Digital Marketing Sales Process

Digital Marketing Sales Process

Kris Reid was next up on the podcast, Kris owns Ardor SEO who offer a wide range of digital services, but Kris was happy to talk about what he does on a day to day basis which is the sales side of the business, a born salesman who loves that side of the business and has a team of staff around him who provide the deliverables from an SEO point of view.

We all know sales in Digital Marketing is getting tougher all the time, people don’t answer phone calls or cold emails so much these days, so you have to think of other ways to get to the right person, using Linkedin is just one of the ways that Kris gets in touch with the right people. Having Linkedin as part of your sales process is a smart way of working, you can get in touch with the right people very quickly if you know what your doing and its just one way that Kris uses to get to the right person.

Full Transcribed version below

So, welcome to today’s podcast, where I’m joined by Mr Kris Reid. Kris, thank you very much for joining me all the way from Saigon. I think you are probably the first guy in Saigon that I’ve had on the podcast, so that’s always a bonus.

Well, we’re in the frontline of coronavirus here, so it’s good to be on a podcast and not out on the streets.

Yeah, nice. Yeah, better being safe than sorry. So Kris, for anyone that’s listening or watching, can you tell us just a bit about your background, and what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis?

About Kris Reid, Ardor SEO

Yeah, sure. Well, a quick recap of me. My name’s Kris Reid, I’m from Ardor SEO. Originally from Brisbane, Australia. A software engineer by trade worked in finance for about 10 years. Was doing soul-destroying work, making billionaires more billions of dollars, which was great fun until the global financial crisis came along and took my job away, which was a bit of a blessing in disguise. I thankfully had saved up a whole bunch of coin, so I travelled the world for two years, working out, “What the hell am I going to do with my life?” And being a computer geek, I built an online game, because I wanted to learn a new type of programming. And as the game started coming to fruition, I then thought, well, how the hell do you get people to a website to play the damn thing? And that’s when I started to learn about SEO.

Back then, man, backlinks were everything. I read some guide about how to make forum profile backlinks, which are just as they sound like. You go to a forum, you create a profile, you put a crappy link in there. And my site ranked like nothing else. I went, “This is magic. This is a gold mine.” So, I quickly ditched the game, built some software to organize backlinks, and went into business. Started selling these piece of shit links to SEO companies, and man, we used to sell a lot of them. That was until Google did some updates and that business disappeared. But thankfully, we had already started down the track of, “Maybe we should start doing some quality stuff.” And so, we really went down the high-end backlink route, and then started providing other services like analysis and content and whatever. And then thought, “Well, why the hell don’t we have our own customers? These guys are making all the bucks on our work.” And so, that’s really where we’ve focused on the last couple years, is our own client SEO.

So, I’ve been in Asia now for eight years or something. We’ve got an office in the Philippines, office here in Saigon, in Vietnam. Plenty of really smart people in the office here, and even smarter people working remotely all over the world. And yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

So, what kind of size is your team there? Overall, including your remote workers, how many guys are working for you?

Yes, thanks to an amazing, our team lead, he’s actually downsized the size of our company and made us way more effective, way more profitable, and using a lot more contractors too. So, we went from nearly 50 staff to now just around 30. So, it’s a lot fewer headaches to manage. There’s a really fabulous book by Mike Michalowicz called Clockwork, and it’s all about, you should stick to what you’re good at, your core business processes. SEO is ours, so we try and measure our people’s time and make sure that they’re only doing that, and getting really efficient at it, not screwing around on Skype messages or emails or on meetings or whatever the heck, that they’re delivering hours to our customers and how profitable each staff is. And using that mindset, we’ve really been able to reduce our team and be more efficient and more profitable, which is what a healthy business is all about.

Yeah, I think it’s all about working smart rather than potentially trying to manage 50 staff or whatever. I think my highest ever amount of staff was 17, and even I found that really, really stressful.

Yeah, it’s not fun.

I only work with a team of six, seven actually. Seven people and I wouldn’t have another member of staff. Everything else is then just outsourced, or use VAs or a service or whatever, a vendor of some description, which is good. But honestly, we could talk about SEO all day, and all the tricks and all the silly things you’ve done, forum links and all that kind of stuff. But that’s boring, we’ve heard all that stuff before. What I think people do want to hear about, and obviously something that you are strong on, is your lead generation, how you close deals and all the kind of sales strategy. Because we all know that SEOs… Well, every business, cold calling’s dead. You can’t really get through to the right person. No one comes to their phone with a sheer amount of spam and shitty sales calls. And some people are very old school, and that’s just my opinion.

Obviously, as marketers, we’re always trying different stuff, but business owners or people you generate leads for still think things like, you know, the old directories work, and they’re still doing a post, sending stuff out in the post and hoping that… You know, when I get to post it just goes in the bin, to be honest. I’ve got all my online banking and everything else, so you have to think outside the box. So, I’d love to hear more about how you’re generating leads first, and then we’ll go on to how you’re closing those deals.

How to Generate Leads for a Digital Marketing Company?

Yeah, sure. One thing on that just while I think of it is there’s an old quote by John Wanamaker, this guy who lived in the 1830s or something, super old, one of the original markets. And he quoted, you know, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The only problem is I don’t know which half.” A really famous quote. And I mean, that used to be true. That’s why Coca-Cola spends just gazillions of dollars and they can’t measure how effective it is. But that’s not the truth with digital marketing, right? You know how much you’re spending on your clicks. You can measure every damn thing on that. And you tell a business owner that and you show them that, and their eyes light up. A big problem with SEO sales is people selling SEO. No one gives a shit about SEO. They care about business growth. Sell them that you’re giving them more customers.

Everyone understands that they need to have a website. They’re just not really sure what that website’s meant to do. And if you explain to them, it’s like having a business card, right? If it’s sitting in your pocket, it’s not doing anything. If people can’t find your website, then it’s not doing anything. Doesn’t matter how damn pretty it is or how fast it loads or the content or whatever the hell. But if you put it in front of where the people are actively searching for exactly what you do, what the hell is more powerful than that? Explain that to a business owner and they’ll throw handfuls of money.

I think it’s obviously getting that point across, though, is the kind of tricky part. A lot of guys think that you have to rely on one way of doing it as well, and I think even SEO guys just stick rigidly to SEO whereas I’m broadening the way that I try to promote myself effectively, and whether that’s podcasts, YouTube, Facebook ads. Of course, SEO still works, but is it the most important thing in the world? Absolutely not. It’s more important that I’ve got a broad range of visibility.

Getting a broad range of visibility

Yeah. There’s another great saying, you know, “Your network is your net worth.” A brilliant book that I just finished reading is called Never Eat Alone by a guy that used to be the chief marketing officer of Deloitte, so, pretty big marketer. And he’d just network with people, and it’s so valuable. Even just this morning I was on a podcast with a guy that’s… It’s a pretty small podcast that I’d never heard of before. The guy is in finance, he has plenty of money and probably going to be our customer now, so that’s worth being on the podcast alone. But I had a little look at who he is after I did the show, I should have probably done it beforehand, but I saw the last guests that were on his podcast also had their own podcast. So I said, “Hey, can you give me an introduction to these guys?”

So, I’m a massive fan of Grant Cardone, who’s an awesome sales coach. In fact, two weeks ago someone referred me to a guy who actually knows him. I just mentioned him on a sales call, and he goes, “Oh, Grant. I used to know him before he was big time.” I said, “Dude, can you send me an introduction?” He’s like, “Well, we haven’t spoken for a while, but I’ll see what I can do.” So, pumping your network and seeing who knows people is a really great way to get leads, and nothing is better than someone introducing you. So, show people you can help them. The podcast guy that I was speaking to this morning, just after the call, I just shared my screen with him, showed him a whole bunch of crap that was wrong with his website, I said, “Hey, fix this and this and this and this,” and he’s like, “Yeah, that’s awesome, man.”

Add some value whilst selling

I think sometimes you’ve got to give away to get something back. That’s something a lot of people struggle with, “I’m not giving X, Y and Z away for free.” But just to get yourself that foot in the door is always a nice thing to do, and you just never know what it will result in. So…

Yeah, I think Ryan Deiss, there’s a quote from him of like, “Show people you can help them by helping them.” No one wants to do SEO, right? So, all you need to do is show them, “This is all the things you need to do,” and they go, “That’s fantastic. You know what you’re talking about. Can you do it for me?”

Yeah. I think I can totally relate to what you’re saying in terms of being able to help people and give a bit away for free, and whether that’s a day of my time or five hours or my time or whatever of my time, very often when I have done it, it has resulted in a hell of a lot more coming, and not always just from a monetary value. I’ve helped a guy once and then this guy knew a lot of people, who were then able to help me with getting into certain speaking events that I couldn’t previously get into. And obviously being at those speaking events, and I was able to deliver myself, ended up making me a shit-ton of money. So, helping that guy for five hours or whatever it may be, I could have charged him X, Y or Z amounts of money for consultancy or training or whatever you want to call it. But I didn’t, and obviously got 10 times what I would have got, if not more, in return. So, yeah, sometimes it pays to do that. But obviously, that’s not feasible for everyone. Some people maybe have to charge because they’re not doing so well.

Due Diligence on who you’re selling too

Well yeah. And you have to vet who you’re speaking to, right? A small business owner that’s got no money or someone that’s just starting out, you can’t really afford to be helping them for free because they’re not going to become a customer anyway, because they’ve got no money. Their business is struggling. So yeah, powerful people get things for free, they’re used to it. And so, the bigger you are, the more free stuff you get. But it’s worth getting their influence, so that’s for sure.

Using Linkedin to connect with the right people

But, I mean, your original question about lead generation. So, yeah, becoming an authority, being on podcasts and speaking on a stage is certainly a great way to do it. Not only because it generates your leads, but it builds your authority so people actually trust what you’re saying, and you can close deals a hell of a lot easier. But an easy way to start is LinkedIn, man. It is such a killer tool. It allows you to connect to anyone. One of our bigger customers who is a five-star hotel chain has five locations in Australia, a couple in Hong Kong and a couple somewhere else, they’re massive. And one of our guys connected with not even the hotel’s manager but the next company that owns this company, their big boss, and sent him a message. And he’s like, “Hey, our hotel needs some stuff, talk to them.” You can connect to really big, powerful people on LinkedIn, man, and you just send them nice messages. Not spammy crap like, “Hey, want SEO for your site for a dollar?”

Yeah. But do you feel that going for this kind of high profile, big top bosses, the top brass in the company if you like, do you feel that that works a lot, or was that just a lucky scenario? Or do you feel like…

Oh, 100% that was a fluke. But we’re throwing out a lot of hooks, so you’re going to catch some fish, you know? And there’s a lot of automation tools that are pretty cool for LinkedIn. Linked Helper is a great one.

I’ve used that.

Yeah, it’s really effective. I mean, we always need really sharp SEOs to come to join our team. Heck, one of our partner agencies just brought on one of the biggest companies in the freaking world. Not allowed to say their name because I’m under NDA, but they’re quoted for 400 hours a month, and these guys charge $350 an hour. You do the math, that’s a freaking big customer. And so, we’re scrambling at the moment because there’s no way they can service it, and we don’t have an extra 400 hours lying around. So, we’re all scrambling to get enough people to do the job. So, if anyone’s listening looking for work, send us a message. But my LinkedIn Helper is just constantly connecting with SEOs and sending them messages, and then our HR goes and follows up and gets them to submit their CV, and we can filter through.

So, what sort of messages are you sending to these SEO guys? Obviously it’s all on autopilot. I’m assuming it’s fairly generic, but there must be something in there to trigger a response. I know you don’t want to give exactly all your tricks to me…

How to pitch someone on Linkedin

No, no, not at all. So, a really good message that we use that’s really effective is, because with Linked Helper, right, you can put in variables. So, one is, “Hi,” whatever name, “How’s,” whatever, “in Philadelphia?” How’s the football, or how’s whatever. Something about the city, because you target just people in Philadelphia. So, you have the Philadelphia list. And so, you can add in something about Philadelphia. And then it’s like, “Hey, I’m going to get in town later this, it’d be great to grab a coffee.” And that’s a nice, casual message that people respond to. It’s nice to ask a question so that you can send a follow-up, but a lot of people just reply to that anyway, and then you’ve only targeted marketing managers or CEOs or owners or whatever the hell, so everyone’s worth speaking to.

Then they reply, you start a casual message. It’s way better if you can do it in real-time. Asia’s a beautiful place to live, but it sucks working with the US. Opposite time zone, so it makes it really hard to get a chat going because you want to be live. And then you can just casually start talking about their business. “Oh, how’re things with XYZ business? Oh, is this your website?” That’s even just a fine follow-up afterwards after you’ve said something about a coffee. “Oh, is this your website?” It takes two seconds, and you can send this to 100 people in a minute, two minutes, whatever. Just find their profile. “Is this your website?” Do that to everyone. All the people that reply, then you can go… There’s something wrong with every freaking website. Just take a screenshot and go, “This is broken,” or, “That’s broken. Would you like me to send you a little video?”

Then they opt-in, right? And you want to get a double opt-in, you go, “Cool, what’s your email?” You can go and get it from their LinkedIn profile, or you could send it to them on LinkedIn. But if they double opt-in and give you an email address, now it’s a much better lead. And there you go. You can easily generate 10 leads a day from that. And you remember Daryl Rosser’s talk, he’s got a great little talk on how to generate 100 grand a year or something? But it’s like, generate 10 leads a day, closes one customer, and away you go.

Using paid ads to generate leads

Yeah. So, generating leads is one thing. Obviously, what is really important, I think using LinkedIn or any other kind of paid strategy or SEO strategy is something that people can essentially get to if they use the right people or are doing that. But it’s one thing generating the leads, it’s closing the deal is the vital part, and closing deals, and especially clients who you don’t know and you don’t know what budget they’ve got and stuff like that can be hard because how much do you quote? Because, with SEO, someone can spend a grand, but if they spent two grand they’d get a hell of a lot more for the money. More links, more content, more everything. And it’s very hard to set the… You know, I see a lot of guys packaging up SEO. Saying they’ve got a bronze, silver and gold package. $250, $500 and $999 dollars, which is very, very hard to do. But I think people will find all sorts of different weird ways of trying to close deals, including packaging up, which I think is bullshit.

I think it’s total bullshit, yeah. It’s terrible.

Closing Digital Marketing Deals

So, what things are you doing to close deals? How do you also not just close the deal, but how do you pitch that to the client? I know you’ve [inaudible 00:19:00] figure out what type of budget a client’s got. That’s what I’ve always done. You’ll say to them openly, “If you spend a grand, we can do this, if you spend two, you can get this.”

So, just this afternoon, a guy sent me a message and he said, “How much is it going to be for the first month, and then how much will it cost me for five months?” I said, “Dude, well, what do you want? What do you want to achieve, and where are you now?” Why build a Ferrari if a dump truck is going to do the job? And both of those costs significantly different amounts. It’s understanding your market first and what you want to achieve is what we need to do. So, our sales process is getting to the right person, usually get them to pay to either have a video or have them pay to have a call with us, and when you people that pay to have a chat with you, that’s a hell of a good lead. And then you talk about their business.

Building relationships with customers

Build a relationship. “How’d you get into the business?” People love talking about their business. “Oh, that’s so interesting. What’s your biggest problem?” “Oh, generating leads and generating customers.” “Oh, it’s funny, because that’s why most businesses go out of business. Isn’t that terrible?” And you want to find that pain point and poke it a lot. The bleeding knackers as they talk it, you find where they’re sore and your stamp on it. Because it is scary, right? If you don’t get enough customers, you can be as passionate as you want, and the best plumber, doctor, lawyer, whatever the hell. And if you don’t get enough customers, then you’re gone.

And so, then you talk about, “Okay, what’s your biggest problems in getting customers? How is your website converting customers? Oh it’s not, right? All right. How long you had your website? How much did you spend on your website?” One of our newest customers had spent $20,000 building a website and some shitty marketing that did nothing. He’s an accountant in a little village. And it’s like, your village is like… It’s so easy to rank for, it’s crazy. Whoever was the salesman there, amazing guy. I should talk to him. But yeah. Then we have a call, work out what they want to do. Because this accountant, he can’t handle unlimited leads, right? He needs X amount of leads. But then, if you get extra leads and you have to hire another accountant, well, now you need to make sure those leads are coming in or otherwise you’ve got to let an accountant go, which you can’t do because of hiring and labor laws and stuff like that.

So, business is scary. And remind them that, and remind them how nice it’d be to have a predictable revenue stream. And they’re like, “My god, that would be nice.” If you could go to bed tonight and know that you’re going to have the phone ring 10 times tomorrow, how nice would that feel? Paint the future for them, and then they’re like, “Oh, my word. So how do we get from here to there?” And then, that’s where we talk them through our process.

So, you walk them through what you’re doing and all that kind of stuff?

Sales Presentations

So, we have a really nice presentation which, you should write everything down and show people what you get, because people believe what they say. Something was written down. If you just say it’s $1000 off the top of your head, well, it looks like you just made it up off the top of your head. If they see it written down, that’s way more credible. But it’s a slick presentation, and we explain every bit. And what we do is essentially keyword research, find out what their market is and what their customers are searching for, and audit their website to see what’s wrong with it and why it’s not ranking to start with, and then build them a strategy. And the strategy is designed to get them from where they are to where they want to be, over a 12 month period, that they can ramp up.

Be precise with your strategy

The more precise that they can give us their goals to start with, then the more precise we can go through that strategy, because we know, “Okay, this is a kind of estimated conversion rate, this is how much traffic we need, these are the sort of keywords to go after.” And you can be pretty precise about it. And our strategy really focuses not on search engine ranking, because who gives a shit? It focuses on how many customers you’re going to get. So, we can show that “Okay, this page costs you $500 to build, but it gives you $250 a month. So, month three you’re doing great,” you know? And if you can show that, then why wouldn’t you want to keep investing? What other investment’s going to give you that sort of return?

Yeah. It’s a more interesting way of pitching it. I was just curious to know, how much of this strategy do you really give away, though? Do you hand that to them on a plate and tell them, or do you show them it and then take it away again? Because, what’s to stop someone coming to you, paying your fee for a call, you build, you do all the research, do all the strategy stuff, and then they say, “Fuck you, I’m going to do it in-house”? How much do you give away without giving too much away, if you like?

So, they pay us for a call. Then we talk them through our presentation and show them someone else’s strategy, not theirs. So, generally, we’ve done enough of these that we have someone that’s similar. And so, we’ll go, if you’re a podcast host, here’s one that we’ve done recently for another podcast host. We show them, “This is exactly what we do.” And then they go, “Oh my god, that’s amazing, can you do that for me?” “Sure can give me some money.” And they pay for it. And then, it is up to them. We made money on delivering the strategy. We hope that they find so much value in it that they want to work with us, but a good reason that we even do it like this too is that not only do we outline, “This is all the work that needs to be done,” but who’s going to do what bits.

Sometimes we’re working with software companies. They have the technical skills to fix their website, so they want to do it. Sometimes we work with authors. They write content for a living, they want to write the content. So we go, “This is all the stuff that needs to be done. This is how many hours we estimate that each thing will take. What bits do you want to do? Which bits do we want to do?” Then we really just negotiate for a monthly budget and then set out the work for each month.

Digital Marketing Sales Process

Interesting, interesting. Now obviously, what you’re doing obviously works and that’s great, and obviously for you as a business owner and stuff, there’s only so much of all of that shit you can do. So, what is your process like in terms of a lead coming in? Do you have guys that handle that that lead, talk to them, or is it email automation and then…? How do they eventually get to you when you’ve sat them down and pitched them? What’s the process like?

Yeah, so, I mean, I love lead generation sales, it’s my favourite part. And I’m the best at it, so I stick at that. Really, once they become a full-service customer, once we sell them the strategy, that’s the last they ever hear from me. They get passed over to the SEO team and they deal with the rest. We did previously have a sales team, and quite funnily, they all kind of got together and thought that they could do this whole thing without me, or without us. My missus, she made the joke, “The SEO team are smart enough to know that you bring in the cash,” and the sales team weren’t smart enough to see all the hard work that goes behind it. Actually implementing SEO is tough shit, but getting customers is tough, too. So, it was kind of unfortunate that three of them kind of ran away to start their own thing, but I could see that they’ve already fallen on their ass, so, anyway.

That’s painful. It’s obviously frustrating when you do that and you educate or train them to sell and do your process, and then they get jealous and maybe think, “Oh, I should be making more money,” or, “I could do it [inaudible 00:27:38]” whatever. I’ve had that a few times with a few different…

When they started trying to pinch customers, that’s when I got really mad. Like, Jesus guys. I gave you such valuable information, showing you our processes and stuff that we learned the hard way over years and years and years. Yeah, it was really upsetting.

Out of curiosity, going forward, are you just going to do all the sales yourself or are you ever going to trust someone to come in again? How do you resolve that?

Yeah. I have been thinking about that. And the better the lead, the less skilful the salesman needs to be. I’m a really good salesman, so I can handle crappy leads and generate sales, where other people can’t. And so, I really want to get our lead gen to such high quality. I’ve got a book, it’s done, but I’m not happy with it, so I kind of want to get it redone because it focuses too much on SEO rather than on the benefits of SEO. It focuses on features rather than benefits. And one thing out of the book that’s pumping out amazing leads, I’d kind of like to even get to doing webinars where our whole paid strategy part is it’s just recorded, and you pay there. You can either pay a lot of money to speak to me directly, or you can just buy it from the webinar. That’s how I’d like to do sales, rather than work with some knuckleheads.

Yeah, no, I think it’s something we all have to consider when you’re running your own business, is you’re going to come across people that are untrustworthy and maybe think they can do it on their own. And it’s obviously crap that they go away and potentially could take your clients and stuff like that. And I know people get NDAs signed, but they’re really not worth the paper they’re written on.

Building a good sales team

No, it sucks, and it’s something… I’ve suffered from similar in the past, and never ever quite got the resolution. I was just proper pissed. And it’s more, not pissed because someone thought they could do better or anything like that. Pissed that people are quite happy to stab you in the back, more than anything.

Exactly. It’s like, be forthcoming. If you want to go and do your own thing, fine, but don’t bullshit me about it. Yeah, that was really what hurt. And to see that, when I learned that they’d been conniving behind my back for a couple of months, it’s like… You go out and have beers with them and it’s like, really? You were lying to me the whole time? How’s your integrity? But that also shows hiring, right? Around the same time as they departed, I found my new assist, who’s amazing. She’s an American girl that was living in Cambodia, and I asked her to move to Saigon, and she does so good. She really gels with me, really gets my ideas out of my head and then helps implement them so I don’t have to work with the team to get them implemented, she handles that bit. She handles a lot of calls for me, vets the people who are worth me talking to, which saves a heck of a lot of my time. So, getting great team members is worth it, but it’s super hard to do.

I think it’s super hard to do. For anyone listening, don’t think that you can’t get good, solid, reliable people out there. I think what you have to do is dig deep and kiss a few frogs before you get to the right people. And yeah, I think obviously part of a business and being able to scale your business, you have to let go and you do have to trust other people because you’ll die if you want to be that control freak guy that has to do everything or be involved in everything. So, yeah, it’s just an unfortunate part of the business. But back to more positive stuff, in terms of what you’re doing and where you’re going. So, what does the future look like for your current setup? Is it only SEO service you guys provide, or do you provide other stuff? Is there training? Is there Facebook stuff and paid stuff? What else are you doing?

Yeah. So, we do a bit of paid ads for our customers, but I think SEO’s just such a better investment that’s where I really push them to focus on. Funny that you mention training. So, we have a monthly call with the whole team because there are people all over the place, and our strategist, he put together a bit of training for, well, our content team, really, to show them how we do keyword research and give them a better idea about how SEO works. And we thought that’s freaking amazing. It’s like, have a basic SEO course. Not anything advanced, because business owners don’t really care about the how-tos, they just need to understand enough. And that’s what we really want to focus on. Maybe it’ll be a paid course, but to start with it’s going to be free, just do live training on Facebook to use it as lead generation. Show people that you can help them by helping them, and into the funnel they come.

Yeah. No, I think it’s definitely, I’ve done a lot of training courses over the year, and it can be used it a number of ways, whether it’s another source of income if you’re charging for it, give it away as a freebie to get your foot in the door with people, or lead gen, or whatever you want to call it. The only downside to that is people steal your videos and stuff like that as well which is another pain in the ass, but hey. There’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

But yeah. So, going forward, it’s pretty much just rinse and repeat?

Yeah, more of the same. Just on hiring one more time, I’ve just been reading the book How Google Works by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, and half that book is about Google’s hiring process. That’s how much they focus on hiring. And when the book was written they had 45,000 staff. Now they have 120,000 or something. Eric did amazing work with Google. He made them what they are today. And so, that really processes that we’re working on. We have a HR now, which is great. She gets in a lot more CVs and vets them.

Hire people that are smarter than you

Hire people that are smarter than you. It’s really hard to do. But our team lead, he works way harder than me, and just does stuff that I couldn’t do. You also need to hire people that work with you. Like, my assistant, she has such a nice way of being able to nudge me to actually do stuff. I’m really crappy at project management and don’t use our tools, I just send people annoying emails all the time, and then complain why everyone’s using so many emails all the time and not using the project management tools. And she’s nurturing me into using project management correctly. So, if you hire good people, they can influence you from the bottom up.

We’ve all got weaknesses and points that we’re crap at and stuff like that, so yeah, surround yourself with the people that fill in the weaknesses that you’ve got, and I don’t think you can go far wrong. But before we go, if someone was looking to start out in SEO or start an agency, given your years of experience and stuff like that, I know you refer a lot to books. What are the top books you’ve read that would maybe help someone not just build an agency, but what books have you found a lot of value in, and also, what advice would you give to someone? What mistakes can be avoided that you have made along the way?

Yeah, so if you want to be an actual SEO, which I don’t, I don’t do it, other people do, I’d recommend going to work for an agency. One of my really good friends, who worked with us for a while, he went and worked for one of the biggest agencies in Australia that have the big telcos and the big banks for customers and charged gazillions of dollars. He said that you know, he worked with them for two years or something, and the knowledge that he gained and just the quality of his work improved just so much. So, I’d go and move to a big city and work for a big agency. That’d help a lot.

Best books on sales and marketing

But yeah, really working out what the hell it is you want to do and then becoming really good at that. Our HR, even, said to me the other day, “How do you get so good at communication?” I’m like, “All my books are about communication and sales and marketing. That’s all I read all the time.” Grant Cardone, I’ve listened to four books of his this year, I have him burrowing in my ear every morning. You listen to him before you’re on a sales call and you’re going to smash that sales call, because you remember, you’ve got to be indoctrinated in. You’ve got to just live and breathe it.

One thing that he talks about is experience is really expensive. So, if you’re learning sales through having sales calls, that’s crap, because you’re losing so many yields. You should be pumping out training. Do so much training until you can just do it without thinking. I don’t need to prep before a sales call, I just do it like that. I know it so well and so easy, I don’t even need to know who the person is or what their website is. I can just sit down 30 seconds before the call, jump on, and it just flows beautifully, because I train and have done it so many freaking times. So, working out what you really like doing and then do that a lot.

So interesting. So, if anyone does want to potentially reach out to you, I know you said you’re looking for SEOs, or maybe someone wants to talk to you and get some ideas from you or whatever it may be, where’s the best place to get ahold of you?

So, you can google The Coolest Guy in SEO and you’ll see my pretty face. So, that’s a nice and easy one to remember, or you can go to ardorSEO.com, and yeah, there’s all our contact details right there.

The links will be below when the podcast goes live. But sadly, we are out of time, Kris, but I do want to thank you very much for coming on and sharing your insights, tips and everything else that you have done, and hopefully, we come across each other in real life at some point as well. I hope to come out that way sometime and see what happens.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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