23: Shorten the Sales Cycle with Rahul Alim

Rahul Alim is the president and CEO of Custom Creatives, a full-service digital marketing firm in Los Angeles. The agency specializes in high impact marketing solutions for small to medium sized businesses. Rahul also founded Follow Up Monster, a platform that enables businesses to pursue leads through automation.

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Shorten the Sales Cycle with Rahul Alim

Our guest is Rahul Alim, who is the President and CEO of Custom Creatives, a high impact digital marketing firm for attorneys, ad agencies, and entrepreneurial businesses. They have won the Digital Marketing Agency of the Year award for the last three years running in LA. And he also owns another company called Follow Up Monster, which provides a software service that helps ultimate itself follow up for sales people, for marketing people, for the customers. So welcome to the show, Rahul.

Hey, thank you so much for having me, Steve.

Very exciting. So tell us a little bit about your journey. How did you get here, how you become an entrepreneur?

You know, when I stumbled into it by mistake, I mean, I did have a family full of entrepreneurs, so that was on my side. I didn’t excel very well at school, so my dream was to become this awesome, professional soccer player, move overseas to Europe or South America and ride into history as one of the best, but then an injury occurred. I think that was the start of my realization of entrepreneurship was in my blood.

I just never really liked working in a closed environment in a nine to five position. It just didn’t really settle well with me, with my brain. I never really did well in class. I didn’t like to be on time. I didn’t like to do things with rules. I like to do things where I can kind of control and call the shots and disrupt things a little bit. So I think that’s where I got the bug early, probably by just a little bit of arrogance and ignorance as a young buck.

And then I just started working for a beautiful company called realtor.com in California, and they set the stages of this internet thing is a real thing. People were shopping for homes on the internet. And I said, if people can shop for homes and make purchase decisions on the largest transactions of their lives, they’re probably gonna be able to find anything else in the world on the internet and social media channels. So that’s kind of where I kind of dove into starting a digital media agency.

Wow, very interesting. So it sounds very easy the way you described it. Is there all there is to it? Or what does it take to actually build a good agency, to build a bidding agency? You’ve been three years running the best one.

Yeah, you know what? I mean, there are a lot of trials and tribulations. I kind of dove in just neck deep right away. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t really even know what I was even offering. All I knew is that I had a desire to succeed. That was really the main driver behind me was more the hunger of everything rather than the skill that I had. And I didn’t want to go at it alone.

So early on, I started off with a partner which I bought out shortly after we started to see that this train was going right down the right tracks. But the main things that I learned early were you need a lot of traffic. You need people to know who you are, and you need something that can solve a perceived problem that they may have or an actual problem that they have.

You need something that can solve a perceived problem that they may have or an actual problem that they have. Share on X

And then you need to be able to articulate and communicate your offer so it makes them easy to understand and for your customer to say yes quicker than having a long sales cycle. So I always like shorter sales cycles than longer sales cycles. Like a long sales cycle could be like a software for an enterprise company like a T-Mobile where it could take a year, two years before they’re out of the contract and then you have a two, three, four million dollar contract maybe more.

Whereas when you’re working with entrepreneurial style businesses, they’re agile, they make decisions, they have a lot of problems, they can’t solve them, they’re very good at their core competency of their business, whether it’s a lawyer, a restaurant, or a realtor, but they’re not good at business. They’re not good at driving innovative ideas. They’re not good at the follow-up process. The articulation of putting an offer in place for a lawyer sounds outrageous. Like, what would a lawyer offer?

Like, I mean, the only thing is a free consultation, so we come up with ideas on how to spin the psychology of an offer, so the receiving party receives massive value and it takes one layer of intimidation down so people feel comfortable reaching out to that person so we have more opportunities. So I think those are like the main drivers early was really knowing the niche so you can productize, having a good offer, having a short sales cycle, and having something that’s really easy to say yes to, not only from value-wise, but price-wise as well.

Great, I love it. It’s a very simple framework, and this is really what you need. You need to be able to articulate something that people can say yes to, and you can get some customers quickly, so you can start building the business. You cannot afford to have a two-year sales cycle as a budding entrepreneur, for sure. So tell me a little bit, so this podcast is all about management blueprint, management frameworks, how do you orchestrate your business, how do you build your business, what did you use? I mean, was it just a trial and error process for you or were you more intentional and did you use some kind of a blueprint to building your business?

So early on in the infancy, it was a lot of trial and error. It was just survival mode. Can I even get this thing off the ground to get it to the next level to know that it’s even a business? So at first it was very scrappy. It really came down to very simple, like I mentioned before, just the offer and a good price. Then people started saying yes. Then we started to systematize from there because we saw that things were working and then we were doing unique custom work over and over and over again.

So when we sold something, it took time, energy, effort, and then it took fulfillment and communication, all this stuff that would take hours upon hours, where over time we started to see that everybody had the same exact problem. So we started to productize, we templated everything we did that was already custom. So we’re selling a semi-custom solution for the same price as custom work, and then we slashed the time and procedure down by at least 90% of our energy out.

So now our profit margins went up, our happy scale went up because we’re able to fulfill much quicker, and then we were able to also upsell and cross sell at a faster pace because we were able to fulfill and build that relationship much quicker with our clients. So we just put together standard operating procedures and it just started off with a really quick and dirty checklist, like right on a piece of paper. Do this first, this second, this third, this fourth, done.

And then once we started seeing mistakes along the way, then we started to elaborate further, saying, okay, that bullet point wasn’t clear for another person to take over. Let’s train them on it and lengthen the description versus a bullet point. And then we started to improve and just kind of as we ran into bottlenecks, we just update this document, train somebody on it and it took like 15, 20 minutes sometimes for training, other times it would take a day or two.

But then we just had this system with a simple process. And don’t get me wrong, the process wasn’t simple to put in place at first because it didn’t exist. We had to create it. So it took a long time and a lot of energy, sleepless nights, and money. Now, nowadays, you can shorten that gap and that cycle because you can take a lot of other people’s mistakes and buy them right away because people have SOPs available and whatnot. So I always recommend shortening that gap.

I wasn’t smart enough in my younger days to do that or to even search for that. But that was kind of the transformational moment was just really starting to put the system in place because then it allows the system to be a part of the business so the business can live and then have that process because absent of any system, it’s really a lot of chaos, like organized chaos, a lot of excess energy that’s going through the company while you’ll still accomplish the task. It’ll be a little bit more stressful, longer hours, and more costly.

That’s you’re right on. And it’s amazing that you understood that so early in your, in your process. This is also what I teach to my clients. It’s part of the entrepreneurial operating system is if you look at this chart, you see process. So we talk about strengthening the process component of your business, which is essentially starting with just identifying a handful of core processes. Don’t get too fancy with it. I used to work for a bank which had an organization department, was like a big bank, 3,000 employees.

And they had this 15-person department, which was the organization department. And they would be managing the processes. Then the bank had 2,000 processes, all of them 50 to 70 pages long. And then they would have to review every process every two years. And they would spend a couple of weeks on it and then go through it. And they had three or four of these every week to approve. And basically, they just ended up rubber stamping it because it was too overwhelming. And then the process would go back to the organization department.

They put it in the folder and then it would sit there for another two years. And very few people actually use those processes. They’re too complicated. So what we teach is that you just pick your handful of four processes and you identify the major steps, maybe 6 to 12 steps in the process. And then you get some bullet points for each process. So here you see this chart. So this is a proven process for how to deliver EOS. And you see the six to seven stages of the bullet points. So this is how far you go. And if you get this one, then you can think about, okay, maybe we put another checklist below, make it more detailed, but you don’t have to be super fancy because then nothing happens in the business.

Yeah, complexity becomes very difficult even as an entrepreneur and an owner, because a lot of entrepreneurs are creative and they’re artists and they have these ideas that are just going through their head over and over every day, and just kind of maintaining those ideas so you don’t over indulge in them and stay focused on the core tasks. That’s why, yeah, those processes and your EOS processes is imperative, is just simplify it because you’re passing it down to people.

They’re not robots and machines that are artificial intelligence that can handle complex algorithms. They’re human beings that you want to scale very fast, especially when you’re working in a lean environment. Whether you’re a startup alone and you want to hire your first, second, third employee, or you’re under 10 or 20 people, it’s imperative to be able to onboard people. So simple.

Processes are imperative, just simplify it because you're passing it down to people. Share on X

Yeah, and you know, what I found was that young people who have little experience, they are actually starved for the process. They really want processes where they want to be successful and they don’t know it. And if someone gives them a blueprint, then they thrive on it, they embrace it, they implement it as it is. Whereas what happens with the entrepreneur often, because you have everything in your head, you don’t feel like it’s important to write it down because you know it, right? Why write it down for yourself? And then because you know it, you expect everyone else should know it. You just tell them once and they should remember it and they should, this is not realistic. So you actually do a great service to your people as well to document your processes.

Definitely. And I mean, I’m lucky because like my parents, like I mentioned before, were entrepreneurial. And as a kid, it probably got embedded in my brain early too, because they would bring their work home. They had a, back then they had a catalog company. It was in, they sold through computer shop, computer shopper, that was the name of the catalog. That was the primary software catalog. And they would bring home the mailers. And it was like me and my mom, and we’d fold the paper, my mom would stuff it, we’d put water on the envelope so it sticks, we didn’t have to lick it. We’d stamp it, we’d seal it with a mailing address, and we’d put it in the shipping container. So it was like this production line process that we would just sit there and watch television and see how fast we can do things. So that was kind of like the first experience as a child and in probably before high school, that experience like a production line process, kind of like a Henry Ford power plant.

That’s right, that’s pretty cool. That’s pretty cool. So let’s switch gears here a little bit. I’m really interested about, this is a question that’s been bugging me for a long time, and finally I’ve got a digital marketing expert who can help me with this. So how can a private business, a small to medium sized private business, compete with a major brand on digital marketing? So aren’t we not just going to be squeezed out? Is there a way for us to be competitive?

I think first is mindset, knowing that you can compete, because there is a lot of advocacy for local shopping. So and all you have the same platforms, you have the same ability to spend. You don’t have to spend at the capacity of a billion dollar organization. But the one thing that you do have an advantage on is that you know the market, you know your local audience. So if you’re competing against a Chipotle or a Target, they don’t know the little nooks and crannies of a neighborhood. They don’t know the true desires and needs.

They have marketing departments that are based, centralized in corporate America, in an office that are making all these assumptions based off sample polls. You know your direct market, you can go to market with offers immediately, if not sooner. You can pivot faster, you don’t need approvals, and all you have to do is go and test. Because right now, traditionally, people like restaurants and dental offices and lawyers, what they do is they send a lot of mail. They’re in your mailbox.

And I don’t know the last time somebody said, hey, I’m looking for something, let me run to my mailbox to search for it. That’s called junk mail. Nobody reads it, nobody opens it. They may save the very occasional coupon to their favorite restaurant because they got $5 off $15 of food. Great deal, they’ll keep it, right? And they may eventually use it.

But what if you can transform that idea, that offer, and just put it on the greatest platforms in the world where there’s more people spending that time, they’re active, they’re captive, they’re shoppers, they’re buyers, their credit cards are stored in their phone and you’re reaching them on the phone by using Google ads, Facebook ads, YouTube ads, Instagram ads. So if you learn to just understand the high level and have the mindset that your customers are there and eliminate the mindset of I don’t know this thing, they don’t, my customers don’t buy on social, because they 100% absolutely do and it’s a proven fact. These guys are data companies.

Facebook knows when you’re gonna wake up, Google knows when you’re gonna get hungry, they know the move you’re gonna make before you make it. So when they know that kind of intelligence and data, they have that on your customers too. So their platforms are precision tight when you wanna target your ideal customer once you define who that is. So I think that’s the best way people can compete is mindset first, knowing that their customers are on the internet, it does work, there are buyers, and you can put your offers at a very affordable cost to get a return on investment extremely quickly.

Like as quick as if you’re a restaurant with low friction, a great offer like a buy one, get one. You’ll have immediate customers where you’re buying your customer base, you’re taking them off the platform and you’re owning their contact information. So you bought your customer once, you said, hey, I’ll give you a free burrito when you buy one, still profitable for your restaurant, but now you have something more important. You bought customer loyalty, because you have a number, a phone number, cell phone presumably, and an email.

Now you follow up, and that’s why we have that software, Follow Up Monster, because now you can text blast them. 10.30 in the morning, they’re thinking about lunch. 4.30, they’re thinking about dinner. Send them another offer, bring them back in. Give them a free soda, something not as good as a Bogo. They’ll bring their friends, they’ll create loyalty, and then you just became a brand where they’re now going to come absent of a coupon.

That sounds very simple, the way you explain it. So here’s my other question. How do you defeat the overwhelm of all these different social media platforms and these approaches? Frankly, I know Facebook can be super targeted, but being really understanding how to put up ads on Facebook and how to position it and how to make it having an ROI, it seems really complicated and people teach you this thing and it feels overwhelming. So how does it work? How does the small business owner handle that? They just go to you or how can they understand what they even hire you for?

So, they have to have a desire to want to grow, number one. And then also, just like hiring an employee, you’re investing in the employee to take over a position that you no longer want to do or can do, right? So if you’re the cook and the owner of a restaurant, I’m just gonna use this as the example, you can’t be front of house, you can’t be the busboy, you can’t be the bartender on the server.

You have to pick what you’re really good at or you add the most value in your organization, and then you hire for those other positions and you get players on the team. Now, no business can survive without good marketing and leads and sales. Without customers coming in the door and people knowing who you are, you probably won’t be surviving past a couple years, if that long, and if you do, you’re gonna have a very stressful, high-debt caliber business, right?

So you’re gonna be borrowing tons of money and probably never pay it back in your life. So same model works here is hire a marketing team that knows what they’re doing, that can demonstrate proof of results. So you feel confident and look at it as an investment. Like when you buy real estate and you put $200,000 down on a home, you’re not looking at it in 30 days saying, I want my money back. You’re looking at it in 30 years or in two years or a decades time period. So same thing you should look at your business.

You didn’t start the business to be in business for 30 days, nor should your marketing be responsible to keep you in survival mode 30 days at a time. It’s saying like let me put a roadmap out, let me build the foundational practices of the systems I need so we have a backbone to our system. And then some people are further along than others. Some people have the backbone built and they have a disaster when it comes to the marketing, while others have nothing.

So then we just build the platform out, we build a roadmap and saying, hey, here’s what we’re gonna do, here’s what our expectations are, and here’s what our role and responsibility is as your quote unquote fractional employee. And then you get a team of experts that already know what to do. Because what the alternative can be is learn it yourself and maybe put one foot in, one foot out, dabble, burn a bunch of money, or maybe eventually figure it out in a year or two, or hire somebody who’s already on the payroll that’s not qualified for that position.

Because this is not taught in schools yet. This is still on the cusp of 2021. Colleges are still scrambling to learn digital marketing. They don’t even have the capacity to put a human being in the workforce that has the valuable skills to enter a workforce. So digital marketing is learned through time, through failure, through trial and error. And then it becomes into a process with the more experience and the more hunger in the agency you choose, the better the result I think you’ll have.

So how did I choose an agency? Is it based on industry specialty? Is this important? So for example, you work with attorneys. Do attorneys have special needs or are like say professional service firms, do they have similar needs to each other or every segment of business is going to be different with how they need and how they need to approach their marketing?

I think number one is go with your gut. Like, interview people, ask good questions. The company that you’re interviewing, you should probably, or talking to, and read up on them. Don’t just go and Google stuff, fill it in and say, tell me what you do. Like, do a little bit of background. Like, do some research on the company. They have good reviews, so they write blogs, so they have educational content.

The point is, is not to necessarily indulge and read it, it’s just to know that they know what they’re doing, they can demonstrate experience and results. That’s really what you’re gonna look for, and then you’re gonna look for a relationship. Can I work with this person, and do they understand me? Because niches are really good, I always like experts, so there is and are merits to hiring somebody who specializes in your field, but just like any industry, there’s a lot of bad people too.

So I would also look outside of the industry. So we work with attorneys, we work with realtors, and we work with, I mean, quite frankly, a lot of broad industries of a portfolio of clients. And I think the fact that we’ve been able to work with a broad audience and multiple niches and industries has given us a more 360 degree view on business. So sometimes a problem that a personal injury faces and their marketing challenges, it opens up ideas for our realtor challenges.

So the I think that there’s value in not necessarily having like full tunnel vision down the barrel of one industry. But I don’t want to take away anybody’s specialty or expertise, just like if I’m going to if I need brain surgery, I prefer a neurosurgeon, right? I wouldn’t want a general practitioner or an optometrist. So there definitely is merit. So I guess the best way to kind of understand who’s a good fit for you is understand the results. Can they demonstrate what they’re gonna do for you so you understand it, you’re not overwhelmed. And then is the relationship there.

Do you guys feel like you’re a cultural fit and the communication cycle is up to what you need? Because at the heart of it all, you’re the business owner, you have the wallet, nobody’s got a gun to your head to hire somebody. And you can make mistakes, and you probably will if you hire cheap, or wrong, or inexperienced, because that’s what you get in return. But yeah, those are probably the core factors of hiring, just, I mean, do some research on the company so you have a little bit of a background versus a Google search, a click, a contact, and then hope and pray they’re going to tell you everything you want to hear. So I think just having a little due diligence.

That’s definitely good advice. So let’s say if I went to you and asked you, what are your go-to strategies? Let’s say you’re talking about a professional service firm, it could be an attorney, a law firm, it could be an accounting firm, it could be a wealth management firm. How would you approach and how would you build a marketing campaign to them and what would be your go-to strategies there?

Yeah, so presumably, I know the pillars of what the overall core problems are going to be. I just need to understand what the needs are because if I start putting together a plan for a YouTube or a paid traffic plan on Facebook and the needs of the customers are not that, then I’ll be going in the wrong direction and we’ll be misaligned. So the first thing is I understand the core problems that the client wants to solve.

And then once we understand those core problems, then we put a marketing plan in action because we need to know what is the sales cycle? What are the existing marketing assets? What do you already have in place that you’re happy with? What you’re unhappy with? What’s the, if we went to the end of the road, 12 months from now, 24 months from now, what is that accomplishment look like? What do we want to happen there?

And once we understand the end point, which will probably change, it’ll probably get extended or come closer depending on how our strategy is implemented, then we put together the marketing plan. Because for a bank versus, that’s trying to get HELOC loans or from consumers to a personal injury attorney who needs to find people who have been in accidents in the last 30 to 60 days to a dentist who may do emergency dental who wants people who are in pain this second, we’ll have a different total strategy.

Put together a marketing plan based on sales cycle, existing assets, and end goals. Share on X

Emergency dental, pay-per-click ads so people can find it and rank high on Google for key terms around emergency dental. From a personal injury, I’d probably have some sort of branding mechanism and a giveaway like an accident guide to build the top of the funnel and build goodwill in the marketplace while also ranking high on Google. If they have a big enough budget, we buy our way to the hearts of customers with pay-per-click ads.

And then maybe even have a content strategy behind it with written blogs, guest blogs, authority articles, and then just getting into the video game and getting our clients uncomfortable and doing Zooms just like this, so we just interview our client and get video content so we can pump it out, so we can rank higher, and get in front of more eyeballs so we can take more market share.

So we put together just simple plans, and then as we’re kind of devising them, we’re doing it with the client, because people say, oh, send me a marketing plan, and I’m not gonna do that, because I don’t know you. I need to do this with you. This is your business. We’re gonna be working with this. We’re gonna look at our constraints, our resources that you have, your sales cycles. Is it you doing the sales, is it a professional salesperson, is it business development, is it the receptionist? Because then we’re now anticipating bottlenecks.

Because if I’m generating leads and you have the worst resource on the planet to handle leads like a receptionist that’s just there to answer phones and transfer phone lines and take messages if they even are trained at a caliber to even do that well, they’re certainly going to fail when we bring leads and we’ll be fired in the next 90 days. So we identify those problems, we expose those problems, and then we put in place a solution, if we can, to solve those problems.

Work collaboratively with clientto expose problems, anticipate bottlenecks, and provide solutions. Share on X

One of the solutions may be, hey, we’ll get a call center to take all the leads. We need somebody who’s professional that doesn’t burn them. Because if I give it to your receptionist and they say, please hold, they’re gonna hang up, go to the next lawyer, done. Lost the lead, you just lost a seven figure case, a $5,000 case, we don’t know. Because you’re not trained to adapt to the needs and desires of a customer in a state of shock and pain. So we have to understand those things. So really strategically asking tons of questions so we can really kind of differentiate not only ourselves, but also put together what we want the end result to be, which is make more money. It’s an investment.

So, it’s a multifaceted thing. You basically think about the whole process of how a lead is generated and converted into a sale, and you have to have the right solution for each step of the process. It sounds like.

Yeah, because early in marketing used to just be like, get me exposure. I just want people to see me. And then it said, all right, well, now I want more traffic. Now I want more phone calls. I want more leads. I want more web inquiries. Now it’s just a matter of like, I want more booked appointments. Then it’s like I want more qualified booked appointments. So the level that small business owners want have evolved and changed, and they’re constantly changing.

Just like telephones, like iPhones, I mean these things change year over year, maybe sometimes more than once in a year. Marketing is innovating very fast, and the needs of the customer is also innovating fast because they just want more out of the same budget and we just have to adapt and control costs and put measures in place and use global talent to fill certain gaps in the process and part of that is having like a call team where some clients of ours that that we have plans for small businesses that are very affordable where we put together the call center team.

They not only get the lead, but we actually do live transfers and say, hey, you got a patient that has a toothache. Can you take it? Or hey, we have a person that wants four bedrooms, two and a half baths in Telluride, Colorado. Can you talk to this person right now because they’re on the phone? They just filled in the form three minutes ago. We qualified them for you. So that’s really kind of where things are going in small business land is they want a desired ROI and they need more help than ever. And they’re able to scale their team without having to have like a huge, huge overhead.

So that’s really thought about it. I’d like to ask you one is that how do you keep abreast of all this changing landscape? So you have these new applications, TikTok it’s really gotten big the last year. I don’t know if they do advertising, but at some point they will, you know, Instagram, and then you had Snapchat, which was really huge couple years ago, and now Instagram is taking over. So how do you keep abreast of what the tools are and to stay on top of it so that you know you can use it for your customers? How does that work? How do you even look at this?

I mean, you know what, we just kind of stay to our domain and our focus of mastery. We don’t explore it too far beyond it because that will kind of implode us a little bit. So as we start to see different types of platforms take form, we’ll just trail it. We’re not gonna innovate or trailblaze it. We’ll watch the platform evolve, make mistakes. I mean, we may get on it and do our organic testing and whatnot, participate in some of the content creation and just see where it goes.

Because I think what’s most important if you’re working in a smaller business environment with a capacity or a ceiling of like marketing budget, we have to pick what’s best for the customer. And typically a platform like a Facebook or an Instagram or a Google or a YouTube are really gonna do the trick to drive meaningful leads. Once we get into like entertainment platforms of TikTok, then we have the challenges of what’s going to be the content, who’s going to create it, who’s going to be the face, who’s going to entertain and educate, because that’s at the heart of the platform.

Nobody wants any boring lectures. They want something funny, something to catch their attention. And that creativity requires the right client. But when it comes to those local or small business owners that are operating in budgets, I don’t know, like, let’s say $500 to $10,000 a month, that may not be yet in the cards.

So the other thing that you mentioned, which really intrigues me, is when you talk about sourcing the talent to actually do the work, do you have an outsourced model? Do you go to, let’s say, you have a call center issue, then do you go to the Philippines to find the call center people? Or do you work with local people? What are you doing in this front?

Everything. Yeah, everything. We look at talent as global. We don’t look at it as talent as a box because if I looked at talent as what’s in my backyard, it’s very limited. I’ll be at the mercy of what’s here available and in my budget, right? But when I open it up to the United States or Canada or even worldwide, I mean, it doesn’t really matter that like if Michael Jordan lived in China, I’d still want him on my team, right? So it wouldn’t really necessarily matter to me.

So we just look at who’s willing to do the job, who’s willing to have the hunger, the desire that has like, wants to be on this team, culturally fit. More than anything, I don’t look at skill or talent as the prime criteria. I just look at it as, like, do you have the desire to want to grow and not stay static? Because I’ve been going to Starbucks for over a decade and I still have the same lady that still serves my same coffee. Like I wouldn’t want that on my team. I love her attitude and her ability to be loyal.

But one thing that I really look for is who wants to make more money, who wants to grow, who wants to take more responsibility on. So that’s kind of the criteria of how we hire. And then as far as where they’re located, they are worldwide from Jakarta to India to Canada to Texas, California, Vancouver, Mexico, Dominican Republic. So we don’t hire the call center, we create the talent ourselves and hire direct. So we kind of have our own at home call center.

So when I hire somebody, we’ll interview them, we’ll for a very specific position, we’ll train them up and role play with them before they get their feet wet with a client. And then we’ll deploy them into a client account and then monitor them early on. And then they’re self-running. They’re up and running themselves. They can handle multiple accounts. They’re ready for more responsibility. Maybe three, six, nine months down the road, they’re ready to kind of take that next step up a ladder.

So as you go up one step in the ladder, then you take on more responsibility below you. So you may take on training the next person. You may, and then if you move up another ladder, you’re now training multiple people. So it’s kind of this ladder effect, more steps up the ladder, more pay, more responsibility as you go. So that allows us to have more free time to really kind of like think about the business.

Because I mean, that’s really what we come up with, like as the business owner, I mean, we want to spend most of our time like really kind of like strategizing and thinking, like what’s the one offer that we can ride this year? We have to come up with 10 or 12. One of them is going to be the winning pony and that’s going to be our seven figure strategy for the year. That’s really what the whole process is of what goes through our minds of hiring and where we want to go as a business.

So that’s kind of the idea of process size, the predictable humanized, the exceptional. So by creating these processes and delegating and bringing the talent in, it frees you up as a leadership team or whoever are your top people to strategize about the creative solutions for your client. That’s very, very cool. So tell me a little bit, it’s again switching gears a little bit about, let’s talk a little bit about websites. Are websites still relevant? And in terms of the marketing, I understand it’s important for validating the person, but is it still a medium of marketing and how can someone use a website for marketing these days?

I think a website is highly relevant because when you’re looking for something, you’re typically going to a website, not just a landing page or whatnot. So I think it depends on how the customer is finding you. So if somebody is finding you from a Google search, they have to click onto a website link. If they’re doing a Google ad, they have to click from a website link. A Google ad may go to more of a custom landing page where it has your offer, your idea, and the one action you want them to take.

But overall, I think a website has a lot of merit, especially when you’re looking to partner with other organizations. Like for example, when we look to partner with other marketing agencies and say, hey, outsource your work to us, that’s a big ask. We’re basically saying, hey, you go sell stuff, we’ll do all the work, trust us, we’re legit. We’re gonna be responsible whether you guys keep clients or not, due to our fulfillment.

So we have our website to not only legitimize ourselves, but to educate the client on who we are, because the deeper they get into our website, the more pages they look at, the more blogs or content they read about us, the better it is for us, because now they’re forming their own relationship with us, and it’s on 24 seven. And it’s also, it can be a sunk cost in the sense of, you can invest in it and set it, forget it. I don’t recommend that. I always recommend a website is a breathing organism.

Keep it updated because if you want to be found, keep your website updated from time to time. But yeah, I think a website’s highly relevant. Even today, I don’t think they’re gonna go away. Like if you’re a paid traffic person where you’re driving leads through Facebook ads or Google ads, you can live and survive absent of a website. You just need a landing page. But if you wanna get ranked on Google and you wanna have a long-term perspective of like Google searches and whatnot, I think a website is really, really important.

And when people look you up that are serious about doing business with you, they’re not just clicking your homepage and filling out your contact form. They’re going deep and deep and deep. They’re writing blogs. Well, by the time you get on the phone with certain people, not everybody, they’ll probably know a lot about your company, about your results. They’ve watched a couple videos, and all of that can be housed in one place. So you don’t have to distract them by saying, go to YouTube for my videos, go to Yelp for my reviews, go to Facebook for getting to know some of our personalized, socialized content that’s more fun and entertaining. House it on the website. It’s not very difficult to do.

That’s really smart to just keep them engaged with you and not allow them to be distracted by other stuff that other platforms would be distracting them with. That’s a good advice. So what about blogs? I mean, there’s such a proliferation of videos and podcasts and people are listening and watching, are blogs still relevant or are they kind of still there but they are waning? What is happening with blogs?

Yeah, I mean, well, that’s the food Google eats on right now, right? So people, if you go to like Google right now and search any term possible and go below the pay-per-click results and click on something, there’s a good chance you’re gonna find a blog or some form of quality content that Google ranks. So I wouldn’t necessarily look at it necessarily as just the term blog. I think a blog is just an ability, a house or a page that contains educational content, right? That we want to rank.

So I would just look at it as adding value into the marketplace that can convince and convert people into clients by demonstrating that you’re the expert in the field. So some great blogs and popular ideas are list ideas, like top 10 ways to do X, 10 things to avoid, and then case studies. So if you have a case study, excuse me, from a client, no matter what the industry, whether it’s weight loss or some kind of online e-commerce or whatever it may be, just document the story of what you did in a long form piece of content with pictures and screenshots, and then you can even make a video and walk them through that blog.

So you’re creating one piece of content and then you’re turning it into multiple mediums. So from written to a video, because then people get to see you, they hear your voice, your tonality, your expertise coming through. And then you have the audio clip that you can upload if you wanted to, to free podcast sites like anchor.fm or whatever. So you’re using one core piece of content and distributing it across multiple platforms because then it can be distributed on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and all that other good stuff once you kind of get a content distribution plan in place that can be simplified so it’s not complex or time consuming.

But yeah, no, I think blogs are highly relevant. You can do a lot of good things. Like one blog can be a big, huge driver of a lot of your traffic. So if you write 10 blogs, maybe two may rank really, really well, and that’s really what you’re looking for. So you have the two core pieces of content, and those other eight are supporting those core. So those other eight don’t go for waste. They’re just support mechanisms versus the drivers of your traffic.

So if someone is, let’s say someone is in business, they have a 10 person business, they have had kind of a stationery website, which was more of a grocery website, and they feel like they want to make a big move in 2021 to improve their marketing, what would be three, and let’s say they are a professional service firm, let’s say they are a vast management firm, what would be the three low hanging fruit actions that you think they could take?

So if it’s a wealth management firm, number one, I would go with, like, I would first, number one, write out the dream 100. Like, who are the ideal customers that you want to be working with and where are they located so you can put a plan in place to go reach them. Understand their core problems, their desires, their needs, and then you build content around those.

So if it’s wealth management, it could be something about don’t you wish your wealth manager gave you better tax strategies so you can not only save more money, but pay less in taxes, and also be able to withdraw the money without prepaid penalties. So just coming up with ideas of content, and then now you have your Dream 100, and you put it in front of them. That may be on LinkedIn. So that means on LinkedIn, if you put content and now you’ve added all these different connections by clicking connect 50, 100 times per day with ideal people, when you post this content, they will have the opportunity to see it.

And then as you stay consistent with your marketing message to solve core problems and don’t worry about early on the vanity metrics of how many hearts, likes, comments, all that good stuff. Just put that aside for a second because we’re building momentum if we’re just getting started. Then you’ll be able to be looked at as the expert. So I think another way would be just also looking in the Rolodex of existing clients and past clients. Go back to them. Existing clients, upsell, cross-sell a new product, educate them on what else you can do for them, understand their family needs, their immediate relatives’ needs for referrals, and their best friends for referrals.

Past clients, people who left you, and you can have an instrument that you can implement that will also align with another wealth management firm so you can get your foot back in the door and start the relationship process. Because as a wealth manager, you’re typically on the core of trust. You’ve built the trust once you’ve wedged your way in, then it’s up to you to stay that person’s counselor or their wealth manager and advisor for the next decade.

Good point. Okay, that’s great. So basically build a dream of 100, cultivate the existing clients, upset them, and go to the old past times and try to lure them back. That sounds like a great three ideas to execute. So, listen, Rahul, I really enjoyed our discussion. So if someone would like to learn more and maybe contact you and get more information of what you do and maybe want to talk to you with a specific problem, where can they find you?

Yeah, I’ll have my link to LinkedIn, so you can look me up, Rahul Alim, you can find me on Facebook, and then you can always go to our website and connect with me there, which is customcreatives.com.

Okay, awesome. Well, that’s great information. Enjoyed having you on the show. Rahul, thank you for coming, and to our listeners, stay tuned for next week, even though the holidays are coming up, but there will still be shows next week so stay tuned and have everyone a great holiday season.

 

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