Speaker 0 00:00:00 Our clients that we're going to are not stupid people. And they know, they know that, that second call that they're gonna get trying to get sold, right? So, I I, I believe that the reason this works is because one, you're showing your own value. You're like, look, I value my time and I am too busy to mess around with people that aren't serious and give them all the keys, right? Like, I don't have time for it.
Speaker 1 00:00:28 Welcome to the Agency Hour podcast. This week we are joined by Maverick's Club coach Adam Silverman, to discuss how he made the switch from professional drummer to running a web agency, going from struggling to get a clear scope of work with spray and prey sales calls, to now using paid discovery to illuminate scope creep and close prospects into ongoing recurring revenue clients with a ridiculously high close rate. I'm Troy Dean, stay with us. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the agency Hour, the one and only Adams Silverman. Hey brother, how are
Speaker 0 00:01:02 You? Hey, good man. How's it going?
Speaker 1 00:01:05 Uh, very well, thank you. Now, for those who are uninitiated, please just tell us who is Adam Silverman, where are you from and what do you do?
Speaker 0 00:01:12 Yeah, so I'm Adam Silverman. I, uh, own, uh, marketing and web agency in Tennessee called Mule Town Digital. Uh, I also own a SEO and PPC agency, uh, with Simon Major called Digital Edge. Um, and I am one of the coaches at Agency Mavericks as well. Uh, I hail from south of Nashville, Tennessee in a town called, uh, Columbia or Williamsport, which is about, uh, an hour or so south of, of the main city of Nashville. And
Speaker 1 00:01:41 Is that where you were born and bred in Nashville?
Speaker 0 00:01:43 No, I'm actually originally from just outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Um, that's where my family is. And so I moved down here. Uh, I moved to Nashville when I was about 21 to pursue a music career, which I did successfully for, I don't know, probably 15 years or so. I'm aging myself now, but yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but, so I moved and did that and, uh, yeah, most of my immediate family is still up in Maryland and my wife's family is all right here where we live in Tennessee.
Speaker 1 00:02:11 And, um, just for tho again, for those uninitiated, you, you, you were a touring drummer at one point, right? You were like a professional touring drummer. Why make the switch? Because a lot of people listen to this. It'd be like, dude, you live in the dream. You're on tour as a drummer, and you, you, you gave that up to start a web agency. What's wrong with you? What was the motivator for making that switch?
Speaker 0 00:02:29 Yeah, I mean, it, it kind of like happened in phases. Uh, I mean, the first, I mean, just truthfully was like a financial motivation because, you know, you kind of, there's like a ceiling in that industry, right? Where you just, like, you just, you have to work more and more and more and more if you want to make more. And so, um, I was kind of running into that ceiling, um, and then it's really hard, you know, it's hard for me to have a family while I was doing that. You know, it, it was doable. But, um, you know, I just wanted it to be different. And so when I met my now wife, Heather, um, you know, I inherited a, uh, a stepson, which is awesome, and I just, I didn't wanna be away from them. Um, and then, you know, once Heather and I started having our own children as well, it just, you know, it, it got to where I just didn't want to be, I didn't want to do that anymore mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Speaker 0 00:03:19 And so I was, I was doing a lot of coding and a lot of website development stuff while I was on the road. And so it just sort of became like, Hey, I could stay home and do session work instead of touring, and then kind of do this agency thing on the side. And then that kind of flipped. And now I do sessions on the side and, and run all the agency stuff in my, in my full-time. So yeah, it was a, it was a, it was a, a welcome to transition in my life, for sure.
Speaker 1 00:03:46 Love it. Uh, there is, by the way, if you hunt around the internet, you'll find if you search for agency Maverick's case study, Adam Silverman, you'll find a video of Adam playing the drums. Uh, and also if you're following us online, and you'll see our latest ads on Facebook, you'll see me playing the drums. Uh, so there's a common theme there. Um, now you grow an agency. You, you, so you go all in on the agency, you, you grow the agency. At some point you have to get your head around sales, right? And how to bring people in who are expressing interest in what it is you're doing, and how to have a conversation with them and then convert them and get them to sign on and pay you money for stuff. What, what did that look like when you were first starting out?
Speaker 0 00:04:26 Man, it, it was, it was a complete transition from like doing, you know, like being a musician. Even there's an art of marketing yourself that you have to be good at, right? So like, you have to be able to sell that you've got the talent and that you can do the thing. And so I kind of subconsciously knew how to do that. But transitioning into like a dev agency and then into a full scale marketing agency, it, it was a lot of just miserable trial and error. Like, I, I just really didn't know. I didn't know how to offer anything, right? So it was like, I, I knew what I could do, but the conversations were typically around, you know, well, how many hours is this gonna take? And, you know, what's the budget and how do we figure that out? And, um, it was definitely, it.
Speaker 0 00:05:11 There was a very, I would say, very steep learning curve. Um, most of my initial sales, uh, did not end very well. <laugh> like, you know, it just, it was like I'd get on all those calls and spend a bunch of time trying to figure out what they needed and then realize like they are, didn't have a budget or, you know, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, that their timeline was unrealistic. And I kept adding things to my questions, trying to like, sort of sort that out. And so, yeah, it was a, it was for sure a rocky, like a, a rocky start.
Speaker 1 00:05:40 It's a pretty typical, uh, journey, I think for most of us who end up, I mean, it's my story as well. I had no idea that sales was even a thing. I just was like, well, I talk to people on the phone and they need help. And so then I write a proposal and hope for the best. And, and like in terms of, of pricing, I literally hope for the best. You just put in a price that you think the client can afford and then hope that you can do the job and make a profit. Um, at some point though, you became aware that you needed to spend a bit more effort and energy on the sales process. Why, what were you looking to fix, or, or what was it about the process that wasn't working for you, that f that prompted you to actually spend some mental energy on fixing it?
Speaker 0 00:06:25 Yeah, so I think that, like, thinking back on it, I think the part of it for me that was broken was, um, you know, when I started out, a lot of the projects we had were very technical. I mean, and that, that has developed and changed over the last three or four years. But when I first started out, everything was some sort of complex development problem that we were trying to solve. And so I would go into these sales calls, like basically spray and pray, you know, it's like, uh, I'm just gonna fire at all these targets and hope that, you know, maybe I'll get the right amount of hours, or, you know, maybe they'll let me extend the budget if I need to. And I just, I really struggle with getting a clear scope of work. And that was the thing that caused me, um, you know, to start looking around. I mean, that, and, you know, when I joined Agency Mavericks, I was only a year or so into business. And so the first mav com was all around, you know, sales, but I was only doing like this one little itty bitty piece of the sale process, <laugh>, like, I had no idea there was a front and backside that I didn't even know was really there. And so, uh, yeah, it was, it was one of those things that, uh, it, it was, it was broken enough that I knew I needed help.
Speaker 1 00:07:39 Uh, so just for a little bit of context, Adam mentioned Mav Con there. Mav Con is our live event that we run for our Mavericks Club members. And that's what he's referencing there. Um, and so I think the typical process too that people go through is they, they have an initial call with a client, they build some rapport, they do a little bit of digging around to find out if the client's actually got a problem they can solve. And if they've got the technical chops to do it, and then they write a proposal, they put in a prop. You know, and there's a whole industry that's grown up around that. We've done very well out of giving away our proposal template as a lead magnet for years. There's also proposal software that you can use. And then after you put in the proposal, the client kind of goes dark and you kind of have to follow them up. What was your typical conversion rate after you'd have a call with a client put in a proposal, what percentage of those would become clients, do you reckon?
Speaker 0 00:08:32 Yeah, I'd say we, we probably hit about 25%. So like one outta every four that we sent would probably close. Um, you know, I was fortunate in that, like, I had a lot of really strong relationships. Like I've always kind of been a people person, so it was a little bit, I would think I was able to connect more than I probably would've been able to otherwise. But it was definitely, I definitely spent a lot of time, um, chasing down people afterwards. And the thing was, I, I wasn't confident that I had the proposal, right, which basically then caused me to passively send my statements of work or proposals. And then I sort of would just, like, if I didn't hear from them, they would just go away and I would be like, okay, like it wasn't the right fit. But the reality was, it was probably because I was afraid, you know, to, to confront them. Cuz I just, I wasn't sure that what I had was right. If that makes sense. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:09:29 <affirmative>, and, well, it does make sense because at that point, especially when you're doing technical, if you're doing anything that's kind of outside the box, right? When it, when when you, you know, you have an initial call with a client, then you write a proposal, you, you're basically guessing at like, well I think, you know, like, but you know, based on the half a dozen projects we've done that are similar, it's probably gonna be this long and take this much. And if I put that price on, they'll probably buy it. They can probably afford that. And then we just kind of hope that we can do it and make a profit on the backend. Uh, I remember the first e-commerce website I built on, uh, this was before WooCommerce, there was a plugin called w p e-Commerce outta New Zealand. I think that was freaking horrible. Uh, just didn't work. Anyway, I ended up moving the site to Magenta. I quoted six and a half thousand for the site and I was like, yes, I'm in business. I'm getting paid six and a half thousand to build this e-commerce website on Magento. I ended up paying a developer in New Zealand,
Speaker 2 00:10:29 7,000 <laugh> to finish the job because I couldn't do it. I was like, well, that's
Speaker 1 00:10:33 A lesson, isn't it? That's great. I just lost 500 bucks and learned a very important lesson. Um, now I, I'm kind of teeing you up here to talk about, and I wanna talk about the how and the why in a little bit, but I wanna just fast forward now and talk about the results that you're getting now. When people come in. Uh, what's the process now at a high level and, and what's the conversion rate look like and what does the, what do the results look like?
Speaker 0 00:11:00 Yeah, so fortunately I think since we've, uh, well I, to be totally honest now, I don't do sales anymore. So I have a salesperson who does, um, all of that, which is awesome, but I wouldn't have been able to help her do it if I didn't do the process myself. Um, so fortunately what has kinda happened now is we have a split in our process. And so after the triage call, um, if we know what the client needs, if they're a small business and we've got kind of like they're gonna be a, a systematized type of client, then Theresa will call them back, walk through their statement of work, and we have a really good hit rate with those because it's priced for them and it's, we know what it's gonna be for the ones that are, uh, on the custom side of the business.
Speaker 0 00:11:46 And the more corporate side, um, that goes into a forced, basically paid discovery. We, we call it track builder, um, just cuz it has kinda like a railroad theme, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's basically like paid discovery and we really require it because we just figure it out at a certain point that they're either gonna have one of two problems that we're not gonna be able to get deep enough into to know how to price their project. And for us it's either their brand capacity is unknown. So like we don't know, like if their brand is actually established, if they know who they're talking to, if they have any concept other than their logo of like what a brand is. That's one problem that a lot of our people have. Um, the second problem is they have some sort of technical implementation that we've gotta run down.
Speaker 0 00:12:34 And so if they fall in that bucket where j or it might just be that they could do a 10 page site or a 50 page site and we have no clue, right? We don't know what we're walking into, um, they go off to that kind of paid discovery and that hit rate's like 90%. If somebody comes on and lets us plan out what their project is, they're, it's super high conversion cuz they've already paid us, we've already worked together. They know they trust us. Um, you know, they know that we know their business. We've already told them everything they needed to hear and that it, it helps us avoid scope, uh, disasters and, you know, not getting paid enough mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, you know, all the problems that we were running into. So we're fortunate, I think, to be able to kind of do it, like we can do it both ways and it's really Teresa's call, which way she goes, you know, she, sometimes she's just, she knows now exactly what it's gonna be, but she's done, you know, 250 triage calls. So it's like, you know, after a while you get to know like, this one's gonna be this, but if there's any doubt they just go to paid discovery.
Speaker 1 00:13:44 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, there's a couple of things I wanna unpack here. One is, and I didn't realize this when I, I so bit of backstory. Uh, I started doing paid discovery many, many, many moons ago and kind of organically developed this process and these assets that we have like a, a workbook and a slide deck and all this kind of stuff that allow, uh, me to run paid discovery without thinking about it. And then I packaged that up and we put it into a training called the paid discovery method, which is part of our larger kind of get paid to close sales model, which really consists of having a great offer, uh, doing active lead gen and then selling people paid discovery and using paid discovery to close them into ongoing, uh, recurring revenue clients. I love the fact that first of all, that you don't call it paid discovery, you call it track builder cuz that's in line with your brand.
Speaker 1 00:14:31 Uh, we call it a digital roadmap workshop, which is probably isn't sexy, but says but does what it says on the tin. Um, cuz nobody wants to pay for discovery, right? Um, the second thing I, I like what you mentioned here is, so your conversion rates gone from like 25% up to 90% of the people that come through track builder will convert, which makes perfect sense because they've already got, got some skin in the game, they've paid you, they're gonna value what they discover in that workshop way more than if it was just a free strategy session because they're paying for it, right? So they're gonna pay attention. Uh, the other thing is, um, it, it almost eliminates scope creep because you have an opportunity to nuttle that out in the workshop before you lay out the roadmap and the statement of work, which is i, that that didn't, that wasn't part of the plan with paid discovery, but it's actually a nice byproduct of, of paid discovery. The other thing I'm curious about is the value of the projects that convert from paid discovery into an ongoing client. The value of, what's the value of those projects compared to how it used to be when you weren't doing paid discovery and you're just setting a proposal?
Speaker 0 00:15:40 Yeah, massively increased. Um, so <laugh>, I'll tell you this story really quick cuz it show, just kind of shows the power of doing it this way. But we did a paid discovery went all the way through wire framing for this client, you know, it's an e-commerce client and, um, got to the end and I just, I wasn't sure that we were really a good fit. Um, we had some back and forth that I just, I wasn't really sure about. So I used that opportunity to say, Hey, you know what? I just don't know. Like, I feel like you might need a little bit of a bigger agency than what we are. You've said some things that concern me. So this client called and spent about an hour and a half explaining to me how we were the right agency. Like I was basically telling him, I don't want to do your almost six figure project because I'm nervous because of these reasons.
Speaker 0 00:16:28 And he was explaining to me how I didn't need to be worried about those things and he could adjust on his side. And so, uh, that project closed into a nearly, it's probably like close to a $70,000 project with a three k a month retainer. Um, some of the other ones that we've done have been, you know, anywhere from 30 to 50 K with, you know, thousand dollars care plans where we're doing, you know, random, I mean they are, they tend to be the high value, um, projects for us. And we've pivoted a little bit, so we're a little more on the recurring side for most of this stuff now. But even still, um, it helps to lay out a plan cuz if you lay out a 12 month plan and you price a 12 month plan, they kind of go, I want that 12 month plan because now I can see yeah.
Speaker 0 00:17:15 Where I'm gonna be. So it it is, it's night and day. Like we won't waste our time doing a paid discovery if it's gonna be a five or $6,000 project, right? Like we just right it, it doesn't make sense. But when you're doing something we're, it has multi angled approach, you know, you have to worry about the, the marketing implications or their brand or their tech stack or like, when you start getting into those things, it makes sense. But I mean, to be honest, even with a small project, if you genuinely do not know what they're gonna need, you might might be better to sell 'em a 1 99, you know, like an hour long call and figure out their site map and how they're gonna market and all the things. Because even if you only sell 'em a $5,000 thing, you still get paid to figure it out and you again, you sh mm-hmm. <affirmative> sort of like self-protecting. So I, I could, I could make a case for a, a person new in sales or not with as much experience as what we have, you know, truly even doing it for us, you know, for a smaller service you could really protect yourself with it, you know?
Speaker 1 00:18:22 Yeah, a hundred percent. I I remember one of the first times I actually, um, this dawned on me is I had an intake form, a new project intake form on my website, which is actually part of what I, what we taught in the blueprint back in 2013. And my brother works for a large nonprofit in Adelaide and they had this kind of internal project where they go out to sporting clubs and they train sporting clubs how to identify early signs of mental health issues with the players. And so they train everyone in the club, the players, the coaches, all the admin stuff. And he said, we need a website so that we can promote these workshops and get out there into the, into the market and, you know, make some sales and run some of these workshops. And I said, cool, well, before you do anything, go check out my intake form.
Speaker 1 00:19:12 Uh, he, because I said, look, I probably, I don't wanna take you on as a client, you're my brother. I just, you know, like, but I can probably refer you to someone, but go do the intake form and then I've got enough information. The intake form's quite detailed, right? It was like a five page gravity form with, you know, they had to upload files and there's a lot, lot of information in there. And for me that was a filter to go, if you can't fill this in, then we're not ready to work together. We, you know, probably, you know, you should go and do that work and come back. I didn't realize at the time, and my brother rang me a couple of weeks later and he said, dude, it's taken us, I had the ab I had the ability for them to save the form halfway through and come back and then finish it off.
Speaker 1 00:19:52 He said, it's taken us a couple of weeks to get through this. And he said, the reason is because we haven't had this conversation yet. And so him and the guy that was leading these workshops, they sat down over a period of two weeks, they sat down whenever they could and they went through and they had conversations and he said, this has been the most valuable exercise we've done because it's really allowed us to think about the offer and who the customer is and how we're gonna package these workshops up because it actually is a pretty competitive space. Teaching mental health to sporting clubs is pretty competitive. Uh, and he said, you should charge clients to help them go through this process because we found it really complicated. And, and because we, we haven't done it before, uh, it's, you know, there's lots of nuance.
Speaker 1 00:20:40 And he said, we would pay you to run this as a workshop. And that was the moment where I went, ah, this is a product and I can then get paid to tell clients that we're not a good fit or I can get paid to close them into an ongoing client. And that was the mo that was the, like the, the moment the penny dropped. And that's when I started actually, I, uh, so what I would do then is I had the intake for my website. I said, Hey, go fill in the intake form. If you can't fill it in, let me know. And then when they came back and said, we can't fill it in because we dunno the answer, I'm like, great, it's time for a digital roadmap workshop and I'll help you fill it in. And it was like, oh my God, I've actually, uh, and I probably, I reckon 50% of the clients that went through that workshop, I wouldn't take them on as a client.
Speaker 1 00:21:27 And I knew I, I knew that from the outset, but I would sell them the workshop. We'd go through the workshop, they had massive clarity, and then I would say they just didn't have the budget to fulfill their expectations. And I'm like, I, I'm, we are not the right people to help you, but now you've got a great plan. You can go and shop this around and get some help or do it yourself or whatever. So it's been incredibly, um, valuable. Dan, the other thing I wanna talk about is that you are not actually running these workshops anymore either, are you?
Speaker 0 00:21:54 No. Um, most of them, you know, if, if the client is going to go into like a long-term digital marketing type of situation where like, you know, digital edge might be coming into do SEO or PPP C or if there is a like long-term strategic reason, I will sit in them, but I make it a point to not lead them. So they're usually led by Theresa. Um, and then like kind of different members from our team will do different parts of it. So like our content writer will kind of dig into their site map and dig into what they think they need. And then it's like our branding people will look at, you know, it's, it's kind of like a little bit of a department head from each of the worlds that we have. Um, I just usually represent the, um, post-launch team, you know, that's gonna be helping them get traffic and do conversion and stuff like that.
Speaker 0 00:22:47 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so I'll speak into it a little bit from that side, but I really try to make it a point to like, I'm, it's this not, I'm not your guy. Like, don't, don't look at me for the answers because then it's like after it's sold, they keep coming back to me and I don't want them to come to me. I want them to go to my team and get their answers there. So yeah, I really try to stay out of them as much as I can. Or like I said, if I do have to do 'em, try to, you know, let myself be in the background, you know.
Speaker 1 00:23:15 W what's, what's one thing, uh, Simon this, uh, on the livestream this morning in the group, what's the one thing you think that's working really well in these workshops for you as an agency? And what's the one thing that you think's working really well for the clients?
Speaker 0 00:23:30 Um, I think for our agency it's like truly being able to get scope. It's like to know what they're gonna need, because without that, you, you can't, you know, you can tell a client, I mean, yeah, gimme two grand a month for a year and we'll figure it out, right? But in the wait, like where we are, that's a real, really hard thing to sell. Like, they're not dumb, you know, they're gonna look at that and go, you're crazy. Like, so I think really it's establishing the scope from our side. I think for the clients, the aha moments that I've seen doing paid discovery have been that either A, they never thought about what they were gonna do once this thing went online. Most of them, it's like their objective is, I need to get a website because our website is terrible and they have all these reasons.
Speaker 0 00:24:17 But then when we started asking questions like, where's your traffic gonna come from? Or, you know, where's, how are you guys gonna do X, Y, and Z? They genuinely had no clue. So I think that's one clarity point. The other clarity point has been how little they understand who their Audi audience is. Like they don't, most of our clients, even the big ones come in there and go, well, I mean, you know, we, we sell to women. And I'm like, what kind of women <laugh>? Like, what are we talking about? Like they're, they're powerful corporate, they're like, are they 20? Are they six? Like, what are we talking about? And they go, well, I don't know, our demo just says female, you know? And it's like, well, that's not a helpful demographic. And so I think a lot of them find that they don't know what they think they know about their business.
Speaker 0 00:25:10 You know, they, they, they realize that there is so much more to putting a website online and having a marketing campaign and getting traffic and convert. Like they don't know that that's all a thing. They think that the website goes live and all that stuff happens. And I think that's been what we've been able to show people is like, there is way more to this than what you are thinking, which is why, you know, the Squarespace web designer that you were looking at, that's five grand and we're coming in at 50. There's, that's because, you know, we have to look at your whole approach. And I think that's been really valuable. Mm-hmm. Even if they didn't have the money to do it. Um, the ones that we've lost kind of said, it's just on us. We don't have the funds, right? Like, we wanna work with you. Mm-hmm. But we genuinely don't do it. We we can't do it. And that was okay for us, like mm-hmm. Like you said, sometimes like they just can't do what they want to do with their budget and they have to find another route.
Speaker 1 00:26:08 Yeah, a hundred percent. Um, the, the, uh, the process of, I'm curious about what, how your process works once you've run the workshop. Uh, so you, so you run the workshop, uh, what happens after the workshop in order to get the client to convert and, and kind of buy the recommendations that you're making?
Speaker 0 00:26:31 So we've done it two ways, and both, honestly, both of them have worked. Um, and it depends on the client. Some of the clients, we will do a Loom video. Theresa will run them through the thing on a Loom video and she'll send it and send them a pdf mm-hmm. <affirmative> that shows 'em the path and she'll say, it's gonna be about X dollars if you want to chat, you know, let me know the clients where there's like a power shifting or power struggle thing that works really well, <laugh>, because they don't get our attention a second time. If they wanna talk to us again, they have to tell Theresa they're interested in, in doing a project. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> for the clients that we think are not gonna understand, like they're gonna need someone to literally explain to them what all these things are. Those we would do like a follow up meeting, but the way we always end those meetings is everybody on the team that has to be their ex exes out and it's just left with Teresa and the client and she's like, this is the statement of work.
Speaker 0 00:27:32 Like, this is what the commitment's gonna look like. Almost every time the people just say, I'm good. Like I'll just, you know, what do I have to do to sign and how does payment work? And they have like a couple questions, but I think on the discovery call, a lot of times we're starting to paint, um, parameters around what that might look like. You know, they're, they're, we're not blinds siding them with, oh, you thought this was gonna be five grand and we say it's gonna be a hundred. Like it, we kind of start letting them know like, you know, you're gonna need SEO and a campaign like that is going to look like this. You're, you're probably gonna need ads. You're probably going to, you know, we start kind of painting it. So I don't, most of them, at least the clients that were smart enough to know what we were talking about, you know, they, they kind of understood, um, what we were looking at. So it's really avoided sticker shock and that kind of stuff, doing it that way too. But, um, it, I think it just depends on your agency and you know, what you're, what you want from the customer, but honestly they, I've not seen a huge difference in conversion, whether we run it like a loom and just deliver it all to them and say, let us know if you have questions or whether we walk 'em through it. It's been kind of about the same response both ways.
Speaker 1 00:28:52 It, it sounds, it sounds quite intentional and it sounds like you've spent a bit of time designing the process, not just kind of having it by accident. And I, I feel like that's a distinction that's worth mentioning because a lot of people don't spend the time to design the process and think, okay, well on that, that second kind of recommendations call, let's try and get rid of everyone else and just leave it with Teresa and the client, which is a sort of a more intimate, um, experience, and it's more likely to close if you've got one decision maker in the room, if you've got the decision maker in the room rather than a whole bunch of ancillary people hang around the sidelines. So it sounds like you put some thought into the design of that process. Um, the other thing, uh, I want to unpack is, uh, if you are, I know a lot of people li listening to this will be saying, well, this is great, but I'm, I'm not confident running a workshop or I'm not confident, you know, I don't consider myself a strategist.
Speaker 1 00:29:48 I I can't do the, you know, the performing, singing, dancing monkey routine up the front of a room or on Zoom with a bunch of clients. Like, this kind of freaks me out. I get it, I like the idea, but it kind of freaks me out. How, what would you say to people who are in that position who kind of wanna overcome that fear and, and do this, but literally are sort of paralyzed with the idea of being caught out, I guess, and, and having curly questions asked that they can't answer and all those sort of things?
Speaker 0 00:30:14 Yeah, that's a really great question. I mean, my, my immediate thought just because of being like, so involved in the Mavericks community, like, I mean, my, my sales pitch would be, you know, if you're in Mavericks, you can have your coach come with you and help you <laugh>. You know, there's always like that, you know, you can kind of get somebody to walk it, but I mean, really if, if you're weak in a particular area, um, you know, like if you're really good at knowing web design, but like you don't know how things get built or you're not sure how to do marketing, like, to be totally honest, part of me feels like a, a good way to do that would be to find somebody that you can bring in to help you make those decisions so that you're not hung out to dry on your own.
Speaker 0 00:30:53 Mm-hmm. I think over time of, of you'll absorb, you know, you'll learn and absorb by watching other people kind of do it. So it's like, if, if it was me and I was struggling, I think that's like the first thing I would do. The second thing I would say is you don't have to know everything to run the workshop. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the workshop is not necessarily answering their questions. And I really tactically try to not, um, prove myself and I coach my squadron the same way. You are not on a job interview, you are just helping them sort out their stuff. Like they don't know what they're doing. You are there to guide them, but you don't have to be able to tell them the chemical compound of the thing, right. You're just, you're just there to be like, you know, this is, this is how we're gonna do it.
Speaker 0 00:31:42 You know, this is, you're, you're just more like a Sherpa in the, in the thing. So, uh, outside of like getting someone or watching other people or, or hiring someone to come in and like help you do it, which would be obviously the most hands-on. The other way to do it is to do the discovery on your own and then bring in help where you need it. Where you're like, look, I don't, I know these clients need this. Like, can someone tell me what SEO would look like or PPC would look like, or, you know, whatever. Right. Like you, I think you just, you do the questioning and the extracting of all the things mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then, you know, get someone else to help you answer what to do with that. That that's what I would do.
Speaker 1 00:32:26 Yeah. Simon Kelly, who was on the livestream this morning, he was referencing the pay discovery method training, which is one of our trainings and I'd forgotten this, but he said in that training, I mentioned that in the workshop, your job is to be the, the journalist not the genius. Which is kind of what you're saying with the Sherpa is like, y your job is to shepherd them through the conversation and extract the information from them. Your job is, is not to solve problems and increase their conversions in that workshop. That's what, that's what you get paid for to do later, right? Um, the other, the other question that comes up a lot is why would, why will people pay? Everyone's giving away free strategy sessions, right? In fact, the agency coaches and sales coaches teach the model is, and I wanna come back to this in a second because it's what we started out teaching as well, is you do a triage call from the triage call, you booked them through to a strategy session, and then on the strategy session you sell them the thing. Um, why would people pay for a discovery workshop? Even though we're not calling it discovery, people kind of know what it is. Why will people pay for that when everyone else is offering a free strategy session?
Speaker 0 00:33:36 Man, I always, like, I equate it to, I can't remember the last time in my life when I like ran a Google search for like cheap something, right? Like, I, I'm just not that guy. Like if you tell me, Hey Adam, you know, I mean, I live on a farm. If you say, Hey Adam, uh, we've got, uh, the, this thing comes with some free tractor tires, my radar would go up. Like, why are they free? Right? Like, am I gonna get dropped in a field? You know, because like you're giving me like, why are you giving, you know, what's the point? So I, I think that to be completely honest, are the, our clients that we're going to are not stupid people. And they know, they know that that second call that they're gonna get trying to get sold, right? So I I, I believe that the reason this works is because one, you're showing your own value.
Speaker 0 00:34:30 You're like, look, I value my time and I am too busy to mess around with people that aren't serious and give them all the keys, right? Like, I don't have time for it. So I think there's a bit of like this perceived value because you're charging for it. Um, I will just tell you, we have won RFPs before where they sent proposals out to 10 places and we were the only people that said, we charged two and a half grand to work this out. And they're like, why? I'm like, because I have a million things I have to know in order to even be able to quote this project. And they have, we've multiple times had an RFP come in, do pay discovery, tell us we had the project, send their RFP to get their numbers and get their signatures they needed, and then sign a project with us.
Speaker 0 00:35:18 Like they didn't have to do that percent. There were 10 agencies willing to throw in an estimate. So my, the question I always want, well, why would they pay? And I'm like, well, why would I, why do I not Google for cheap Mustang wheels? Well, because I don't want, I don't want that. Like I care about my car. I don't want cheap tires or wheels. I don't wanna be stranded in a field. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I want the best thing. So I, I, I truly believe that it's because it just sets a position of, of self worth and then it creates like a respect thing. You know, like, um, you know, one, the sales accelerator people recently said, uh, you know, that they, they stopped talking to a client because they had ignored them multiple times. Like, that takes courage. And I think selling your knowledge takes selling your ability to make a plan, takes courage. But I don't know, I just think that the business owner or the end user in that sequence sees that and goes, well, they must be worth something cuz obviously other people are paying for this. So, like, you know what I mean? It's just like a perception thing. I think. What, what do you think,
Speaker 1 00:36:26 Well, the other thing I like is that, and you kind of touched on it, is, you know, if I'm, if I'm charging you two and a half thousand dollars to find out all the things in order to then tell you how much it's gonna cost to build, how are the people who are not charging you, how are they coming up with an accurate price on how much it's gonna cost to build if they're not finding out all the things that, so one of my favorite lines is when someone's pushing me on price is to say, well, based on the information that you've given me, I have no idea how much it's gonna cost. And if anyone else is telling you how much it's gonna cost based on the information that you've shared with me, they're guessing. And I don't want to guess because I don't wanna have to come to you in three months time and say, Hey, I need more money. I'd rather give you an accurate price upfront. And in order to do that, I need to uncover this information. And in order to do that, I need to get paid. So that instantly just makes everyone else look like they're winging it, which they
Speaker 0 00:37:22 Are. I mean, yeah, cuz we all, we all know that they can't figure it out, right? Like, it's like how do you That's right. How do you tell somebody what a year, like you do this in a year and this is what it's gonna look like if you don't do the, the work. Like, I mean, Simon and I spent countless hours doing, you know, analysis on SEO gaps for clients. Like, go on, because we don't wanna lie, right? Like, we don't want to tell them a mistruth like, yeah, we're gonna do this for this and you're gonna get this. Like, when we know we can't really tell them that without doing the leg work. And um, I mean we're literally in the middle of like a five figure discovery right now because they have a massive, massive problem that needs a massive plan. And I can't do that for free in hopes that maybe one day they'll hire me. I I I just don't, I don't That's right. Have the, the capacity. And like you've said before, sometimes the value is in the plan, like the implementation is what it is, but sometimes it's the order of things that you do that really makes the difference. And yeah, it's just a way you can just differentiate yourself from the other people that are, are, like you said, tossed in a random number. Like, ah, it's gonna be 15 K. Like they have no clue. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:38:41 Yeah. You, I mean I'd love to run an experiment where you get, you can go to Upwork and buy a bunch of stuff and implement it and then I, in version B, you actually have a strategy and a plan. Go to Upwork and buy the stuff you need and have a look at the results of the two different experiments, right? Because experiment A where there is no strategy. I had a conversation with a client the other day, or actually he's not a client. He, I think he kind of wants to hire me to coach him and he's not an agency. He's in the coaching space and uh, you know, at the moment I'm not gonna take him on, but I'm giving him some advice. He's like, well, so the plan for the next three months is just to go all in on, you know, my social media content.
Speaker 1 00:39:22 And I said, okay, what do you expect to happen as a result of that and what's the success criteria? You know? And we kind of fleshed that out a little bit. And I convinced him that because the other thing he was gonna do is go all in on LinkedIn prospecting. He's got a great LinkedIn, um, following. And he said, if I just spend, he said, if I spend every day in my inbox in LinkedIn, I know I could bring on probably a high value, high ticket client every week. I said, right, well you should do that and put social media on hold and we can maybe look at social media in six months time when you've got more capacity. Because if you try and do both things at the same time, you're gonna do them both badly. So let's just do one thing at a time and do it really well.
Speaker 1 00:40:04 Then bring someone in, hire someone to manage that for you, and then you can move to the next thing, right? And he's like, I think you just saved me three months of going down a social media rabbit hole that would end up with no fruit to bear. And I'm like, exactly. That's the value in having a strategy. Now you can go and find on Upwork or five or somewhere else, somewhere to help you manage your LinkedIn because you've got the strategy in place. And that I think is the most important and the most valuable part of the conversation is the strategy, which is what the, the workshops are all about, is helping you get paid to think up the strategy and then close the client into the ongoing implementation. Love it. Um, uh, I'm conscious of time. Uh, final question is if there's, if you could go back and, oh, sorry, two questions. One, you stopped doing the free strategy session and you just started selling paid discovery off the triage call. Why I'm seeing you up here cuz you've told me this, but like what, why did you just start selling paid discovery off the triage session when I hadn't said that was okay, Adam, I didn't tell you that you could do that. You just started doing.
Speaker 0 00:41:13 Yeah, you really did. Why did you start? I mean, I, I, I'll kind of blame my adhd, but truthfully it was because I just, I I did not wanna wait. Right? Like I, I knew that we could help them and I knew that there was more work to do in order to figure out what helping them looked like. And so, so I would just start saying, Hey, you know what? I would love to get my whole team involved in this. It costs 500 bucks for us to do a strategy session and to put a plan together and we call it track builder and here's what it is. And they, and I was shocked when people would go, yep, that sounds good, will you send that over to me? And it was like, what? Like, I mean, I, I think no one ever said yes and didn't sign right?
Speaker 0 00:41:59 Like, and we would set it up through better proposals and they would sign and they would pay the money straight away. I had the money in my bank and then my team would get in and book the call and do the thing and then I'd find out later whether or not we landed, you know, whether we did the project with 'em. Um, so yeah, it was just an impatient, like I just did not want to go let me send them videos and try to te like, I already felt like I had that rapport already was there. So I felt like the better thing for my business was just to go, you know what? I like you, you like me, let's go have dinner. And it's like, you know, the worst, the worst that's they can say is no right? Like they, they could say, no, we don't like you, let's dance. You know, so it was, yeah, it was easy.
Speaker 1 00:42:39 Yeah. Love it. And, and the other thing that I've learned and you've really, you've really blazed this trail for us is the other thing I've learned is that if people are on a call with you, most of the time they're not, they don't just wanna look at your background, right? Most of the time they have a problem and they want to spend money to solve it. That's why they're on a call with you, right? They're not just hanging out. I mean, occasionally you get a lu tick that turns up who's just a bit lonely and wants to just hang out, but most of the time it's because they have a problem and they're willing to throw money at a solution. Uh, final question. If you could go back and talk to Adam Silverman two years ago and say, Hey, uh, you should do this, you know, like what, what would your advice be given the fact that back then you didn't know what you didn't know?
Speaker 1 00:43:19 And I love what you said before, you didn't know as much as you thought you knew you were saying this about your clients, right? They don't know what they think they know. I love that distinction by the way. I, you know, the whole, like you, you don't know what you don't know, then you know what you don't know, then you know what you know, then you dunno what you know. Well I think there's something in the middle that says you don't know what you think, you know, <laugh>, that's gold. Um, what would you go back and tell Adam Silverman two years ago?
Speaker 0 00:43:45 I mean, in the sales process, I would say number number one would be, you know, spend your triage time truly finding out what the problem is. Like don't take their word for it. Dig, dig into them, um, and make sure that you've got an actual understanding of what their problem is. Um, because they will tell you things like, my website stinks. And you're thinking they mean that they don't like their colors and they don't like their fonts and what they're actually saying is, I don't get any leads and just fixing their colors may or may not impact that. So definitely dig in the triage, but if you know you've got a discovery method in your pocket, the best I would tell myself do the triage. Make sure you understand their problems. Know whether you can solve them, if you can solve them, get them to go into some sort of a discovery.
Speaker 0 00:44:40 Like if you are dis, if there is any part of you that goes, I know I can help 'em, but I don't exactly know what they need yet. It's like those, those should be bells going off that hey, you need to do the a paid discovery. You know, if you think I don't want to help them <laugh>, then get off the triage and run. Right? Yeah. But it's like, yeah, yeah, if you, if you think I can help 'em, but I'm not really sure yet what to do. I just think if I'd have gotten there faster, my sales year one would've probably been three or four times what they were, you know, it, it, it, mm-hmm. I had to go through the pain of like following up with people and do they wanna work with me and like all the, I wish I could have avoided that.
Speaker 1 00:45:22 Yeah. And uh, you know, partially my fault cause we taught that back in the blueprint, but hey, that was 2015, that words changed, right?
Speaker 0 00:45:29 It, it worked, you know, man, like, it, it it did, it was without that I would've had no idea what to do. Mm-hmm. It was just, you know, uh, Pete Perry always would say on everything, you know, season tota, that's like one of Pete's sayings that he like drilled into me mm-hmm. <affirmative> from the very first time he met. And what I took from that always was like, this as a process is brilliant. How does Adam and my agency, like how do we do this the way that works for us? And for us, that was just like, that was the piece that we needed to connect to make it work like the most efficiently just for what we do.
Speaker 1 00:46:03 Yeah. And, and the, the, the end result is that you actually get customers faster because you're not putting that second strategy session in front of them, which is just a roadblock for everyone really. It's just another hurdle. So you're actually getting customers faster. You shorten the sales cycle and if you're spending money to acquire customers or, or you know, like if you, so if you're running ad campaigns or you're spending time to acquire customers, like doing networking or content, time is money. So either way you're spending money to get customers. Shortening the sales cycle is good because that means you can grow faster cuz you don't have to wait as long for the sales to come in and then you're getting paid to scope the work and close them into ongoing clients, reducing scope, creep setting and managing expectations. The whole thing just works. It's a great model.
Speaker 1 00:46:46 We love it. And dude, thank you so much for blazing the trail and having such great, uh, success with it and really inspiring all of us to have a look at it and go, there's something here. I mean the whole get paid to close model really came out because we kept watching you do it and it was like, there's something in this. Let's dig in. Uh, I had built the paid discovery method training, but I'd never realized, I just thought it was like a separate product. I never realized that you could plug it into the sales accelerator model and that it would work. And so that the new get paid to close model really is the sales accelerator model with paid discovery in the middle of it. So dude, appreciate you, uh, blazing this trail and also telling us that it's working and sharing your results and that really appreciate you coming on the podcast and sharing it with everyone as well.
Speaker 0 00:47:28 Yeah. Thanks for having me, ma'am.
Speaker 1 00:47:31 Thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast and a massive thanks to Adam Silverman for joining us. I love how he's always willing to take massive imperfect action. He's constantly improving his agency and sharing his learnings with our community. And I truly can't wait to have an in-person drumming session with him in Nashville one day very soon. Don't forget to subscribe and please share this with anyone who you think may need to hear it. Now, are you getting paid to close clients right now? We are guaranteeing you can get paid to close eight new clients in the next 30 days. It's a ridiculous offer. I know. If you'd like to chat with our team about how you can get paid to close, click the link beneath this episode. Let's get to work.