We’ve been hot seating successful agencies and successful members every month over the last couple of months and this month we’re going to be interviewing Chris Pistorius from Kickstart Dental Marketing who has just jumped the gap to seven figures. This last month Chris hit over $83,000 per month. What was his journey to seven figures? What shifts did he make in his operations and business? Listen to this interview to learn more!
Outline of This Episode
[1:29] The basics about Chris’s business
[2:47] Working through COVID and growing
[6:25] The transition from scale to significance
[8:24] How he choose the dental niche
[10:23] Using the drop-in method to get clients
[20:53] Becoming the go-to expert in the dental space
[31:04] Scaling to a seven-figure agency: key hires
[32:49] Hiring for the role of account manager
[43:42] Other tactics for landing clients in the dental space
[47:23] How to empower an operations manager
[49:11] Onboarding and using a VA
Carving a niche in the dental industry
Chris has been in the dental space for 10 years. How did he end up in such a competitive niche? He hated relearning every industry. By the time you learn all of the lingo and terminology and what lands and what doesn’t—it’s too late. They lost a lot of clients because of that. They had six dentists already, they paid their bills on time, they stayed with them the longest, and he was able to get them good results.
COVID was a black year for them. Every one of their clients had to shut down for 30+ days, some for as much as 120. Many had to hit the pause button. But they needed a strategy to help them jump ahead during the downtime. So Chris’s team went overboard with communication and built loyalty so clients would jump back when they could.
It was exactly what happened. They even kept running their campaigns even though their payment had been stopped. They kept them ahead of people who paused all of their marketing. It built mad loyalty. They even brought on several clients as referrals.
Using cold drop-ins to bring in clients
Pre-COVID, Chris walked into dental offices with an information packet. He introduced himself, said he was a dental marketing expert, and said he could help them get more patients. He left them info to follow-up with him. Years later, he still has someone going to do in-person introductions. It’s how he gets 20% of his new clients.
How did he get the attention of the right person in the office? If you’re in healthcare, you know you need to connect with the doctor—but that’s rare. So he shoots for the office manager. His reps do research and know the names of who they need to talk to when they walk into the office.
They’re not trying to sell them. It’s an introduction and a way to get the right contact information. They send follow-up communication as a more personalized email or phone call. Just being able to say, “We were just in your office” puts you miles ahead of the competition. It’s not about the 20–30 people who say no, it’s about the 1–2 that say “yes.”
EXPERT TIP: Focus on the one thing you can do that other people in your niche aren’t.
They do targeted Facebook and Google ads in the markets they know their staff will be canvassing in. There were plenty of dentists in the Denver metro area for them to hit seven figures even only canvassing in that area.
How does he compensate these canvassing reps? What makes it worth it for them? How do you become the go-to expert in your niche? Listen to learn more!
Chris’s client retention strategy
Retaining clients was always a struggle for Chris. So one of his best hires was a client success manager. They’re the first line of defense. So what role do his client success managers play?
They send clients a “weekly win” email outlining where they had wins. Chris also recommends that you follow-up with a new client every 3 days in the first 30 days to let them know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, how you’re doing it, and the results you’re getting. Get them to show up for monthly meetings to go over results. He emphasizes that if you don’t communicate with your clients, someone else is going to.
This quarter is the first month they’ve never lost a client (March 2021). How did they manage that? Chris believes it’s because he set up a bonus program so everyone on the team gets a bonus based on their retention. Based on his current team, it works well. Once they scale, they’ll have to shift their strategy.
Hiring for the role of account manager
You need to make sure you hire before your team members are over capacity. Chris hires for communication and personality. They’re not looking for experience—they’re looking for someone to mold to what they need. They use the Kolbe index test as a hiring guide. They then send client scenarios to see how potential managers would handle the situation.
They hire US-based full-time employees for the role of account manager. Why? Because you want someone fully dedicated to your company. Chris handled it for the longest time and then tried hiring a contractor first. As more revenue was coming in, the position became more formal.
Pay them well so you have good dedicated people that you can trust and retain for the long-term. It’s not about finding the cheapest labor. People with more experience expect more money. They also come in with “baggage” and they’re set in their ways. They’ve brought on people that weren’t coachable and it just doesn’t work for them.
How else does Chris land clients in the space? How does he empower his operations manager? Where does he use VAs in his business? This interview is packed with insight, don’t miss it!
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We explore what you’re doing now, and what it takes to move your digital marketing agency from 6 to 7 figures. Click the big red button above to schedule your complimentary session.
I started my local internet marketing agency in 2011. We started with ZERO clients and ZERO revenue. Now, we bill $425,000 per month ($4.5 Million per year), and grow every month.
There are three keys to that kind of digital agency growth:
► Choose a niche and focus intensely on serving it.
► Position yourself as THE expert in that niche.
► Serve your niche clients better than any competitor can.
In fact, our business is growing so consistently that we have awards to prove it. We have made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing US companies four years in a row—2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
You can watch a video where I explain how we grew our agency to the Inc. 5000 list by clicking here.