking us for taking the time to get this done. They were thanking us for knowing what the brand was going to look like. And the result that I can provide every single time is so much higher quality, because I know exactly what landing page we're going to use, what the image is, what they like, what they want to have on there, that sort of thing.
Lindsey Ardmore (34:48):I would be super happy to give that to anybody, our expectation agreement. It's super simple. And it even, I think, said on there, things change. It will be flexible if we have to be flexible, but in the meantime this is what we're doing, this is what you're agreeing to, and here's the expectations. All clients are happier when they have expectations.
Dobbin Buck (35:10):Hey, I want to see a copy of that. Send it over to me, Lindsey. I'll send it to you. Yeah. Yeah, I will.
Kim Mortensen (35:14):I know that everybody's asking for it. Carla, Justin. I saw that Heather is. Yeah. I think that is so great just to have that document that sets that out and establishes the framework so that everybody's on the same page moving forward. That's really good. Heather mentioned this in the comments. She's moving from solopreneur, moving into that agency type of thing. She's feeling really overwhelmed. What do you think are some of the first steps that she needs to really think about and get in place and get foundational as she moves into that type of work? Ken.
Ken Cook (35:59):If you've not read Gerber's E-myth, start there. Okay. Fundamentally, your job as a business owner is to build a system so simple that a 14 year old can run it. That's how McDonald's serves 250 million people globally every single day, and doesn't have mass food poisonings. Really think about this. We all know that employees in general are a problem because they're not like you as an owner. They don't care like you do. They don't work like you do. They don't value the same things that you value. If you can create a clear system, clear steps, clear organizational process that says, this is how you do this thing, that is an absolute game changer.
Ken Cook (37:00):This is something that we've done ourselves multiple times. Your first step is to figure out how do I do things so that you can communicate to someone else, this is how we do it here? That doesn't mean it's never going to change. It doesn't mean your ideas aren't valid or important. It does mean that this is what we do here. And until I change it, this is what I expect you to do.
Ken Cook (37:29):For the other books that I really recommend on this is Dan Kennedy's No BS Ruthless Management of People and Profits. I would say the biggest mistake I ever made as an agency owner was I was far too kind to our employees. When our business blew up, it wasn't them who took a hit, it was me. And I don't think I really understood this reality of as the owner you're the one taking the risk, not them. Because they'll just go get another job tomorrow. This idea of how do you, without emotion to a certain degree, create a management system? Without that, all bets are off. I wish Tyler would've come to come to my house and said, dude, you're an idiot. You're about to blow things up.
Kim Mortensen (38:30): I bet he will for a fee.Ken Cook (38:32): I'm sure he will.Kim Mortensen (38:36):All right. This has been so great. We are going to go into some Q and A. I think we have some questions. But really quick. Sorry, Devlin. I want each of you to say, what are three things you wish you would've known when you started your agency? And you might be doing them now, but what are the three things that you wish you would've known? Lindsey?
Lindsey Ardmore (39:03):Oh my goodness. On the spot, Kim. Okay. Three things. One, expectation agreement has been life changing. Two, templatizing literally everything in my business has also been life changing. And three, not being scared to hire. I hired my first person after two weeks because it was a necessity. She's my sister-in-law, Haley. Many of you, if you're a Keap partner or a Keaper, you've met Haley. Those three things changed my life.
Kim Mortensen (39:33): Awesome. Dobbin.
Dobbin Buck (39:39):I'll take a little bit of a different direction. Make as many friends as possible. I've always done that. But these are the in hindsight looking back is making connections. Never underestimate who is one degree of separation from your next successful deal or relationship. When you second guess somebody in this world at a conference that has reached out to you, you never know what impact they would have on things. And I found that time and time again.
Dobbin Buck (40:12):Personnel. The entire key to the success of our company has been on the employee base in developing a deep culture. We have an 11 part hiring process that's constantly evolving. It's very difficult to get through the gauntlet and GetUWired. But when you hire the right people, you're hiring partners. And when you think about employees, you think about the fact that they are giving more of their life and time to you and your vision than they are to their children, their hobbies, and the other things that they're supposedly working for. So we try and be mindful of that and their sacrifice. Ultimately, when I treat them in alignment with that, it comes back multifold. The relationship, how much they care about the company, how much they care about us. We're living proof of it today. I have amazing people that I love working here at GetUWired. And the leadership team, as great as we think we are, we're nothing without them.
Dobbin Buck (41:17):And then the third thing is, don't underestimate yourself. Don't ever feel like the small person in the room. Understand that you're important, that your desires to grow your business, that your intuitions about where you want to go are valid. Don't be intimidated. When you feel fear, walk into it. When you want to meet somebody, an influencer, somebody that could change your life, walk into it. Even if you're afraid, go for it. What's the worst thing that can happen? They don't like you? Who cares? There's another person that you can approach. But just don't live by fear. Go head long into what you want. And odds are you're going to have a better chance of finding it.
Kim Mortensen (42:12): Love that. Ken.
Ken Cook (42:16):First and foremost, business is a team sport. If you're not with a team, like this guy is on my team, and I absolutely love that he is here to work with us and support us. My business partner, David. Those people, they do so much for you that you can't even understand. This whole thing of working from home, I think for a lot of us, was a challenge at first. But I think it's one of the biggest blessings that's actually come out of this massive shift in business. So that's the first thing. Business is a team sport. Find your team, build your team. I tell people all the time, my business partner, David, is the difference between our success and failure. There was a little bit of success before I knew David and before he was integrated into what we were doing. He is the driving force of our success.
Ken Cook (43:22):Secondly, systems. Business systems, business structures are so critical. I used to say, we don't have time to document things. Now we don't have time not to document things. So building a predictable repeatable system, massive. And the third thing, it echoes something I said earlier. Nobody wants to buy your time, your work. [inaudible 00:43:54] your outcomes. Focus first and foremost on helping others get what they want most so that you can get what you want most.
Kim Mortensen (44:08):Man, those are some truth bombs right there, you guys. Okay. I think we have a ton of questions. We'll answer as many as we have time for. We've got about six minutes per questions before we pass the baton. So Dev, take it away.
Devlyn Parsons (44:23):Thanks, Kim. And thank you guys, our panelists. You guys are amazing. Hopefully we had so many questions. I noticed that a lot of them were trying to answer stuff as things were coming in, so thank you guys. And for those of you who we can't answer all your questions today, in just a little while our panelists are going to put links on how you can get in touch with them later. So that way, if you have any unanswered questions, if you need their help, if you're interested in learning more, I'm sure they'll have some really great information for you to leverage later on. Okay, Lindsey, this one's coming in hot. This one's for you. So when you provide the campaign templates, do you include the copy for the emails as well? Or do you just give them the guidance on what they should include? And this is from Justin.
Lindsey Ardmore (45:02):Okay. This is such a good question. I do two things. One, I am happy to give any of my clients any of the emails that are my personal emails that I put into our templated campaigns. I give those to them. And more often than not, people just want a starting point in my world. They don't really necessarily care about having someone else write it. They just want a starting point so they know what to do. So I give them those templates.
Lindsey Ardmore (45:30):If they want us to get my copywriter involved, meet with them, go through it and tweak all of those for them, again, it's all templated so it's not like they're adding a bunch of other stuff into it, then we upcharge that at the time of the initial sale. Depending on the campaign of mine that they're getting, it's between $1,520 and $2,500 to do that with my copywriter.
Devlyn Parsons (45:57):Okay, nice. Okay, Ken, this one's for you. Speaking of bold, Kim mentioned that earlier, she called you a bold guy, which you are, bold and sparkly. How do you ask them what they want to pay? So what process do you follow for asking clients what they want to pay? This is an interesting one. Awkward question, I think. But how would you go about that?
Ken Cook (46:23):There is a trick to this. Okay. Y'all are familiar with the concept of a price anchor, right? And people, especially in the US, are used to having a price anchor. The trick to really understanding what this is worth to somebody is you have to remove all price anchors. So do your proposal process, do the entire thing, and remove any hint of price anchoring whatsoever. When they ask you, "Well, what do I have to pay?" You simply turn it back to them and say, "Whatever you want. Whatever you want. Whatever it's worth to you is what you pay me." The trick is they're going to ask you 4, 5, 10 times, "Well, what do you normally charge? What does this normally run? What do other people charge?" Give them nothing. That's the real trick. The process is you give them nothing so that they have to then look at the outcome and say, this is what this outcome is worth to me.
Devlyn Parsons (47:30):Okay. Fair enough. All right, Dobbin. We only have two minutes left, and I'm sure this topic you could talk about for a solid 30 to 45 minutes, so good luck answering this in two minutes. This question comes from Mike, and he wants you to talk about how you manage your profitability in more detail specifically for agency owners? Any little nuggets you can give that are specific to agency owners and managing profitability?
Dobbin Buck (47:59):Sure. Well, for starts with any business or agency, it would be helpful to read the book, Profits First. There's a methodology and a thought process that I think is very valuable there. Just to put an umbrella around this. Now, to get specific on that, ultimately, in order to understand profitability we have to understand what the software costs are, labor costs, overhead costs, and everything combined that is going into that particular slice of work. We have figured out fractures of global overhead, like my controller, my bookkeeper, the HR person in the office, my sales team, the executive branch, people that aren't necessarily billable by the hour, or not by the hour, but billable by recurring revenue, whatever. They aren't billable individuals specifically. So that goes into overhead.
Dobbin Buck (49:00):Now we understand with each product, with each channel, with each type of service or business, regardless of how we charge for it, that we can reverse engineer our cost and global overhead into a formula. And then we're able to do the mathematics that show us where we are. And then we also look at profitability at a couple of different stages. So you're looking at how profitable a channel is within itself. Let's just say it's a 71st cent profitable when you're just looking at the payroll and raw costs of that team, and you have a certain level of profitability there. Then you look at profitability again once you've eked out the global overhead of... Like I'm in our office right now, which we own, I'm not making payments on it, but there's expenses with the space and all of that. So we have spreadsheets after spreadsheets that we can analyze this down to not only to the team, but down to individuals on the team, to be able to take a look at how profitable that particular employee or that particular manager is under their group of employees.
Dobbin Buck (50:10):We can get very nuanced in the way that we look at it, because profitability on one level is about, at the end of the day we have resources to grow the company, we have resources to give to the stakeholders of the company, we have all sorts of things. But bear in mind that with today's amazing people that we have working with us on our teams, they generally are expecting some raises and different things to help improve their life on an annual basis. So we have to be forecasting in advance with our current level of profitability how many years out is the breaking point on that as we're elevating people and things like that. If someone's really interested in this nerdy stuff, you could reach out to me and I'd be happy to break it down in greater detail, if that's interesting.
Devlyn Parsons (51:05):Yes. Dobbin, amazing. Thank you so much. Really great information. If you can, go ahead and let our attendees know how they can reach you. So Lindsey, Ken, Dobbin go ahead and throw whatever the best way to contact you is inside the chat. I just want to personally thank you guys for everything you do for the Keap community. We love you. You are continually educating our customers, our prospects, other partners. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Without you guys, our events can't be possible.
Devlyn Parsons (51:34):I am going to go ahead and turn things over to Alicia Romo. She's our partner development manager. So for those of you that are on the call today, if you're not a certified partner or a certified consultant, this next part is for you, Alicia. So go ahead and take it away.
Alicia Romo (51:52):Let's do it. How do I even follow all of that knowledge that was just shared on this amazing webinar? I just want to say I can't thank Ken, Dobbin and Lindsey enough for that, too. Super inspiring. Really great stuff. What I'm going to be talking about, I know Dev had just mentioned, there's a lot of amazing certified partners on this call already, so happy to see all of you guys here in action. Dev, if you can move to the next slide for me, please. I'm going to share a few nuggets. For people who've been thinking about what our partnership community looks like or exploring it a little bit further, I'm going to highlight this for you. And at the end of my talk here for about five, six minutes I'll give you a way to connect with our team to chat through it a little bit more.
Alicia Romo (52:36):This is all about partnering with Keap. We've got an amazing robust partner community full of incredible individuals, like Dobbin, Ken, Lindsey. I can't name enough of you guys in the attendee chat as well that are just looking to share best practices. They're looking to support each other, grow each other's businesses, maybe even show up at your house like happened to Lindsey with Tyler. Didn't know that was the thing, but incredible, right? So really great partner community here. I can't stress that enough.
Alicia Romo (53:09):As a certified partner, one other thing that you get is a dedicated coach. If anyone on our certified partner team can type in the chat how important your regional partner manager is to the success of your business and strategizing and growing your business in that way, you get one on one unlimited time with them. So that's huge.
Alicia Romo (53:32):We also do a ton of events. We just came off of PartnerCon a couple of weeks ago, which was an incredible event. Just sharing mastermind, networking, a lot of different topics on growing your agency and your consultancy. We've got partner days, regional masterminds, lots of things happening from an event perspective. Webinars like this, business boosters, all of that type of thing to help support you and grow your business.
Alicia Romo (53:59):Lots of different resources. We build out a ton of resources on our partner portal, too, that you can pull on and use in your own business. So whether that's webinar content, one sheeters, comparison charts, videos, all of that type of stuff is available to our certified partners to use in their own businesses. You don't have to reinvent the wheel and recreate things.
Alicia Romo (54:23):We also excitedly just built out a new marketplace as well, which is an opportunity for you to get in front of our Keap customer base, too. It just launched. There's some incredible things on it, like the ability for our customers to be able to share what they need help with, and our partners to connect with them and actually build and grow on our business, too.
Alicia Romo (54:45):And there's no sales quota being a partner with Keap. We don't have those types of requirements. The only requirements are that you are using Keap in your business, the time commitment to come on board, and a modest cost as well. But there's no sales quota as to remain a partner. You can go next for me, Dev.
Alicia Romo (55:02):I want to highlight a little bit about potential earnings. This isn't necessarily the reason why anyone becomes a partner, but it's a nice cherry on top, right? So as a certified partner, you get recurring commissions for every new client that you bring on board. At minimum that's 20% all the way up to 30%. Almost all of our partners, as you've heard on this call, are charging for things like retainer services, project based work and hourly work, onboarding and implementation of Keap into a small business. So there's a lot of different ways that we can highlight for you how other partners are charging. That way you have a template as well.
Alicia Romo (55:43):We've got a $500 quick start bonus for becoming a partner. There's a lot of different bonus opportunities within your region as well. So added onto those commissions, just another icing on the cake there. Monthly sales incentives. And we have a really great potential earnings calculator, too. So if this is something you've been thinking about, check out that earnings calculator. It's keap.co/calculator. You're going to be able to determine what your first year of revenue could look like as a partner with Keap. Next slide for me.
Alicia Romo (56:14):I get this question a lot on the conversations that I have. What does a successful partner look like? Whatare we looking for in order to bring you on as a partner as well, so that you have that same success or a similar growth trajectory? Agency owners are great fits. Right? Consultants, business coaches, anyone who is offering digital marketing services, improving operational systems, setting up tech stacks for your clients, any of those types of things. If you are in that realm, in that arena, you're probably a pretty good fit for becoming a Keap certified partner. Anyone who has small business clients, I always talk about who your target customer is on the call, and making sure there's alignment with that and our product so that we can serve your clients as well. If you're actively bringing on new clients, if you have a growth strategy, even if you don't have a very specific growth strategy, but you want more support and help with growing your business, if you have the need for bringing on new clients, our team can help strategize and support you with that as well. You can go next here.
Alicia Romo (57:28):If any of this at all sounds interesting to you, let's just have a conversation. You would either speak with myself, I'm Alicia, or someone else on my team. Dan Gawlikowski is another person that you would chat with. But in terms of cost for certification, I get this question a lot. I get questions about certification a lot. So we'll talk that through on the call. Typical cost for our certification is $1,500. We've actually marked that down by $1,000. No big deal, right? To 499 for certification for those who come on board before May 20th. So you got a little bit of time there. You will be eligible for a quick start bonus, so we'll highlight that on the call and what the requirements are there. And if you're already a Keap customer, you get a sweet discount on your app. Usually, it's about 50% off. If you're brand new to Keap, it's actually a little bit of a better discount, so we'll talk that through too.
Alicia Romo (58:23):If you have any interest in chatting this through, talk to us about what you're experiencing in your business. If you have that interest and you want to just see what that would look like, book a meeting with my team. I believe Erin just put that in the chat. Thank you, Erin, for doing that. We also have a QR code. So if you just scan it with your phone, you'll hit our calendars directly as well. Thanks so much. I think I'm handing this back off to Dev after this, too.
Devlyn Parsons (58:50):Yes. Hello. Thank you, Alicia. All right, everyone. We did that in exactly 60 minutes. That is the first time ever we've pulled off a webinar on time. So I just want to thank you guys again for joining us. I want to let you know that our next Level Up Round Table virtual event is going to be on June 23rd, and the topic is going to be how to get more emails seen and make more sales. This is going to be with Adrian Savage and Evan Samurin. They presented a similar talk at PartnerCon. So please go ahead and join us. Look out for some invites to that. I want to thank you all for joining us today. Have an amazing rest of your day. Thank you for joining us. Happy Friday. We'll talk to you soon.