Connecting and Building Relationships with Clients

Nov 11, 2021

 

Building a connection and relationship with clients and potential clients is what will keep your agency in business. You literally need clients to create revenue and develop a solid reputation. 

How are you ensuring that your agency is developing a sense of authority, value, and rapport with those who decide to work with your marketing agency?

In today’s episode of the Amplified Agency podcast, learn more about:

  • Being Selective about your Clients
  • Budget Discussions
  • Personal Touch
  • Podcasts and Other Content Creation 

I was able to discuss these topics with the CEO of Kickstart Dental Marketing, Chris Pistorius, and gain a better understanding of some best practices for connecting and building relationships with your current and potential clients. 

Being Selective About Your Clients

One of the first and most important ways to best develop a relationship with your potential clients is to be sure they fit the scope of your agency. That way, you know that you have the best chances of working well with and meeting the needs of a prospective client. 

Chris points out that if a potential client is just starting out and does not understand why they need marketing help,  they may not be a good fit for you. As an agency owner, it may be time-consuming and difficult to work with a client who is starting at square one, not fully understanding the whys and hows of marketing. If they don’t already see the value of your agency’s services, they might not be a client you want to take on. 

Understanding a client’s budget right off the bat is another great way to determine if they’re a good fit for your agency. You want to make sure the amount of work needed will fit into the budget they have in mind. By fully understanding the budget, your agency can better determine if you can satisfy the client’s needs, giving you the best opportunity to create a strong business relationship. 

Expectations are huge for understanding if your agency can work with a potential client. Is a prospect asking for the moon? Some crazy, overnight success story? There is no way your agency can make that happen, and you certainly don’t want to ruin your reputation by taking on an outlandish task. It will do more harm than good. 

Being selective about the clients you take on is a great, precautionary approach to set your agency up for positive interactions and good client relationships. 

Budget Discussions

When discussing budget with clients, you need to better understand what their current marketing efforts look like and how much they are spending. That will give you a good, ballpark take on their needs and wants. As long as they’re able and honest to give you some insight into their current marketing, you can gauge what your agency can do for them. 

Helping clients better understand marketing trends and what is recommended as far as marketing budgeting can help them grasp the needs of their budget. Agency owners don’t want to just tell a client, “here’s what you need to spend,” but instead, you want to explain to them why a certain amount is beneficial for their business and what it would do for them. Again, you’re wanting to connect and build a relationship. That requires trust, so be sure you are giving them clear and honest information.  

Chris also focuses on agencies helping clients understand that a marketing budget is not an expense like a light bill, it’s actually an investment, so discussing budget should be had in that light. Helping clients understand that marketing their business is valuable and will essentially add money to their pockets is necessary to avoid being seen as a commodity. 

Personal Touch

Clients can see the value of your work better through testimonials and a personal approach, so don’t overlook the importance of your agency presenting itself transparently and as real people working for them. We take you on a deeper dive into the importance of testimonials in Testimonials: Why you need them for your agency.

Chris shares testimonials in his sales proposals and website as well as a list of referrals for clients. Google, of course, is another useful site for viewing the words and videos of satisfied past clients of Kickstart Dental Marketing. Agency owners should take their cues from Chris and post testimonials everywhere they can! Prospects love seeing an inside look at how your agency has helped other clients, and that definitely helps boost your relationship and rapport with them. 

In an age of automation, it may seem like a great idea to automate as much of your agency as possible. However, Chris discourages this approach.  

Personalized care of your clients establishes your connection and helps your retention rates surge. Don’t we all enjoy feeling like one of a kind instead of one in a million? That’s exactly how your clients feel. 

If your goal is to work with hundreds and hundreds of clients in a month or year, you surely are not giving them the personal attention they desire. Most likely, you’ve automated much of your agency, and you probably don’t know your clients by name. 

There are huge benefits to connecting personally with your clients. They tend to be more satisfied with your services because they are tailored specifically to their needs, more willing to share their experiences through raving testimonials and are definitely more willing to refer your agency to other businesses. 

Podcasts and Other Content Creation

Content helps develop your agency’s authority and provides valuable information and resources for your clients, current and potential. Podcasts continue to grow in popularity and blogs continue to help agency owners connect and build a following. 

It can seem overwhelming to create content on top of everything else on your plate as an agency owner, but it’s essential. You want your audience of clients to understand that you know what you’re talking about, and when you demonstrate that through content, they begin to trust you as an expert in the field. 

Agency owners are often bombarded with content creation doubts. When you doubt that people will listen to your podcast or read your blogs, it’s easier to skip the process as a whole. But, you definitely don’t want to do that! 

The content you create gives you the ability to connect with your audience and provide insights to your agency. You can also repurpose that content to make social media posts, webinars, and e-books. Any opportunity to bring more and more attention to your agency is invaluable. Take the opportunity to overcome your apprehensions and establish your agency as a vital addition to any business’s marketing plan.

For more assurance that becoming a content creation machine is possible, head on over to Scaling Your Digital Marketing Agency with Content to learn more.

If you want to join us for more helpful conversations with other successful agency owners, subscribe to The Amplified Agency podcast to get updates when new episodes are available.


Transcript:

 

Natalie Shahmiri
Okay. Hello, Chris, welcome to the amplified agency. How are you today?

Chris Pistorius
Hey, Natalie. Good. Thanks for having me.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, thank you for joining us. What have you been up to today? What were you doing before you joined this call?

Chris Pistorius
I am doing reporting. So we are revamping our whole reporting system that we're doing to clients. And for some reason, I volunteered to head that up, and I'm regretting every bit of it now.

Natalie Shahmiri
Classic agency owner move, I've got this.

Chris Pistorius
Yep. It's funny, because it's always like, Oh, that shouldn't be a big deal. And then you get into it. And it's a big deal. So.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, it really is. What made you guys decide to revamp that?

Chris Pistorius
We just didn't like the the way the reporting looked. And really, I mean, we don't really want to, I mean, we like to look at stats, like, you know, impressions and clicks and things like that. That's good for us to run a campaign. But it doesn't really translate to success, in my opinion for clients, right? So we've kind of switched everything over to where we have those stats if they want to see them. But we're more focused on how many actual qualified leads were produced from our campaign, which helps them justify paying us of course, but it just kind of helps them feel because, that's, as business owners, I think that's what you really, you know, gravitate towards, you know, his actual business results. And so that's, that's really what we're trying to do or accomplish.

Natalie Shahmiri
I think that's one thing a lot of agency owners struggle with is how do you translate that for your clients, particularly in a way that it makes sense for your clients? Have you run into that a lot?

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, I think and it's, it's, it's somewhat frustrating, because every client's a little different. And it's, it's almost impossible to create a custom report for each different client, right? It'd be a huge time suck. So I think the the thing is, is that just trying to get as many wins as you can into a report that'll satisfy, you know, all types of clients. So, you know, we try to stay out of the one off type of business. But yeah, you're absolutely right.

Natalie Shahmiri
And so you're really niche specific, you've got Kickstart Dental, you're working with dentists. Have you found that there's any sort of congruency between all of them that helps that be a little bit easier? Or do you try to look for an ideal client that you go after within the dental niche to help make that whole process smoother from whether it's reporting or sales or actual implementation?

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, that's an awesome question. And I think, you know, any agency owners out there watching this now that maybe you're just starting, this is something I wish somebody would have told me when I started, when we first niched down, we took on pretty much anybody that would pay us, right, because we wanted to, obviously grow the agency. And while that was probably a good tactic then, what you learn from it are the types of clients you don't want to take on. And so now I do every strategy session, every first meeting is with me, because I want to make sure that their goals align with what we can fulfill, right? So we, we find that, you know, don't just take on everybody, because it's just gonna be anybody I should say, because it's just gonna cause problems on the back end. And your team's gonna waste a lot of time and you're probably not going to have a happy client. Right? So you'll learn kind of what what your wheelhouse is, right? And, and I think that that's, that would be a huge help. And we're very selective. Now. I mean, we don't take everybody. I probably, this week, I've probably turned down three clients, just because I didn't feel like it was going to be a great fit for us. So I think you have to pick and choose and be a little bit patient when it comes to that process.

Natalie Shahmiri
I think that's a really scary thing. Because yeah, in the beginning, you do just take anybody you can. Somebody help me pay the bills, right? And then I think whether your niche specific or not, but particularly when you do niche down like that, figuring out who are the right type of clients can be really tricky. Like, I think there are some immediate red flags like people who were just like, I worked with all these agencies, and they were terrible. It's like, okay, so you were probably terrible. But when you're having those strategy sessions, what are some of those red flags that you look for? of just like, this is not going to be a good fit?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah. Number one is what marketing do you do now? And if it's, I don't do anything, that's the first red flag, right? Because we're in a position where I don't want to have to talk somebody into why they need to market their dental practice. Right. And this isn't just the dental industry, this should this is a good advice for any industry. Then, the second one is what's your budget, right? So what is, you know, how much money are you looking to spend on this particular project? And if you know, it's, you know, what, depending on your agency, I mean, we don't do anything typically less than 1500 a month and if they say that they, you know, the initiatives two or $300 a month, then if you know, right, then I kind of, I kind of push them aside and talk to him about other options because that's just not going to be a good fit for us. So those are definitely a couple of things. One more, I'll add to that, I apologize. But it's also I'd like to get out of the way very early in a strategy session, expectations. You know, like, for instance, I had somebody this week say, "Yeah, I'm doing five new patients a month now. And by the end of the year, I want to grow that to 150 new patients a year or a month." And that's, that is just not realistic. I mean, that's a goal that maybe a year or so down the line we're looking for. But you know, anybody that's looking for that very quick overnight success is usually not a great fit for us.

Natalie Shahmiri
So how do you typically talk about budget? So I know that's one thing that is a sort of, some people say, Well, you tell me what I need to spend, or some people have a number in their head out the gate, that's typically way too low. It's pretty rare that you meet somebody that's like on the money. How do you navigate that?

Chris Pistorius
A couple of ways. One way is, is what are you doing with marketing now? And then that goes into how much are you spending now in marketing, right? Another way to get to that, that I found is that I talk about, well, typically a dental practice, you know, most business advisors say that you should spend, you know, five to 10% of your gross profits in marketing. So what's your annual revenue? And what do you plan in terms of, you know, budgeting for marketing? You know, so that kind of gets the wheels turning, you know, it's not just, you know, the guy that's doing the sales presentation, telling him how much money they should spend, you know, it's independent advisors that, you know, recommend this kind of stuff. So that's a couple of ways that I do it.

Natalie Shahmiri
And you find people are relatively open to sharing that information.

Chris Pistorius
Not all, some of them just really honestly don't know, right? If they, if they're a new practice, and they're just starting from scratch, they don't know. And some of them are just going through the process of getting quotes and, you know, talking to our competitors, things like that. And then some just wanna, you know, they're just testing us, and they don't want to give us a number. They want us to give them a number, right? So it's, you know, it's quite the song and dance, but you know, there's little tricks and ways that you can get it out of them.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, I've found that to myself, where, especially the song and dance, that's almost the most frustrating part of it, where it's just like, can we just get to the point here? Like you need services, I'm going to tell you the accurate number of what I think you need. But if you don't give me these numbers, I can't give you an accurate estimate. And sometimes being a little bit more firm with people helps. But I think so many people are just afraid of even having that conversation like, well, what if they asked me and I think, what you said in terms of that idea of knowing what are the industry benchmarks of what people should be spending is so important, because then you can give an educated number. It's not just for what do you need in order to pay the bills, it's, here's what you really should be spending to succeed.

Chris Pistorius
Right. And, you know, we, I talk a lot about, you know, a lot of people look at marketing as an expense, like the light bill or something, right? And if you do marketing the right way, it's not really an expense, it's something that you're making money off of, right? So it should be something that's producing dollars not taking dollars away. And sometimes people, you know, the people that are shopping based on budget, how much is it a month, right? That's a big, big red flag, because they're not looking at value, they're just trying to check off a to do box, if you will hire a marketing company for less than $600 a month, right? You got to really get into the value of it. And and you know, if you're not and it's all price oriented, you become a commodity. And, you know, that's just not, in my opinion, that's not where you want to be as an agency.

Natalie Shahmiri
How do you pivot that conversation? Like if you see that somebody has potential, but maybe doesn't understand that, how do you bring that across to them?

Chris Pistorius
I do it just like that. And then I also show him a copy of one of our new reports that shows you know, actual business metrics, like, for instance, and I blur out the client name, but this is what one of our clients did. And, you know, they brought in this many new leads for the month that turned into about this much amount of revenue. They had this many missed opportunities that didn't close. And that kind of gets them in the thinking of wow, what would 20 new patients mean to me, month over month, to my family to my financial wellbeing, my freedom. And if you can start going that direction, then all of a sudden, the numbers loosen up a little and they're seeing actual results from another, you know, live client that we're working with. And, you know, that can be pretty powerful.

Natalie Shahmiri
Do you leverage case studies a lot for what you're doing? Like, is that a marketing tactic? Or do you use that more in the sales process?

Chris Pistorius
I do both. I got it all. I've got them all over my website. I put them in the sales proposals that when we're going over the proposal live, I don't get into that. It's more of a here's, you know, here's some video reviews for you some testimonials. Here's a list of referrals that you can call. I'll let you go over that in your own time. And then I've got like, the awards we've won underneath it. And it just kind of speaks for itself. I think it's a little tacky. If you just tried to really, "Hey, this is what Donna said on April 12 on Google," right? If you build an impressive page that just shows that stuff, it just screams, I think, to them You know, validity and that you've been doing it a long time and you're good at it, you don't really have to, you know, push too much on that.

Natalie Shahmiri
I think testimonials are such a strong sales tool that a lot of people overlook. It's almost just like, well, I should probably have a couple on my website, and they don't realize how much authority that builds. I think, too, there's sometimes a reticence to even ask for it. And it's funny, because we're always telling our clients make sure you're getting, you know, reviews and testimonials from the different people that you're serving, but then as agency owners, for whatever reason, a lot of us don't do that, you know, it's just like, well, maybe they'll leave us one, do you have a strategy of how you're gathering those from people?

Chris Pistorius
Yeah. So we use a product called Video Ask, because if we get reviews, we really want to get video ones between that and Google ones just for the obvious reasons. But video is so powerful, because then you can dice it up into like little social media ads and do all kinds of cool stuff with it. But we built out a platform on Video Ask that basically, we send a link to a client and ask them questions, and they record their answer on video, right? And then it submits it to us. And then we take the video and edit it and you know, make it all pretty and and crank them out. So, I mean, you're not going to get as many of those as you will a written review just because people are camera shy, perhaps. But you know, even if you can get four or five of them, they can be extremely powerful.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, yeah, I love Video Ask myself. I think it's a great platform. And you can use a free version or a paid version. The paid is actually surprisingly affordable. So I think that's always really great. So in terms of getting new clients, right now, what is your primary methodology for doing that? Do you have a broad marketing mix, or one thing in particular?

Chris Pistorius
We, knock on wood here, but we've been around so long that we've a lot of our stream of new leads really comes organically. People just find us, righ?. And that's, that's saying something in dentistry, because there's a lot of companies out there that want to be, you know, dental marketing agencies, right? So we have a lot of competition, but our SEO presence is pretty solid. But I also do a weekly podcast, the dental marketing podcast that, you know, we publish out, and then we email out to our list. Between that and just really, you know, social media stuff, and then just, you know, inbound lists coming in, or inbound leads coming in, that's really keeping us pretty busy right now. But I mean, there's a ton of stuff that we can do that I've got, you know, a pile of ideas here that I get, you know, from the seven figure agency, for instance, just awesome ideas. And, you know, back in the day, I kind of grass rooted it. I mean, I, when we first started, I would just go out to local cities and start knocking on doors and say, "Hey, I'm the dental marketing expert, you need to talk to me, here's some information, let's set up a time." You know, it's kind of like the Mark Cuban marketing, just bust their doors down and tell them who you are and why they should work with you. That's how I really got started. And, and now it's kind of grown organically to where, you know, people do know us.

Natalie Shahmiri
Now, that's a fun thing that I love talking about with people is the early days of digital marketing didn't involve digital sales. Right? There was no email cold outreach, like you still literally went door to door and said, talk to me or send snail mail.

Unknown Speaker
It's funny, because, you know, marketing is getting so automated now. Right? I mean, like, with high level, you know, Keep and all these other systems. And, you know, those definitely have a place marketing, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I just wonder if we try to automate too much. And we're kind of avoiding the personal conversations, right? And people buy from people, you know, and there's industries like mine, where it's hard to call a dental practice cold, calm and, you know, get results. But there's other ways, right, there's, you know, put a put a letter in a FedEx envelope. Yeah, it costs seven or eight bucks, but I guarantee the doctor opens it. And if you've got something really good to show them, it's going to get you some traction. But, you know, everybody wants to automate everything and send automated emails and text messages. And I just think some of that is just, you know, lost. And, you know, I think it's just a lot of work for not that much results. But maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, I'm, I'm a traditionalist. I'm right there with you. I like that human connection. And I think it also really displays your commitment. Not to say that cold outreach isn't valuable. Like I think, you know, the automated systems do have value, but I think especially when you're going after the core type of business that you want to be working with, that's just a game changer when you can have that one on one connection. And yeah, I mean, sometimes Dental, you have insane gatekeepers that you have to get through like they know, do not let anybody pass this. And so being able to do that, that really then shows the person that you're going after, like, wow, they get it, you know, and they're committed.

Chris Pistorius
And write the letter right if you're gonna send a letter handwrite it, right? Don't just print something out. I just think, you know, automation's made us a little bit lazy in marketing too.

Natalie Shahmiri
Just like, if I send out 5000 emails, somebody will respond to me. Yeah, yeah, it's, it's pretty interesting. So you had talked about that you have your own podcast. In terms of how you're using that for marketing, what has that looked like for you?

Speaker 2
You know, it's a little frustrating for me, because I don't track it. Well, I don't really know for sure, right, that, you know, these many potential new clients came in just because of podcasting. I think what's happening is that they're finding us a multitude of ways. But when they go and they see us at our website, they see that we've got this podcast and built some authority. And so what I think's happening is, instead of them just going to the website daily, I know the marketing company, they're seeing a podcast with a lot of good stuff in it. They're like, Oh, okay, so they've been around a while they know what they're doing. They're talking to industry leaders. Yeah, let's go ahead and pick up the phone and call them. So what I can tell you is that it's definitely increased activity overall, in terms of new leads coming in. And to be honest, the last three weeks, I haven't put anything out on the podcast, and I can tell the difference. I can tell that the activity level overall, the buzz, if you will, has gone down a little. So it definitely impacts what we do. I just don't know for sure where or how, or, you know, the exact specifics of kind of drives me nuts, but I do know that it's definitely a factor.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, I think that's one of the hardest things with podcasts is the tracking and attribution basically doesn't exist. And it's for everybody, like, it doesn't matter what platform you use. Technology's not consistent. Which, you know, is like the early days of digital marketing, you know, there was so much stuff back then that we were like, well, we're gonna do it, and we can see that we have more calls coming in, or more website visits. So it's clearly doing something. But I don't know exactly like, which episode, did it or where did that listener come from? Are they on an Apple device? Are they listening to Spotify, that I think that does just feed into the whole inbound, where it's just like, you just need to be the one person everybody is always hearing and putting out the quality content. So just like you were saying, you know, people are like, Oh, this is interesting. They see it on your website, then that can almost become its own funnel, where, you know, maybe they didn't give you their email address, but they're listening to your podcast consistently.

Chris Pistorius
Right. And I have had a couple of clients that we signed up, say that they did see see me on a podcast. So I just, you know, it's just tracking, like you said, it's tough. And I would recommend to people that, we talked a little bit about this off air, but I'd recommend to agencies, don't just do your own podcast, get yourself on other podcasts, like what I'm doing here with you, you know, and then you get kind of double the exposure, you get some great backlinks, you know, for SEO, and, you know, so I would definitely, you know, recommend that as well.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, I think being a guest is the one thing that is just missed across the board. It's like, and I get it, you're so busy making your own podcast and trying to find guests for that if you do guests you're just sort of like what, like, I have to find their podcasts to be on. That's a thing.

Chris Pistorius
Yeah. And I'll tell you, you know, I struggled with that, too. Yeah, you should I invite this time. And, you know, there's some times that I'll just, it'll just be me, and I'll talk about a topic, you know, like reputation, you know, how to get more reviews as a dentist or, and it's just me just kind of winging it, talking about it. And kind of, you know, just talking off the top of my head on where I think opportunities are missed. And those have actually been some of the best performing in terms of like, you know, people I can see people have viewed it and things like that. So I don't think you necessarily need to have a guest all the time.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, yeah, I agree. When you were first getting started with podcasting, what were some of the things that just felt like the biggest hurdles for you, like, I know, for myself, it was, what is all the tech that I need? Like, I my audio isn't the best. I'm in a room with hardwood floors. I don't have padding on my walls, like, but I had to get over that and just say just start making the whole idea of imperfect action is better than no action. But I'm always really intrigued for other people, what were those things where you're just like, can I actually do this?

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, I think you know, I'm kind of a tech geek. So I enjoyed that part of it, but it's still not perfect, because I'm in a very hollow room too. But for me, I think probably the biggest thing was, what am I doing? Nobody's gonna listen to this, right? I mean, I'm like, I'm just wasting my time. Who cares about dental marketing, right? They don't, you know, so I was very fearful that I do all this and take the time and produce all this content, and then nobody's gonna pay attention to it. Right. So you know, I think it's like when you start a blog, right, who's gonna read that? And at the beginning, maybe nobody but it's something that you as you build up over time, you'll get more viewership. So yeah, that was probably my biggest I wouldn't say fear, but I'm like, What am I doing? I'm just talking to myself.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, especially when you already have so much on your plate, like creating all of your reports. And you're like, cool. I have to make podcast episode now. How are you repurposing that content? If you are?

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, so we send it out to our list. We put it onto our websites. Honestly, we probably don't do as much as we should. We don't really run any, like paid ads right now or anything. But I could see where that could work. Well, you know, video clips, things like that. But right now, that's about all we do with it.

Natalie Shahmiri
I mean, I think that's better than nothing. And especially the email list, because you know, then you're just nurturing and reminding people of here's this other place that you can be learning from us. Yeah, I think podcasts are a really cool tool. Really, really cool.

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, we also will take the video like this, and what transcribed on our website. So it's got some SEO value, too. So that's awesome.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, I'm interested to see how it shifts over time, and how agencies are really utilizing it, because I think it's still, even though podcasting has been around for a while. I think it's a new marketing tool for agencies. And I think, too, you know, we were briefly touching on guests, and who are you going to talk to you? And that's one thing. I'm interested in how you manage that? Who are the people that you are typically interviewing? Is it other dental practice owners? Or maybe people who also serve the dental space? How did you decide what that mix would be?

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, so I do a mix of clients. So I get clients on the podcast with me, those are nice, because usually, that'll turn into some sort of testimonial video that we can use. I use other dentists that aren't signed up with us, which works well. Because sometimes at the end of the podcast, you're like, oh, so I didn't know you did this, that or the other thing. And we use, like, any, anybody in the industry, that's kind of an influencer, like, Dentrix is a big practice management software, right? For dentists. And so we'll get somebody maybe from their company to come talk about, you know, what the future holds for like practice management, software, things like that. So it's a blend of, you know, all of that stuff, you know, and we get a lot of that ideas from other podcasts as we see what other like competitors, who they interview and things like that. So we try to get some of the same people, but then we also try to, you know, find some unique stuff, too.

Natalie Shahmiri
I always like the idea of bringing on guests who serve in the same industry, and serve the same client base, ultimately. And I think that also opens the door for some people for JV partnerships, when they're looking for that as well. Which is, yeah, nice.

Chris Pistorius
Yeah, we do, we try to get consultants on to who, you know, they're consultants in terms of like, how to run your dental practice, but you know, obviously, sometimes they need marketing too. So we have some consultants that, you know, you know, help us and bring us leads too.

Natalie Shahmiri
That's really smart. Who manages finding your guests right now?

Chris Pistorius
Me, when I'm not building reports. Crazy, I got a team of 12 people, and I'm building reports and get my own podcast people.

Natalie Shahmiri
A true agency owner,

Chris Pistorius
I gotta let go.

Natalie Shahmiri
That really is the hardest part sometimes of just, it's been yours for so long. And I think you're the visionary. And as the visionary, sometimes it's hard to say, well, this is my vision without actually doing it first, and then saying, now implement it. If you were to look back at when you first started, what were what was the biggest thing that you wish you knew back then that you know, now?

Chris Pistorius
How to scale a company, because in the beginning, I really just created a job for myself, I didn't create a company, right? So in the beginning, it was just me and like, I had one part time person overseas that was helping me out and, you know, working a ton, and, you know, basically, it's replacing an income, right? So and I did that for several years, right? It doesn't, you know, until the kind of light bulb went off, and I was like, wait a minute, I need to actually build a company here. So that if I take a day off, everything doesn't just stop, right? And so that's when we started, you know, building out process procedures, you know, learning tons from like, people, mentors in the seven figure agency, you know, and just learning how to actually build a business versus just creating a job. I didn't think I realized that starting I know, I didn't. So I think that would be one thing for sure.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah, I think the value of mentors and coaches can't be overstated enough, like how much they can really help you get things going, especially when you start something by yourself. Even when you have experience in the workplace unless you were running a business elsewhere, knowing all of those little nuances that you need to do is so difficult and then really when you're trying to scale whether that's from five to six figures or six to seven figures, there's different barriers that you hit along the way that, how you figure that out on your own. I have no idea.

Chris Pistorius
Trial and error, I guess.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah. A lot of sleepless nights. Where do you hope to see your agency go from here?

Chris Pistorius
You know, so it's our mission to kind of, when I talked to practices, I talked about being a boutique agency. And what I think that means is like, you know, personalized service, right? If you call our agency, everybody knows who you are, they've all worked on your account. You're not just a number, you're not calling an 800 number and a hitting, you know, what's your account number type stuff, right. So that's really our difference, I think in the space. And so we have built processes and procedures that allows us to take on more and more clients, but still provide our clients with that boutique type feel, and boutique type service and boutique type results, because I do believe smaller is better in terms of agencies, in terms of producing results, right? So I talk a lot to practices about, when you go to a big company, a big marketing company, nothing against them. But the way that they scale to 1000s of clients is that they use automation. And so a dentist is a dentist, as a dentist, as a dentist. They've got a pre planned campaign for every dentist, it's exactly the same. And sometimes it works. Sometimes it won't. Well, that's not a great way to do marketing, you got to figure out what your unique selling prop unique selling proposition is. Right? Because you got to be unique. If you're not unique, then there's no reason to, really, to market. So we figure out why a dentist is the dentist and what they do special. And then we kind of figure out what their what their new patient avatar looks like, who is it that they want to come through the doors, the 25 to 35 year old female with a golden retriever and two and a half kids? Or is it somebody the older, older patients that want dentures and implants and things like that. And once we figure those two things out, that's how you create a great marketing campaign. But if you're a big company doing automation, and everyone's exactly the same, you're not going to be able to get to that level and you're not going to have the those types of results. So you know, that's, I talk about that a ton in my in my presentation. So as long as we can keep doing that, and we have good enough people, process and procedures, I think we can continue to grow and still provide that level of service. So that's where we're going.

Natalie Shahmiri
I think you touched on something really great there in terms of retention. So having that personalized service, everybody knows the client projects, you don't have this drop off between people. And when you can retain a client, that saves you so much money, because sales isn't cheap. And, you know, a lot of people I think, look at it just in terms of reputation, where it's like, well, you know, I don't want my reputation to be bad. So I do what I need to do to keep clients happy. But that doesn't necessarily equate to retention. There's a, you know, a dental office owner could be like, "Oh, well, they weren't bad, but I wanted more." And they'll leave you for that. So really being able to give that full customer service experience and making them feel important in keeping them long term that's worth so much money.

Chris Pistorius
Right? Absolutely.

Natalie Shahmiri
Yeah. Well, this has been amazing, Chris, I love hearing how things have been going for you and your approach and how much you've leaned into podcasting. I think that that's incredible in a method that I hope to see more and more agency owners pickup and that you have somebody repping you to be on podcasts is huge, like you're winning at this.

Chris Pistorius
Right. I'm trying.

Natalie Shahmiri
Well, Chris, thank you for joining and I look forward to hearing more on how Kickstart is growing over the years.

Chris Pistorius
Awesome. Thanks, Natalie. Appreciate it.