More Leads Online Podcast Episode 006
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Tim Brown, Hook Agency (00:00):
You have to have core values that are baked into everything. So you need a, you need to come up with whatever. I think three to five is a great number, core values that you really stick to and maybe are a little bit weird, like, but they really do go with your culture and then talk about them in the hiring process, hire and fire based on them.
Nathan Young, MLO (00:23):
Growing your trade service business can be a pain in the ass, but we know you want to grow on the MLO podcast. We interview experts in the trade services to find out how they’re scaling their company. So you can too.
Nathan Young, MLO (00:35):
Hey, welcome back everybody. This is Nathan Young founder at more leads online. I’m actually here with Tim Brown, who is the CEO and founder of hook agency who does very similar work to us, have just been at it way longer and grown their company way bigger than us. So I’m here to learn just as much today as I’m anxious to hear what he has to say for anyone listening about the home services. So Tim, tell us about yourself and how you ended up in this position in this field.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (01:01):
Yeah, so, uh, I was a marketing director at another marketing agency and I was passionate kind of, uh, you know, about making the service better that we are offering because I want to be proud of what we’re selling and stuff like that. So that’s kind of how I went out on my own, a little bit of a resentment, a little bit of a, Hey, let’s make something cooler, a little bit of, I want, uh, equity in something right. Home services, construction, and all that, uh, became a niche for us because I was really friendly with a couple of our clients that were in those niches, like roofer, et cetera, and like, you know, pavement company. And I liked them all a lot. Like, uh, I, I enjoyed hanging out with, or like talking to them and I just appreciated their vibe and they needed what we had more so like the demand, the need in a local business like that with a high customer, lifetime value is very high and it, and it’s worth more.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (01:54):
So I found that we were just basically more useful and I’m kind of always in that mindset of like, how do we become more useful? Like, I’m very passionate about making your thing as useful as possible. And just before this, we were just talking about how crucial it is to like, when we’re, we’re changing the services or like our services as, as marketing agencies to optimize it around the client need to like turn those knobs around the client need and not to turn it around our need because we can figure out once we get the machine rolling and it’s, it’s able to create leads like you guys are doing it. Like we’re working on is once you get the machine cranking, then we’re, there’s ways to monetize that if you make the clients win, then it’s not that hard to sell. You know? So like we’re basically always kind of tweaking the knobs to try to make it crank out more leads for our client.
Nathan Young, MLO (02:46):
Oh, that’s awesome. We all know, again, that client focus, but specifically our types of clients. Right? So we’re here basically saying we champion the same concept, which is the trade service, the home services. And we partially, because we know the home services and trades make the world turn like clearly we’re techie guys, but without the tray, like you’re in a building, I’m in a building.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (03:11):
Yeah. Respect, deep respect for the people that are in these trade services. And I liked it as a physical thing. You know, if you think about digital marketing, we’re out here in this computer world, we’re tapping away, we’d get a podcast and that video and yay, but then they’ve got something so solid and tangible and it just feels good to market something solid and tangible versus sometimes where marketing, like, I dunno like a SAS as software as a service thing. And it just doesn’t feel tangible. So I’m kind of jealous of our clients in a way, like the fact that they get the nail a hammer, you know, well, you know, like a lot of the guys that we’re working with are the owners of a company, but they have those tangible skills and they could always fall back on like specifically like hammering thing and chin and the HVAC stuff and the plumbing stuff and all that. And like, they have such a tangible thing and that’s almost like almost more fulfilling in a way to work with your hands. So I’m just jealous of them sometimes.
Nathan Young, MLO (04:05):
So obviously we appreciate them, but as awesome as they are, we also know that they’re facing gigantic issues. Right? So like my last guest was Amanda Boomen the owner of the Home Mag, Minnesota. But then also she has her own residential services company in Minnesota. And she was just talking about like materials sourcing right now is a major issue specifically this year, obviously. And setting expectations with customers, not just because of that, but it’s exacerbated. That is so huge. In your opinion, the top three issues facing home services right now, would you agree with those two and add one? Or would you say no, I actually think these are the three we’re hearing about the most. What was the first one? She said material sourcing and expectation setting.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (04:52):
I think expectations setting for sure. Another one I’d say is hiring great people and keeping them, and I’ll go with your third one just cause I don’t, I actually don’t fully understand that. I haven’t heard it a ton from our clients. I mean, I’ve heard, I’ve heard rumblings. Like we’ve got a lot of roofing companies and I’ve heard rumblings of like lumber is more expensive right now and stuff like that. So certainly I advertise with that. I haven’t heard anything. That’s really like holding up the line yet. It’s just prices are going up in certain materials, but I just don’t know enough about that to know, but certainly I think hiring great people and like scaling problems of like HR issues that I don’t understand half of anyways, even though we’ve got some people they have a hard time with as well. And sometimes, you know, it’s, uh, uh, it’s kind of a running gun thing, especially like when we talked to all these exterior companies, they’re kind of gruff sometimes they’re, they’re not, they’re, they’re awesome guys, but there’s sometimes like a little bit like forward or whatever. You don’t want to lose your people because you’re too forward. And so it’s like kind of a weird thing cause you like, you also don’t want to have to tiptoe your whole life. So I think HR is the other one, in my opinion, attracting and retaining great talent
Nathan Young, MLO (06:03):
Specifically, just to recap, we said expectations, setting, hiring, training, retaining, and then you would probably leave it there. This material sourcing thing sounds like a pain, but not quite as tangible so far in your experience.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (06:16):
So you might be right. Maybe my, maybe the roofer clients just know that I don’t, I don’t care that much. I don’t, I wouldn’t dig into their business quite that much unless it starts to like affect their ability to
fulfill, you know what I mean? Like, but like we should, we should mention here getting great leads is a pretty like that, that, that should go without saying, considering what the name of the podcast is.
Nathan Young, MLO (06:40):
Yeah, yeah. Of course. Some of these things I’m just taking for granted just to showcase a little more, you’ve been doing this for a while. You actually, before we became people who were like, Oh, we’re digital marketing people dedicated to serving the home services, getting them better leads, which is our shtick, right. This is who we serve and how we serve them. You were actually in the digital game before Hook Agency. Like you’ve been doing this for a while.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (07:06):
Yeah. So I’ve been doing for about eight or nine years. And then I started on web design and development. I, you know, I’ve developed for like everybody from like big orthopedic company out of your tree or as the pediatric to like mall of America. I worked on their website. So I’ve done a lot of random, like I was a website designer and developer and I had I designed and developed small it’s a big sites. And then before that, even I was like social media guy at like a restaurant. Like I was like the, I was a busboy and then I was a social media guy. So I’d go and take a crazy culture. And then that’s kind of like the first real job that I had where they were paying me for some marketing though. So I’m still like, I’m still, I think back on that time fondly, because they let me work at corporate for a bit after I did good at the, the first one, the first, uh, restaurant, so nice roasting that way. But I did go to school for web design.
Nathan Young, MLO (07:59):
Awesome. So I personally, before I got into digital, I actually worked for several years just grinding crankier floors. Like we installed and ground concrete floors specifically. I worked with like cement and terrazzo and did a lot of like tile installations. Of course I wasn’t a tile installer because I was part of a union. Anyway, that’s all the whole special, different conversation. But so I did that for years, but like you’re getting on ladders too now, right?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (08:26):
Yeah. So I’ve done a little bit of roofing, like recently, like our clients are really cool, so they let us go on adventures with them sometimes. So I went in, uh, it was a 90 degree plus day out and I got the roof, a house with our, with one of our roofing clients. And I also did spend this, this video hasn’t come out yet, but I did spend a whole day with a roofing sales person and a, that will be out soon on her YouTube. If you look up hook agency on YouTube. And I just empathize a lot of the things like that was an interesting experience because I think of salespeople in these businesses as I don’t, it doesn’t sound that hard from the outside. Do you know what I’m saying? Like, I’m like, I’m respecting the guy who nails the shingles and I’m like, you know, sales guys sometimes I’m like, whatever, but hanging out with the sales guy all day, I really grew to respect, especially this particular sales guy was so good at like he goes to Lowe’s or whatever, and he’s like matching the items.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (09:26):
He has to do a lot of paperwork. There’s all kinds of expectations setting that he has to do. He has to actually like inspect certain, you know, elements of the roofing and different things where he’s literally up there. He has to teach the people about it and assess it and know a lot about it. So no one could just like randomly jump into this job, at least the way this guy did it, it was taking a lot of training. And so I
basically just like I had no idea. So I basically was like kind of surprised by that. I also was a little bit surprised by the amount of money that the man may have. And I was, I was also proud. Like I was proud that my client is employing somebody like that. Who’s very well employed and it’s a very respectable industry. I don’t know what I thought I was going to see.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (10:15):
Um, but it was just an interesting thing to get more context. And like, I basically do what I like about small businesses and trade companies. Like I love like, is this feels like I’m being like cheesy, but I love that they employ a bunch of people. And I love that. They’re like, I like that people are like building families of these businesses and that’s just cool to see. And it’s also cool to see people thriving off these businesses. It’s just funny because you know, like you trade sometimes trades get weird, bad raps and it’s kind of bullshit.
Nathan Young, MLO (10:44):
I won’t go down this rabbit hole too far, but like I actually started a roofing company with a couple of my friends about a year ago. And so like, I’m doing some of the marketing strategy. One of my friends is the ops more focused ops guy. He’s doing sales and then he’s running the actual build. Then of course we have a finance guy and just the like, so every couple of weeks we’re checking in with a guy who’s doing sales and doing the training and doing the roofs, just like you’re talking about. And we’re just like, Oh my gosh, the amount of times that he would come back to us and chat with us and be like, so I had six conversations where like I walked in and the first question out of their mouth was like, how are you screwing me? And to be fair as digital marketing guys, I like, I feel like a lot of them.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (11:31):
Yeah. I know the feeling. Yeah, no, we’ve had some of that and that’s, you know, we should get into a little bit of like tactical stuff for these guys so we can try to be useful to them. Like you’re talking about expectations setting. There’s a lot of crossover when it comes to digital marketing with these home services providers, with these trade companies, you to figure out ways to make like marketing as part of that marketing is part of setting an expectation. And I can’t just list out value propositions and process. Cause we want to talk about all those things on your website. We want to talk about unique value propositions. And that’s hard in the trade services too, because a lot of it is commodities. I was just talking to a venture capitalist friend or whatever. Like today we were talking about roofing and he goes, so these guys aren’t differentiated.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (12:23):
Huh? Because he’s thinking about roofing or like, uh, buying an $80 million roofing company. And he said, so these people aren’t really differentiated. This is kind of a commodity, right? Tim. I’m like, damn, that’s that’s harsh. But he was from an outside dude. These guys all look the same. So the biggest challenge from my mind in a marketing way is how the fuck are we gonna make this a little bit different than your competitor? And you’re, you’re all the same. You’re all saying customer service. You’re all saying we do fast turnaround. We all say we do, you know, we’re going to protect your family and keep them dry. You know, like we’re all saying the same shit. So how do we fix this? How do we change the conversation from the, Oh, you’re just one of these guys. And I’ll just, I’ll check it by price too. I can’t not work with chipmunk roofing because you know, whatever, like what is the reason? What is that reason? And it, it goes deeper than marketing. It has to go deeper than marketing.
Learn the 6 things to do before hiring a marketing agency
Nathan Young, MLO (13:32):
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Nathan Young, MLO (14:12):
I think you touched on this. So we know right again, because we’re marketers. We, and we have clients. We know that there are home service companies that do want to grow. They do want more leads, but we started to catch. And you mentioned this, a huge problem is hiring. And so just in your, you’re a business owner, you are talking to your clients, how are you finding the right people right now at hook agency,
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (14:42):
I hire for soft skills and I train in the hard skills and I know a lot of the hard skills. So that’s a good place to start, like from my of view to zero to 20 people, yet to be pretty involved in the growth of your people. And you need to hire for things that are going to take awhile to kind of express themselves. That’s my experience. And you have to facilitate people learning along the way. So I was going to say, you know, marketing goes deeper than just the surface level and like the processes and the differentiating. You have to get down to processes. You have to showcase your checklists for quality control. You have to actually define what the, you could brand those checklists and call them something and then make sure you’re talking about that and everything. So the other guy doesn’t have it.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (15:28):
They don’t get the job. And if you’re $5,000 more, they still want to work with you. And this with employees, I want my employees to be involved in building those processes. They also need to, from the very get, when we have, I just had an interview today with somebody. Who’s a very smart person. When you’re talking about this before the podcast, somebody who’d worked in a family business for an HVAC company, and I’m talking to her about maybe being a salesperson for us slash an onboarding specialist. And what I said to her is I said you would be involved from month three and on up building our standard operating procedures. We’re not just hiring people to follow directions, hiring we’re hiring people to build directions. And the department heads are all expected to modify those standard operating procedures every year and sign off on them.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (16:23):
And when I hire with that in mind, I’m, I’m, I’m kind of looking at their faces. What does that mean? Does that sound good to you? I got want people that want us that want to be part of something to steer. Now that’s going to change. If we get to 2030 people, when not everyone is going to be able to steer it, but right now it’s a big differentiating feature for us. As we hire that, you get to change where this thing goes. I want it to go somewhere cool, but I don’t have, my vision is not crystal clear yet. My vision is also incorporating what you want. And it’s not just about profit. The business has to be bigger than just profit. And I am interested in what you want and what your longterm vision is. Where do you want to go? What is energizing to you?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (17:10):
Those things to me, like if you’re talking about those things, people will share with you and you have to have, like, I think to attract really good employees for your business, you have to have core values that are baked into everything. So you need a, you need to come up with whatever. I think three to five is a great number, core values that you really stick to and maybe are a little bit weird, like, but they really do go with your culture and then talk about them in the hiring process, hire and fire based on them. I’m like Michael Scott from the office. I don’t, I don’t like to fire people like to hire and inspire people, you know, but to me it’s like core values are really, really key. And you should kind of think about them, both with, you know, you and I, as a marketing agency owners, we should also think about for our clients.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (18:01):
If I was one of our core values as scrappy, if our client is not scrappy, if they’re going to nickel and dime us and make us like do five rounds of revisions on a blog post, I’m not going to be able to make them get leads because it’s just too much time spent on the nitty gritty. And I’m sorry, but that little nitty gritty stuff, that’s not going to create leads. We need brute force. We need power and frequency. We need serious effort on a regular basis in a in a habitual systematic way, or we’re not going to create leads for you. So what I would stress to people is like, hire somebody you trust, and then really let them go and just keep them, keep their feet to the fire every six months or so about like that the, the result is increasing. Don’t get so, and this goes for hiring employees too. Don’t get so micromanagy that you micromanage them out of their energy, that you, you micro manage them so hard that they barely even have any motivation anymore.
Nathan Young, MLO (19:04):
So some key takeaways, I’m going to try to encapsulate a few of the things that you said. The first one is when you’re hiring one. And this goes back to the first thing you said, be very clear about the expectations for the person, because of both processes and what you expect them to be able to do. And you said, look at their face, see if they’re excited about the realities that you’re talking to them about, Hey,
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (19:28):
All the things they’ll say,
Nathan Young, MLO (19:30):
They’ll say all the things, right. We flatly, everyone lies in an interview.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (19:36):
Exactly. So just between the lines you have, you have to read between the lines and you have to like ask hard questions a little bit in the interview too.
Nathan Young, MLO (19:43):
And then the other thing it sounds like you said is have core values that go all the way down. So don’t, don’t be fit. Your core values are not just some thing on the wall there, the way that you live, you hire you fire, including clients. And lastly, you said, don’t micromanage. Let the system do that. Adjust the system. And the people will either adjust or they’ll fail to meet the expectations.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (20:08):
Yeah. And I think like it comes down to creating a motivating environment. If people are not meeting your expectations, yes, you might need to increase the amount of like process you have in place. And it’s more about increasing the process from my point of view, if you had the right people, it’s about increasing the processes and making the process better, maybe you need to do, there needs to be more systematic training or feedback loops from departments to each other. But then, you know, maybe to sales, to implementation, you’ve got the guy out in the field, making sure this process control. And then that sales guy needs to have a better feedback loop with that person. Or, you know, that might be the case, or you just need to create a motivating environment. Maybe it’s not very motivating because you’ve got one sad sack. Basically the fact that people want to be there and people want to encourage each other.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (21:03):
I think a big one for us, we’ve implemented like Pat on the back slips, this, this goes to my father-in-law who passed, um, this past December. And he had a, a drawer just smack full of thank you notes that people had given him throughout his life and reading through those. After this burst, all this guy is a freaking doctor and he literally like saved people’s lives and stuff. But he also like every interaction you had with people was like about them and he cared. And he also like his hospital had these Pat on the back slips. And we’re just like, that’s a system that you can put in place in your business to then, Hey, let’s try to do these on a regular basis. And then people can save them. And like it energizes you encouragement, energizes people. It’s not just about millennials. It’s not just about just a human thing, right. Soft culture or anything. It’s really just, it makes us all more emotionally resilient and tough. If we can actually hear what we did well sometimes. So helping people by encouraging them and encourage and helping them encourage each other, that will be more motivating. And I think sometimes the way we do it as a little thin, I think we can do it a little bit more of a substantive way, but I, uh, excited to get better at it.
Nathan Young, MLO (22:30):
Well, well said, so we, uh, this actually plays a little bit into sort of our role as marketers. And then what you’re saying, right. Which is in really the hiring space, because inherently we have some common traits, uh, no matter what, which are like we’re business owners, we’re running certain systems, we’re working with other people. How are you feeling like along those lines, changing to a little more operational focus, we’re seeing an increase in demand. I’m going to, I’m going to bring this around. We’re seeing increased demand for trade services. And with that, like this increased specificity in the jobs that guys want to take on. And that, that goes down to the employees, right? So like you said, scrappy, this kind of tackles both the getting of leads, but also the, how are we guiding the customer to set expectations and our employees to not just like, sometimes you have to do a job, even if you don’t want to, because like you signed up to do that job. And that’s what kind of company you are. And like, you don’t get to turn down everything you don’t particularly love. How are you tackling that? As someone pushing out the first messaging about the company that most people hear both hires and customer,
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (23:50):
To me, it feels maybe I’m hearing it wrong, but I hear sometimes when people talk to us about a leads problem, like these, aren’t the kind of leads we want, or we want these kind of leads. It’s, it’s kind of a sales problem, not a marketing problem. Like I’m certainly collaborative with our clients about what they want. But at the end of the day, you have to have sales processes in place to filter and to sort, and maybe your vision isn’t big enough. If you’re not willing to take something, that’s 80% of what your ideal customer is like, I want to grow. So like that’s one thing where we kind of try to filter our clients on the front end. Are you the kind of client that wants to grow? Are you ready to stay at 1.7 million for the rest of your life? You know what I mean?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (24:36):
If you’re ready to stay, we’re not the agency for you. We’re, we’re one of those companies that’s helping people grow aggressively. Usually the people that want to grow aggressively are cool with the 80%. And they’re, they’re kind of good at motivating their employees around the 80%. I think on the other hand for a bad lead, bad lead, right? You have to get better about figuring that out on your sales process. Not about your, it’s not about the marketing. You can’t, you shouldn’t be trying to stop bad leads. You should be trying to filter them in the sales process, maybe with a follow-up questionnaire, maybe with the, maybe with an extra hoop that they have to jump through. And then you can decide whether you want to reach out. If they don’t jump through the hoop. We do that. We, we filter with a questionnaire and then, um, and then sometimes before the questionnaire hits our inbox, we’ll call them up. So it’s like the questionnaire is supposed to filter them, but we can also make a decision to kind of like e-brake and like go and grab them to me. That’s kind of a sales problem, not a marketing problem. From my point of view,
Nathan Young, MLO (25:40):
You’re touching on the next thing that I, uh, so we kind of jokingly call ourselves operations in disguise. We’re like, yeah, we’re a marketing company, AK operations in disguise, because we feel like if we’re doing our job role, that’s really what we become. We become someone who goes, well, we listened to your calls. And this is what happened on the call. And this person was calling for the third time and said, well, they left a voicemail. They never got a call back. This is the third time they’ve called the voicemail
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (26:07):
All before, dude. I’ve heard it before. How, like, you gotta, you gotta be honest with me. How big is the company is thinking of right now?
Nathan Young, MLO (26:14):
Uh, one and a half million. How many people, 10
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (26:19):
Are they? Do they feel like they want to grow or something? I don’t think they do that. That’s the motivation thing, man. It sucks, but you can’t fix lack of motivation and no offense. Like there’s nothing wrong with a 10 person company, but there is something wrong with having a negative experience out there in the world. Even if you want to stay a $1.5 million company, I just think it’s about motivation. It’s about like, you want to leave a good legacy. And part of that legacy, not like completely sloughing off customers, even if they’re not perfect for you. And I think comes down to kind of like, how do we handle clients that are our customers that are perfect for us? We need to have a policy around that. Maybe you need to talk to them about, let’s write up a couple of paragraphs and like a couple of referral partners for smaller companies than us, because it really comes down to reputation.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (27:07):
Every single conversation that your customer service rep, your representative or your sales person has with somebody affects your reputation and reputation matters a lot more than you think. And reputation can really hurt your business. And we’ve had five star reviews, at least like two or three of them from people where it was literally just an intro call with our sales person. And we referred them to someone else because they were so surprised that we were so generous with our contacts. And with our time, even though we weren’t the perfect fit. So played for the five-star review, don’t just play for the closed business because the five star review will create three more closed businesses later on down the line, think about the five stars. And then the business will come. You know, like it’s not about, it’s not always about that one conversation. I get that you’re crabby.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (27:57):
Or like you got some like operations problems today or something like that. Like something’s going on. The guy didn’t show up the subcontractor, argued with the client or something, but you have to find a way to chill out and you had to find a way to be really cool to the customers. I know that’s harsh. I know it sucks. I don’t want to do it half the time, but I want our reputation to be good. You have to be, I think the reputation matters the most, most people think like we think cause it’s digital or because it’s a phone call or something like that, it kind of matters, but not really, but it still matters a lot. And basically just reputation and every, every small interaction is reputation.
Nathan Young, MLO (28:44):
Well, so this will, my next question is I think plays into a little bit more tactical level, but I’ll be curious to see how you connect these two things together in my conversations with everyone on the show. So far, I’ve asked like what marketing thing they’ve done and what has done the best for them. And every time I asked this question, so far people are answering well, it’s a lot of different pieces together. And that’s again, what I hear what you’re saying right now. So it’s not just one thing, but everyone is basically saying it’s a mix of things. Some of the ethereal things are really the difference maker. Customer service goes hilariously further than you think that it does. It stays like a ripple in the pond, even though you don’t see it, you think you have infinite potential leads. You don’t, and the neighborhoods are much tighter than you think they are. So if you burn Sally, when she calls and asks a dumb question about getting kind of pipe replaced or something, and you answer her kind of like stilted, that’s, that’s going to impact you down the line. So then
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (29:51):
People are part of that. That’s why soft skills are so important. Like, so that’s why I prioritize it. And a lot of ways too, because we can teach you the specifics, but if you can’t be nice to people, I can’t fix that. That’s that’s troubling and it’s going to fuck us up and like ultimately advantage the day. It’s how people feel after they interact with us. Like, if you don’t feel great after we finished this chat, I w I want people to feel good after they interact with us. It’s not about like being cool or being popular or being like whatever it’s about like, literally dude, I want em, I want today to be good. And I want you to have a good day. And I just, we had to think about that such a simple thing, but it matters way more for business than we think.
Learn the 6 things to do before hiring a marketing agency
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (30:33):
That’s why you see such charismatic. Like, if you look at these big companies, right, it seems like there’s these guys at the top, like we talked about Willard Reynolds, he exudes energy. When you get done talking to them, you feel energized, right? Like I want to be that for people. I want our clients to think that way. But basically like, that’s a, that’s a goal. That’s a goal. Like when you get done with chatting with somebody that they feel energized and that I think a lot of these guys are that way a lot, like my roofing clients, a lot of these guys, they have that vibe and that’s partly why they’re a good salespeople. And that’s also partly why their business is growing and why they’re like employees want to be around them. I’m not saying we have to be perfect on it, man. I I’m sure I piss off my employees sometimes, but, but in general, like we want to be kind of energizing to the, to our clients and our customers,
Nathan Young, MLO (31:19):
Those exact same lines. Like, what do you think is the biggest, most challenging thing that you’ve experienced, helping contractors with their market?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (31:28):
I’m just going to say it’s filtering for us. It’s filtering the people who want to grow from the people who don’t really care and are just trying to do something for glamour or their own. Just like they just want, you know, people that just want a website and just want it to look pretty and all that versus the people that want to grow. I’m like really, for me, it’s been really filtering that out because I’ve wasted contractors and like home services, people’s time. I’ve wasted their time. I failed wildly because I spent time with them. I was working towards more leads. And then at the end of the day, I found out they didn’t really care about more leads. They really cared about making something. They wanted to make it pretty. And they want to, they were stuck at 10 people and they were going to be at 10 people for the next 20 years.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (32:18):
I should have asked more questions upfront because I ultimately were not a great fit for that. Like our value proposition does not fit in with that. I should have filtered myself out and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with a 10 person company. And like, it’s cool. And honestly, I’m jealous that you’re satisfied with that. The other, the other one is just the quickness that people need results because the best marketing activities that you can do take a long time and it doesn’t mean try to be aggressive. And it doesn’t mean don’t tell me when you want it quicker and all that. But like, if you’re going to give up in six months when your competitor is going to eight months and the clients that we’ve had for five years and gotten to 5 million from $30,000 a year when they were out of their parents’ basement, I’m sorry, but that, that like stick with it. And this, like, when you, when you find something that works, you gotta hammer it and you gotta keep on going at it. You can’t stop just because you’re impatient and you see that Google ads will get you something quick. Like you got to find the things that, you know, work and then crank on them. And like a lot of people are impatient. So short answer, impatient.
Nathan Young, MLO (33:35):
Gotcha. Well, and that actually answers my other question. I was going to say, what’s the biggest aha moment your clients are coming back to you with you wish you could get them to faster. And you just answered that question, which is, I wish I could get them to see that it takes time.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (33:50):
Yeah. Aha is always the first couple of leads. The first couple of leads that come from organic. If they haven’t had a ton of back or the 40% increase in leads or whatever it happens to be like, that’s the real aha. Otherwise they don’t. Most of our clients, to be honest, don’t even understand half this stuff. And I don’t even, they don’t want to half the time. I mean, if I’m honest, I think it’s a good thing to do if you can, to like blog and like figure out some, like, learn a little bit about SEO. But at the end of the day, some of our smartest clients just delegate. They know they’re not the expert,
Nathan Young, MLO (34:23):
But that’s why I said, I think you said it in that you are saying that business owners who utilize marketing well, the biggest aha moment is when they go, it requires consistency to get real results. That’s beautiful. I love it. Then I want to move to the last section of our conversation, which is a section I call quickfire questions. I totally stole that name from another awesome podcast or so I’m going to, I’m going to run through 15 questions. This is off the top of your head. There’s uh, there’s no like long conversation about this. This is like, yes, no, do that. Don’t do that. So kind of like saving context for later and I’ve tried to structure them so that we can do that. So I’m just going to ask these questions. You’re going to answer super fast and then we’re going to run right through them. Awesome.
New Speaker (35:07):
So techs schedule themselves, or use dispatch,
New Speaker (35:12): dispatch,
New Speaker (35:12):
scheduling software. Your clients are happiest with.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (35:16):
I have people on, I have some people on Calendly that like
Nathan Young, MLO (35:19):
In contracting companies allow voicemails.
New Speaker (35:22): Yes.
New Speaker (35:23):
Required callback time. You think from a voicemail?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (35:26):
I mean, I don’t know if I’d publish it, but I’d say four hours and a bit like in a business day next business.
Nathan Young, MLO (35:35):
If you could take a guess, how do you think clients book a job from a voicemail call back?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (35:42):
I think that’s very possible. That’s a really good sign. If they leave a message,
Nathan Young, MLO (35:46):
Should you, as a contractor allow contact forms.
New Speaker (35:49): Yes.
New Speaker (35:49):
What kind of response time should you have for a contact form? Submission
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (35:53):
20 Minutes and business day, maybe auto responders. Best.
Nathan Young, MLO (35:56):
Do you text customers? Yes or no?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (35:59): Yes.
Nathan Young, MLO (35:59):
Do you collect customer emails? I’m asking as a contracting company. Do you encourage contracting companies to collect customer emails?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:07): Yes.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:08):
Do you encourage them to use them?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:09): Yes.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:10):
In your personal opinion, Facebook or paid search, if you only get to pick one.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:14): Paid Search.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:15):
Older or younger customers more loyal over time?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:19): Younger.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:20):
Ask every customer for an honest review. Yes or no.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:23): No.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:24):
Interesting. Top three things you wish you could teach. Every homeowner about contracting services.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:32):
Look at Google local reviews to call three and four. Ask about quality control.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:40):
Top three books you’d recommend for home service leaders.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (36:45): Profit First, Traction, StoryBrand.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:48):
Ah, man, I have those on my desk behind me. Fun fact. I’m a StoryBrand certified guide. Awesome. I love that last question. Who should we interview next on this podcast?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (37:00):
Interview next? Aren’t you or have you had an Aaron on there yet? And I agree you should have him on their sales tips, man. Mar marketers need to get, get more hardcore about proliferating sales know-how because I think sometimes contractors home services, people, they get excited by marketing and they’re a little tired of sales, but they really, really could use some polishing up. So maybe Aaron would be a great, a great, uh, next step.
Nathan Young, MLO (37:25):
That’s a fantastic referral. All right. That’s the inner quickfire questions you did. Awesome. So we’re going to wrap it up. First of all, let me say you were a fantastic guest. I had so much fun, incredible value, both like we were talking before the podcast and it was super valuable, always so handy to learn things from people who have been there already. You know what I mean?
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (37:43):
Well, sir, man, well, I’m rooting for you, dude. I don’t want to, I want to hear more about your growth over the next couple of years and anything I can do to help.
Nathan Young, MLO (37:53):
Oh, wait. We’re going to make sure that you’re part of it. You’re stuck with me now.
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (37:57):
Do it. I’m all about it. And like literally did we give so many referrals to just say, you know, like I, you know, I said that we turned like turning down businesses and an important key. You turn down a lot of them
Nathan Young, MLO (38:12):
I’ll keep that in mind just before we shut it down. Things that you want to plug, like if people want to get in touch with you, where do they go,
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (38:19):
Go on LinkedIn and type in Tim Brown and then a hook agency, Tim Brown Hook agency. I post a lot on LinkedIn more than any other platform. And I like, I’m trying to be as generous as I possibly can on there. And firstname.lastname@example.org is my email.
Nathan Young, MLO (38:38):
Awesome. And um, just one more time. Anything, anything else you want to plug before we walk away? I know you mentioned well Reynolds and the books and
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (38:48):
One, one, uh, two, let’s say two little guides that you can check out our best content on our website hook agency.com/local, which is this whole like zombie infested guide about local services because there’s a lot of zombies out. There’s a lot of scams or hook agency.com/local gives you the whole, all the zombies to avoid and how to get higher on Google maps and stuff like that. And then one more thing, which is hook agency.com/leads. And it’s this giant beautiful guide on how to get more leads and 20, 20 soon to be 2021 I’ll I’ll revise it. Um, but it’s, it’s just basically two. And these are two very good kind of examples of like content where it’s like, we, we tricked it out to the gills with like imagery video and like just basically like went hard. And so if you’re interested in seeing like a couple of examples of content marketing that went maybe too hard, then check those out.
Nathan Young, MLO (39:49):
Fantastic. Well, Tim, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast. It was so much fun to talk to you. You’ve been an awesome guest, tons of value here,
Tim Brown, Hook Agency (39:56):
Having fun. Appreciate you. Appreciate you having me.
Nathan Young, MLO (40:02):
This has been another episode of the more leads online podcast. We hope that this inspires you to take the next step in growing your business. If you’re ready to have someone take an honest, look at your marketing and give you a no strings attached plan. Email email@example.com or just text (315) 203-2833. Thanks for listening. Go kick some ass.