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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Now displaying: 2020
Aug 10, 2020

Prior to the economic downturn in ‘07-’08, I worked with a lot of agency owners who were very adamant that they would never outsource any of their services. Then the recession hit. Agencies were forced to trim their payroll and job-out projects to 1099s and other partners. Today, 99% of the agencies I work with have a hybrid business model that incorporates some type of outsourcing. When done well, this is actually a benefit to your clients so the question becomes how can you make this work in your agency? Brian Gerstner joins us in this episode of Build a Better Agency to explain how we can build and maintain strong partnerships that work well for all concerned.

Brian Gerstner has over twenty years of experience working with agency owners across the globe. He currently serves as the Creative Services Director for Huebner Marketing and the presenting sponsor of this podcast, White Label IQ. Brian offers a unique perspective on working with freelancers and outsourced service providers because he understands the nuances that influence these working relationships as both an agency creative director and the guy who heads up an outsourced resource.

Like most relationships, making it a rewarding experience for everyone takes work, commitment, and consistent communication. Listen to Brian’s tips and learn how to incorporate outsourced labor into your business model in a way that serves everyone well.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | Smart outsourcing for agencies

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can be a good partner to their outsourced partners and vice versa
  • How to pick the right outsource partner for your agency’s needs
  • What outsource partners should bring to the table to improve the workflow
  • How to manage communication with your partners under a compressed timeline
  • How White Lable IQ demonstrates technical expertise to people who aren’t technical
  • How to know when it’s time to pull the plug on a partnership
  • How to set clear expectations with your outsource partners
  • Why outsourcing is a great way to try before you buy
  • How to disclose your outsource partners to your clients
Aug 3, 2020

This may be the most unorthodox episode of Build A Better Agency to date. When I met Amira Alverez, who helps agency owners and leaders really harness the power of the subconscious mind, I was intrigued and invited her to be a guest. But then she asked if she could turn the tables on me and do a coaching session with me – live – and we’d let all of you eavesdrop in on the session.

I’ll admit, I was anxious about it. I didn’t want the episode to be about me. But Amira flipped the script and takes us all through a live-action case study using her methodology, with yours truly as the subject. She stops and coaches along the way and in the end, it’s a brilliant look at how we are all the biggest detriment to the success we’re capable of achieving as agency owners.

Amira Alvarez is the founder and CEO of The Unstoppable Woman, a global coaching company helping entrepreneurs, empire builders, athletes, creatives, agency owners, and rising stars in all fields achieve their dreams and goals in record time. Before Amira got clear on her goals, she was making $135k, but only a short while later, she started producing a seven-figure income that she’s been able to sustain to this day.

Amira helps agency owners figure out what they want, and what’s in the way. I encourage you to join in on this unique journey because you might have a breakthrough as well. Follow along and work through Amira’s process with us—it may provide you with clarity in areas you have struggled with for years.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Amira’s entrepreneurial journey
  • A live-action case study using practices from Amira’s success methodology
  • How we as agency owners can own the truth about what we really want
  • How to get clear on your big, audacious goal and make a plan to execute it
  • Why a timeline is such a huge factor in your ability to achieve your goal
  • How to understand your subconscious mind and self-image
  • Tactical strategies and mindset shifts you can use to get out of your own way
Jul 27, 2020

As agency owners, we are constantly searching for new ways to harness the power of persuasion and trigger an audience’s buy-button on behalf of our clients. Understanding what’s happening inside the consumer’s head and what drives their behavior is where that effort begins. We’ve always worked to understand how audiences in the past, but what if we could leverage data and science to crack the code and target the decision-making part of a prospect’s brain?

As a neuroscientist and an agency owner, my guest Patrick Renvoise bridges the gap between science and marketing so agency owners can understand what makes different audiences tick.

He has taken an entirely new approach to persuasion that enables agency owners to better recommend marketing solutions to their clients by explaining the science behind them. It is one of the many reasons Patrick co-founded SalesBrain, the world’s first neuromarketing agency, where he currently serves as the Chief Persuasion Officer.

In this episode, we’ll explore the science behind human decision-making and how we can harness that for our agencies and our clients.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | The science of marketing with Patrick Renvoise

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the brain reacts to persuasion
  • The role of the primal brain in decision making, and how to reach it
  • The six stimuli of the primal brain and how to leverage them in your work
  • Why logical and emotional messaging is not enough to impact your customer’s decision
  • How to position your agency against all of the other agencies in the landscape
Jul 20, 2020

In my 250th (man, how times flies!) episode of Build a Better Agency, we look at the next set of client and employee-focused trends from the 2020 Agency Trends Report, picking up where I left off in episode #245, which was me walking you through the first half of the trends. The back half of the report covers everything from employee retention and happiness to the changing needs of your clients as they respond to current events. I am hoping these trends will give you a better idea of what we can do to adapt to this complex economic climate while protecting the health of our agencies.

Every summer, I consolidate the trends that I see every day in the 250+ small to mid-sized agencies we serve and distill them down for you so you can plan for these evolutions in our industry.

With everything going on right now, it is hard to dedicate the necessary time and mental space to focus on running your agency. But, paying close attention to the health of your agency and the trends that will impact its health, is more important than ever before. We have to carve out of the time to protect our businesses and I am hoping that taking a look at these trends will help you do that.

The State of the Agency 2020 will provide tons of insights to push through these difficult times and help your clients do the same.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

Agency Leaders

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why agency leaders had to make concessions due to employment shortages and how that trend is shifting
  • How to regain control of your agency while maintaining employee retention and happiness
  • How to take advantage of the expanded talent pool created by the pandemic
  • Why our clients are looking to get a bigger share of wallet from their existing customers
  • How agencies can capitalize on the need for cause and social marketing
  • How agencies are stepping over the line and diving into sales strategies with clients
  • Why clients are seeking out brand activation
  • Best practices for embedded employees
  • How we can help our clients create and manage private communities that are loyal to their brand
  • New areas where agencies are making great money
Jul 13, 2020

Most agencies do not have a reliable sales strategy. They either rely on referrals or they employ what I call the feast or famine methodology. Neither strategy actually delivers consistent, profitable prospects or new clients. There’s a new, better way to sell for agencies. I’m a huge believer in an agency owning a position of authority and using it to make sales easier, faster and more profitable. That’s why Stephen Woessner and I wrote a book on the subject! And it’s why I wanted to invite Michelle Prince onto the podcast.

Michelle is a best-selling author, public speaker, self-publishing expert, and CEO/Founder of Performance Publishing Group. She offers a unique perspective on thought leadership to agency owners who are looking to establish a position of authority within their niche. She believes that authoring a book is the strategy of choice.

In fact, Michelle says, “you can’t spell authority without ‘author,’” and while writing a book is certainly not the only way to build your thought leadership position, it is a very effective option. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Michelle shares her process for becoming an authority by focusing on authorship and publishing as a means of bringing significant value to your audience.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What being an authority looks like and how to get there
  • How Michelle’s experience working for Zig Ziglar shaped her approach to building authority
  • The power of putting yourself out there as the subject matter expert
  • Why writing a book can help build your thought leadership and establish your position of authority
  • Why you have to claim your authority no matter how many agencies do what you do
  • How to leverage the power of authority
  • Why backstory is so important in the digital age
  • How to build your entire thought leadership platform off of a book
  • How you can use your thought leadership platform to generate multiple revenue streams
Jul 6, 2020

The Black Lives Matter movement has triggered a global conversation that has been a long time coming. Like other business owners, agency leaders are wrestling with the questions and concerns about racial equality in their agency and in our industry. How should our agencies respond internally and externally?

The demand for conversations about racial equality is louder and more urgent now than it has ever been. Employment attorney and discrimination complaint investigator Jennifer Long has a scalable, business-centric response to moving towards racial equality that will help us create consequential and sustainable change.

What can we do to take meaningful action? Should we be issuing an anti-racist statement? Or use our social media channels to post memes? How do we handle this well and respectfully while also not taking our eye off the ball and helping our agency recover from COVID and the economic downturn?

It’s critical for agencies to have their house in order before they publicly bang their drum, and Jen can help us understand how that works from a business perspective. Her recent engagements have been focused on helping organizations expand their racial consciousness and messaging around this topic.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency leaders should respond to the need for racial equality
  • How to provide your team with the right resources to educate themselves about racial equality
  • How to improve your hiring practices and align them with racial equality
  • Why implicit bias negatively influences the workplace
  • How agency owners can put together a course of action that is meaningful but also enables them to continue operating profitably
  • What you can do to take a stance on racial equality without being criticized as a hypocrite
  • Examples of companies that are dealing with this issue successfully
Jun 29, 2020

There are very few agency owners who love biz dev. It’s time consuming, sometimes it feels like you are trying to target shoot in the dark, and you often end up settling for prospects that aren’t quite the right fit. But at least it’s a win! Your spidey senses are tingling and you know there’s trouble ahead but you ignore that little voice and forge ahead, hoping for the best. What if you could eliminate those near misses?

I’m a firm believer that every agency should have a clear understanding of what their sweet spot client looks like and how to spot them in the crowd. Every client is right for some agency. But not every client is the right fit for yours.

How do you know who your ideal client is? How do you attract them to you so you don’t have to hunt them down and how do you encourage them to give you that first dance?

My guest will be a great beacon and help us gain clarity around all of those questions. I’ve known Matthew Kimberley for about 4-years and love his unique style and outlook on sales. He leads the business building system called Book Yourself Solid Worldwide, which is based on the bestselling book, Book Yourself Solid, written by Michael Port.

Matthew is waving that flag all over the world and helping salespeople understand there is a proven way to literally book yourself solid. The beauty of the Book Yourself Solid system is that when you do it well, you never have to settle for a not quite right fit client again.

Matthew is also the author of a great book entitled, “Get a F*cking Grip: How to Get Your Life Back on Track” and has an online course about writing delightful emails — which I thought was spectacular. He also hosts his own podcast entitled, “How to Get a Grip.”

Matthew and I talk through the concept of Book Yourself Solid and how it pertains to agency owners. We talk through the questions that I know you would ask around sales, prospecting, and how we as agency owners and leaders can better use our day to drive sales into our agencies.

Today (no matter when you’re listening to this) is the perfect time to get a better set of client filters in place so you protect and build your agency by filling your pipeline with those sweet spot clients.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to create a set of criteria so you and your team can quickly filter out the wrong fit clients and spot the right ones.
  • How to get more right-fit clients than your agency can handle even if selling isn’t your favorite thing to do.
  • How to apply the “rule of three.”
  • How to create new business opportunities around things you already enjoy doing.
  • Why agency owners tend to do well at the top end of the sales funnel but then struggle when it comes time to drive sales into the agency.
  • How to apply the three guiding principles within the Book Yourself Solid business development system.
  • Why blending in “non-negotiable” criteria in your client filtering process will help protect your agency.
  • Why you need a conscious process for developing trust at different points in time for different reasons with your clients and prospects.
  • How you can develop a “Something to Invite People to Offer” so your prospects have an opportunity to get to know you and your agency better.
  • How to apply the five things every agency owner should be doing every morning to fast-track biz dev.
Jun 22, 2020

Most agencies have yet to harness the power of data automation tools, and the numbers reveal a concerning reality. 60% of all agencies believe that they make at least 6 costly digital marketing mistakes on a client’s account every week. 33% of agencies have eaten between $5-$10,000 to fix a single campaign mistake. And it doesn’t get better with size. The number of mistakes nearly doubles when a digital agency scales from $1 million to $5 million in fees. And that’s not the most horrifying news that came out of a recent study conducted by Morphio.

If there’s one thing most agencies have plenty of—it is data. If there’s one thing agencies struggle with—it’s data. That’s what intrigues me about data automation tools like Morphio. They define themselves as a check engine light for your digital campaigns. I invited founder (and agency owner) Eric Vardon onto the show to talk to us about this very real challenge. Out of his agency’s necessity, Eric’s team has been developing data automation tools baked with AI and machine learning. Eric’s products are helping agencies plug their leaks and become more profitable using data and automation, and he offers his tools at an affordable price point.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Eric shares his journey as a tech entrepreneur and agency owner. He walks us through the lessons he’s learned about refining agency processes, improving team efficiency, and expanding the agency-client relationship using data automation tools. He breaks down the common mistakes agencies make in that arena and explains how we can improve our own systems and processes. Find out how Morphio is working with other small to mid-sized agencies to bring them invaluable AI and machine learning capabilities that don’t break the bank.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Data Automation Tools

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How data and reporting have shaped the way clients interact with agencies
  • How Morphio’s data automation tools help agencies plug leaks in the bucket
  • When and how Eric decided to offer his automation tool to other agencies
  • How to leverage AI so you can focus on creativity and client strategy
  • Why you need a check engine light for your agency’s performance and efficiency
  • How you can use Morphio to make your agency more profitable
  • How Morphio has changed reporting, and where it’s headed next
  • Why data monitoring can help you make more informed decisions as an agency leader
Jun 15, 2020

The past three months have felt like a bad sci-fi movie. As agency leaders, most of us have navigated the economic struggles right after 9/11 and the great recession of 07-08’. But nothing has come close to the economic, health, and social impacts that we’ve experienced recently. But we need to stay smart and fight our way out of this economic slowdown. I want to share some trends that will help you do just that.

COVID continues to be a major topic of discussion throughout the world. It is still a hot button issue as many agency leaders work to stabilize their operations. However, the pandemic has had to share the spotlight with the global conversation about racism and it’s reasonable to assume these are both conversations and realities we’re going to be wrestling with for the foreseeable future.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, as I have every summer, I want to look at the trends that are impacting our industry. A couple of them have been altered by COVID but most of these are trends I was talking about in early 2020 and they’re as relevant today as they were in January.

With everything going on right now, it is hard to dedicate the necessary time and mental space to focus on running your agency. The health of your agency is more important than ever before. We have to carve out of the time to protect our businesses and I am hoping that taking a look at these trends will help you do that.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why the health of our agency is so important in the big picture
  • How to tee up your agency for a great 2021
  • What you can to start thriving right now
  • Trends that agency leaders should be watching for in 2020-2021
  • Why AMI agencies have been so much more profitable than average privately held agencies
  • How our clients’ needs have changed this past year
  • What we can do to map out our sales funnels and increase efficiency
  • How to take control of the sales cycle by being direct
  • Why agency leaders have become a bottleneck for strategy
  • Why we are seeing more employees buy minority stakes in their agencies
Jun 8, 2020

Most agency owners would put attorneys in the cost column. Until they get into legal trouble. Then, they quickly realize how much they could have ultimately saved if they’d been a little more proactive and worked with an attorney before they got into hot water. But with the right attorney who specializes in agencies and understands our world, you can navigate common legal obstacles while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My guest is AMI’s go to attorney, Sharon Toerek. Sharon’s depth of expertise in our world makes her an invaluable resource for agencies who have any sort of legal issue that they’re either trying to proactively resolve or when they’re in a jam.

She speaks our language and has spent the last fifteen years carving out her niche. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Sharon Toerek joins us again to share her expertise and walk us through the new research project that she and her law firm put together, looking at common legal snags that get agencies into trouble.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency attorney

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The most prevalent legal issues that agency owners are currently facing
  • How to approach client contract negotiations from a legal perspective
  • How to overcome the legal challenges of working with freelancers
  • How to protect your agency from copyright and trademark issues
  • How to move out of the anxious and afraid category by finding an agency attorney you trust
  • Why putting foundational processes in place can make a substantial difference in the way you handle legal issues in your agency
  • How the pandemic will change language in contracts
  • The most worrisome part of Sharon’s research findings

The Golden Nuggets:

Jun 1, 2020

There are two questions plaguing agencies in the spring of 2020. The first is how are brands going to respond to covid when it comes to budgets, tackling new projects and their relationships with agencies. The second is how can the agency sensitively and successfully mine for new business while the world is trying to get back on its axis. Fortunately, RSW/US recently released a new study that answers both of these questions and is filled with more good news than you might expect.

The first piece of RSW/US’ research was conducted in March 2020 just as the pandemic was hitting the US. They went back into the field in mid-May to track how things had changed over the previous 45 days and as the US was beginning to re-open for business.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, RSW/US’ Lee McKnight walks us through some of the key findings. He also shares how some of the responses have shifted over the two months in between the studies. There’s plenty of encouraging news in the data and there are also some danger signs. Listen so you can learn what the agencies and brands are thinking, feeling, and saying as the curve flattens out and business begins to pick up again.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The findings from RSW/US’ research in both March and May of 2020
  • Why small to mid-sized agencies have a better shot at being “too small to fail”
  • Why most brands believe that their spending will be unchanged or increased as business gets going again
  • The surprisingly good news from RSW/US agency research project
  • What surprised Lee the most on the agency side of the data
  • How agencies can change their messaging to position themselves as leaders in the crisis
  • What we should be thinking about as we take a new approach to case studies
  • What agencies are doing right now to get conversations/meetings with prospects
May 25, 2020

The most popular relief loan in the US is the Paycheck Protection Program loan or PPP loan. Unfortunately, in a rush to get the funds out to agencies and other businesses, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department forgot to define how the loan and its forgiveness will work.

There’s a lot of grey area surrounding the PPP, so in this episode of Build a Better Agency, tax advisor Craig Cody joins me to explain what we do know and what we’re still waiting to discover.

Craig is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Tax Coach™, and business owner who has been following developments since day one. Many of us have applied, many of us have received funding, but not one of us knows all the rules. Craig is here to change that, to the extent that he can.

We’ll talk about the SBA’s forgivability application released on May 15th, other forgivability factors, whether or not the expenses we pay for with PPP funds will be deductible and how to manage our finances to weather whatever rules come down.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The PPP relief loan, what we can use it for, and what we can’t
  • What we know so far about PPP eligibility for deduction
  • What has changed as a result of the new forgiveness application
  • Where the forgiveness application gives us the clarity that we didn’t have clarity before
  • What we can make of the IRS/Congress tussle over the PPP guidelines
  • Strategies we can use to mitigate our tax liability until the HEROES Act is passed
  • How the alternative payroll covered period benefits agency owners
  • How agencies can use PPP funds on expenses other than payroll
  • How we can reimburse agency employees for working from home expenses
  • How to avoid mistakes with your application
May 18, 2020

Very few agency owners are giddy about the prospect of prospecting for new clients. It feels uncomfortable and unnatural. But what if it isn’t that they hate biz dev but that they just weren’t doing it in a way that aligns with their strengths? If sales felt comfortable and easy, wouldn’t you do more of it?

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we are joined by biz dev expert Jody Sutter of The Sutter Company, a new business consultancy that advises small agencies on organizing and operationalizing their growth strategy. Her programs make it easier for small agencies to embrace and sustain a new business strategy because they take both the agency’s strengths and available resources into consideration. Jody walks us through the steps we can take to bolster our biz dev strategy as agencies and clients emerge from the storm.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Jody’s background and what she is doing to serve agencies
  • Common biz dev mistakes that agency owners make
  • How agency owners can overcome fear and rejection in business development
  • The four strength profiles of agency owners and the nuances of each one
  • How to identify your strength profile and build a strategy that caters to it
  • Jody’s “prescriptive approach to new business”
  • How to stay the course while you’re constantly changing your mind about your agency
  • How agency owners can move from inaction to action
  • How Jody is helping her clients redirect their sales efforts during the global pandemic
May 11, 2020

The panic around COVID lockdown is plateauing. The storm has certainly not passed, but we’ve navigated out of the panic stage and now everyone is realizing they need to get back to business. Whether you live someplace that is still sheltering in place or you are figuring out how to get back to the office — we have to sustain our business through this and come out on the other side. If we do it well, we can not only come out on the other side but we can come on stronger and better than ever.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we walk through the five mini plans that I’ve been talking about in our weekly newsletter. I want to help you build them out.

They are:

  • Operational/financial plan (how will you get the work done on time and on budget? Then, determine the minimum acceptable profit margin for your agency and use agency math to manage your way to never dipping below it)
  • Team plan (how will you keep them motivated, efficient, profitable, and striving to serve each other and your clients)
  • Client plan (you need to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so that when they can step back in — they’re ready and more prepared than their competitors)
  • Prospect plan (what can you talk about that will be valuable — based on what your prospects are ready to hear at any given moment in time)
  • Vision of the future plan (what parts of normal are worth rushing back to and what could/should be different?)

The danger to every agency right now is that we get stuck in place and don’t shake the panic phase. If you and your team work through these plans it will propel you past the paralysis and into a future with a solid foundation. Don’t wait – get working on these plans today!

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

Agency Leaders | 5 mini plans agency leaders can use to thrive through covid

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to build out an operational plan that enables you to continue completing work on-time and under budget
  • Financial metrics that agency leaders should be paying attention to
  • How to keep your team motivated, efficient, and profitable moving forward
  • How to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so they are more prepared than their competitors
  • How to create a solid biz dev plan for your agency’s resurgence
  • How to make difficult staffing decisions in times of crisis
  • Different ways that agencies are successfully managing their teams
  • How agencies are landing new clients in these difficult times

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for agency owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with over 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written several books, including Sell With Authority (2020) and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

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May 4, 2020

There’s always been a great debate among agency owners – does cold email work as a new business strategy. Many will argue that given SPAM filters and the volume of email that everyone gets, it’s impossible to break through and actually get the attention of someone in the C-suite. My guest Jeff Winters proves that belief wrong for his clients every day. But will it work for your agency?

There’s always been a great debate among agency owners – does cold email work as a new business strategy. Many will argue that given SPAM filters and the volume of email that everyone gets, it’s impossible to break through and actually get the attention of someone in the C-suite. My guest Jeff Winters proves that belief wrong for his clients every day. But will it work for your agency?

Jeff created a company called Sapper, a service that works with agency owners and brand leaders to help them with their outbound email marketing and sales efforts. Understanding his methodology means you can do this at home—or you can hire a company like Sapper to do it for you.

In this episode, Jeff gave us the scripts, the timing cadence and how you can measure the results. Ours may be an industry that typically does not boast a lot of success from cold calling, but Jeff has many agencies on his roster that are doing things differently and experiencing great success. I picked Jeff’s brain to find out exactly what they are doing so you can do it too.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | A new tool to add to your agency’s sales strategy with Jeff Winters

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Sapper was founded and what they do
  • How to master outbound email marketing
  • How agencies perform using Sapper’s sales methodology
  • Different tactics you can use for macro, micro, and nano tiered clients
  • How to approach frequency of communication
  • What to do when somebody actually responds to your outbound marketing
  • How to rethink your sales strategy in a time of crisis
Apr 27, 2020

When you realize that this episode is about holding a virtual event, you might jump to the conclusion that this is a C19 focused episode. Nothing could be further from the truth. Virtual events have been successful for years and are always worth considering, pandemic or not!

Agency owner Nicole Mahoney has always been an innovative marketer on behalf of her agency. Her podcast and other industry-specific content has positioned her agency as one of the country’s authorities on destination marketing.

In the fall of 2019, she knew it was time for them to host a broader event to connect with even more industry leaders and prospects. She briefly considering hosting a live conference but the costs were just prohibitive. That’s when she decided to explore hosting a virtual summit. In November, that’s just what her agency did and the results were impressive.

With the right structure, the right tech stack, the right speakers, and the right audience, virtual summits are an opportunity for agency owners to establish themselves as the experts in their respective industries. Learn how Nicole used this channel to build her audience and lay the framework for significant growth.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

 

Agency Owners | Connect with agency prospects using virtual events with Nicole Mahoney

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why Nicole decided to organize a virtual summit
  • The benefits and drawbacks of virtual vs. live events
  • How Nicole structured her virtual summit and who she invited to participate
  • The technical and production side of Nicole’s virtual summit
  • How Nicole’s team tracked engagement for their virtual presentations
  • Where Nicole plans to take her virtual summits in the future
  • How Nicole is collaborating with other marketers in the travel and tourism industry
  • The results of Nicole’s summit and what’s in store for the next one

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Ways to Contact Nicole Mahoney

Tools & Resources:

Apr 20, 2020

Agency owners are scrambling to take advantage of the CARES Act, and in particular the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans but there’s a lot we don’t know because there’s a lot that is not set in stone.  

There is a total lack of clarity around this how the PPP works – from application all the way through repayment and potential forgiveness. The 800-page act says one thing and the SBA says another. As I describe it in my conversation with guest Stephen Katz, we are repairing the plane while we’re flying it.

Stephen is the chair of the business practice of Peckar & Abramson, a law firm in New York City with offices in 10 US cities and affiliates in 14 countries across the globe.  I asked Stephen to joins us because of his decades of experience working with the SBA and other government programs designed to serve businesses. He’s spent the better part of a month interacting directly with the SBA, Treasury Department and his legal peers to try to wrap their arms around the CARES Act and specifically the PPP loan.

I knew he‘d provide some answers so that we agency owners can plan for the future and protect what they have now. It is important to know what you’re getting into. And as details get locked down, we’ll have Stephen back to help us navigate this murky waters.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices.  Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here. Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Stephen developed expertise in  business law
  • The economic impact of 9/11 vs. COVID-19
  • Everything agency owners should be aware of as they apply for the PPP
  • What we know about the loan forgiveness provision of the PPP loan so far
  • How to prove you are using the proceeds of your loan appropriately
  • Everything you need  to know about EIDL loans
  • Why bigger banks have been hesitant to fund CARES Act  loans

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Ways to contact Stephen Katz:

Tools & Resources:

Apr 13, 2020

Agency owners wear many hats and certainly one of the most important is leader. There are days when that’s easy and even fun. And then, there are days like the ones we’ve been having lately, when the weight of that role can get pretty heavy. Our employees need us to guide them through these uncharted waters. And to do that, we need to stay calm, confident and compassionate. But how do you do that when you can’t even be in the same room.

The current COVID crisis is pushing teams and agency leaders to their limits. Fortunately, leadership and culture expert Adam Carroll has tools and insights that will help you show up to be the best leader possible; in a time when that leadership is sorely needed.

In this episode, Adam and I talk about how to manage and stay aligned with a dispersed team, how to hold everyone accountable, and how to create connections that will survive and thrive beyond the crisis. Adam’s advice is pragmatic and actionable. You’ll be able to put it into play immediately.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • If you decide to go with a different keyword, make sure to have the keyword listed in at least one bullet point in bold.
  • Advice for agency owners on how to lead their team while working remotely
  • How agency owners can be authentic and compassionate and still hold the team accountable
  • The HEAT framework and how agency owners and leaders can deploy it throughout the organization
  • The importance of shared ownership and the elements you need to create it
  • What agency owners should be aware of as they transition to a virtual environment
  • How to reinforce the team aspect of your agency, despite not physically being together

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Ways to Contact Adam Carroll:

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Apr 6, 2020

Odds are you cannot remember a more tumultuous time in your agency. You probably endured through 9/11 but we understood what happened and why. You probably survived the 07-08 recession but we saw it coming and had time to plan and adjust. Covid-19 brings a rare and overwhelming combination of a health scare, human isolation, and an economic shutdown all in one fell swoop. No wonder you’re feeling a bit frantic. That’s why I’m worried about you. If you can’t stand strong through this, your agency is in trouble.

The way we lead our agency through this is by acknowledging how hard it is and taking care of ourselves. We have to recognize that we’re grieving right now and because of that, we’re experiencing a wide range of emotions from terror to anger to a need to just keep moving.

All of that is natural and to be expected. But it’s not helpful. In this episode we’re going to talk about grieving, about accepting the loss and deciding what path makes the most sense for your shop. Beyond that – we’re going to talk about how YOU survive this and lead your team to the better days that we know are waiting for us around the corner.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

Agency Owners | A very personal message to agency owners – how to survive the covid chaos

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can overcome the mental hurdles of being the ship’s captain in time of crisis
  • What we’re going through as agency leaders and what we can do to survive the storm
  • How to overcome the sense of loss and grief the pandemic has brought upon us
  • Tools and resources agency owners can use to navigate new challenges brought by the COVID-crisis
  • Why agency owners need to take care of themselves before they can take care of anyone else
  • How you can use this period of change to rethink the way you do business

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for agency owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with over 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written several books, including Sell With Authority (2020) and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources (if needed):

Mar 30, 2020

US and European based agency owners are fightly vigilantly as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds in their region of the world. It’s affecting agencies and their clients in significant ways. I’ve been talking to agency owners non-stop for the last two weeks and one thing is for sure – one agency’s experience is not like another’s. For some, business and AGI has never been better. In others, 50% of their AGI has walked out in less than ten days. I wanted to connect with an agency owner who had already experienced everything we are going through today and could tell us what’s coming next.

Kiri Sinclair owns the 50-person PR shop aptly named Sinclair. They’re based in Hong Kong with hubs in several cities in China and they are about three months ahead of us in dealing with the coronavirus. Needless to say, there are some good lessons for us to learn from her experience.

Hong Kong and mainland China reacted differently to the initial outbreak than European countries and the US have reacted so our experience may not be perfectly parallel. However, the timeline still provides us with some idea of what to expect moving forward. The good news is – there’s good news.
Two and a half months in, client business in Hong Kong has picked up and things are moving back to normal. Every country and every agency is different, but Kiri’s story serves as a beacon of hope and helps us anticipate what is coming next.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners across the globe are responding to the COVID-crisis
  • The experience of Hong Kong-based agency owner Kiri Sinclair since the outbreak first occurred there over two months ago
  • How clients responded to the global pandemic in Asia
  • How to be proactive in protecting client relationships and the team amidst the crisis
  • How to consider handling internal changes such as pay and lay-offs
  • Mistakes our guest made and what she would have done differently if she knew then what she knows now

The Golden Nuggets:

“Agencies in the U.S. and Europe are very lucky to have an additional two months of knowledge to make difficult decisions.” @SinclairTalkCLICK TO TWEET“Get your contingency plans in order. Then, communicate what those contingency plans are, how your business is operating at this moment in time, and how you are supporting the community to contain this outbreak.” @SinclairTalkCLICK TO TWEET

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Ways to contact Kiri Sinclair:

Tools & Resources:

Mar 23, 2020

Today’s episode is a twofer – and both topics are going to benefit your shop. The first is the idea of collaborating with your prospects to create content that is valuable for both of you. From there you can leverage that shared experience to create new opportunities for your agency. The second is how you can write that book you’ve been thinking about, despite how overloaded your calendar and life can be.

My guest is James Carbary, the owner of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast-first media company. James was with us once before back in Episode #156 where we talked about James’ approach to networking. And in the latest episode of Build a Better Agency, we dive even further into his creative collaboration methodology as we discuss the writing process and major talking points of his new book, Content-Based Networking: How to Instantly Connect with Anyone You Want to Know.

James asserts that when you partner with your prospects to produce content that will serve their organization’s business goals, you can connect and create the foundation of a relationship. That relationship will serve your agency in a variety of ways, ranging from referrals to a new client. On top of that, the content is also useful to your audience, so it’s establishing your position of authority, as Stephen Woessner and I detail in our new book Sell With Authority.

As if that wasn’t already a value-packed episode, I also asked James how he, as a busy agency owner, found the time to write the book. He reveals all of his shortcuts and secrets and you’re going to want to hear them all!

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | How to grow your agency using content collaboration with James Carbary

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • If you decide to go with a different keyword, make sure to have the keyword listed in at least one bullet point
  • The concept of James’ new book, Content-Based Networking: How to Instantly Connect with Anyone You Want to Know
  • How content collaboration serves your agency’s biz dev efforts
  • James’ framework for content-based networking and how to apply it
  • How to write and publish your own book
  • How to use your book as a biz dev too

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Ways to contact James Carbary:

Tools & Resources:

Mar 16, 2020

There’s not a small business owner on the planet who isn’t concerned about how the coronavirus is going to impact their business, employees, clients, and family. Those worries are complicated by the fact that this is also a health risk to those you love. I can’t help with the health risk part – but I can help ease your fears about your business. We’re going to survive this together and in this episode, I am going to give you some tips and tactics to get you and your agency through this storm and back to calm waters.

If you’ve owned your agency for a while, you’ve already survived a similar season. We weathered 9/11 and in the U.S the ’07 to ’08 recession. It wasn’t pleasant or pretty — but you got your agency through it and I want you to recognize that you can and will do it again.

I’m going to walk you through steps to protect yourself and your agency in these areas:

  • Your team
  • Money
  • Clients
  • Biz dev

It’s going to require strong leadership and a kind, compassionate heart — and following the metrics to get your agency through the next few months. But you’ve got all of that in spades — so let’s get through this together!

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How this economic slowdown is not the first we’ve seen
  • What to keep in mind if you shift to a remote work situation
  • The place where you’re at the most danger of putting your agency at risk
  • The financial metrics you cannot afford to ignore
  • How to take a long-range view of the virus situation and find opportunities in the chaos
  • The unlikely upsides of this season

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for agency owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with over 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written several books, including Sell With Authority (2020) and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Subscribe to Build A Better Agency!

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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources (if needed):

Mar 9, 2020

The more you know about a person, the easier it is to connect with them. One of the challenges when it comes to biz dev is that we really don’t know too much about the prospect we’re trying to build a relationship with, especially in the early stages of the sales pitch. But what if there was a way for you to gain those insights even if you’ve never met them in person?

Charlie Poulson’s first job out of college was building PPT decks for one of the country’s largest agencies. That experience gave him insights on the technical side of sales. A recent discovery of a tool that adds in some psychological insights has allowed him to build a business helping others succeed at sales.

In the latest episode of Build a Better Agency, Charlie explains how agency owners can structure proposals and presentations in a way that resonates with their audience, because they know who that person is and how they tick, thanks to Crystal, a Chrome plugin that provides DISC assessment information based on their LinkedIn profile and other social channels.
Take a listen and then connect with your prospects at a whole different level.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | Leveraging psychology to improve agency sales with Charlie Poulson

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • If you decide to go with a different keyword, make sure to have the keyword listed in at least one bullet point.
  • The psychology behind agency sales communication
  • How agency owners can communicate more effectively with prospects
  • The art of presentation design for agencies
  • How Charlie creates presentations and proposals that resonate with decision-makers
  • How Charlie is using AI (Crystal the Chrome plugin) to gather data and insights about agency prospects
  • How to create different pitch decks for a variety of personality types

Ways to Contact Charlie Poulson:

Tools & Resources:

Mar 2, 2020

Many agency owners are familiar with the book Traction by Gino Wickman and his Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s a fantastic methodology for improving your agency’s ability to scale effectively, growing a leadership team and building a more sustainable, profitable agency. If you implement Traction properly. Otherwise, it can be a huge waste of time and money.

Traction” is not just a book — it is a new way of running your business so that you can delight your clients but also make your own agency a priority. No more “cobbler’s children have no shoes” excuses about why your website is never updated, your internal priorities are ignored or your agency is stuck in terms of growth and profitability.

I have served many agencies as their Traction implementer and through that experience have figured out some of the biggest pitfalls, mistakes and challenges that agencies run into when they launch Traction inside their shop. In this solocast, I will walk you through the benefits of Traction and how to get the most from the effort.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners | Using Traction to scale and strengthen your agency with Drew McLellan

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can benefit from Traction and EOS
  • How to build your agency’s traction team
  • How to implement Traction in your agency
  • What decisions/practices impact the effectiveness of Traction in our agencies
  • How to navigate the challenging segments of the Traction process
AMI works with agency owners by:
  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for agency owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with over 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written several books, including Sell With Authority (2020) and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources:

 
Feb 24, 2020

I have long preached the concept of being a specialist versus a generalist to my audience, so it should come as no surprise to you that along with my co-author Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI, I have just written a book on the subject.

Sell With Authority is a playbook for agency new business efforts that will allow you to shorten your sales cycle, increase your pricing and profitability and actually attract your ideal customers to knock on YOUR door, rather than the other way around. In this week’s episode, Stephen and I talk about some of the core principles of the book and why we’re both so passionate about the approach.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The inspiration and core concepts behind our new book, Sell With Authority
  • How to be seen as an authority in your industry
  • The biz dev decisions that will help you achieve rapid growth
  • Why you should narrow your agency’s focus
  • How to differentiate your agency by having a unique point of view
  • How to use cornerstone content to build authority across multiple channels

Ways to Contact Stephen Woessner:

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