Many economists are reading the signs and starting to use the word business people don’t like to hear: recession. By definition, a recession happens with two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.
It doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It takes time — which gives you time to get your business ready.
Whatever comes, we want you to be prepared for the sake of your bottom line, your employees, and the plans you have to grow your business.
Watch the replay of the Level Up with Keap event, where Keap Certified Partner Richard Bueckert gives you the tools and strategies to weather any economic storm on the horizon.
As Chief Business Strategist at Railgun Results Marketing, Richard has seen economies of all types and has led his business through them successfully. He’ll share:
- The best ways to avoid the “debt bomb”
- Strategies to strengthen your balance sheet
- Improvements to your customer list
- Tips for preparing multiple budgets and plans
- Enhancements to business processes and your workforce
Watch now or read the transcript below to learn how to protect your business, no matter what the economy does.
Richard Bueckert (00:01:52): Hello and welcome to Level Up With Keap. I'm Rick Bueckert. I'm a certified Keap partner based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, although right now, I am in sunny and humid Orlando, Florida. Let's get some slides going here, and there we go. Welcome to Level Up With Keap. Today, we're going to be talking about how to recession proof your business with automation. As I mentioned, my name's Richard Bueckert, and let's get straight into it.
Richard Bueckert (00:02:28): Today, I'm going to give you a little bit of an introduction about me. I'm going to tell you why I think recessions are not all doom and gloom, and how we've leveraged recessions to do very well in our businesses. I'm going to give you a little bit of insight on how to position your business on how to thrive. We're going to show you how to use automation to drive that growth. We'll have a short Q&A, and then you're going to be able to meet Amanda, who obviously has a lot more hair than I do, and much brighter. You'll get to see her at the end. Again, my name's Richard Bueckert. My email is attached. I originally started my business life way back in 1975, in my parents' business, at the very young age of 12, and I went through... The thing about being in a family business is you get to do everything in the business that works from the very bottom up all the way to running the company, and being general manager, and being through several recessions, and we were able to weather all of them.
Richard Bueckert (00:03:39): Since 1970, which is when I first started getting into business, in my family's business, how many recessions were there? You might be surprised to know that there have only been seven. The thing that I like about recessions. They are not all doom and gloom, especially if you prepare for them, and very rarely will a recession come on without a fair bit of warning. So we're looking at possibly going into one right now. It may or may not be a recession, depending on what happens in the next couple months, with interest rates, inflation, that kind of thing. But the warning signs are there, and if you're preparing for what is going to come, your business will almost always not only survive, but you can set it up so that your business will actually thrive while competitors of yours are either struggling, or some may even go out of business.
Richard Bueckert (00:04:35): To give you an idea of the recession since I started working in my family's business, the first one went from 1973 to '75. That was a 3.2% reduction in GDP. The 1980 one was -2.2, '81, '82, which followed right after, was 2.7, 1990, '91 was 1.4, 2001 was 0.3. The great recession, the one that we all probably still remember, from 2007 to 2009, believe it or not, was only 5.1, and the most recent one, which was the very short COVID recession, and that one was 19.2, and that was the only one that really wasn't caused by economic forces. It was caused by the pandemic and the mandatory shutdowns. So that one was very short, but very brutal, and that was the only one that really didn't give anybody any warning that it was coming. That one came on really quick, and right out of the blue.
Richard Bueckert (00:05:44): But still, there were businesses that did really, really well through the COVID recession, particularly companies like Amazon, and Walmart, and the bigger ones. Small businesses, like the ones that I have and likely you have, were the ones that took the brunt of that storm, so there were ways to get through it. Many did, and we're going to show you the way that some of them did, so that as this next one comes in, you're going to be able to go through those without too much problem as well.
Richard Bueckert (00:06:16): There are a number of businesses that will actually thrive during recessions. Accountants tend to do very well through recessions, mostly because, again, business people are looking for ways to either reduce tax loads, they're looking to possibly recapture taxes that they've paid in the past, or to do adjustments on their balance sheets so that they stay within certain covenants that their banks may have for loans and that [inaudible 00:06:49] things like that. So accountants tend to do very well.
Richard Bueckert (00:06:53): Healthcare providers, again, typically do fairly well during recessions. The ones that, again, adjust for it will do better than ones that don't. Financial advisors and economists. Obviously, financial advisors, going into a recession, tend to take a little bit of a hit, because if the stock markets are going down, they're generally fielding a lot of phone calls along the range of, "What the heck is going on with my investments?" However, they also, if they're positioned properly, they can pick up a lot of business, because in good times, there are people that think they can work without a financial advisor, so they're investing on their own. They're probably thinking they're doing well, because when the market is going up across broad number of sectors, it's the old a rising tide tends to lift all boats, so you don't have to be particularly skilled to make money when the market's going up.
Richard Bueckert (00:07:59): But when things turn around, suddenly their losses are fairly substantial, and that is a great opportunity for a financial advisor to say, "Hey, if you've been investing on your own, this might be a really good time to call somebody like me and help you stop the bleeding and get your investments turned back around again." Same goes for economists. Business owners in particular are often looking for someone to give them a bit of insight into the future. What's coming? What can we expect? Is it going to get better in the next six months? Is it going to get worse? If it gets worse, how much worse is it going to get? What can I do to keep my business afloat? So economists, again, during recessions, tend to get called on a lot, simply to deal with the fear that a lot of businesses have with what's coming forward and how long is it going to last.
Richard Bueckert (00:08:53): Auto repair and maintenance. This one is fairly obvious. When times are tough, and people are not willing to spend a lot of money on assets, particularly things like cars, that have fairly heavy depreciation, they're going to make that decision a lot of times, that instead of spending $1,000 a month for the next 72 months on a new car, instead, I'm going to take $2,500, I'm going to put some repairs into the one I've got now, and I'm going to keep it another two years. So auto repair, auto repair maintenance, those businesses tend to do really well during recessions. Again, if they're positioning themselves properly, and if their messaging makes sense.
Richard Bueckert (00:09:37): Home maintenance stores. Again, they can do very, very well, simply because a lot of people aren't going to take vacations that are expensive or go away, and instead, they're going to say, "You know what? Let's not take that four-week trip to Mexico this year. Let's stay home," and instead, they're going to take at least a portion of that money, and they may reinvest it into their home, into the backyard, perhaps putting in that barbecue pit or the swimming pool they've always thought of, because at least that gives them some... also gives them an increase in asset value. Home staging, for exactly the same reason that I just mentioned. If you're not going to go on a trip, and you're going to stay at home, you may as well make your home look nice and improve it.
Richard Bueckert (00:10:21): Rental agents and property management companies. Again, this is one that most people don't think of. And especially over the last couple years, where real estate has gone up dramatically, and a lot of people got involved in bidding wars on their homes, so what happens is they ended up purchasing at a value that may be inflated relative to what the home is worth now that the market is cooling off. Especially in the case of where I am right now in Florida, there are a good number of people that I know personally, that live up North where I do, that have bought homes in the South Florida, Arizona, Texas, and they're now paying for two properties.
Richard Bueckert (00:11:05): They're paying for their primary residence at home where they live most of the time and they're paying another mortgage on that second home. And when times get tough, it might be a really good time that instead of leaving that second home empty for eight months a year and only using it for four, maybe rent it out for a couple of years, let that home generate some cash flow for you and help pay for itself, and offset some of the debt that you accumulated during the previous couple years. So both of those tend to do very well.
Richard Bueckert (00:11:36): Grocery stores, obviously another one that can do really well, if that's a niche that you're in, or something you can leverage in your business. People aren't going to eat out as much when times are tough. Interestingly, the grocery stores that do well tend to be the ones that are a little more niche. So if you are into organic foods, they tend to do well. Whole Foods tends to do really well during recessions. And if you're in a restaurant, the corollary to this is you do not want to be in the middle. So the low-end restaurants, places like McDonald's, they do just fine going into a recession. The really high-end restaurants also do fairly well in a recession. They don't feel it near as much, because their clientele aren't quite as affected by it. The ones that do get hurt are the ones in the middle, so the restaurants like Olive Gardens, Chili's, Applebee's. Those are the ones that tend to get hurt.
Richard Bueckert (00:12:40): So if you are a restaurant owner, and you are in that middle area, you want to start thinking about a niche that you can control and dominate, so rather than just being a general, mid-range restaurant, you may want to specialize in mediterranean cuisine, that's all organically grown or healthy, and start promoting that now while you can. And then the last, of course, that will always do well, and then particularly even even better during recessions and economic slowdowns, are bargain scores and discount stores. If the Dollar Store, which now because of inflation, might be the 3 or $5 store, but still, they are going to do very well, simply because people are price conscious, and they are going to start looking for other opportunities. You can also expect to see that, again, companies like Amazon, when things slow down are going to do well, because people are going to be shopping more, especially on the low end for cost. There we go
Richard Bueckert (00:13:49): The thing that you need to understand is no business niche ever completely disappears. Now, rarely will it ever disappear. You can still buy gas-powered street lamps. Now, not many, and if you think about the transition away from gas to electric when electricity became available in the early 20th century, gas street lamps really kind of went away, but you can still buy them. There are still companies that manufacture them today. The ones that do typically are going to be at the very top of their niche, so they're going to be highly artistic. They're going to be very expensive, low volume. They're going to be producing a lot of replica pieces if, say the front of your business, you want to have a 1776 theme to it. Those niches are still going to exist.
Richard Bueckert (00:14:47): Years ago, I heard many people saying that the post office is going to go out of business with the advent of email. They're still going strong. We still love, in our business for clients, sending out hard paper with stamps on it, and the reason being is because we get to show up the way that most people don't, you know? If you think about... If your inbox in the morning, and you're getting 100 emails in the morning, what's the first thing you're doing? You're going into your email box, and you're going delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, "I'll keep that one." Delete, delete, delete. "Oh, I'll keep that one." Delete, delete, delete.
Richard Bueckert (00:15:28): If you compare that to someone who has sent you an actual physical envelope, with a stamp and a handwritten address on it, and maybe there's something lumpy in that envelope you can feel, I guarantee you're going to open that. You're not going to take that envelope and throw it straight into the recycling bin. It's just our human nature, if there's something in there that we think might be important, we're not going to do it. So you know, in a way, the post office is even experiencing a type of renaissance. So they're not going away. You can still go and ride and see steam engines running on railroad tracks.
Richard Bueckert (00:16:03): ... go and ride and see steam engines running on railroad tracks. Recently I was going through Wyoming and I saw the great big Union Pacific one and I was absolutely stunned by the size of it. Union Pacific still keeps these things running. There are other countries in the world that still use steam engines. It's probably on its way out, especially with all the global warming. But you can still see and take a ride on a steam engine. Interestingly enough, I noticed a while back I was looking through a catalog from Quadra-Trac, which is a four-wheel drive magazine that you can from parts order everything you need to build a brand new complete 1975 CJ5 completely from restoration parts. So things never go away completely. The fact that you can buy all the parts to make a brand new 45 year old vehicle amazes me. But if you're taking that top niche, you're probably going to be pretty safe.
Richard Bueckert (00:17:07): The biggest thing going into recession is positioning your business to thrive. The way you do that is, you determine the one singular function that your business must perform day in, day out, consistently to flourish, and you may have multiples, but most businesses have one. If they do have multiples, it's because they really should have, if you think of it as different divisions, because they have a different focus. But there will be one singular function that the business has to do to get it right, and this is where you start. So in the case of our business, which is we provide marketing services and keep services to our clients. Our singular function here at RailGun Marketing is we provide our clients with a continuous flow of quality leads that will book consultations with the client. Everything that we do is geared towards making that happen.
Richard Bueckert (00:18:15): When we have a problem in that area, it's now an all-hands on deck problem. So we get people from accounting; they're helping getting us back on track. We get our sales people, we turn the sales off if we're having a problem until we get all of this back on track. Because in our business, if we don't get this right, because the majority of our clients stay with us for many, many months, and if we do not keep this one thing running properly, that's when we start to lose clients. It's far more expensive for us, like all to the tune of almost 20 times more expensive for us to get replacement clients rather than keep a client. So our singular function is providing that continual flow of quality leads that books consultations with them.
Richard Bueckert (00:19:05): I just want to make sure you understand what this singular function is, if you were a consultant, you could be providing chief financial officers with the best option for new automated billing systems. That means that you're going to be taking the time to really understand where the client's pain points are. You're going to be staying at the very leading edge of finding out what software is available, how you can speed up payments, how you can reduce the cost of processing fees, that kind of thing. It's everything that a CFO is going to need to do this particular function so that you become the trusted source that they think of when they want to make a change in that area. Let's say you're an electrician. Your singular function could be providing safe home rewiring service, remaining absolutely punctual, and when you say you will arrive, when you'll leave. You'll stay on budget and you'll pass inspections without rework.
Richard Bueckert (00:20:18): If you think about from the electrician's perspective, what does this do for them? Well, it means that if you are specializing in doing rewiring on old houses, and years ago when I owned rental homes, a lot of homes that we bought had knob-and-tube wiring, which is now completely illegal. If you bought the house, the first thing you had to do was rip all this old wiring out and you need to put new wiring in. So as a real estate investor, what was I looking for? Well, I wanted to make sure it was on budget, that was step one, because I'm still trying to plan cash flow. I want to make sure that they're punctual, meaning things are getting done on time. The other thing is, as far as passing inspections without rework. If I'm a homeowner and an inspector comes in and they say to me, "You need your electrician to fix all these deficiencies?" How likely am I going to be to recommend my electrician to somebody else? The answer is probably not very much.
Richard Bueckert (00:21:21): So you want to have the work done the first time, and as the electrician, this should be my goal. So everything that I should be doing as an electrician is going to be making sure that I'm on time all the time. It's going to make sure that I properly budgeted so that I'm not having to surprise my client and I'm getting things done properly the first time. That is how I'm going to grow my business, and it's through the referrals on this case is where my business is going to grow. Because chances are, if I'm a real estate investor, I probably belong to a couple other groups or clubs or anything else of other real estate investors, and I'm going to be raving about my guy because everything got done on time versus the person says, "I had a nightmare with my electrician." That one is not going to survive in a really deep session.
Richard Bueckert (00:22:14): Once you know your core deliverable, now you're going to want to assess the relationship of every other part of your business as it relates to that function, and you're going to want to start to optimize all of those things and get those costs down. Every time I've done this exercise in a business that I have owned, I have found huge areas of waste that quite frankly, really annoyed me when I found them because they had been there for years and in some cases it was tens of thousands of dollars that we were spending needlessly just in the areas where we thought we had to support our core goal. So in these relationships that assess [inaudible 00:23:02] to your core goal, there are a number of broad areas that you should look at. So you should look at marketing, for sure. That is one where for a great many businesses, it can be a really big, deep black hole where you can just throw a lot of money and get very little return.
Richard Bueckert (00:23:19): Your sales is another one, and it's important to understand that in many businesses, the marketing does not match up with the sales process. That is a place where you can lose a lot of traction between the two. Production, again, there are things that in a production area that will tell you where things are going and things are going wrong. Recently, one that I became made aware of through a friend was manufacturer that makes replacement bumpers for trucks and off-roading, and the core metric that the management can tell... If you've ever been in a shop that does arc welding, is when you arc weld, you get a really bright blue light, and if the management would look out over the shop floor and they noticed that they couldn't see bright blue light shining, they knew there was a problem somewhere because the linchpin for that business was the welding stations.
Richard Bueckert (00:24:28): If the welding stations were continually throwing off bright blue light, they know that everything was flowing nicely, and if all of a sudden the bright blue light stopped, it meant there was a problem and they were able to go and look and find out what was wrong in production. There will be numerous indicators like this in your business of choke points, and I want you to think of a choke point, like an hourglass. You have your sand on top, you have your empty sand on the bottom, and it comes through into a really narrow point and then it wides back out. Every business will have one narrow point that is the main restriction for their business. If you think of, again, going back to the hourglass, you could have two or three, but it is going to be the one that is going to determine how all the rest go. So you're always looking for that one narrow point of where the restriction is, and you want to very aggressively right now start eliminating those choke points.
Richard Bueckert (00:25:25): Design is one. If you look at the best example I like for design is a company like IKEA, where you can get a bookcase that will fit into your suitcase when you carry home. I don't know how they pack this stuff, but it's all part of their design, and these are things that you can be using in your business to look for efficiencies that may not be there right now. Accounting, what are accounting procedures that you're doing right now that you really don't need to be doing? I know for years my county department would spit out dozens of reports that I never looked at. No idea what they were, didn't need them. Yet, every week they're spending countless hours giving me reports that no one will ever look at.
Richard Bueckert (00:26:14): HR, do you have the right people in the right place and reporting? Again, what I just said about accounting. I was getting reports that I had no use for. So those are things to get on. So here's what you do is you say, what can you discontinue? What is it you can delegate and what is it that you can diminish? I'll give you some examples of those, because all of these are going to automate to drive your growth, and the more you can automate, especially right now we've all heard about The Great Resignation and quiet quitting and all the rest of it. The reason that I'm as bullish on automation as I am is because my automation works 24/7. It runs me a few hundred dollars a month versus an employee that would do the same work would be several thousand dollars a month, never takes holidays, [inaudible 00:27:14].
Richard Bueckert (00:27:14): I can count on it to get what I want to get done, done when things get done, which is ultimately one of the big advantages of automation. We use automation in our business everywhere we can, not just on the marketing side, we use it internally to automate our processes so that when a certain task gets done, the automation marks that as done, lets the client know and it tells us what the next step is that has to get done, or can it give me some examples of how to do that. So this is an example of what we discontinue. So we wanted to benefit from better lead conversion for a client and instead of driving that client's traffic to their website homepage and then forcing them to.... Their only real option on the homepage was to phone and make an appointment, in this was a dental client, and I'm going to give an example how this would work. So let's assume that you are out playing baseball and for some reason you end up taking a baseball in the mouth and you knock out your teeth. You're immediately probably going to say, "I need to get to a dentist. I have these teeth, they're loose, they're ready to come out." So you're going to go on to likely Google, and you're going to type in something like baseball, loose tooth, sports injury, dental, sports injury, something along that line. You're going to get a whole bunch of results. There's going to be ads at the top. There's usually 20 to 25 entries on a Google page, of which two thirds of them are going to be ads. You're going to start clicking, and I can guarantee you in most cases, you're going to get sent to a dentist's homepage, which is going to say nothing about sports injury, baseball, loose tooth injury, that kind of thing. It's gonna be, "You have reached ABC Dental, we are proud to be your local dentist. We do hygiene, we do cleaning," and all kinds of stuff, none of which relates to your injury.
Richard Bueckert (00:29:33): Instead, what happened if you went to a page that said, "Dental sports injury, call our 24 hour emergency line, we can get you in right away. You're going to get the majority of the people doing that inquiry simply because you're now speaking exactly to their needs. You're not speaking to some generic need that they don't have. So this is the first thing you should be looking at in your business. If you want to discontinue sending people that have a specific need to a non-specific page on your website or asking them to do something that doesn't make any sense. If you think about it from the perspective of the person who's typing in the search, "Does this answer make sense?" And in the majority of cases they don't. Those are the first places you're going to want to go in and start fixing things.
Richard Bueckert (00:30:26): An example of delegating. Now, keep in mind, delegating, most people think, If I'm going to take a job and I'm going to give it to somebody else, that's delegating," that's true. But I can also delegate to a machine. So in this case, with sales people, they were spending their day smiling and dialing. They dial the number, hope to get a reply. Sometimes they talk to somebody; sometimes they don't. If they do, some of them want to talk to them, some of them they don't. Some of them aren't interested. This takes a number of people to sit and continue going through these dials. So how do we reduce this? How do we make this system better? So what we created for this client was... Now what we're doing is before the dial is made, we're using automation to send a text message to the client or the prospect.
Richard Bueckert (00:31:24): The prospect says, "Hey, this is Rich from [inaudible 00:31:27] marketing. I'm going to be calling in a few minutes to talk about geo-fencing marketing," for example. Now we wait for a reply because what can happen, I've sent the text message, and if let's say you get the text message, it can either be, "Great, looking forward to your call." That could be a reply. There could be no reply. There could be a reply that says, "Hey, Rich, I'm going to be busy for the next hour. Can you call me at two o'clock?" That's a great reply. I love getting replies like that because that means they're interested and they actually want to set up a time to talk to me. That's a really, really good reply.
Richard Bueckert (00:32:03): ... actually want to set up a time to talk to me. That's a really, really good reply. You could also get a reply of, "Yeah, we thought about it, we're not interested. Thanks." Also, that's a great reply. Why? Because now I'm not going to have to spend my time dialing to find that out because that's awkward for me. It's rejection. It's awkward for them. Nobody likes telling you, we don't want your product. We found somebody and it gives it. Now, I'm not going to waste my time, probably five or 10 minutes, on that call. I can now spend my time to someone who says, "Yeah, call me at 2:00," so the quality of my calls is going to go up.
Richard Bueckert (00:32:38): There's a side benefit to this that most people don't know. When Apple came out with iOS 13, they added a little toggle on everybody's phone that says, block unknown callers. What that did was if I tried to phone you and I've never called you before and I'm not in your address book, chances are good, if you have that toggle on, that your phone's not going to ring. It's going to send me straight to voicemail and tell me to leave a message and then it'll say that you have voicemail. The reason that they did that was for spam and for robo dialers, so I totally understand the reason they did it. However, as a business owner, that makes my job a lot tougher.
Richard Bueckert (00:33:21): Far better, if I send a message first that says, "Hey, this is Rich. I'm going to be calling you from RailGun Marketing about geo marketing in the next few minutes." Now, what's going to happen? Same situation. Now, when I phone, because I've sent that text message first, Siri is going to see the text message and the phone call are coming from the same number. It's going to look at the text message and this is when, if you have an iPhone, you probably have seen this, it'll say, maybe; Rich RailGun Marketing. Chances are at that point now, if you know that it's probably me, you're going to answer the call. I'm not going to go to voicemail. If my competitors don't know this, they're going to voicemail and I get to talk to the prospect. Which one would you rather be? Chances are, you'd rather be talking to the prospect.
Richard Bueckert (00:34:16): This was an example of how we delegated tasks to automation. This really made a difference for the client. Matter of fact, they were able to go from four sales people down to one, doing exactly the same number of sales but with three people less. Another example of discontinue. You can use automation to enhance customer satisfaction by providing status updates for your clients as the work and milestones are completed by using automation. Instead of having to manually type out, "Hey Rich, just got your graphics done. Here is the file. Please proof it and let me know." Then, I have to write myself sticky note and I need to stick it on my computer screen and remind myself in two days that if I hadn't heard from you to tell me that the graphics I made for you are good, that I now need to call you back.
Richard Bueckert (00:35:15): Instead, I can use automation for this. I can put the file into an email. I can send it to you and say everything's all typed in. It's ready to go. I just have to attach the file, send it off, it goes and now the automation is going to wait two days and if it sees that you haven't responded back to me, it's going to send a reminder, "Hey, it's Rich from RailGun. I sent you the files for approval. I haven't heard from you yet. Can you let me know if this is okay," and then if another two date goes by, now, it might create a task for me and it says, "Hey, I've sent two emails, I still don't heard from you. You need to call."
Richard Bueckert (00:35:51): Right. Again, that's all automated. This is something that I no longer have to do. That task has been discontinued. An example of something that can be not eliminated, but it can be diminished. Your business can benefit from cash flow by reducing the receivables and also reducing the amount of admin work that has to go associated with all that. When you get someone that says, "Yeah, I'm interested. Send me a contract," why not send them an automated order form that has a payment button on it? Instead of having to call them back, get their credit card number, enter it into a system manually, then call them back because you reversed two numbers and it didn't work and everything else. Now, you can send them a link that says, "You can buy right here. Just enter your credit card number, your expire date, your CVC and your postal code," and hit enter and dump, right? Then, you'll get an email.
Richard Bueckert (00:37:04): I love getting these emails which come in the morning and it says, "We're putting X amount of money in your bank account." It tells me these people are paid. That's a really great way to start your day. If you really want a good pick me up in the morning, start reading emails that says, "We put money in your bank account," especially if you have any kind of subscription and it does it on the first day of the month. Wouldn't you love to go into your entire month knowing that you just put $10,000 in the bank before the month even started? It's a great feeling. These are all things that you can do to diminish the amount of work that you would normally be doing manually.
Richard Bueckert (00:37:42): Delegating instead of replying repeatedly to questions that we get, "How do we do this and keep him," and I type it out and I send it to them. Then, three days later, a different client sends me an email and says, "How do I do this and keep him?" You know what? It's the same question. If I'm using an automated online course, I can now not only say, here goes just one click and it sends it off and says, "Here's all the information you asked for," but I can now automate all of that with, let's say there's the 10 most common questions and I don't have to do that work anymore. I can also do that by freeing up our HR person from doing the same training over and over because now it's, do lesson one, write the exam, pass. Here's lesson two, write the exam, pass. That saves time for HR because now they can do the things that are more pressing because the training is automated.
Richard Bueckert (00:38:45): These are, again, things that you should be able to do in your business very easily just to make things go smoother, continually and without having to really spend a lot of time building all that. The sound I hate more than any other in business is, have I got a minute? Usually, this is a staff member that really probably knows what they should be doing, but would rather that I sign off on it so that they can come back and say, "Well, I said." Well, this is not something that I really have time for and chances are, if you have staff, you don't either. Give access to automated dashboards that tell them exactly what needs to be done next and if they hit a roadblock.
Richard Bueckert (00:39:40): We've been working very diligently on a client's app right now building all of those contingencies in where when they get to a task, it now says is, "Was it this?" "No." "Was it this?" "No." "Was it this?" "Yes." They click that one and it now tells them exactly what to do so that management and owners don't have to do it. Again, it's just a way of keeping your managers from disengaging from the work they're doing to answer the, "Have you got a minute," question and then wasting several more minutes figuring out what the heck was I just doing before I got interrupted and then getting back to it before the next time, "You got a minute," comes up. This is a way to delegate workout and get that off your plate.
Richard Bueckert (00:40:27): Lastly, and you probably started to get the gist of this as we've been going through it, the key to getting through anywhere any recession is to become the preeminent player in your marketing. Going back to what I said in the beginning, if your no niche will ever completely disappear and if you are in the top of your niche, you're in a great position to weather through this. One of the things that we were able to do many times as we were going through recessions with our businesses is, as competitors disappeared, which happened quite often, we would do things that would take advantage of their inability to make it. For example, we would always go out of our way to try and buy a competitor's phone number. They're gone. They have a customer base. They're not serving their clients anymore. We want to be able to take care of those clients for them. We would offer to go and buy their phone number from them. That way, when somebody called the business that was no longer there, at least they got someone who could take care of their needs for them.
Richard Bueckert (00:41:33): We would also go through and buy their list of clients and prospects and we would always pay really well for it, simply because part of the agreement that we would make in buying their list from them was that they authorized us to use their email address to send an email that said, "Unfortunately, we are going out of business and we have made an arrangement with one of our companies to take care of you. They have all of your warranty information. They have all of your service history and unfortunately, we're not going to be here to take care of you, but we've made arrangements with them to take care of you." Do you think we got business from those emails? You're darn right we did and we got a lot of business and a lot of really great customers out of the those and it was not expensive. Things that you need to be prepared to do.
Richard Bueckert (00:42:28): The other thing from those events was we were also able to buy a lot of equipment for pennies on the dollar. If they were competitors of ours, chances are, they used very similar equipment to what we did. Dynamometers, we bought one literally for a few cents on a dollar because there's not a big market for used ones, especially in one of our old businesses, which was in the power sports marine business. Testing equipment was all specialized, had very little value outside of anybody in our industry. We were able to buy all that really cheap. Replacement parts, we went through, we would buy all their replacement parts from them, current parts, we paid fairly well for parts that were obsolete. That helped us by building our inventory up from very little cost.
Richard Bueckert (00:43:22): All of these are things that you can do by becoming the preeminent player and they allow you to get stronger and grow faster. Again, you do that by providing superior service and in all the things I just showed you in controlling those costs because the majority of your competitors aren't going to do it, which means if you start on the process now of taking the advantages that you have and starting to, especially if you're using automation, you can keep your costs really well controlled rather than just throwing money at people, especially in this environment that we're in right now. It can really help with your business. What's happening right now? This is my opinion. I see right now there's this looming perfect storm. We've got this looming recession. We've got a combination of the great resignation where people are just saying, "I don't want to work," or, "I want to work for myself," or, "I don't believe in this particular company. I'm going," and of course, the latest one now is this quiet quitting, which is, "I'm not being paid enough to stay after hours or go the extra mile or anything else."
Richard Bueckert (00:44:43): These are things that as business owners, we all have to contend with and we have to contend with it to keep our customers happy. Again, it's not about us. I went for dinner the other night and walked in the restaurant and it said, "Please be patient. We are experiencing a staffing shortage. If you don't want to wait, we would love to have your application." Okay, well, as a customer, that was a little disconcerting. Now, fortunately, the place did not look busy, so I wasn't too worried, but if it had been a packed night and I saw that, I would seriously think about going somewhere else.
Richard Bueckert (00:45:29): You need to look at your business through the lenses of your clients. That is where the money is going to come from and it's one of the reasons why adding automation to your business can be the path to avoiding that perfect storm. It's why we're doing it day in day out is we're looking for ways to automate our system and smooth out that flow so that we don't need to throw people at problems like we used to 10 years ago. Now, we're using automation to solve a lot of it and we're using people to do the really high value work and we're not burning them out, which means they're a lot happier.
Richard Bueckert (00:46:12): Going to switch over now and if you have any questions and answers, you can post them in and we will see what pops up. How would we learn how to create those links for the automated emails? If you're specifically talking about Keep, there is, as a Keep client, you're able to get into academy.keep.com and I'm pretty sure, I'm doing that one by memory, and I know if I get it wrong, Ducey, who is helping me manage the page here is going to correct me. In Keep Academy, there's an absolute treasure troll of training. I've been Keep partner for several years. I actually was a Keep customer long before I was a partner. Every once in a while, I go into Keep Academy and I actually retake courses because there are things that are getting continually added. There are new features that come out.
Richard Bueckert (00:47:23): One of my favorite ones that came out a number of years ago was on the task goals that came out. It used to be that either the task was done or it wasn't done. Now with tasks, you can have variable outcomes. For example, in if you create a task that says, "Call client," you can have, "Yes, contacted client, going forward," "Contacted client, not going forward," "No answer," "No answer, left voicemail," "Not interested," and then you can ...
Richard Bueckert (00:48:03): ... left voicemail not interested. And then you can create branches of all this.
Richard Bueckert (00:48:06): In the automated emails, there's a couple ways to do it depending on the application. Keap Academy is the best one. If you're trying to get information in, I would tend to use an embedded form where the way we do it, just because we want to be able to keep track of what's going on, is we actually use an image of the form that when they click the image, it takes them to the actual form. The reason for that is we want to be able to see the transition from. But there are numerous ways to do it. Or you can just have them go to a link where they can just upload a file, for example, if you wanted them to send you an image, that kind of thing, or let's say, send an image of your driver's license. They can upload that. There are different ways of doing it.
Richard Bueckert (00:48:58): Not seeing any other ones. Let me go to comments. And ... It's correct. So I'm just going to go to the last one. And now what I'm going to do is I am going to turn you guys over to Amanda, and she's going to tell you how we do a lot of this stuff and how to get access to it.
Amanda Madsen (00:49:30): Hey, everybody. I've been so excited to talk to you guys. I am over at the Keap free trial. And what Richard was saying through this whole presentation is gold. And what I want to say is I want to invite you all to come. Come to the free trial if you don't have an application, and let's use this free trial to make it your free start to your holiday automation.
Amanda Madsen (00:49:56): Because the holidays can be kind of stressful, especially with this recession kind of looming. Maybe in the past, you haven't really enjoyed your holidays because you're just kind of like, "Oh my gosh, what do I need to do? Black Friday's coming up. I need to get all these emails out. I need to post on social, and I want to do it all myself," because we're all kind of control freaks. So let's get that all set up in an automation today.
Amanda Madsen (00:50:25): Because you can. You can get all your automation set up. We can use delay timers, date timers. So you know exactly when your emails are going to be sent out. You know exactly when these links are going to click, what's going to happen. And maybe just breathe, breathe through the holidays.
Amanda Madsen (00:50:40): And you know? And I have two webinars a month, and my next one is coming up on the 21st. And what I like to do to my free trialers is I like to hook you up. Anything at Keap, we like to go big. Okay?
Amanda Madsen (00:50:54): So I have some free graphics for you guys for your Black Friday holiday setup. And I have files for you to make them your own, because I want to help you relieve that holiday stress. And with Keap, we've been doing this a long time. So we know how to watch those emails. We know how to make sure we have an email deliverability department. That's like, "Uh, we got to make sure these get to the inbox." So we're kind of experts.
Amanda Madsen (00:51:21): And with all this automation, all this building, all these processes that you can get off of your plate and you can have the machine do it for you, you can focus on those real connections, the connections that actually matter.
Amanda Madsen (00:51:35): So we can talk to you. We can find out what kind of demographic are you focusing? What kind of application do you need? We've kind of seen all types of entrepreneurs. So if you want to come into the app, just like Ashley asked, if you want to know how to add those links to your emails, we do have Keap Academy who is great. We also have a lot of self- help tools that can help you directly in your application without having to leave. And then there's life support. We can help you.
Amanda Madsen (00:52:07): I love putting together automations for people. It's kind of like a hobby of mine. So if you want to start today to get your Black Friday, your Cyber Monday, or maybe even just look into some other holidays coming up throughout December, we can get that started. And then we can help you find your next level up moment. Just like that, we can help you find your next level up moment.
Amanda Madsen (00:52:31): So Richard, if you could go to the next slide. Okay. So you can come into the free trial without any credit card. We can get you set up and get that free start to your holiday automation today.
Amanda Madsen (00:52:47): We also have a great Keap mobile app that will allow you to have access to all of your customer information from your mobile device, but that information is also accessible from your desktop. So when you're on a big, nice monitor, you can still send your chats. You can still make your calls. If you have Keap Ultimate, Sandra ... Let me just pop that up there. I love Ultimate. That was my baby for a long time before we brought over Keap. And you can definitely, definitely do this with Keap Ultimate. And we do have life support 24/7 in your application that we can help you with to get anything set up. And of course we have Keap Academy courses like we had mentioned earlier.
Amanda Madsen (00:53:33): So with the Keap mobile app, you can also use tags to start your automation when you're out and about. So if you have a follow-up process for any of your customers, if you run into them or if they call you, our mobile app will help you with follow-up notes and tasks and those tags that can start automation for your follow-up. Like Richard mentioned before, you can create tasks and have directions of what you do and that task is created, and have that same access through your desktop.
Amanda Madsen (00:54:06): Now the Keap business line, it will mask your phone number so that when you're giving it out, it's your business line. So they don't know your actual personal phone number. And you can set up all the call forwarding, voicemails on and off hours. So when you're actually off, you can be off.
Amanda Madsen (00:54:27): I mentioned my Go Time event, which is coming up on the 21st. So I hope you guys all come and join and get your goody bag with your free Black Friday graphics. And then if you have any questions or stuck or need any help, I love to chat. You can chat by clicking that little magnifying glass in the bottom right side. And that's the same place you go for your step-by-step instructions. Because we have a lot of tutorials and videos to help you, but we also have that live support when needed.
Amanda Madsen (00:54:59): So that's pretty much what the free trial is in a bang. I'd be happy to answer any questions if anybody has anything to ask.
Amanda Madsen (00:55:15): When we come to the Keap free trial, you'll get the Pro Edition, but it will show you the features that you can get if you get the Max and Ultimate. We can help you through a sandbox account.
Amanda Madsen (00:55:29): That is all I have to share. Oh, and the link to sign up for my Keap Go Time webinar is down below. So you can click that link to sign up today if you'd like.
Amanda Madsen (00:55:40): Okay. All right, Bianca, you are a consultant who has automated ... Are you asking that you want to automate your nurture sequence and where do you start?
Amanda Madsen (00:56:09): Well, we have an easy automation and we have an advanced automation. Either way, either one works. The easy automation has just a basic email template. There's no images or fanciness. It's just like a quick text that you want to send off. The advanced automation has our beautiful email builder that has lots of templates that you can use. And it's really the when and then of automations, when a form is submitted, then the email is sent. So that's where you would start, is thinking, what do you want to happen for that email to send? Which automation would be the best fit, a text email, or a graphic email?
Amanda Madsen (00:56:54):And then if you like to still dig into it a little bit deeper, just chat me in the bottom corner and we can work it out. You can tell me what you're looking to create and I can create a video for you. We use Loom a lot to make those videos and send them over with steps for your personalized automation. We fit it to you.
Amanda Madsen (00:57:21): Okay, Richard, come join me. Yay, it's Richard.
Richard Bueckert (00:57:29): Hey, I'm back. Yeah, that was fun. And lots of great questions. Love the answer about the easy automation versus advance. When I started, there was no easy automations. It was only the advanced. And we find with our clients now, that whole when then makes it so easy for them to get started. You don't have to be complex because the reality is most of your competitors are doing nothing. So if you do anything at all, if you send out one email where they're sending out none, you're going to win. And those easy automations make it so easy for them to get started. It's an amazing little piece of software when you start working on it.
Amanda Madsen (00:58:20): Yes. Come in and join me and let's give it a try. Let's do it. And it's not going to cost you anything. We can get you set up and ready to rock and roll free of charge. Put my knowledge to the test.
Amanda Madsen (00:58:33): Or if you want to see more about these automations, join me at my webinar because I actually go through setting up automations from when a form is filled, when an appointment is scheduled, or when a checkout form is paid. So if you want to see a little bit more about automations, again, my link is down below for the Keap Go Time webinar. But I think-
Richard Bueckert (00:58:52): Yeah. You know what? I want to add something just for people, anyone still listening. When Amanda does that Go Time event, think about the form. So you can take that form. When it's done, you're going to be able to embed it on your website so that if you're pushing traffic to your landing page, it can say, get our free widget report, get a link, get the recipe, whatever it is. You're now going to be able to capture that person's name so that you can talk to them down the road. And now you can start sending them more and nurturing them and showing that you are the expert in your space, and it's not going to cost you anything.
Richard Bueckert (00:59:31): You can test this out for 14 days. Again, they didn't have that when I took it. 14 days to try it, get to learn, use the Keap line, automate the text messaging. If you want to do an online demo, you can text people five minutes before, "We're going live in five minutes. Click here," and drive all those people back to your business. You will be amazed at what you can do with that 14 day trial. And you'll see exactly what I was talking about, how the automation can really supercharge your business.
Amanda Madsen (01:00:06): Absolutely. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us. I was really happy to be able to talk to you guys. I hope to see you in our next webinar.
Amanda Madsen (01:00:18): Richard, thank you so much for taking time. I hear you're on vacation right now in Florida, is it?
Richard Bueckert (01:00:23): I'm in Florida, yeah.
Amanda Madsen (01:00:25): And he made time for us guys. Let's give it up for Richard. Round of applause. Okay guys. Thanks so much. We will see you guys on the flip side. Bye.