Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies


Digital agency coach that fuels ad agency new business and operational processes for agencies (digital, advertising, marketing, technology and PR)


SAM #164: How to Handle Nightmare Clients Who Don’t Pay  

So what can you do when a client refuses to pay? I mean, absolutely refuses! That’s the dilemma this new agency owner has with a nightmare client who owes him almost $10K. Listen to his story plus my advice on how to get through it and the processes he needs in order to prevent it from happening again.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

Why you need a prospect qualification process. What information to get in an initial client meeting. 2 ways to get the client’s budget every time. How to protect your agency against slow pay or no pay clients.

Today’s guest is Mike Volkin, a long time freelancer turned agency owner when he founded 800lb Marketing in early 2017. Mike’s agency specializes in fractional CMO services for startups that don’t have marketing leadership. He was about 8 months into the business when I interviewed him. He caught my attention with a post in our Digital Agency Owners Facebook group about a client who wouldn’t pay. In this episode, Mike candidly shares his story about a client who stiffed him on almost $10K while I give him advice to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

How a Good Client Turns Bad

So here’s the gist of Mike’s horror story... His agency was working with a new client who was investor-funded. They assured him there was plenty of funding - they were even turning investors away. So money wasn't going to be a problem. The deal was going to be 800lb Marketing’s second largest contract with multiple-thousands of dollars in recurring revenue.

Well, fast forward several months and now the client refuses to pay. Their reason for nonpayment is because they didn’t receive investor funding. And they didn’t get investor funding because ~ get this~ because, the agency didn’t meet their traffic goals. But wait… WHAT TRAFFIC GOALS? The agency was never given traffic goals yet their success and payment are tied to them?

[clickToTweet tweet="There’s no such thing as a bag agency client. Just a bad prospect or a bad process" quote="There’s no such thing as a bag agency client. Just a bad prospect or a bad process"]

Why You Need a Qualification Process

You might have a similar story. Sooner or later, every agency owner has at least one nightmare client story. In hindsight, usually you look back and realize the signs were always there... Agency owners have to understand they have the right and duty to screen prospective clients. It’s not a one-sided process. Agencies need to ask the right questions and really dig deep to understand if the client is the right fit for them, and not just the other way around.

Since Mike works with startups, he typically asks about the source of funds -- whether self-funded or investor-funded but rarely… hardly ever... will they give him a budget.

In most cases he doesn’t budget info until the second meeting, after he presents a proposal. Mike says typically, in the first meeting, prospects ask him to create a plan and they’ll “find” the budget... Sound familiar?

What Info Do You Need in the Initial Meeting?

I always advise my clients to think of N.B.A.T. before engaging in a new project conversation with a new prospect.

N- Need. Find out what the client’s desired goals are. What do they believe is the specific need in order to achieve the goal? What they think they need might not be what they actually do need. How does this goal tie into the company’s vision? And how will success be measured?

B- Budget. 99% of your prospects know their budget but rarely will they share it. They don’t understand it makes a huge difference in knowing whether you can help them reach their goals or not. Below are my 2 strategies to get the budget from clients who aren’t forthcoming with the information. And the 1% who don’t know the budget? Those are usually the really big clients who have the money to spend -- you’ll know who they are :)

A- Authority. Who’s involved in the decision-making? Make sure you’re working with that person or group of people. You don’t want to spin your wheel with people who don’t have the authority to give approvals or make decisions.

T- Timing. What is the timeframe for this project and how soon does the client expect results? Is the time frame realistic? Can you achieve the desired results in the period of time they’re allowing?

2 Ways To Get the Client’s Budget Every Time

In order to get the client’s budget I like to have a little fun… it depends on your personality as to which one of these strategies work best. You could even use:

Jokester:  If a prospect tells you there is no budget, you can respond with a little sarcasm. Like, “No budget? That’s great! I love working with client’s who don’t have limits on what they can spend. Then we can do a bunch of testing and see what works!” Of course, there is a budget and they’ll soon end up giving you a ballpark of it. If not, you can try #2.
Reverse Auctioneer:  Start with an obscenely high number and just keep dropping it until you land on a number they’re comfortable committing to. Say something like, “What’s the budget? $100,000? $50,000? $40,000?…” Just pause for a brief second between throwing out numbers until you can get them to lock in a range. How to CYA Against Clients Who Are Slow Or No Pay

Mike says he’s going to binding arbitration to try and recoup the loss. I think he should chalk it up to a lesson learned. It’s just not worth investing his time and energy. Learn from it and spend that time building processing to make sure it can’t happen again. This will protect the agency from future potential issues and improve cash flow.

Get paid in advance.

Literally you should have the cash in hand before you start a project. Either 100% paid in full or, depending on the size of the project, at least 50% upfront. Your salesperson will probably want you to start as soon as there’s ink on the contract. Don’t do it! Cash first is the way to go.

Change payment terms.

A lot of agencies like to do 50% upfront and 50% on completion. That’s not the best idea because if the client drags out the project, you’re stuck. Instead, get the client’s credit card on file and let them know you’ll be billing on certain dates over the course of the project. Also, put language in your contract about a penalty for charge-backs (and of course, consult your attorney about your contract.)

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

SAM #163: How to Personalize Your Agency’s Content & Engage with Prospects  

Looking for a new way to monetize your agency’s content marketing? Check out how you can use interactive content to personalize the user experience, engage with your prospects and gain trust by making the content more relevant. Learn what interactive content is all about and how you can use it to acquire new agency business.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

What is interactive content? How can agencies use interactive content? What types of interactive content works best for agencies?

Today’s guest is Randy Reyess, cofounder of Outgrow, a growth marketing platform that enables marketers to build interactive content that increase customer engagement. He’s on the show to share strategies on how you can create interactive content that captures more leads and helps convert them into clients.

What is Interactive Content?

You know those clever quizzes on Facebook that test your movie knowledge? Or calculators you find online to recommend what type of mortgage loan you need? That’s interactive content. It content that requires the participants' active engagement -- more than simply reading a blog post or watching a video. It helps the creator gather information about the user and move them along within the funnel.

How Can Agencies Use Interactive Content?

Randy says agencies should reflect on all the common questions their sales and support teams always seem to get. The best interactive content usually answers those types of questions. They are the questions that take a lot of explanation, rely on several variables and could not be easily explained in something as simple as a blog post. These are the types of things agencies can handle with a quiz or calculator.

[clickToTweet tweet="Everyone is unique but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker." quote="'Everyone is unique but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker.'"]

When you offer all your options to prospects it can be overwhelming and confusing. And when you confuse - you lose. Interactive content helps you build a solution and make the recommendation that best suits a prospect’s specific needs.

What Type of Interactive Content Works for Agencies?

Agencies and SaaS companies are loving interactive content for capturing leads and acquiring new clients. Here’s how they’re using them:

Calculators: ROI is huge for your prospects and clients. They want to see what kind of bang they’re going to get for their buck. Agencies can use ROI calculators to help clients determine where and how to spend their budgets. Calculators provide useful information and build authority by not only providing a result but also explaining it. Quiz: Agency prospects often think they need one thing, but in reality actually need something completely different. A short quiz can help them (and you) understand their goals and determine how to meet them. It eliminates the confusion and guesswork while also keeping the focus on the client and their needs. At the conclusion of the quiz, you can make a recommendation on which product or service they need based on quiz results. Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Interactive Content Not having a promotion strategy. Some marketers create calculators without any plan for getting it to it's users. Your interactive content can't generate leads if there's no plan for distributing the content. Not fully experimenting enough. If you want your content to be a lead generator it's important to test the effectiveness of the lead gen form. Run testing on having different numbers of fields on the form, as well as where, when and how much information you require from the user. Not understanding where the user is in the buyer's journey. Understand what type of person you're targeting and where they are in the funnel. Randy suggests starting with your end goal in mind and then determine your target and whether you want to be educational (calculator strategy) or entertaining (quiz strategy). Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

SAM #162: How Create a Social Media Community To Generate New Agency Business  

Wondering how you can get the attention of your ideal clients? It's a noisy marketing world out there, but you can break through the noise. Learn how one digital agency owner is growing a social community with tens of thousands of prospects. In this episode, learn the ins and outs of creating a Facebook group that provides value and connects people so you can beat out your competition and stay top of mind.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

2 benefits to building a Facebook community. Tips on creating and managing an engaging group. How to avoid common pitfalls when creating a Facebook group.

Today’s guest is Arne Giske, a digital agency owner whose business sky rocketed after creating a Facebook community has over 29,000 members in just one year (and still growing!). He’s here to share tips on creating and managing an engaged group plus pitfalls to avoid so you can generate new agency business.

2 Big Benefits to Building a Facebook Community

It took Arne 6 months to take his Facebook group from 0 to 1,000 members but just another 6 months to jump from 1,000 to 18,000! (It's called Millenial Entrepreneur Community - check it out here.)

It’s better than an email list because people choose to see and engage with their Facebook communities every day.

1- Eliminate Your Competition

Creating a community and helping to connect and serve others. In a very busy, digital world your prospects want to feel seen and heard. You can help them by creating a community of like minded individuals where they can ask questions and idea-share. The best way to break through the noise and clutter of your competition is to help, not hype. Doing this will make you stand out from the “me too” agencies.

2- Member Development Builds Revenue

As your community grows it’s members are more likely to work with you. Members become aware of you and your brand. As an active member of the group you’ll be building trust and authority with your comments, answers and helpful posts. When you provide value first, it will come back to you.

Tips on Creating an Engaging Group

So, there are millions of Facebook groups out there. What can you do to make sure yours is different? The key is making sure people want to join and engage in the group. You can’t even begin to monetize your group until you have active members participating in it.

First, set the mission for the group. What is the intention for bringing these people together? Why would someone want to join this group? Arne says he has started some other groups that flopped entirely. Looking back, it’s because his other groups were self-serving. People could see through his motives and chose not to be involved a sales platform.

Also, understand the basics of Facebook’s algorithms and use it to your advantage. Facebook groups grow because of engagement. Every like, share, comment and post counts! The more engagement, the more Facebook suggests your group to non-members. It becomes very cyclical: member growth = more engagement = more growth = more engagement, and so on.

Naming is important, so take your time. The first three words in the group name will determine whether people want to join or not. Arne suggests making the group name keyword heavy. People will join groups that are relevant to their life, so reach your target audience by identifying them in the group name. (This is another reason why your agency must have a niche!)

How to Manage a Successful Facebook Community

Arnes says the best way to manage a Facebook community to to give the members freedom while providing them structure. Here’s how:

Be selective. Consider your criteria for membership. Facebook allows you to ask new members a few screening questions before they’re allowed to join. Determine how you’ll screen group members in order to keep the integrity and intentions of the group. Set guidelines. Set rules and make sure you or community manager enforces them. For example, you want to keep your group spam-free. So set a rule about no self-promotion and then make sure there’s a system in place for enforcing it. Decide what kind of penalty rule breakers will receive and then follow through: Will you delete their post? Will you block them from the group? Pin important posts. A pinned post is the one that stays on the top of the group discussion at all times. It can only be pinned or unpinned by an group administrator. You can use pinned posts to explain rules and guidelines, draw attention to Facebook Lives, make special announcements, or provide special member offers, such as affiliate links. How to Avoid Common Pitfalls

Low membership: Some groups just never take off and membership doesn’t grow beyond a couple hundred. That’s because the creator is relying on organic growth. Instead, Arne says to update backlinks from your other social channels and point people toward the group through other media. Help grow membership by promoting it.

Branding the group: You are connecting and serving like-minded people. Remember, Arne learned the hard way that people will see through selfish motives. So it’s ok to stick branded, content in the group so long as it’s relevant and helpful. But you can’t push your services or brand on the members. And most definitely do not make your brand name part of the group name. People will get to know you within the group after they click the “join” button.

Misunderstanding the platform: There’s a misconception on how different messaging works on different platforms. A Facebook group is not for sales or marketing. It’s simply a place to start a conversation or a place where people can raise their hand to indicate interest in learning more. When it’s times for marketing and sales, your job is to lead them off that platform and take them somewhere else (like your website) to learn more.

#161 How to Lead a Team That Gets Your Agency to the Next Level  

How can you build, manage, and lead a team to take your agency to the next level? It’s much more than just filling seats with talent. Learn ways you can help your team share in the agency’s goals and inspire them to achieve great work.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

2 secrets to creating a better team. How often you should meet with your team. Ways to inspire your team.

Today’s guest is Marcus Murphy, Director of Monetization at DigitalMarketer. He manages all client-facing teams, including: Sales, Service, Success, Account Management, Business Development, and Partners. So, he’s gotten really good at creating and inspiring large teams. Marcus shares with us his best tips to building and managing an amazing team to take your agency to the next level.

2 Secrets to Creating a Better Team #1  Share the Mission

Communicating the mission statement can be a super way of motivating your team. It helps them understand the big picture and keep everyone on the same page. When your teams realizes the common goal and buys into why they’re doing what they’re doing it encourages a better team environment.

Communicating the mission is just as important as measuring it. Be sure your company mission is measurable so your team can celebrate accomplishments together. For example, DigitalMarketer’s mission is to double the size of 10,000 businesses by the year 2020. The progress on this goal is totally measurable and the team can feel pride as they work closer toward the common goal.

#2  Hire on Core Values

You don’t want to hire a bunch of mini-you’s. In fact, you should to hire people smarter than you to fill in your weaknesses and things you hate doing. However, you should hire full of people with similar beliefs. When your team shares the same moral and ethic code, they’re able to work more cohesively, which inspires better work output.

One of DigitalMarketers core values is “to pursue growth and learning everyday.” That means every person goes through every training. They provide paid lunch and learns, buy books for their team whenever requested, and generally support any type of further education. In fact, it’s that core value which partly inspired their product, DigitalMarketer HQ; an online training library to educate teams on lead generation and sales. It's loaded with training in 8 core marketing disciplines and setup so you can track your teams' progress all along the way. Every. Single. One. of Marcus's teams have been trained on it too, so they know exactly what they're talking about when working with or selling it.

How Often Should You Meet with Your Team?

Marcus holds a standing Monday morning meeting with his teams. He avoids the rah-rah, pep rally stuff and uses that time to focus on the week ahead and look back on the month. In order to set the right tone, he starts the meeting by going around the room and asking a few people what they’re thankful. He says this begins the meeting on a positive note and eliminates a sense of entitlement. As Tony Robbins says, “Trade expectations for appreciation.”

Ways to Inspire Your Team

A lot of businesses have a bonus system tied to performance, but consider an award system that encourages hard work or is tied to your core values.

Marcus says as his teams grew it he felt it was important to start an award system. He has been inspired by the movie The Quest for a Go Getter, which is about a man who must go through hoops to deliver a blue vase. The point of the story is how the man overcomes challenges and goes above and beyond to achieve success while maintaining his integrity. So, Marcus’s teams have The Blue Vase Award - teammates nominate others by emailing their story on why someone deserves the award. He’s noticed that by having his teams nominate their coworkers, there’s been a shift in appreciation for the hard work of others. The monthly winner receives $100 cash and ownership of the blue vase for a month :)

Other team motivators include: plank competitions, 5 minute trivia breaks, and employee score board displays around the office. Marcus has discovered these types of healthy competitions have been good for unifying the team and increasing productivity overall.

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

SAM #160: How to Overcome Agency Growing Pains (Two Agency Owners Talk Pipelines, Pricing and Employee Problems)  

Being an agency owner can feel isolating and lonely. But it can be a whole lot better when you hear from others in the same boat.  So, check out the stories of not one but two super successful agency owners as we cover everything from overcoming their biggest challenges, to increasing prices and growing their teams.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

Overcoming the pipeline problem. 4 tips on increasing prices. What agency role to hire for first. What to do about a weak link on your team.

I could not be more excited to share this episode with you because it’s my first three-way! :) Today’s show guests are two digital agency owners Zach Williams, of Venveo, and Todd Earwood, of Money Path Marketing. These guys have been super successful - Todd’s agency doubled their business in 4 months and Zach’s did 4X revenue in one year, so listen close! They’re here to talk about the similarities and differences in their journeys as agency owners, as well as share some golden nuggets of wisdom and inspiration.

Overcoming the Pipeline Problem

One of the biggest challenges as an agency owner is continuing to find new clients and sell, while serving your existing clients. Both guys agree, it like it’s a vicious cycle! You’re a marketing agency, but there’s never enough time to practice what you preach…

You work hard on your own marketing to attract new clients, then you get busy with them and end up neglecting your own marketing, so when those projects dry up you end up scrambling to procure new clients again… and the cycle repeat itself over and over.

The solution? Todd and Zach both say defining a specialization and positioning the agency to a specific audience greatly helped their pipeline problems. Todd said it made a major impact on business when he identified and communicated: who they are, the market they serve, and what they stand for.

4 Tips on Increasing Prices

Are you charging enough? Zach says he didn’t fully understand the value his agency was providing to their clients… in some cases it was up to 100X! They were under valuing services  by not charging enough.

1- Measure and quantify value

Chances are, you’re not charging enough! Clients should see a 10X return on their investment working with you. So, the key is to work backwards to determine the value of your work and divide by 10.

One of the best ways to determine value is to understand their 3 I’s - issue, impact and importance. Once you know what a project is worth the client, you can better estimate it’s value.

2- Ask the right questions upfront.

As Todd said, there’s nothing worse that estimating a project at $50,000 only to find out the client was prepared to spend triple. So you’ve got to ask all the right questions to qualify your client, scope the project and determine what the outcome is worth to them.


You can’t fully understand the scope of a project without all the right information. You have to gather as much information as possible from your client so you can fully understand what they need or rather, what they think they need and how you can help. Here are some of the questions you should ask new clients to determine value.

3- Sell outcomes and ROI.

A lot of agencies try to sell based on their portfolio and what they’ve done for others. Zach adds says past work can very subjective but outcomes and ROI are concrete evidence of value. It’s so much easier to sell on black and white facts.

4- Report and remind often.

Clients usually have short term memory, right? They tend to forget where they started and have a hard time remembering or realizing the value your agency provided.  Todd says it’s super important to report results to clients regularly. Help them remember where they were and where they are now so they can realize your value. Do this often and in person, rather than just via email. Data reporting can be your secret weapon to growing your revenue.

When to Hire (and Fire) for Your Growing Agency What Role to Hire for First?

In the early stages of agency growth, it’s hard to know when and who to hire first. Most owners want to get out of the account management and project management work… how did Zach and Todd do it?

Zach says he’s horrible with process and he knows it. Know your strengths and He knew right away that he needed to hire someone who was process driven and his first hire was a Project Manager. Todd agrees, and says it’s important for the owner to know their own skillset then hire what’s missing. His first hires were specialists and he learned the hard way that he needed people to own the accounts.

It’s hard to give up that control but when you do it can be oddly refreshing. As Todd put it, “there’s pleasure in knowing people pay our firm money and I don’t have to personally work with them.”

Recognizing a Weak Link on Your Team

Hiring is hard - firing is even harder. That’s why they say: hire slow, fire fast.

Growing from 0-5 employees is different than 5-10 and 10-20… When your team is small each person needs to be nimble. As your agency grows, the people who got on board early have to adapt to the changing environment.

As an owner you have to recognize the employees who cannot make the future journey and grow with you. There are ones who will be dead weight, so you’ve got to make decisions about them quickly. Todd says, in those cases he sees two choices:  confront the issue and coach up -or- coach out.

Should You Give Up and Close Your Agency?  

Have you ever considered closing your agency because you feel like you’re failing? Cash flow problems, employee issues, bad clients… the struggle is real! You don’t have to throw in the towel. Just check out what this agency owner did to turn things around to become profitable and happy again.


In this episode, we’ll cover:

How an agency goes from good to bad. 6 Steps to turning around a struggling agency. One regret from an agency owner.


Our guest today is Jack Jostes, President and CEO of Ramblin Jackson, the SEO agency he started in 2009. In his video The Good, The Bad and The Ugly he talks about his eight year journey as an agency owner and the valuable lessons he learned in order to go from almost close to thriving. Jack’s on the show to talk about the steps he took to turn around his agency so he and his team could enjoy it again.

How Does an Agency Go from Good to Bad?

Like many entrepreneurs, Jack fell into the business by accident. He was working in sales and started to learn SEO as a trade from someone in the business. He decided to start a digital agency to marry those two skills but he admits he had no idea what he was getting into.

The Good

At first, things were great and it was super fun taking on new clients, challenging new project and hiring contractors to help with all the new work. After a couple years, though, he decided to bring on a partner with 20 years experience in the agency business. It turned out to be a great decision because they grew 50% for several years after forming the partnership.

The Bad & The Ugly

Jack says it was fun and growth at great at first. But then things got bad - and ugly. Cash flow was terrible. Jack and his partner went months without getting paid and vendors were paid late. The team morale was low and clients were getting frustrated. Jack got to the point where he considered closing. That’s when he reached out to me the first time and told him not to give up!


I told Jack about the Navy Seal’s 40% rule which is, when your mind thinks you’re done, you’re really only 40% done. And that was Jack’s turning point.

6 Steps to Turning Around a Struggling Agency

So how did Jack turn things around? Here are the six steps he took.


1- Get really clear about company vision.

Jack was unhappy and ready to throw in the towel. I get it. I considered closing my agency when we were struggling too. When things are hard and it’s not fun it seems like giving up is the answer.


However, Jack said he took a step back and got really clear about what he wanted and didn’t want for the agency. Then he had an honest, respectful conversation with his partner where they realized they wanted different things. That’s when they made the mutual decision to part ways. Jack bought his partner out and since it was an amicable split, they still work on some projects together.


2- Understand and be transparent about financials.

Jack says part of the reason they had such bad cash flow was because he was embarrassed of the state of the financials and kept it a secret. He used to feel as President, the accounts receivables and collections were his responsibility. No one was aware or incentivized to help achieve better cash flow.


After going through my Agency Playbook he discovered ways to incentive his team. Now there are key employees are get bonuses based on accounts receivables and attaining agency financial goals.


3- Change payment terms.

Like most agencies, Ramblin Jackson’s payment terms were 50% to start and 50% upon completion. However, the problem with this payment structure is when the client stalls on a project the final amount can’t get billed. That means the agency is stuck holding the bag while the client drags their feet on providing information, feedback or approvals.


Now, they require full payment up front for smaller projects or use my date driven payment terms for larger engagements. As a result they’re they’ve reduced project cycles since prepaid clients are motivated to receive the value they’ve already paid for.  


4- Hire slow. Fire fast.

It’s imperative to have a A players on your team - even in roles that might not seem integral to the outward success of the agency. In Jack’s case, it was the bookkeeper who was awful and incompetent. He was always slow to send invoices and didn’t have a pulse on agency finances.


Once Jack fired the bookkeeper and hired a new one things turned around quickly. In fact, the new bookkeeper found over $10,000 of unsent invoices! She has also streamlined bookkeeping and created systems to make it easy.


5- Tie others to the same bomb.

By holding everyone accountable to the same goals, there is more cohesiveness among the internal departments. For example, Sales doesn’t get commission until the client pays the invoice. With common goals everyone is motivated to work together to achieve them.


6- Invest in mentors.

Agency ownership can be lonely! Jack says he has worked with some incredible coaches over the years who each specialize in different aspects of business. He had worked with a sales coach (at different job) and now pays that coach to help his sales team at Ramblin Jackson. He also works with a sales management coach and an executive coach to help him hone his skills in those areas.

Jack also says it’s been key finding a coach who has owned and sold a successful agency. (Hint: it’s me)  The Agency Playbook and our Agency University have been invaluable resources for the mentorship from someone who’s been there and done it.

9 Tips to Giving a Memorable Speech That Generates Leads  

As Agency CEO one of your 5 roles is to be the face of the company. A great way to do that is to use speaking engagements and presentations to build your brand and grab the attention of your ideal clients. Here are 9 tricks to keep the audience engaged and leave them with an unforgettable first impression.


In this episode, we’ll cover:

What makes the best presentations? 9 Tips to a unforgettable speech


Today’s guest is Mike Pacchione, one of the public speaking experts at Duarte. As Mike puts it, he gives “workshops on giving workshops” and “talks on talks.”:)  No matter how you explain it though, Mike is the pro on giving memorable speeches. He knows what to do to keep your audience engaged so you can use your presentations to build your agency business. Mike shares his experience and advice on making the most of your speaking opportunities.

What Makes the Best Presentations?

Two things. It might seem obvious but most importantly you need to start with a good idea. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering but it does need to be somewhat thought provoking and worth sharing.


Next, you have to understand your audience. Like, really understand them. Why are they interested in your topic? How can they relate to or use the information you’re presenting? You also have to be relatable, like not to using technical language to a non-technical audience.

9 Tips to an Unforgettable Speech


1- Grab attention with a strong first line. Mike says you want to say something that makes them put down their phone and pay attention. A great technique is to start by dropping them in the middle of a story and then frame the rest of your presentation around filling in the blanks.


How NOT to start:

Don’t start with your name and the title of your presentation. Super boring! Besides, they already know who you are and why you’re talking. Don’t start with “I’m really nervous”. Your audience will focus on your jitters the entire time and could undermine your authority.


2- Be a little vulnerable. You can share personal experience or say something like “I used to think this but now I realize that’s wrong because of that.” Just insert something that shows the audience you’re human and not perfect. This creates empathy between you and your audience, which can have a major impact on how they react to your talk.


3- Build evidence based authority. Too many people give advice based on what worked for them. Everybody is not everybody and not everything works for everyone. Avoid anything that sounds like: “Here’s what I did and you should too...” Instead add data or case study evidence to back the advice/strategy in your presentation.


4- Share anecdotes and stories. The best, most memorable presentations are those told in story form. You can use personal, real life stories or even industry case studies. Did you know the most viewed TED Talk is Sir Ken Robinson “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” with over 42 MILLION views? His talk is simply a collection of stories strung together to make a point.


However, don’t just tell a story for the sake of storytelling. Use it to demonstrate transformation or change mindset.


5- Craft short and long term calls-to-action. Most presentations end with a closing statement and a CTA, such as: “Text 123456 to receive my PDF of XYZ,” but that’s such a finite ending. Mike suggests adding an additional long term goal or CTA which leaves the discussion more open ended. Challenge the audience to be doing “X” by next week or give them a 90 days to achieve “Y”. You want to have two CTAs to leave a longer lasting impression.


6- Warn the audience about traps. No one wants to fall victim to a trap but everyone loves a good story about it. Point out potential pitfalls, mistakes or traps to create a little tension in your talk. Pointing these out and explaining the resolution can be another way to build your credibility. Saying things like, “you might be tempted to X, but here’s why you shouldn’t…” or “one of my clients did Y and here’s why that didn’t work.”


7- Develop an impactful closing statement. A lot of people end their talks with Q&A. This is great for credibility but you can’t control the final question which means the last thing the audience hears may not be on point. Mike says to craft a closing statement that leaves a lasting impression. Then, deliver the closing statement before and after the Q&A


8- Have fun. Your audience will mirror your emotions when you’re on stage. Your demeanor will set the tone for the entire time you’re up there. If you’re nervous, fidgety, distracted, etc. it will transfer to your audience. So just have fun and they will too! (There’s a difference between fun and funny. Only be funny, if you are a funny person. Forced humor is not fun or funny.)


9- Rehearse until it becomes part of you. Some people practice until they get it right. I think you should practice until you can’t get it wrong. You want your speech to become second nature and flow easily. When it does you’ll notice you’re far less nervous and you can adjust your presentation to fit your crowd. The more times you give a certain talk, then better it becomes.

The Most Well Known Brands Do These 5 Things That You Should Be Doing  

How can you turn your agency into a highly sought-after brand? Today’s guest knows how because he’s done it for the OxiClean and the George Foreman Grill. In this episode, learn the 5 key strategies to build a brand that gets clients beating down your door.


In this episode, we’ll cover:


How the right positioning can drastically change your business. 5 things you can implement right now to build a successful brand.


Today’s guest on the show is Rick Cesari of Cesari Media, the agency he founded over 20 years ago. They specialize in building brands that sell products direct to the consumer. Over his career, Rick has worked some amazing brands such as OxiClean, George Foreman Grill, Rug Doctor, and Sonicare to name a few. He’s here to share the secrets to building these amazing brands so you can apply them and grow your agency.


“Figure out a good way to position so you’re different than everyone else.” ~ Rick Cesari

Why You Might Need to Reframe Your Brand Positioning

Have  you ever heard of The Fajita Express? No, you haven’t. But I’ll bet you have heard of the George Foreman Grill.


When Rick was first approached to help with branding it was for grilling product called The Fajita Express. It was a slanted grill so the meat could slide right into taco shells. It didn’t sound too groundbreaking to Rick but with his help repositioning, that grill became the George Foreman Grill. As you probably know, it is marketed for its ability to drain grease away from the meat. They’ve sold over 30 million grills since then!

5 Keys to Building a Better Brand

With over two decades in the direct response business Rick has discovered some consistent themes to building brands. These are easily adaptable from product to service-based agency business.


1- Develop a Unique Selling Proposition

A USP is the foundation of building a better brand. It’s the single most important factor clients use when deciding to work with you over your competition. The best type of USP for an agency is a niche or specialization that helps you stand out. When you show expertise in a specific area you develop a reputation for being the best. You will become “the choice” rather than just “a choice.”


2- Position to Stand Out

Rick says he tells his clients to sell benefits or results rather than features. In the agency industry that means you should be marketing the ways your agency can serve your clients. Show clients what you can do for them and how you are the trusted advisor who helps achieve their desired results.


3- Deliver More Value

When you are laser focused on particular niche you can drill down and really understand the intricacies of that industry. Then use that understanding to exceed expectations. For example, when Rick’s agency was helping OxiClean he says they always sent a larger container than what the customer expected and included free samples of other products. This is a great strategy for growing revenue from your existing client base.


4- Always Listen to Your Clients

Speak to satisfied clients - the people who have already had success working with you - and see what they liked and disliked. Use the positive feedback when crafting your marketing messages, in your new business proposals, etc. When you get input from existing clients you can use that information to understand and then market toward the benefits of working with you.


5- Procure and Use Authentic Testimonials

Today’s decision makers want to hear from others in their same boat. Talk to your clients that are getting great results and ask them to share their story as a testimonial. Social proof such as testimonials (particularly video testimonials) will go a long way with your prospects. It’s a very powerful message when existing happy clients share their story of success.


Above all else, Rick’s best advice is to be unique. You can’t be everything to everybody so focus on an industry or segment of the population that you help best.

How to Use Data Reporting to Increase Agency Revenue  

Do you feel like your agency spends more time being an order taker than providing insight and value to your clients? […]

The post How to Use Data Reporting to Increase Agency Revenue appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

How to Get Unstuck from Doing Everything Yourself  

Are you overwhelmed with tasks that keep you in the weeds instead of working on growing your agency? Are you paying […]

The post How to Get Unstuck from Doing Everything Yourself appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

Is It Time to Hire a President or HR Director to Your Agency Team?  

Hopefully you already know your agency employees are your biggest asset. But, is your agency “employee-centric”? Do you have the right […]

The post Is It Time to Hire a President or HR Director to Your Agency Team? appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

How to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Become a Better Agency Leader  

Leadership is seriously hard work. There’s a ton of pressure, juggling and personal sacrifice. Don’t let burnout get the best of […]

The post How to Stop Self-Sabotaging and Become a Better Agency Leader appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

Why Your Agency Must Adapt… or Die  

Do you know what you need to do to stay relevant and significant to your clients? Let’s face it, marketing is […]

The post Why Your Agency Must Adapt… or Die appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

How One Agency Generated $165K Revenue Using  

If you’re looking for a unique, innovative and low-cost lead gen strategy check out this story. Live events can go far […]

The post How One Agency Generated $165K Revenue Using appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

Top 5 Tips to Accelerate Agency Growth  

If you have your sights set on your agency breaking 8-figures this episode is a must. Do you want to know […]

The post Top 5 Tips to Accelerate Agency Growth appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

Why Your Agency Needs to be on Facebook Live  

Facebook Live is one of the hottest ways to generate new agency business. You can spend tons of time and resources […]

The post Why Your Agency Needs to be on Facebook Live appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

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