Web designers love selling, cold pitching and hustle-style marketing, right?

NO!!!

As web designers, most of us want a small group of trusted, good clients who they can build a successful online presence for and to keep serving them over and over again so we don’t need to keep “selling” and landing new clients.

And if you want to make more but sell less, there’s one great way to go about it. The “relationship first” approach.

To dive into how to practically do this for your business, I’m pumped to bring on CEO of EverGrowMarketing.com, Jake Hundley who really is an expert in this approach.

In this podcast, Jake expands on how a few key relationships (with no hard selling or cold pitching) has led to the growth of his 6-figure web agency which exclusively serves landscaping companies.

You’ll learn:

  • How one key relationship led to the majority of their leads
  • The benefit of going niche when it comes to easy referrals
  • The hidden goldmine of being the web designer at an industry conference
  • How to get clients on Facebook groups and social media (without pitching or being annoying)
  • And more

If you’re like me and don’t like selling or trying to persuade people to buy your thing, this convo is a masterclass on how to grow your business in a chill, relationship driven way.

In this episode:

00:00 – Relationship-First Approach to Web Design Clients
07:02 – Success Strategies for Small Agencies
11:35 – Labor Allocation and Marketing Strategy
17:03 – Client Acquisition Through Authenticity and SEO
31:35 – Building Trust and Fostering Relationships
43:04 – Template Emails and Agency Growth
47:07 – Coopetition and Referral Partnerships in Business
56:02 – Client Retention and Communication Strategies
1:02:35 – Building Relationships for Business Success

Jake’s Podcast everbrospodcast.com


Connect with Jake:

Episode #327 Full Transcription

Jake: 

I’ve never considered myself as a salesperson. I’ve always been just kind of like a relationship person. I just want to be friends or a resource, and when you have that approach you never have to pitch or promote or influence people to purchase your product, or you never have to sell your service month after month after month and try to prove your value. Or if you focus on the relationship, they’re just going to stay with you because they like you.

Josh: 

Welcome to the Web Design Business Podcast, with your host, josh Hall, helping you build a web design business that gives you freedom and a lifestyle you love. Well, hello, my friends, specifically my non-salesy friends. You’re in for a treat on this one, because in this episode number 327, we’re going to dive into the relationship first approach to sales on how to get web design clients without cold pitching, without selling and without that hustle style marketing. Cause, if you’re like me and most other web designers I know, especially those of us in web designer pro most of us don’t love the yeah, the cold calling, the selling, the hard pitching, the hustle style of marketing. And the good news is there are so many ways to get clients without being like that, without being that sweaty used car salesman, and one of those approaches is having a relationship first approach. But that’s very vague and in this episode I’m really excited to get tactile and really practical on how to do this for you and your web design business from somebody who is a model of how to have this relationship first approach.

Josh: 

This is Jake Hundley, who is the CEO of evergrowmarketingcom. Now, what’s interesting about what Jake and their agency has done is they are exclusively a web agency for landscapers, and what you’ll find out in this episode is that by focusing on a few key relationships whether you’re niche or whether you’re a generalist you can really do just that. You can have a relationship first, approach in a variety of different ways and focus on that in order to build referrals, to build your network and to easily get more clients, just by way of keeping the focus on a couple key relationships. So in this one, we’re going to cover how Jake had a couple key relationships that led to and continues to lead to the majority of their clients, the benefit of going niche and how that can make you very easily referred. You’re going to find out a little bit more about how a and what a gold mine of being a web designer at a separate industry conference can be, how to get clients through Facebook and other social media without pitching or being that annoying person who’s like hire me for work, and a whole lot more. So I’m really excited about this one. I hope you are too, especially if you’re like me and you don’t like persuading people to buy your stuff or having to be salesy. There’s so many great ways to go about it, and I think this is really going to help you as well.

Josh: 

So here’s Jake, let’s dive into the relationship first approach to getting web design clients. Here’s Jake, let’s dive into the relationship first approach to getting web design clients. Jake, good to have you on the show, man, welcome to the podcast. You have a podcast. I’m extra excited to talk with you too, honestly, because you have such a niche marketing service for landscapers. But I know you’re you’re really interested in shedding light on the agency world with, with other freelancers and entrepreneurs. So all that to say, man, I’m really excited to get your perspective on some things today. Thanks for joining.

Jake: 

Yeah, thanks for having me. I thought it was interesting. It was actually one of my podcast listeners that that suggested, uh, we meet up and do an episode together because, uh, he listens to to both of us.

Josh: 

Awesome. That’s the best thing too. I found like with podcast. I’m sure you guys have seen this too. Just so for everyone’s reference, your podcast is called the Everbros podcast the agency growth podcast, and what’s interesting is like I think there’s been a wave of honest entrepreneurship over the last, I guess, probably 10 years. You mentioned before we went live like you have a vendetta against the fake gurus of the internet. I totally agree. So there’s something about like and it sounds cheesy and cliche, but there is something about honest, real conversations about agency life and freelancer and entrepreneurship that is needed nowadays. So I’m excited to be a part of that crowd too. Man, I think you guys are up to something pretty cool.

Jake: 

Yeah, I kind of credit, like I have mixed feelings about Gary Vee but like I kind of credit the honesty, like honest entrepreneur to Gary Vee, kind of like starting that wave and it’s just been. I used to watch a lot of other like you know, fake guru exposures on YouTube and I think that’s kind of what got me into it and it’s it’s realizing if you’re in the actual legitimate side of the agency space, it’s actually really easy to to pick out if somebody is is being honest or not.

Josh: 

Well, and with a podcast you’ll find out very quickly, Like if you get somebody talking for an hour, that’s when you really get to know who somebody is. It’s like somebody could do a short episode or a half an hour and they could do the usual spiel kind of stuff. But once you really get into the meat of a conversation, you find out who somebody is and whether they’re yeah, whether they are fake or whether they’re putting on a front of something they aren’t. And I think it’s actually one really cool thing about podcasting and I know this conversation is kind of all about building trust with clients and having an interest in relationships.

Josh: 

I imagine a lot of that is the same for clients too, Like more so now than ever. I’ve found that clients want to work with somebody that they trust. Like more than anything, they just want a trusted person. They don’t want a flaky designer that’s going to be there for six months and disappear. They don’t want an agency that’s going to treat them like a number. They want a trusted person. What are your thoughts on that, with the landscape now in 2024, with how clients are viewing their service providers?

Jake: 

Yeah, there’s a lot that. I think there’s two different sides of it and you touched on a little bit of both of those and one is we get a lot of prospective clients that come to us and say that they’ve had a lot of bad experiences. They’ve had three other agency owners in the past that hired either off of Fiverr or even locally or just through recommendations through social media to hire either off of Fiverr or even locally or just through recommendations through social media, and they’ve all been shoddy at best. The processes haven’t been outlined, there’s been a lot of miscommunication, just lack of delivery of the actual services, and usually what that points out to is what I found, just being engaged with the agency space in general, is that a lot of agency owners these days, without actually learning their own services, they outsource them first, and I think that’s the number one mistake new agency owners make is you need to become an expert in what you have first and in your product and the way that it delivers, before you consider outsourcing it. If you go the other way around and you just try to do the arbitrage model without actually knowing, that’s how things sour pretty quickly, Because now you’re on the hook for the delivery of a product you don’t even control.

Jake: 

And then the other side of it was, you know, not just being a number to an agency, and I get this a lot in the agency space and even people who write into our podcast about you know how do I compete with the agencies that are huge and there’s a lot to be said about being a small agency owner and, uh, just being by yourself without even having, you know, a team or anything like that, because some of these other clients have been burned by big agency owners where they feel like they didn’t get any of the special treatment it was handoff to a junior representative, and big agencies aren’t as agile as small agencies.

Jake: 

So if there’s a special request that needs to happen, they either get turned down immediately or you know it’s. It takes a long time to facilitate. So by being honest with you know how big you are and what your size is and and everything there is about your agency, you can capture the right demographic. It’s not difficult at all. Just be honest about who you are and and how you’re, uh, you’re able to work with individualized accounts.

Josh: 

It’s so true man Clients I found in my experience. I ran my small studio. Basically it wasn’t even I don’t even like to call it an agency. I was. It was me as a freelancer, solopreneur, with some contractors.

Josh: 

I was fascinated by how many clients were hiring marketing agencies and stuff and they would always come back to me because I positioned myself as their trusted web guy, like they could go through SEO consultants and marketing people and ads people, all they wanted. But I learned very quickly, like don’t lose me. And I tried to tell my clients like don’t lose me, because if you take your website over with the marketing department, if you stop hiring them, they’re not going to work on your website anymore or you could potentially lose your website to them. So I think there’s a lot of especially for my audience, for web designers a lot of room to be that constant in a world of ever-changing marketing and agency life. But for agencies and I’m curious to get your perspective on where you guys are at as far as an agency for your landscaping agency, but even for marketing agencies, you’re totally right, I think it’s actually more of a benefit to be a solopreneur with an extended network or a very small, lean and mean studio or just a few people, because immediately you’re separated from the pack of agencies that have 30 people and constant churn and questionable results.

Josh: 

So can you shed some light on where it’s so interesting about you guys? Questionable results. So can you shed some light on where it’s so interesting about you guys? Evergrow Marketing is your agency, but you guys specifically cater to landscapers and lawn care businesses. How big is your team? What does your agency look like? What’s the size of your agency?

Jake: 

Yeah, it’s relatively small I guess it’s relative to whoever is a listener but we’re doing about half a million this year. We closed last year, at about about last year out about 400,000. So, um, it’s too early to tell to to project on, uh, on what we’ll close this year out, but right now our team is just myself, my partner Cody, and then we have, uh, three part-timers uh, and then hiring two more. So, um, from like a full time to revenue perspective, we’re like right around 125,000 per head. Um, so, from we definitely we’re definitely hiring, so we’re hiring two more. So we’re definitely growing. We’re getting to that.

Jake: 

This, this weird uncomfortable position of we have too many allocated labor hours for what we have in inventory and we have to hire more. But that’s going to put us into a position that’s, uh, where we have are you familiar with the profit first system? Yeah, yeah. So like that’s going to put us into a position where, uh, we might exceed 30% of our payroll, you know allocation. So it’s kind of like this really weird awkward position where we have to start investing in labor and internal resources in order to facilitate some of this stuff.

Jake: 

But you know, again, we’re in the landscaping and lawn care industry. So spring is our busy season. Between January and April we are drowning and we all hate our lives just a little bit. So it’s the client relationship. It’s great we’re talking about this now, because client relationships I think in the last month or two have really not been at 100%, because we’ve been so underwater with how much work that we have, we’ve had to put holes on how many clients we can accept and so we’re only taking on four clients at a time and then everybody else behind that is on a 30 to 60 day wait list to get on. And even last year in April we shut our doors down until September. We literally said we’re not taking clients until September, and then we had people booked out until, I think, end of July.

Josh: 

So what’s in your, what’s in your suite of services? You know, digital marketing can be such an open-ended term Like you could do a thousand different things. What do you guys offer?

Jake: 

Yeah, we do so primarily. We have our package that we that we get all of our clients on, called the foundation and it’s it’s SEO is basic onsite SEO, google Business SEO and then PPC, so it’s bundled together into one package and that’s kind of a transparency reason. So we wanted to offer SEO. But the problem with that is that businesses have to pay for SEO services for a number of months, even a year or so, just to even see meaningful results. So we bundle it with we force people to be on PPC as well, because it’s like, well, while that’s building, you could be in an area where two weeks down the road the SEO just explodes because there’s little competition.

Jake: 

Or you can be in a market like Denver and it can take a year. You can be in a market like Denver and it can take a year, but if you force people to be on a PPC, you can deliver immediate results right away that are trackable, and you know you can track that cost per acquisition from month one. So we have other services that we offer, like Facebook ads. We even do Spotify ads for those landscapers that want to do radio but you don’t want the digital targeting. But we really focus on Google and PPC and getting our clients to that maximum search ad threshold before they jump to any other service, Gotcha, and I’m checking out your programs page right now.

Josh: 

It’s funny because I learned that all roads led to websites and even in your programs you even said like you never wanted to be a web design agency or company, but you got to have a good website to get results with SEO and all the marketing you’re doing. So how far do you guys go into the web design side of things?

Jake: 

Not crazy far. We have built some custom websites for some clients who just wanted custom elements to it, and we’ve built some pretty neat ones. The thing is we’re not a design agency. I think Cody and I are the opposite of creative people when it comes to visually appealing things. There was one situation where a client wanted to pay us a lot more money and he’d have the website designed in PDF format from someone on Fiverr. And then we just again use Divi, which I know you use, and built the exact thing, and we can do things like that. But for the most part, our clients are on a variation of two different website templates that we’ve built and then, when they sign on with us, we load that template templates that we’ve built and then, when they sign on with us, we load that template and we just change out the logos, the branding, the content, the images and then just make it unique to the services they offer Gotcha.

Jake: 

It takes us about 20 hours 20 to 25 hours to pump out a new website with tracking, analytics and everything set up.

Josh: 

And that’s the way to go for anyone who wants to have a product, ties or standardized service. I found that’s absolutely the way to go, so you could focus on the marketing side of things. I want to dive into specifically your, your thoughts on relationships and people of people. First approach, I imagine, with landscaper or any, any, I mean this will work with any industry, but landscapersers in particular, I would imagine if you get in with one of them it probably starts the referral train, like, I guess, one question I had before we dive deep into the relationship side of things how, how did you land on landscaping?

Jake: 

uh, there’s like a culmination of things, I guess, like when, um, like in 2000, it was like 15, I met my business partner at a large agency that we worked at. They were an automotive agency and, uh, just for size perspective, I think they did close to 20 million Um, but they they focused on the automotive industry. And then I became an account executive in the agriculture department, so I did like marketing for John Deere dealerships and things like that. And then when I moved to Kansas city two years later, uh, did in-house marketing for a, uh manufacturing distributor. It wasn’t enough.

Jake: 

So I was looking for landscaping landscapers in my area for some reason, and I noticed that they were all like this is back in the day where, if you didn’t have a, your google business profile claimed it would say do you own this business? And now it just has it for everybody. So, um, I, it was a very clear indicator to me that, oh, this is like very simple thing to do for this industry and I kind of have a connection to it, so I could charge like 200 bucks to to claim and verify this one time cost for these guys, um, and pay down some debt. And then it just kind of snowballed and rolled into this big thing. So, um, but yeah, that’s, that’s ultimately how, how that started.

Josh: 

So relationship first, people first this approach, I mean I I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth with that, because that’s how I ran my business no, nothing at scale, quality over quantity, very relationship driven I. I learned to focus on retention way more than acquisition after, after some point and, as you mentioned, you’ve been through a busy season and you it’s really cool of you to be transparent man about not doing a good enough job potentially on the relationship side of things. So I would like to talk about keeping clients coming back, but I think that might be good for the next step. I want to start how do you get clients, or how have you learned to get clients, with a relationship first approach? What are you doing to get clients in a way that separates you from other agencies?

Jake: 

Well, we drink our own Kool-Aid. We offer SEO and PPC services. So our number one way of getting clients is SEO. Right now you type in Lawn Care Marketing Company and we’re number one on Google. So there is a big SEO component to it. It’s reaching out to industry magazines like Green, green industry pros magazine or lawn and landscape magazine and pitching them articles and telling them like hey, we’ll write for your magazine and here’s kind of our article pitch. We want to get in front of your audience with this content that we have and providing actual value.

Jake: 

So, like, establishing relationships starts at you know, before you even have a client. It’s it’s it’s establishing the relationship to the community in the areas that they’re engaged in, and that extends into forums they’re in. So one of the first approaches that I did was go to Facebook forums and groups and then also online forums. There’s a big one called LawnSitecom and I would just register as Evergreen Marketing that was the name and then never once solicit my services at all.

Jake: 

Someone had a question. I would go extremely in detail I’d be almost over verbose on my responses and literally give them step by steps on what they need to do to improve the website SEO or set up a Facebook ad or something. And then eventually everything just kind of came in really organically uh that way like just kind of through being kind of that source of marketing information. And then after that our SEO just kind of took off and from there in the uh um January, december, january, we get this like surge of website traffic because, amazingly or not, like some people, a lot of people actually do search for your industry plus marketing company.

Josh: 

Oh, totally Dude. That’s such a great point. I’m glad you mentioned that, cause that is a hidden gem of a way to get clients from an SEO perspective. And I’m looking at your site too. Like you guys don’t have a massive site, it’s not like you have 300 blog posts. Like you guys don’t have a massive site, it’s not like you have 300 blog posts. How how big is your, your site? In the articles that that reach out from your homepage, you know just roughly.

Jake: 

Yeah, I, I would. We probably have a maximum of 20 blog posts, I think, and then, like our, like our core pages, like our services that you’re looking at I can see the reflection in your little microphone mirror there’s probably like five, maybe Five or six, I can’t remember. But we even deleted a bunch of old blog posts that weren’t getting any traffic in Search Console, and one of those things, too, that people often forget about is that Google Search Console data is not accurate. So if you’re trying to rank for marketing company one, you’re probably not going to because that’s a very saturated keyword, but if you want to rank for your industry plus marketing company, it’s a very good thing to try.

Jake: 

If I looked in Google Keyword Planner, it says there’s only going to be If I’m not spending any money. In Google Ads, it would say there’s 10 to 100 searches a month, or maybe like zero to 10 searches or zero to a hundred. I can’t remember what it says when you don’t spend money. But, um, it’s going to say it’s super low volume. But that data isn’t really accurate. We actually had Tim solo from Ahrefs on our podcast a few like a month or so back, um, and the topic was SEO. There’s no such thing as accurate SEO metrics, and that’s not even from Google, so I would really just start with targeting your industry plus marketing company and see where that takes you is that you need to have a massive blog and super robust SEO strategies to make a difference.

Josh: 

But, like you said, if you target it right and focus on certain keywords or key phrases, particularly if it’s either location-based or service-based, niche-based, you can get pretty far, pretty quick. How long did it take you? Do you know-ish how long it took you to claim that spot? Because I double-checked everyone interested. I made sure jake wasn’t lying. Yeah, lawn care marketing company number one passed the sponsored results, so that’s number one organic and we don’t run paid ads.

Jake: 

So, um, everything, everything is referral organic. So, um, I would have to say that I think in 2019 january 2019 is when my partner and I officially partnered up, and then in 20, I think mid 2019, we launched this new website here. Um, and I would say 2021 is when we blew up. Um, I don’t know if it was I don’t, I don’t 100% know if it was all from Google or if there was like a surge of referral traffic, but that was our first spring where, uh, we hated our lives.

Josh: 

So, when did, when did you start posting in the groups? Was that immediately?

Jake: 

Yeah, that was immediately. That was like I started, like the um Evergrow inception in July of 2017. And then I think by like fall, early winter, that’s when I started posting and, to be clear, I never actually posted anything, I only replied to things Replied, yeah.

Jake: 

Yeah. So I think a lot of people try to force the solicitations and their responses and people aren’t stupid, especially if they own a business. So I think I don’t know how to get it across to people. Like Gary Vee says it all the time about authenticity, but I honestly think people have a very big misconception about what authenticity actually is and what value actually is and making sure that you’re there for the community and not to sell your services. It’ll come organically. You just got to wait a little bit.

Josh: 

It’s one of the number one tips I always say it’s what I mentioned in my. I have a business course for web designers and when people ask me, how do I get clients online, specifically, groups, go to groups. Go to where I know clients hang out and just be helpful. And the problem with that advice, I think, is that it’s so simple that, for whatever reason, most people just don’t do it. And, yes, there’s not instant results often. I mean, maybe you might get some leads pretty quickly, depending on the size of the group and the interest.

Josh: 

And if you’re backing it up with, like you guys did with SEO, with some social proof, with some authority behind it, I think that’s the key with that, because the worst thing you could do is be really helpful but then not have a website or have a really bad website or no SEOo presence. But if you have that in place, be helpful. People will find you out, people will check your profile, they will look at your descriptions, even if they’re not active on those posts. It’s amazing how, uh, not creepy, but just research oriented people are. They’re gonna check you out like they’re gonna creep on you. So be ready. Be ready for the creepers, that’s what we should call it.

Jake: 

It’s funny you say that, because there’s actually two things. There’s two pieces of advice I have for posting. Number one is don’t act like you do the service for a living. Don’t mention it, don’t say it, don’t say like I do this for a living. I have all these accounts, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Just show knowledge and, um, what happens is people start to infer that you do it and I.

Jake: 

I think the first thing that I saw happen was I would comment, I reply to someone’s, someone’s post asking for advice or a question. Like I’ll give you a really good example. Someone would say um, what’s a good website to go to to build my own website? Like it’ll get flooded by other landscapers being like we recommend this, recommend this, blah, blah, blah, blah. Or they might recommend another agency. Then you get other agency owners being like you can just hire us. But, um, a smart person or smart agency owner would actually comment on that and say it depends. Are you looking to diy this? Are you looking to hire it out? If you’re looking at DIY, I highly recommend going to.

Jake: 

Well, let’s just say Wix, um, and, but don’t get your domain from Wix. Maybe get your domain from GoDaddy. That way you’re not locked into Wix’s weird domain, lock stuff and then leave it at that. Don’t even say. Don’t even say uh, if you want to do it professionally, you can always reach out to me. Don’t even say that, leave that out. What you’ll see is your inbox will start to fill up Not fast, but the more you do this, you’ll start to get people messaging you from these groups saying like, hey, this is where I’m at. I’m hoping you could help me out with this. And then they might not turn into clients, they might just be looking for more individualized advice from you. Um, but if you’re a newer agency owner looking for clients, you’ve got nothing but time on your hands. So help them out. Um, the second thing I’ve noticed is that it’s never the people who are asking the question that reach out to you.

Josh: 

It’s it’s never the people posting.

Jake: 

It is always the creepers. It’s every single message I’ve gotten. I bet I’ve got. I bet I’ve commented 10,000 times. 9,900 of those times have never been the original poster. It’s always been someone who didn’t even comment, someone just reading the comments. These groups.

Josh: 

Are you talking Facebook? Are there other forums that are good places LinkedIn Like? Are you guys on LinkedIn when? Where are these? Where are these groups that you’ve been involved with?

Jake: 

Yeah, it really depends on your niche. I think if I’m giving advice to everybody, it depends on what industry you’re in. For our industry, facebook is a really big platform for groups. I’ve tried Reddit. There’s just nothing going on in Reddit in the landscaping industry, linkedin it’s all. The landscaping groups are literally just other vendors, so you don’t really get a lot from there. And then there is an actual website forum called Lawnsite for lawn care providers. That is separate from Facebook. It’s its own entity. So then you can sign up for and that’s one that I go to. Some advice I guess you could type in your industry plus forum and try to find that online. There’s some organizations out there. So in landscaping there’s the National Association of Landscape Professionals, nalp, and they have their own community and some other magazines have their own community and you can sign up for an account and comment and things like that. So, um, I just encourage a lot of people to try to find out like where your clients are meeting together and and conversing, and then you know, get in, get in there.

Josh: 

Yeah, that’s good advice. Uh, so online SEO in or groups, stuff like that. What about in person? Are you guys doing? Have you taken an approach locally to do networking events, referral groups, tumor of commerces? Uh, shoot, there’s got to be like some landscaping conferences or something right. What’s? What’s the in-person route you guys have taken, or have you taken the?

Jake: 

person. Yeah, yeah, it’s funny that you say this. So we don’t really do like in person, locally, because we have um area competitive area restrictions for working with certain clients. So, um, if we go to locally to like a local chamber of commerce and land landscaping client, well, that area is done so, um, and that’ll change eventually once we hit saturation, but that’s not for a while and uh.

Jake: 

But I’m glad you brought this up because we did actually attend a landscaping conference. There’s a big one called Equip Expo in Louisville, kentucky, and adjacent to that there’s also a landscape summit hosted by like a really big influencer in the landscaping industry owns a franchise and has like 150 locations. He owns a franchise and has like 150 locations. But it’s a really good segue into the overall topic of the podcast, which is like focusing on relationships, and so we started a relationship with a landscaper years back back in 2021, and fostered that relationship to the point where, like, he bought into this franchise and got uh, became like the largest franchisee of that of that franchise and had been hounding the franchise owner, like the overall company owner of getting us in with the other franchisees all like 150 of them, and they even have like their own conference, just just the franchise conference and in october of last year we were invited to go and speak at their conference as a keynote. So very cool.

Jake: 

Um, I went to that, I, I gave them, um, a 30 minute speech on how to light your money on fire with Google Ads, and I was the only vendor at that entire conference. And so I found out when I was there they have actually never let a vendor at that conference, it’s only been for the franchisees. So ever since May of that year of last year, when we got introduced to this, the influencer in this industry, uh, we became like the google ads guys for this franchise. So gotcha um we.

Jake: 

That was a really big break for us last year how did you meet him originally? Uh the landscaping or the franchise.

Josh: 

Yeah, they are they.

Jake: 

Yeah, the influencers started that our landscaper client that we fostered that relationship with introduced us. He was like I’ve been trying to get his name introduced us. He was like I’ve been trying to get His name is Mike, but he’s like I’ve been trying to get a hold of. Get you in touch with Mike, so get you set up on a meeting to provide a service that you could provide to the other franchisees, because Mike, this influencer, doesn’t like marketing agencies at all and he even on his own YouTube channels had videos on how to run performance max campaigns.

Jake: 

But if you are familiar with Google ads in the local service industry, you know that performance ads actually suck, and so, uh, or performance max ads or an e-commerce is totally different. So, uh, our search ads continually beat out Performance Max, and so we were explaining that to Mike, and then I don’t think he was aware of our prices, because our prices are relatively low compared to most other agency owners, and he just didn’t see a world where our prices were going to make sense for what somebody else could accomplish on their own using a tool like Performance Max. And so we just had this conversation with Mike. He loved everything I heard and then he said, yeah, all right, you have my blessing. And then he even put us in the franchise resources for utilizing Google Ads.

Josh: 

These unicorn, goldmine partners are people we end up finding who become our biggest fans, our biggest referrals. What’s interesting about that is it’s hard to have an intentional approach to find them, and I say this because I had the exact same situation happen. My best client ever his name was Tom. He was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for me. One guy had a couple of different type of marketing agencies. I was doing white label work for him like crazy and custom builds and he was awesome. He was like the most down to earth chill guy. Would never let me give him a discount. Paid me like. Told me one time don’t discount me for bulk sites. He’s like just charge me what you need to. Don’t discount me for bulk sites. He’s like just charge me what you need to. He’s just like the greatest dude. I didn’t meet him directly. I met somebody at a networking event at a ribbon cutting locally. They had free hot dogs there, which also helped.

Jake: 

So I went for free hot dogs and ribbon cutting.

Josh: 

I met this dude who my family knew from church years ago and he was like oh, josh, you do websites. Now that’s cool, and six months go by nothing. But then that guy that I met at that networking group said hey, josh, I remember you doing websites. I know a guy who works at a print design shop and they’re looking for website help. That led to me meeting this guy who would be my best client ever.

Josh: 

So all that to say, the idea of relationships first is so paramount and so key because if I met the original guy at the networking event and wasn’t cool or viewed him as like well, he’s not really going to be a good person to get me business, I’m not going to spend time with him. I may have soured that relationship right away and he wouldn’t have wanted to refer me, but because I was really warm and open and cool with him and I tried to stay top of mind and I was keeping top of mind on Facebook, where we were connected, I was sharing my work and saying I’m excited about working on this project. I stayed top of mind when the opportunity came six months later. That’s when the door was open. That’s how I view those types of relationships and I think it’s really common and it happened for you too it’s not going out to find that unicorn person. It’s generally somebody you’re going to interact with and then they may meet somebody or they may know somebody.

Josh: 

I think it’s a really, really important point to hit on.

Jake: 

I mean this particular client, ryan, was the client who introduced us to Mike and he used to own a marketing agency back in the day I mean it was back in the day of just copious amounts of Black Hat SEO and outsourcing a lot of the work, and when he worked with us he knew just enough information to be dangerous and I guess kind of like a pain with those clients that they know more than I guess they should. So, just because we were transparent and open and honest, just being like, hey, this is like the status of things. Like maybe one month then it looked good, we would say this month isn’t good. Uh, so this is what we’re going to do next month. And, uh, that really just fostered a lot of trust, uh, in our services. And then you know, we’ve had bigger clients come to us where they’re like hey, I currently have this agency that I’m working with. They’re huge. But I feel like I can never get a straight answer from them. Our cost per acquisition rose by $20 last month and it’s been like that for forever. But I can’t get an idea of what’s going on. And he’s like Look, if cost per acquisitions are going up, that’s fine, but can you tell me why. And so we would look into his ad account and we would say, look, look, we’re not going to get you better cost per acquisitions, uh, like, what they’re doing is actually pretty good. Um, the only thing I would do is probably not do like a brand campaign, because that’s really driving your. That’s skewing the results down. And just by being honest about that, we landed that client over a year ago and they’re still with us. And now I see in groups us being promoted by these.

Jake: 

And just one other example is we get a lot. We’re extremely transparent with everything we do. We document every SEO change that we make, whether it’s seen or not seen, every single month, and then the client has access to that document. Another thing we do is we give so we actually own our ad accounts. When a client signs up with us, we build the ad account under our Google Ads MCC and then we give read access to the client. But they’re able to see other keywords, able to download everything that they want.

Jake: 

And some agency owners won’t do that because they’re afraid that they’ll just take that ad account structure and then just replicate it and do it on their own, and to that I just say, okay, go ahead, that’s fine. If you’re actually providing good results and your ad campaigns are doing well, then one, they shouldn’t have any reason to leave you. But if they do, there’s going to be things that they’re missing, like conversion tracking, and they’re going to figure out how to set that up. But ultimately, this client he really liked working with us, but he also liked doing his own marketing as well. So he eventually built his own ad campaign, mirrored after ours, and that was like six months ago and to this day, like I, every single month, I see him in there promoting us, us every day in the landscaping and lawn care groups.

Josh: 

Well, something you did too that I like is that you didn’t dog that other marketing company. You weren’t like, yeah, they’re ripping you off or they’re shady. If they’re doing a good job, say it. They’re doing a good job and I like that. You did that and you gave them a fresh perspective or say something that you may do different. I found that clients really respect that If you may do different, I found that clients really respect that if they almost leave the door open for you to like dog on a competitor but you don’t, and I can’t tell you how vicious I mean. You know people who are competitors can be so vicious, no matter what the industry is. But I found it to be an odd sense of trust building and sales if you actually are really respectful to your competitors or if you’re like, yeah, they actually do a really good job. They have areas of specialty that I don’t do and they’re actually really good at this area that I don’t touch, but this is what I would do, or something different.

Josh: 

I found that so many clients that built such a level of trust because I had the opportunity to try to dissuade them from a current situation, but I was just like, yeah, they’re actually they’re fine. Like I don’t like clients who would show me a website that they got designed by a previous designer and they were like does this suck? And I could have been like, yeah, this does suck, you should come to me, I’ll make it better. But I would often tell them like actually, no, like there’s a lot of great elements here, yeah, I would do some stuff different or I think this could be better, but yeah, they did a good job for you and that just sets a level of trust. I don’t know if that was intentional on your end or if that’s your approach, but I think that’s a message that needs to be louder for competitors in web design especially, or marketing.

Jake: 

Yeah, a long time ago I think it was 2017, I wrote a blog on my personal website, jcumleycom, and it was called Trash Talking your Competitors Lose their Sales, and it’s a very general sales thing. If you’ve ever taken any kind of sales course or read any kind of sales book, trash Talking Competitors will lose you the sale. But it isn’t something I consciously think of. It’s just something that there’s actually a podcast in our industry with a different influencer that I’m going to be on here relatively soon and it’s all about how much does SEO cost? Because the range is across the board. Our foundation package, our management fee, is $500 a month, and when I say that, eyebrows raise and they’re just saying, like well, you’re not gonna be able to deliver anything for that. I’m like, yeah, maybe not for a 1,000-page eCommerce website, no, but for an 11-page landscaping website, yeah, absolutely. And then there’s $2,000 a month, $5,000 a month SEO packages. So when someone comes to me and says I’m spending $1,000 a month on SEO, is that good? And say like I’m spending a thousand dollars a month on seo, is that good?

Jake: 

And I see comments and agencies like, like other agency owners, like um, that that’s not enough or like um, they just have opinions without knowing any of the information, and part of it is like okay, well, what is that including? What are you getting? How much? How many hours a month are they spending on the account? And even when they say I’m spending 200 a month on seo okay, what is that? Is that $200 a month on SEO? Okay, what is that? Is that an hour a month on Google business profile optimizations? Like there’s all kinds of key elements. If someone’s doing something on a website, but then you audit the website and you see things missing, well, is the thing that’s missing included in the package that they’re paying for? This is information you don’t know. So if you go in for the throat right away, you’re going to make yourself look silly.

Josh: 

Gotcha. No, that’s great. I actually just pulled up your trash talking blog as well. I’ll make sure we link that in the show notes, still ranking for that too. By the way, that was the first thing that came up when I typed.

Jake: 

Oh is it.

Josh: 

Yeah, If you type in trash talking your competitors lose the sales boom.

Jake: 

There it is. I don’t, so I’m actually surprised.

Josh: 

It’s funny because on that website, I don’t care about rank at all, that’s just like a diary, and so it’s like isn’t that such a classic seo thing? Though? It’s like, when you don’t like, if you don’t ever think things and just make a good piece of content, that’s what google pulls up. Yeah, I found that to be totally true none of our stuff, none of.

Josh: 

I’ve never used ai to write any of my content, because it’s just not good yeah, well then it would be like unlocking the hidden treasure of I don’t yeah, competition. You know it’d be something. Well, I’m, I’m pretty.

Jake: 

I’m pretty crass in my and some of my. It’s the stuff I write and I don’t think ai is quite has the the crassness yeah, I don’t know.

Josh: 

Can you prompt chat gpt to be like cuss?

Jake: 

and stuff. I don’t know. I don’t think so um, but I am also the worst adapter of ai, like I’m an agency owner, but I just don’t want to use it. I might use it to write like ad descriptions and like just give me like a bunch of different variations. I’ll write the first one and I’ll say, like give me like four different variations of this. And then I’ll just take first one and I’ll say give me four different variations of this, and then I’ll just take out whichever ones are terrible, yeah.

Josh: 

I can’t again right with you. I can’t stand most of it, honestly. I think it’s a really good idea for idea generation and content ideas, but for actual published content, it’s already so clear. What was written by ChatGPT now Within two months, it was clear. Oh, here clear. What was written by chat gpt now like within two months, it was clear oh, here we go. Or the worst, oh man, the worst. I don’t know if you guys are experiencing this with your podcast, but I’m getting so many outreach like cold outreach emails. I actually just posted on my socials. I’ve been getting the same template sent by different people like I. There was three. It’s almost verbatim like the exact same tip, but very ai sounding.

Jake: 

This is that google crap I’m talking about, though like because everybody buys into these courses, and these courses are like here’s how to send 2 000 cold emails a day, and then like on how to get clients for your smma. And then it’s all the same template. I get the same template emails. Like the same linkedin messages. I get the same facebook messages. And this is like why we develop this podcast is even before AI and before all this stuff, like gurus are still having to templatize things and saying like this is how I did it, and then just like selling it to the masses, because everybody who’s trying to start an agency is just looking for quick and easy money. Yeah and um, they’re realizing it’s a lot harder than it actually is.

Josh: 

And that’s the problem. I’m all about systematizing and productizing and templatizing your own stuff if it’s repeated, but don’t take somebody else’s sales template and just spew that out to everyone, because that’s the issue you’re having and it just becomes white noise and it’s an immediate turnoff. Nope, not even interested. The email’s already deleted. I’m glad I saved those just because I was able to post on my socials like hey, heads up.

Jake: 

if somebody emails me and says an audacious question, I already know they took it from this audacious question template yeah, so yeah, eventually we we are thinking about creating like a course for agency owners and being like this is how we would do or like this is kind of like how we grew.

Jake: 

Here’s, you know, we’re teaching you instead of like how to run google ads, teaching you how to run and manage google ads from an agency’s perspective, with an mcc account with daily budget pacing, with all of your accounts, things like that.

Jake: 

And there’s like certain things in there, like in the business portion of it, that I’m conceptualizing. Like in there, like in the business portion of it, that I’m conceptualizing like how to allocate your agency funds according to the profit first system and like even on our podcast, when we talk about how we allocate our different funds, we’re not specific about the percentages we allocate to the different accounts, because we want that to be specific to the listener, don’t just copy with the percentages that we’re sending everywhere. To be specific to the listener, don’t just copy with the percentages that we’re sending everywhere. And we’ve set even rules for ourselves, like with labor capacity and things like that. We have a formula that tells us when we’re allowed to hire somebody and based on how much clients we have on monthly recurring retainers and their allocated hours, divided by how much their management fee is, and then how much internal labor that we actually have versus how much is going into our payroll percentage wise.

Josh: 

Have you ever? Oh God, sorry.

Jake: 

I was like when all the things line up, then it says green light, you need to hire somebody.

Josh: 

Awesome. Have you ever pursued Mike Michalowicz to get him on the show?

Jake: 

Not yet. I did talk to my partner aboutccallowitz to get him on the show. Uh, not yet. I did talk to my partner about it. I’m bringing him on the show, uh. But I messaged you earlier today and I was like it is our busy season, so ever, ever grow is exploding right now and I’ve kind of put the when I have bigger people on the podcast, like actual recognizable names, I like to prepare for those and actually, you know, give good interviews, um and like we just haven’t had the time to to to do that justice. I don’t want to bring them on the show and and kind of like yeah, wait till June or something.

Jake: 

Yeah, yeah, right.

Josh: 

No, that makes sense. I was just wondering, like for you guys really expanding on that profit first kind of stuff for agencies? I bet he would be, because I had him on last year. He was a great, great half an hour with him and he I know he’s pretty open to all sorts of levels of podcasts. Like I feel like he would, especially if you’re talking profit first specifically and adding that into a course or making that conversation a bonus or something, that could be pretty cool, anyway, cool, anyway. Sorry, I’m getting all coached. Yeah, I’m excited for that man. This relationship thing do you carry it over with competitors? Like, do you what’s your thought on coopetition and the idea of partnering up or, like working with your competitors? Do you do that at all? Or do you guys stay in your own lane and not worry about what you know? What’s that look like for you?

Jake: 

yeah, I’ve never heard that term. Co-op, co-op, petition, that’s hilarious yeah uh, but no.

Jake: 

So it’s funny because we I’m actually in a slack channel with a bunch of other, my competitors, like there’s probably like 10 of them in there and then we all talk and, uh, celebrate wins. And uh, I don’t do the celebrating win thing, I just I went in silence, so like I just if there’s a question, somebody will we’ll pose a question and others will answer it. But I started celebrating. I started my agency with a grudging, as all my competitors, I was basically being like I started going, like I will, I will take food from your table, and I am, I’m just a very highly competitive person. In fact, I’m so competitive I was. I got in at 3am this morning from Vegas for a national paintball tournament, and so I am running on low sleep because of my drive for competition.

Jake: 

But uh, when I started, that’s kind of that was kind of what my mindset was. And then I partnered with my current partner, cody, and he was like I don’t think, I don’t think competition exists. There is no, there’s no competition out there. There’s only you and the services you offer. And so now we really don’t give our competitors a second thought. If someone’s doing something, that’s great. There’s plenty more fish out there, and so I shifted my mindset too, and I don’t necessarily believe in competition.

Jake: 

In fact, I was coaching a new up and coming agency owner who was in the same niche as me, who served the same types of clients as me, and just giving him advice. So what I think is important too is if you get to a point where you start turning down I would say the majority of the leads that you get, because they’re either not in your range and they can’t afford you, or they want a service that you don’t particularly offer or don’t want to offer, then there’s it’s always a good look to have somewhere to send them, because when you tell somebody that they’re not a good fit and then you just say, good luck, sayonara, it’s not a good look for you. So, um, it’s not a bad look, it’s just not a great look.

Josh: 

So yeah, and it’s both ways. By the way, for newbies or folks who are working on more low level type websites or marketing campaigns, if you only go so far and you have a client who’s more of an enterprise client or a larger business and they want more but you can’t offer it’s obviously it’s awfully excuse me, it’s awfully nice to know of a bigger agency that you could refer up to and you could say well, these guys are like legit, they can help you out. And I found as a web designer I didn’t really struggle with that mindset of competition but I didn’t really understand the value of partnering with and working with coopetition. Like I didn’t understand the value of that until I realized that referrals One of the best ways to get referrals is not through necessarily other clients or customers, but it’s with other marketing agencies.

Josh: 

Because, as you just rightly said, there’s a good fit thing that is very real and marketing agencies often don’t want to take a website or a business owner who just wants a website for $2,000. But if you’re just starting out, a couple grand may be perfect for you to get started out. If you meet this agency owner somewhere and you become their entry-level starter referral and then, when that business is big enough to go up to the agency, you can refer them back to them when they’re ready already. There’s such a symbiotic hidden gem relationship situation here that most creatives and designers just either haven’t thought about or haven’t made a priority, because you don’t even have to sell if you’re just building relationships with referral partners.

Jake: 

I think people are scared of losing clients. So if you ever do a SWOT analysis like strength, weakness, what is it? Opportunities and threats Like one threat that you have is if you don’t offer Facebook ads but a competitor does offer Facebook ads and they offer the services that you offer, a potential threat is them consolidating all of their services and everything with the other agency owner or with the other agency. But you also have to consider too that if what you offer truly is the best value for what you do offer, then if they did switch over to them, they’re going to be missing things that they got from you. If you’re not confident in the fact that they can get everything from the other agency at a better price or with more value, then you need to work on your own services. And but yeah, this, this whole group, this whole Slack group I’m in it’s literally. I mean I’ve sent three or four prospective clients that have actually signed with other agency owners in that group and I’ve had them refer people to us who have signed.

Josh: 

So it’s the best man. Some of my best friends now are my literal competition, like my exact competition, but it may be different in the agency space a little bit because you probably have services that are a little more close to each other. But, like in my space, teaching web design there’s so many aspects of teaching this and everyone has a different experience that leads them to be either a course creator or an educator or a coach. It’s like everybody. I know who’s my direct competition. We all have our own little lanes of specialty and, yeah, we have plenty of overlap, but there’s no reason that a web design student couldn’t have two coaches. I actually recommend it.

Josh: 

I think it’s really good for people to have a couple different educators and coaches, sharing different perspectives on things, to see what works for you. Yeah, I don’t necessarily think that every landscaping company should have two agencies, but you may have somebody who focuses on websites and then somebody who focuses on ads. You may have your own copywriter. I don’t know how far or how willing you guys are to partner up with other people who fill in those shoes, but there’s a lot of power in being diverse with specialists, I guess.

Jake: 

And we’ve had to become specialists in our own right in certain areas like email. For instance. If we build a website, that website’s An important job of the website is to email the client, the leads from the form fills, and so I’m sure you’re very aware of the whole SPF and DKIM record situation and I had a client recently say they want to pay for email marketing services. That’s not a service that we’ve productized right now and we’re not willing to productize that right now because it’s not a priority of ours. It’s going to break our processes and our systems and with how busy we are right now, it’s just not a priority. So I recommend him reach out to other email companies, and there is someone in our landscaping network that does do email marketing. He reached out to her and then he also reached out to some other company too.

Jake: 

I ended up going with this other company and get an email from him that’s a forward, saying that we need to update DMARC records. And because we’re familiar with this, I was like uh, colton, who’s my client, you know, are you’re not sending 5,000 emails a day, are you? Then he goes no. So I go okay, well then you only need SPF and DKIM records from your ESP and I don’t know why they’re asking you for DMARC records and so immediately right off the bat. The other agency that he decided to go with doesn’t seem like they know quite what they’re doing. They just kind of seem like an email-designed agency versus an email-deliverable agency.

Josh: 

Gotcha.

Jake: 

So if he would have went with my referral right off the bat, everything would have been taken care of for my client. I mean, he wouldn’t be going through this, and I also want to have it to be the liaison between this. Yeah, so having that arsenal in your um, or having those tools in your arsenal for other people that you can trust and refer to, is really important for our client relationships and just help having them grow is really important for our client relationships and just help having them grow.

Josh: 

Yeah Heck, yeah man. Let’s wrap this up with retention real quick. I love to hear, with this idea of relationship first, like what are you guys doing to? I know you mentioned you’re in the thick of it right now, but in an ideal world, what? What are you doing to to foster the relationships with your clients, to to come back other than just offering recurring services? Are you guys doing email, nurturing sequences? Are you doing personal reach outs? Are you doing consulting and calls with folks? Do you have a community of customers? I’m just shouting out ideas that I see my students use. What are you guys doing to keep your clients coming back?

Jake: 

Yeah, not enough there’s poor strategies right there.

Josh: 

You’re welcome to take them.

Jake: 

I’m going to steal all of it, just kidding. It’s hard because retention is a thing that we do focus on Tracking, not necessarily nurturing, and so this is one of our downfalls. But we haven’t really had an issue with lack of retention because we set expectations really clear from the beginning. If you go to our about page, we we give clients reads like our three core values. One is we’re mutually profitable, so we’re not going to offer a service unless it’s profitable for us and profitable for you. And then we even say, like you know, we’re looking at you tick tock, like in the landscaping industry, because it’s like we can do organic, social, uh, but it’s not going to really make you profitable in this, in this industry, um.

Jake: 

Two is we’re hands off, so we don’t schedule weekly call or weekly calls or monthly calls. If you want to reach out, if you want to know more information about your campaign that’s not on your reporting that you get every month, then you’re absolutely free to do that, but we just don’t put those on the calendar. And then the three. The third one is we’re performance focused, so we make sure we focus on cost per acquisition. We don’t focus on clicks or impressions or things like that we focus on how much are you paying and how many leads are you getting? Additionally, if you read the hands-off thing, if you don’t communicate that your leads are bad, that’s partially on you. So we’re very, very clear about this.

Jake: 

And if you even scroll down further, we give you reasons why you shouldn’t work with us yeah and uh and so the our retention really starts at the beginning of the relationship on setting those expectations, and I I say this all the time but our services aren’t meant to fundamentally change or grow your business exponentially. That’s still up to you. But our services are designed to take SEO and Google Ads and offload that externally just for you to know that that’s profitable and bringing in leads. You still need to hit the pavement and do door and hangers. You still need to do postcards. You still need to hit the pavement and do door hangers. You still need to do postcards. You still need to do the other marketing stuff.

Jake: 

But from a relationship perspective it’s very one-to-one. So all my clients have my cell phone number. All of my clients are emailing me and messaging me whenever they have questions and unfortunately my business partner was going through a lot of personal things with selling his house recently. I’ve had a lot of trips coming up in February and March that have all kind of coincided with our very busy season. So both of our email inboxes are like 150 messages deep and so that’s kind of where we’re falling behind on the client relationship and management stuff is getting timely responses back, but usually if they email us if they call us, if they text us. They’re going to get a response either within the same day or the next business day.

Josh: 

Gotcha, do you have a VA, or is that an idea that you have to assist with some of that, particularly in those waves of seasons where there needs to be a response but it may not be from you yet?

Jake: 

Yeah, not yet. Um, I was talking to Cody about this recently, uh, I can’t remember if it was in. It might’ve been in our podcast that I’m actually cutting for this Friday, but it was like I don’t, I just don’t think we’re big enough for a VA. You know, like it seems like one of those agency things where you know you can’t, you know it’s almost like a client relationship manager, like, not like a CRM software, but like a CRM job position, and I don’t know that’s just not our area of expertise. So no, I don’t have a VA. But you know, as this spring closes down, I consider it more and more every day.

Josh: 

Yeah, yeah, I’d imagine there’s an opportunity for you there. I’m at the point now where my email is starting to become a problem. I’ve always had really good email practices and I’ve been an inbox zero guy for a long time and I’m literally at the point where I just can’t keep it down, mainly because of the amount of requests that I get. I’m pretty quick to delete cold outreach stuff if it doesn’t resonate with me pretty quickly, but I’m already at the point where I’m like and I say this because it might be helpful for anyone in this situation where you can’t keep up with your inbox it’s like there’s a lot of value I’ve found in hiring out the first layer of communication if it doesn’t need to be you, the first layer of communication if it doesn’t need to be you, and then you reserve that for your active current clients. That way maybe your email might be 50 instead of 150 if it’s with current clients that are all on the Now. If it’s 150 current clients, then that may be more of a project manager type situation, yeah, and.

Jake: 

I think that’s what we’re kind of looking forward to, because it is, I mean, mean we have a relatively low cost service, so we have, you know, between, like, the client, the, the relationship person is me, and so I manage 50 plus of our clients. So if we, if it’s spring and we’re onboarding tons and tons of new clients, but then also getting requests from our other clients saying that you know, hey, we need to have this for, like, a new careers page for the spring, it’s a very like it can be a tough conversation to say, okay, well, are you prioritizing your careers page over another landscaper who is wanting to get their Google ads live for the first time? And it’s one of those things we do month long sprints too. So when a client emails us for a request, like they know that it’s not going to be turned around until either the end of this month or next month.

Josh: 

Gotcha and yeah and I. I think your more organic approach is totally fine. Like in most cases, if you have a recurring service or a subscription style service, you’re going to be talking to them, so it sounds like for you, retention is just all about getting results and continuing to do work for them, rather than an official like newsletter or any of the strategies I talked about before.

Jake: 

Yeah, that just sounds like more work that I still have time for.

Josh: 

Yeah, and that’s yeah, totally yeah, you almost don’t need to. If you don’t need to do it, yeah, Don’t like don’t start a newsletter if you’re fine and you’re already top of mind with a lot of clients, but when it? You know I’m I’m excited to see like what happens after this spring, over the next year, for you, because if it does get to the point where it’s like I cannot keep up with my email, or response times are now, you know, a week instead of 48 hours, that’s when it’s like all right, something’s got to change.

Jake: 

Yeah, I mean, it’s getting there, like it’s not even like 48 hours, it’s like 72 to 86 or 70 or 96. Yeah, it’s, it’s getting pretty bad right now and like I’m just being transparent with that, with my clients, and saying like hey, we’re, we’re underwater right now.

Josh: 

Yeah, so you’re in the season. Otherwise I would advise you know, the coach in me would advise like let’s look at a potential project manager type situation who could also act as a VA. I’d be like a project manager, va type thing.

Jake: 

We have an internal person right now. Who does? We hired her for documentation because we’re working on documentation. We’ve been working on documentation for years now, but we’ve got a cool process where Cody or myself will record us doing something and then we’ll give it to the person and then they’ll document it following our documentation guidelines. That way, like it’s being documented the way that everything is uniform, um, but all we have to do is do the thing on video and then they just watch the video and do it. Um, but she’s doing that.

Jake: 

But then I just had a discussion with her on Friday and I was like hey, uh, you’ve expressed that you wanted more hours. Like, here’s what we need, and it’s basically administration. We need someone to do invoicing, we need someone to do project management, we need someone to do like non-billable things, and so we’re headed in that direction where everything is. We do pride ourselves a lot on having like an internal team and no outsourcing. So, um, obviously, like we have contractors, but they’re only contractors because we can’t W2 them, but they still have their own like ever grow email and um, they’re treated as part of the internal team members. So, um, that’s kind of just how we’ve operated and we’re heading in that direction. The other challenge is I mean, we’re a half million dollar agency, but I still have a full-time job, so I’m like loading that on top of the agency, on top of the podcast, and so something’s got to give eventually.

Josh: 

Yeah, yeah, oh, now my coaching views are turning now, man, yeah, it’s funny, I just released a course called Scale your Way, so it’s like there’s a lot of ways to do it. Yeah, you just got to scale the way that works for you and with your timetable, your goals, and I think you guys are on the right track for sure. I mean, the cool thing about focusing on this is a lot of people get to the situations where it’s like okay, now you’re at the crossroads, where it’s like what do I want this thing to become? What type of work do I want to do? Like, uh, you know, do I want to focus on client first relationships, or is that, you know, could we hire some of this out, kind of thing.

Josh: 

So, um, yeah, I’m excited to see where things land at the end of the spring and moving forward for you, man, I I would love to wrap this up just by throwing it to you for one final uh question, which is relationship. Like what is the what’s the best part about being relationship first? Open-ended question, but for somebody, no matter where they are in their journey, particularly for those who are introverts and don’t want to sell and be loud and visible online everywhere. I imagine it’s super beneficial for them. What’s your take on why relationship first is awesome?

Jake: 

Because you never have to sell. I consider myself an introvert, cody is also an introvert, and so we’re just a very introverted company and I’ve never considered myself as a salesperson. I’ve always been just a relationship person. I just want to be friends or a resource. A resource. And when you have that approach, you never have to pitch or promote or influence people to purchase your product, or you never have to sell your service month after month after month and try to prove your value. Or if you focus on the relationship, they’re just going to stay with you because they like you. And if your services start to falter, if your communication starts to falter which ours is you have the relationships to fall back on with all of your clients. And thank God we do, because all of our clients still love us.

Jake: 

We had recently, one of our clients had a baby, and so my fiance and I went to Target and loaded the company credit card with $200 of baby supplies and we just shifted to them and, um, it was like it, like was all over his social media. He’s like send, like this is amazing. And then like, unfortunately, like two months later another client had a baby. So we had to do the same thing, send it out, uh, but um, it’s. It’s things like that where you can’t really do that if you’re not relationship focused, or else it’s kind of weird or you just don’t know because your clients don’t really communicate to you that you know what’s going on in their lives. So having those things are just really cool. The connections just meeting, like just going out with your client and having a drink, like when we went to the exp expo we went out with a bunch of my clients and just had drinks and didn’t talk about work at all oh, I was gonna say it’s a perfect time to upsell too.

Jake: 

Get them all posted yeah, yeah, yeah let’s do it, jake.

Josh: 

Let’s go for the big plan. Man, I’m in open your wallet.

Jake: 

Right, that’s right yeah, yeah, great.

Josh: 

yeah, make sure you collect the payment while you’re at the bar, awesome. Well, jake, this has been great man. I really appreciate you being transparent, a lot about where you guys are at, but, most importantly, you know your different take as an agency. I’ve met a lot of agency owners and it’s yeah, you go against the grain for most agencies, which is probably why you’re having the amount of success you are.

Jake: 

So very, very cool man. I appreciate you hearing the or hearing your perspective on this stuff. Where do you want people to go after this to connect with you? Yeah, just uh check us out on everbrospodcastcom. Um, it’s very similar to our agency name, which is Ever Girl Marketing, except we’re me and Cody. We’re two dudes, ever Bros. Um and uh. From there, you can uh reach out to us via the form fill If you had any questions. You can also comment on the individual episodes and you can find all the links to whatever streaming platform you want to listen to, whether it’s Spotify, apple, amazon, whatever. So, yeah, just feel free to check it out and reach out to us If you’ve got any questions.

Josh: 

Right on, right on, man, we’ll have it all linked up. Thanks for your time today, jake brahm. Thanks, josh, awesome, right. So many ways to get clients without having to hard sell, and again being that used sweaty car salesman. So I really hope this one helped you and gave you some encouragement and maybe not inspiration, but, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? So some backing on I’m sure I’ll think of the word right as I get done recording but some support on this idea of focusing on a few relationships and how that can build your business.

Josh: 

I firmly believe in the beginning years you need to do a little more selling, but as long as you get a few clients and you have a few, whether it’s a networking group or a core group around you if you focus on relationships and deepen those relationships, you will have to sell less and less and less and less over time, and everything Jake and I just covered is going to be a big help to you. So we covered a lot here. Links, show notes and the resources we covered are going to be found at joshhallco, slash 327. Full transcription is over there for you as well. And, as we mentioned, jake is also the co-host of a podcast called the Everbros podcast. You will find me on there here, I think, at some point this summer or maybe in the fall, so make sure to tune into that and a lot of great resources over at joshhallco, slash 327. If you want to find out more about what the actual agency is up to that Jake runs, go to evergrowmarketingcom.

Josh: 

Again, really good example of niching down for one industry, in their case the landscaping industry and man relationships. Focus on those friends. Sell less, make more the relationships. That’s a pretty good title. Well, we’ll save that for another one. Cheers friends. I will see you over at the show notes for this one. Please subscribe and if you would, please leave a podcast review. I got a couple more recently. I love seeing those, I do read those and it really helps grow the show. So if you would like to help some other web designers leave a review, that’s something you could do. Some people ask me how can I help and I’m like like, leave a podcast review. It’s actually a huge help, so I would so appreciate it on Spotify or the Apple and I really appreciate it. See you guys on the next one.

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