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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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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Now displaying: May, 2018
May 28, 2018

Making a profit is the goal of any agency owner. But too often, the way we think about profit actually hurts our agency. The standard equation (sales - expenses = profit) can lead to bad decision-making. We are willing to accept the leftovers (profit) rather than running our business to deliver profit as a key outcome. I’d much rather have you determine the amount of profit that is acceptable to you and then you manage your business to that goal.

This is a more effective way to look at the profit equation – one that helps agencies thrive and gives you the ROI you deserve for taking the risk of owning an agency.

Michael Michalowicz founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Then in his mid-30’s, he went broke. Starting over again, he was driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. Among other innovative strategies, Mike created the “Profit First Formula,” a way for small to mid-sized businesses like our agencies to ensure profitability from their very next deposit forward.

Michael is now running his third million dollar venture, is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal, the former MSNBC business make-over expert, a popular keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics, and is the author of Profit First, Surge, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The two questions Michael asked himself that allowed him to find his calling to become an author
  • Why leaving too much money in your agency leads to bad decisions
  • What it means to run the Profit First system within your agency
  • Basic principles to help your agency get ready to use the Profit First system
  • Why you aren’t limited by a lack of resources
  • The parallel between Pumpkin farmers and business regarding organic growth
  • Key takeaways agency owners can apply to their biz dev strategy using the principle of “growing the strong sprout”
  • Why it’s important to serve the verticals your agency knows well, and that will allow three or four of those legs to support your stool
  • Consequences you may face when you put too much focus on your weakest clients
  • Why entrepreneurs struggle with being profitable
  • A better way to calculate profit for your agency so you can stop using the “Frankenstein Formula”
  • Principles taken from health and fitness industry you can apply to manage your money better and simplify your agency

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

May 21, 2018

No matter what kind of agency you own, where it’s located, or how large it is – there is a truth about your business. You are literally and figuratively on stage every single day. Whether you're on the phone with a client, sitting across the table from a few people, or standing on the stage at a national conference, we are constantly presenting.

We can’t afford to be shy about presenting. I’m not suggesting you do a TED talk but I am suggesting that you can’t afford to shirk away from any stage, big or small. You’ve heard me talk about the value of speaking as a way of creating cornerstone content but today I want to focus on a different aspect of presenting – selling from the stage (whatever that stage may be).

This week’s podcast guest loves to talk to business owners about how to do that bigger and better, and bolder. Dustin Mathews is an author of many best-selling books, and he has shared the stage with athletes, business celebrities, and titans of business. His latest book, "The No BS Guide to Powerful Presentations: How to Sell Anything with Webinars and Online Media Speeches and Seminars" is going to be a book that you are going to not only read but underline and highlight and share with others. That I promise you.

Dustin is known for creating content that drives people to buy products en masse. His companies and private clients have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Inc magazine. He's literally marketed and filled over 3,000 events and has led 10 online product options. He and his work had generated over $43 million in sales. So he knows how to package and sell value.

As a part of prepping for the work that he's doing today, he did some recent research and has identified a process for creating and selling products and services that he calls the Irresistible Offer Architecture that is so unique that he was able to get recognition by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why it takes practice to get comfortable with public speaking
  • Testing and getting feedback on material before presenting it to a large audience
  • Why it doesn’t matter how qualified you look if you’re able to speak to someone’s pain point
  • Giving a speech that gets people to take the next steps you want them to take
  • How to sell at conferences when you’re told “don’t sell from the stage”
  • Creating excitement about your offer by teasing coming next in your presentation
  • The five elements every presentation should have
  • Giving people value in your speeches before giving them the ask
  • Separating your agency from your competition by giving your processes a name
  • Why you need to showcase case studies in your presentations to show off your expertise
  • The nine elements of the irresistible offer architecture
  • Why you should give people a physical giveaway (book, flash drive, etc.) whenever you can
  • How to overcome your prospects’ objections
  • Reverse engineering your presentations based on what you want to offer at the end
  • Why you have to get good at speaking now

Ways to contact Dustin Mathews:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

May 14, 2018

Branding has always been a cornerstone of my own agency. We've spent a ton of time and effort building brands for clients. We have, like all of you, created what we think of as a proprietary process around brand, and it's a topic that I have a great passion around.

Many of you are either too polite to ask or have point-blank asked me, "Drew, what is the deal with you at Disney." Brand is part of why I love them so much. One of the aspects of Disney that I really admire and connect to the most is that I think they're just about as good as it gets in terms of understanding their brand, building their brand, and evolving their brand over time.

One of the guys in the agency space who I think is really brilliant at branding is an Iowa based agency owner named Nick Westergaard. His new book, Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World, just came out and it is a brilliant blueprint for how to create a memorable, meaningful brand in today's chaotic time and space.

Nick and I talked about are how building a brand has changed in this digital crazy, crowded, distracted time, and what are some of the elements that we as agencies can really spotlight and offer as a huge value to our clients. How do we use brand as an agency offering to stay sticky with our clients rather than a one and done project?

Nick is a strategist, speaker, author, and educator. As Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, he helps build better brands at organizations of all sizes — from small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to President Obama’s Jobs Council. In addition to his new book, Nick is also the author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small.

Nick is a sought-after keynote speaker at conferences and corporate events throughout the world. He teaches at the University of Iowa where he sits on the Advisory Council of the Marketing Institute at the Tippie College of Business and the Professional Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also a mentor at the Iowa Startup Accelerator.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Working with brands in a distracted, digital age
  • How the world changed our views about how we should be looking at branding
  • Why simplicity in branding is more critical than ever
  • How agencies can help their clients understand what storytelling really is and how to help them construct better brand stories
  • Why “Story” is a buzzword and how we can rescue it
  • Why the main character in the story shouldn’t be the brand and why it should be the client’s end user
  • Why making sure employees understand the brand is so important for your agency culture and the work that they do for clients
  • The role agencies play in building brands and moving the brand forward
  • How to provide real value to clients in this era of distraction and rapid change
  • The opportunities agency owners are missing out on during the brand discovery process
  • Why a brand is everything a company does – and why that doesn’t have to be overwhelming
  • Why it’s important for you to plant your flag for your brand
  • How Nick’s book can help agencies work together on their own brand
  • The value of getting outside perspective on your own agency

Ways to contact Nick Westergaard:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

May 7, 2018

If you’ve ever hung out with me for more than 10 minutes, you’ve probably heard me say something like “there are no bad clients. But there are bad clients for YOUR agency.” I do believe that there’s an agency out there for every client. But it very well may not be yours. One of the most critical skills an agency owner/leader must develop is the ability to discern if a prospect belongs on your client roster.

Many of you have been emailing me lately asking me questions about problematic clients. And in some cases — they’re clients you never should’ve taken in the first place. You either haven’t yet developed the processes or the spidey sense to sniff out a bad prospect or even worse, you ignored that spidey sense.

We’ve all seen the money on the table and thought to ourselves, “Okay, I'm going to ignore that nagging feeling in my stomach and I’m going to take that client.” I’ve owned my own agency for 23 years and believe me, I’ve made that expensive mistake more than once. Every time I’ve ignored that little nudge saying, “Don’t do it Drew...don’t do it” — the nudge was right and I was wrong. I regretted taking that client and I’m guessing you’ve had the same experience.

The wrong clients, even if they have buckets of money, can literally kill your agency. A client that is not the right fit for your agency is almost impossible to make happy. So what do we do? We run around scrambling trying to make them happy. We do extra rounds of revisions that we don’t charge them for, and in the end, they’re still not happy.

Now we’re underwater and have lost money. We’ve literally paid for the privilege of serving that client. Or worse — the client berates your employees. They micromanage your team. They call or text 24/7 with no respect for boundaries.

And when you don’t step in to negate the situation because the client is giving you a lot of money, you’re at risk of losing your employees. In today’s tight labor market, your employees don’t have to stick around to work for in that environment.

Everyone thinks about “How do I find clients that make me money?” — but quite honestly, the first thing we should be thinking about is “how do I get rid of the clients that cost me money and how do I avoid them down the road?”

That’s what this episode of Build A Better Agency is all about. How you can find and keep clients who don’t cost you money. You can absolutely do this for your agency. And I’m going to show you how.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How agency profitability begins with attracting the right fit clients
  • How to identify the tangible and intangible things that make a client fit the “sweet spot” of your agency
  • Why you should rank every prospect whether they are knocking on your door, or you’re putting together a prospect list, or you’re getting ready to respond to an RFP
  • Why you should consider creating a “Biz Dev” committee within your agency to decide which prospects are the right fit prospects to pursue
  • How to put the “Sophistication Level Factor” to work inside your biz dev process
  • A specific process and tool you can use to kick-off your agency’s relationship with a new client in the right way — so it feels like a celebration and everyone is on the same page
  • How to provide a new client with the proper orientation of what it is like to work with your agency and the team they will be working with on a daily basis
  • The two key pieces to effective client communication and why staying in touch by email is not the answer
  • How a weekly status update can help your AEs gently nag a client so they stay focused on what they need to be doing and providing to your team
  • Why and how you as the agency owner should be spending time with the top 50 percent of your clients — demonstrating how much you love them and how committed you are to their success

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for 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 those 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 two books 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:

Resources:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

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