In this agency success interview, Chris Johnstone shares how he grew his agency to multiple seven-figures serving the mortgage niche.
He shares some great insights on:
What his service offering includes
How he lands clients on a consistent basis
Pivoting his business to follow up on leads for his clients
How he recruits, trains & compensates his concierge team
Chris takes a different approach than most agencies. Listen to the whole conversation to learn what sets him apart and has led to his success.
Outline of This Episode
[3:56] Chris’s transition to agency services
[5:35] The current business model
[6:33] The standard services they offer
[14:17] The 3 levels of results they generate
[17:18] How Chris built and launched his software
[30:36] What their hiring process looks like
[37:25] The power of webinars for generating leads
[42:13] How the concierge service works
[53:06] Chris’s strategy to retain clients
[59:21] How to connect with Chris
How Chris got started in digital marketing
Chris got started in the mortgage niche because his dad is a mortgage broker. So from the age of 23, Chris was in his car multiple days a week handing out donuts, coffee, and rate sheets to try and get real estate agents to send them clients. Chris discovered how to leverage Google ads to generate real estate leads and it changed the trajectory of his career. They generated 350 leads their first month.
Then he started to generate leads for local real estate agents with the caveat that they’d have to work with them at the mortgage company. Business increased significantly for everyone. That’s how he got started in digital marketing and made the transition to a digital marketing agency full-time. How did he continue to grow the business to now serving 600 monthly customers? Listen to learn more.
Solving problems for your clients generates business
Their services hinge on what works best for their customers and what produces the best results. Everything change in 2007 when Chris woke up to the dreaded email from Google that said, “We will no longer be running your ads.” They were out of business overnight. How did he recover?
Google pivoted—he had to as well. It came down to the question: What is the end goal? To generate a mortgage consumer for a mortgage company. So they figured out how to do local SEO and shifted from lead generation to SEO. Their goal was to rank their mortgage brokers on the front page of Google. They went to their previous customers and offered to move forward with that product. They tapped into Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads to generate leads.
But there was a problem. Their clients didn’t have time to follow-up on those leads. So they built automation to follow up on leads that could generate an appointment. But their clients still weren’t getting back to the customers. That’s why Chris launched a concierge service (appointment setters) who not only return the calls and book appointments into the mortgage brokers calendars but also work to generate leads.
What else do they do for their clients that sets them apart? Listen to hear what Chris has to say.
How Chris launched his executive program
Chris started calling his customers and asked them 15 minutes of their time to brainstorm. He went to the most successful people he knew and pitched them the idea. He asked them to be an integral part as he built and customized it. Knowing there would be some trial and error in the beginning, he offered them the service at a discounted price. That’s how he built the executive program. What did it look like?
Calling their past customer database and organizing it
Call their realtors weekly to stay in touch
Call their pre-approved and lookings
Get Google reviews for them
Everyone he worked with was all for it. But they ran into a problem: 80% of people didn’t attend the training. They were so busy they couldn’t show up to the training to use the software. That’s how Chris came up with the idea for a concierge. Chris would charge $500 a month for 200 phone calls.
Chris realized that the top producing clients had enough leads that they could employ a full-time concierge in their business. Chris could teach them the systems so they could make hundreds of phone calls in just days instead of a month. The results from that one agent would lead to better client satisfaction.
They strive to always be offering something of value. The person that runs Chris’s call center trains every concierge on the script, helps them with objections, and does roleplays. He gives them the campaigns to make the calls and follow-up.
You should be generating leads every single day
Chris hired his own executive concierge and it changed everything for lead generation for his business. They run ads to drive people to offers. One is a PDF on how to fill your mortgage business with clients. It costs $14–$18 to generate a lead to that page. Those leads then go into a follow-up sequence of emails, text messages, and ringless voicemails—providing value for 14 days before pushing to book a call. Then they’re dropped into a campaign where they’re invited to a webinar. That’s how they build their list. Why is it so important?
Because the majority of the customers that buy their high-ticket services have been on their email list longer than 4 months. Generating a lead doesn’t mean you’re generating a sale now. Most people have to know, like, and trust you before they’re willing to pull the trigger. Chris’s concierge calls these leads and books an average of 5 appointments a day.
The power of webinars within your niche
Every time Chris runs a webinar, the webinar list gets a phone call. They have two scripts: one for those who showed up and one for those who didn’t. If someone didn’t have time to show up they must not have time to call their past clients—which is where Chris shares how they can help them do just that.
Chris will pay for webinar placements. How? Chris advises you to go to the associations in your niche and reach out to their advertising department. Ask if you can host a webinar for their members. He will invest $4,000–$10,000 on a one-time webinar and write the promotional content that they send to their list. The association endorses you as a speaker which gives you authority. You can promote the webinar on social media and on your website to grow authority in your niche. They bring in an average of 250–500 attendees. Those attendees become new leads.
How do they hire their concierge team? What is Chris’s strategy to retain clients? Listen to the whole interview to learn as much as you can from Chris Johnstone.
Let’s discuss how we can help your agency grow to seven figures. 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.