Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the high level spotlight sessions. Today I’m joined by Josh Nelson, super excited to have him. He’s the founder of plumbing and HVAC SEO, which is a seven figure digital marketing agency that does over 4 million now in annual revenue. Yeah, we’re for me. That’s fantastic. He’s also the founder of the seven figure agency, which is a coaching group that teaches marketers how to grow businesses that do over a million in sales. Josh, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Oh, it’s my pleasure. to be here.
Josh, I know you just had a great event that Shawn and Robin are at how many people did you have done there?
So I think we had about 62. It was one of our member events, we get together and just share best practices and talk about how to grow and scale our agencies.
I know it really well, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that later. But first I want to talk about you know, the origin story, right? I know that you are a fan of niching down obviously What I don’t know is was plumber and H HVAC born in a nice or did you guys start out more broad?
Great question so we started broad like everybody else our company was click incorporated and it was just going to be a local internet marketing agency with with verticals that we decided to focus on. And early on we decided let’s let’s vertical eyes but we decided we would jump in a lot of verticals we did plumber, SEO and roofer SEO and dental SEO. We were just going to have a bunch of verticals. And we just started getting success in the plumbing space early started getting some wins and decided it was just so so much easier to say okay, let’s be the very best in this little pocket and go down that path instead of trying to keep all of these other balls in the air so to speak.
Yeah, I mean, that’s the common theme, everybody that I talked to, you know, everyone seems to agree and I do too, that the sooner you can find your niche, the better. But unfortunately when you you’re new to the industry it’s very, very tempting to just go very broad, right? Because you can kind of just walk down your town and knock on doors and get some clients. But that’s not always, you know, going to be good in the long run. Yeah, Josh, you shared a tip with me when we were putting notes together for this one in terms of needing to position yourself as the go to expert. And this was interesting idea that hadn’t, you know, thought of or seen many people talk about, but she said, Get the list by joining the association. The money is not in the list, it’s in your relationship to the list. Tell me a little bit more about that. What do you mean by joining the association?
Yeah. So I mean, oftentimes, we think we’re going to join a niche, and we’re going to be the experts in that space. And because we’re in a niche, like we’re just magically going to be attractive to everyone in that world. Well, there’s enough people doing the niche thing now. And the quality of the list that you have is is mission critical, right? Just because you scraped or something purchased a list of hundreds of or thousands of companies at a space doesn’t mean They’re going to think of you as the go to expert doesn’t mean that they’re going to just magically enter your world and want you to show them what you can do. And so I think the quality of the list that you have is is paramount. And what I found is usually the best list is somebody that has prevented themselves and has invested something to kind of show that they’re in that space. And so what better play then define the National Association and sub associations within your niche and enjoying it, and by joining it, you really get to benefits. So I’ll just as an example, we work with plumbing HVC companies, we joined the national plumbing heating cooling Contractors Association. And by joining that, we got a list of the the members and we know that they’re legitimate companies that they’re in business and we’ve got proper contact details, which is which is really important. We also had the ability to draft on affinity, right. So instead of calling these people are emailing them blind, because we’re members of the association, we can reach out say, Hey, we’re fellow members. This association, we want to introduce ourselves and wanted to invite you to something we’ve got coming up. And that really can shortcut the process and help you get access to a legitimate list. I find that so many, so many agencies wind up with bad contact details, and they’re sending hundreds if not thousands of contacts, and emails per week, but they’re really not getting any traction.
That makes complete sense. So let me ask you, when you join, when you go to these agencies, do you find that they’re welcoming to marketers? Or is or is it more like you have to really be, you know, work your way in there, because it’s sort of like letting you know the fox into the henhouse?
I mean, I find that the association is they’re always looking for additional streams of income, right? And so you can join as either an industry partner and affiliate partner. And as a member you get, you know, depending upon the association, you usually get the badge to say, look, we’re affiliated with this group, and you get the list and that may just be the names phone numbers. addresses, you may not get emails in most cases. But it takes time to build up trust to the place where they really welcome you in. And they let you start to maybe do webinars for the group and or speak at their trade trade events and things like that. It’s
a great idea.
So, Josh, I know that you work with a lot of, you know, agencies, marketers who are just getting started. And I want to talk about the first few sales, right? That’s always you know, the hardest hurdle to get over is those first couple of sales that become sticky clients, right? Not you know, somebody that came and turned after a month or two, but like your first real clients, when you were starting out, or I guess even now still to this day, do you guys allow people to purchase ala carte services or only packages?
So I mean, we’re a little bit different in this regard. And it may be a model that’s different than than most teach, but we’ve always had our core monthly package. You know, I worked at my my initial agency was was a failure. And I was selling website design and hosting services for like one time fees. And I worked at reachlocal for a couple of years, the big Pay Per Click management company. And we basically had one option to sell and we were reachlocal. And it was a monthly recurring package greater than 1500 dollars a month. And it could go up, you know, who knows how far and so when I started my second agency, that was one of the things I just decided, rather than selling little piecemeal stuff, I’m going to sell what I think my clients actually need. I’m going to get a monthly recurring fee. And by simplifying my my options in that way, it really was part of the reason we were able to accelerate our growth.
Yeah, and I mean, I found that in my experience, over a customer bloom is you know, the package makes clients stick around for a long time but the all a cart can be tempting because it’s oftentimes an easier sell. Right? So I mean, in your experience, what do you think? What do you think’s the easiest sell
I mean, I think the easiest client you can land would be someone in your first personal sphere of influence or somebody that you can meet with face to face. And so if I’m, if you’re I think what you’re trying to get to is, you’re trying to land that first two or three clients in any niche, let alone a specific niche, I would make a short list. And here’s everybody that I know that owns a business. Here’s a norcombe and I group that I can join, here’s a local Chamber of Commerce I can get involved in, and I would try and meet with as many people face to face and just kind of tell them what you’re looking to do say that you’re, you know, you’re looking to specialise in one particular vertical and ask if they can make an introduction for you. That’s how we landed our first couple of clients. And I would I mean, me personally, I would still, you know, sell a monthly recurring fee, even though it might be easier to sell an ala carte from, you know, you’re going to get something that you can predict and something you could build a business on, instead of something that you kind of land and goes away and land and goes away.
Sure. So I think we’re both in agreement that you know, you want to get to your winning package as quickly as you can. But creating a package like that takes years of experience, right. So what do you think the best way? Or how do you teach young marketers or young agency owners? to, you know, how do I get how do I avoid that pitfall? How do I most quickly figure out like, what I should be bundling up?
Yeah, I mean, the way that the way I look I tried to explain it is pretend like your brother in law, or your cousin is going to be your client, and they happen to be in the dish that you’re trying to serve. And if that brother in law, that cousin Katie said, What do I need? You try and figure out what what I do that would provide a tangible, measurable result, right, what would be the right mix of services. And if the package fits that environment, I think you’re going to be safe, right? Oftentimes, we get into these activity based packages. We’re going to throw reputation package we’re going to post on social media, we’re going to do some random thing. Where, I mean, yeah, you need to know what’s going to work and what’s not. But, you know, try and build something that’s good, at least has the best hypothesis to generate a tangible, measurable return for the client that you work with. Do you have a couple of easy ones? Like, like, Yes. Do you recommend people throw you excellent, the beginning because that’s a pretty easy sale. Right? Absolutely. I mean, and I know that high level now has the ability to to give you the volume pricing that the like, the larger agencies like us get, you know, right out of the gates for your clients. So I think that you actually be part of any standard package, right, you know, get your client ranked, get them online reviews, make sure their websites built to convert, you know, these are
like that. Make sure that Google local businesses all set up, right, right. I mean, this is all really low hanging fruit that I think, you know, if I were talking to somebody is a pretty easy package to put together, you know, covers the core bits and pieces. Awesome. Let me see what the next question I have for you is okay, so talking about packages, and we talked about how it can be tempting to go our cart. Another challenge that I think we always faced at my last agency was seeing something shiny new and thinking, should we change our packages? How frequently do you guys change your packages at former an H back?
Always tempted to add some new shiny thing, right? I mean, we don’t change it that often. Like we’ve had a core package that we’ve been selling kind of since day one. It’s very, like very proven right? You know, the fundamental things good website built to convert local SEO and paid search. And we try and we try and on any new thing that we that we add through the filter of is this truly going to drive a tangible measurable result for the client. Then and only then do we beta tested and kind of proven on a handful of clients and then start to roll it out across our core programme.
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, we’ve gone down that road of shifting packages too frequently, and then you just sort of end up all over the place. So yeah, point. Josh, another tip that you had sent in your notes that I really loved was, and I think this is really common, right? We, we saw this the industry, sort of, I would say, in the past, you know, three or four years, it was like, Hey, we can get you leads, leads, leads, leads, it’s all about leads, you need them, we can get them and then the sort of journey of a marketer, you start to realise, wow, okay, I got a bunch of clients and generating them leads But hey, they’re not really all that happy. Why is that? Because they’re telling me these leads stink. And then you look into why and you’re like, wait a minute, these leads don’t stink, you stink of converting them. And your tip that you had said was don’t just sell lead, sell lead, can virgins talk to us about that?
Yeah. So I mean, like, like you said, the the lowest common denominator is I’m going to get you ranked, or I’m going to get you traffic. And then now everybody’s talking about I’m going to get you leads, I’m going to make the phone ring. We were guilty of this for years, we were like, Look, we’re going to set up an amazing website, it’s going to go to convert, we’re going to drive traffic, your phone’s gonna ring off the hook. If you don’t do anything with the lead on the other side, that’s your problem. And that’s kind of like the the norm within the industry. Yeah, I totally the agencies that succeed going into the future are going to be solving for like, how do we help you convert more of those leads into sales, and of course, high levels instrumental in this right, because we can put marketing automation in place, and make sure that when forms get followed up with immediately that unconverted phone calls get added to a drip sequence via text and email and everything else and really solve for that. And it gives you two massive advantages. The first is you provide better results for your client, right? What they really want is more revenue, right? They want more sales and more income. And so if you can do that it’s great. But it also positions you differently than the competition. Because everybody’s still talking about getting you ranked driving you better traffic driving you better Facebook leads, but only the smart marketers, the ones probably in this group are thinking the next level, which is how do we take those leads and convert them into sales for our clients the highest level possible?
Yeah. And you know, that’s what drew me to high level is what you can do with it to automate a lead to conversion without, you know, your client staff even having to get involved. But I think the next piece of the journey is is really about sales training. Do you guys do sales training with your clients?
we don’t we don’t specifically do sales training for our clients. But we have basically there’s industry coaches within the Home Services space, that that’s what they do and we’re very strategically aligned. When a client is struggling other dispatches are struggling to convert those calls into sales, we connect them with those industry partners. And it’s a great reciprocal.
They can feed you clients and you can feed them clients. And that’s another benefit of niche, right? I mean, when you’re, when you’re operating in one niche, you can really get to know the top people in that niche that are complementary to business like you’re saying, and make deals with them. Because I really do think, you know, most businesses they’re not they don’t have sales people on staff, they don’t know what it really means to work or close a lead. And, and that going back to what you said, we were totally guilty of that as well as like, Hey, we got you all these leads. If you didn’t convert them, you’re on your own, but in the end that comes back to bite you because they’re not going to stick around and be your client for a year two years if that’s your mentality, so need to be willing to help them solve, you know, the next steps. I’m talking about automation. The third tip that you sent that I thought was really interesting is put an automation in place to follow up on every inbound call.
What did you mean by that? Like, flush that out for me. Yeah. So
we work with Home Services, right? If you’re dealing with Home Services, the way that a lead comes in is different than a lot of the other industries. Almost 90% of the leads come in via phone call, right? People want to dial in the number, talk to the person at the front desk and schedule a plumber schedule someone to come out to the house, and now generating 10s of thousands of leads in the Home Services space, we find that something like 40% of the calls don’t get booked, even though they wanted a plumber. And they were, you know, in the local area, they just didn’t book it right then and there. They said, I’m going to talk to the tenant, or I’m going to talk to my wife or let me check around that I’ll call you back. And these guys have literally no follow up for those unconverted leads at all whatsoever. And there’s nobody like you said from a sales perspective, that’s going to be following up with those people. So we’re trying to figure out how can we how can we bridge the gap for these unconverted phone leads? And so all we did was we started ringing our calls through into high level, and then putting them onto a pipeline, and then basically dragging them into a bucket. Right? If they converted, we move them into the converted bucket or blocked. If they didn’t convert, we move them into not converted. And all it does is send a simple text message after that call. Hey, this is Tracy over here at the plumbing doctor, thanks for your call today. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help, right and then continues to text message them and tell them right back. We already booked it elsewhere, or, hey, we’re ready to schedule it now. And we’re finding that those unconverted leads that weren’t getting touched at all are now writing back and they’re calling in and they’re scheduling appointments, which again, makes our clients more money, which makes us more sticky for them and gets them happier, more excited about what we’re doing for them.
Yeah, that’s great. I mean, I think that we as marketers often overlook the inbound call because it’s like, oh, an inbound calls and conversion. You know, but you’re right. A huge percentage of them are not everybody likes to shop Brown everybody’s hesitant to commit. So that makes total sense. Put it a you know, it sounds like you’re just doing it turn off a pipeline stage or something like dragon stage and it’ll send out the automation. And jack Larry, I want to give credit where credit’s due I was out at
Rob Bailey’s event a couple weeks ago, and he had happened and I put her, you know, put our heads together. And they helped us kind of figure out how to build that out. So I want to make sure I give kudos to the
Alright, that’s great. Yeah, Rob was just, we just did an episode with Rob. So that’s awesome.
Yep. That’s great. So Josh, all right. Tell us about seven figure agency, the URLs seven figure agency com all spelled out right. Yep.
So I mean, seven figure agencies is basically like my coaching programme showing digital marketing agencies. Typically it kind of that six figure level doing somewhere between five and $10,000 per month or more in revenue. Maybe stop because they’re generalist or they don’t have the right programme and packaging and they’re trying to figure out how do I grow This thing how do I scale it? And how do I get to a place where I don’t have to necessarily do it all myself so I can have more more income, more freedom and a bigger impact in my life. And so you know, that’s that’s what I do with seven figure agency is kind of show how I was able to choose a niche position ourselves as the expert and, and grow or grow our agency.
Great. So it sounds like an opportunity for not just brand new entrepreneurs or marketers, but people have been doing it hers sort of hit that plateau. And I do think that is a pretty common plateau, it’s hard to break. There are certain plateaus, but the seven figure one was definitely a mountain to get over. How many people are in the group.
There’s about 115 agencies in the group now, I’m you know, I’m on a mission to help 100 digital marketing agencies get to seven figures over the next five years. And so it’s kind of my my passion project because I know the the impact that had on my life and the options I was able to have once I got out of struggle and into a more affluent Place in my in my life and in my business.
Awesome. Well it sounds like you definitely know what you’re doing Josh and I’ll put the link in description, highly recommend checking it out. I know that Josh is, you know, top of the field and been doing this for a while now. So definitely check out seven figure agency. com Josh, thanks again for joining us. And we’ll see everybody on the next episode.
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Thanks a lot, guys.