How to Retain and Attract Customers Through Strong Client Relationships

Sep 16, 2021

Rudy Hettrick of Floor Coating Marketers understands the value of client retention, both for avoiding churn, but also to generate new business via referrals. His focus on getting it right for his clients drives his agency's growth.


Natalie: Rudy, hi! Welcome to the amplified agency podcast. How are you today? 


Rudy: Good, thanks. 


Natalie: What were you doing before hopping on this call?


Rudy: I was actually on another call, but before that I was working out doing the 75 Hard and it's been a very busy morning, definitely a challenge. I'll give it that. 


Natalie: Yeah, juggling all of those kinds of different things especially as an agency owner sometimes feels like a nightmare. How’s 75 Hard going? 


Rudy: I love it. It's you know what? It's not as hard as...Well, I shouldn't say that. It's difficult but it's not. I think that we just, sometimes as people, we just kind of tend to make things a lot bigger than they are when we're thinking about challenges and things like we overthink everything, and so it's like, “oh what about this or what about that?” Or what if I don't have time for this. So I'm just going to not make it through anyway. So I might as well not even try, but I think that action is much, much more important. 


That's what I've been learning a lot about is action and so I decided to do it, I was already kind of working out anyway. So really, at the end of the day, it wasn't too bad. I was drinking lots of water. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't party on the weekends kind of thing, so I was kind of already, I guess building myself into that anyway. So for me to move into 75 Hard wasn't too bad. I was already working out four times a week and so the working out schedule part of it is probably the hardest.


I thought it had to be like all this massive like workout stuff twice a day and I'm like, oh my God, I don't even know how I'm gonna handle all that, but it turns out it's just, you need to just be outside, like one of them is you have to be outside no matter what, no matter what if it's raining, you still have to go out. And so I realized that I could go out onto my deck, I have a balcony here, and just do yoga for 45 minutes.


So I'm just like maybe I kind of cheated the system, I don't know, but all I can tell you is I wake up every morning feeling pretty tired, so...


Natalie: How do you feel like incorporating those things into your life is helping you as an agency owner. 


Rudy: Oh man, like I can focus 100% and not only that, but every single day that I complete a 75 Hard day makes me feel like I can do anything. So now when I'm running my business and I'm trying to get these hard tasks done, it's not hard anymore. It's challenging still and I still get that kind of like, you know, that fog brain sometimes when you're just trying to figure it all out, you don't know where to start.


I've come to realize that it's just a matter of just starting that matters. So I feel like it has been a game-changer. I've always been an implementer anyway like I can implement my problem is following through, right, It's just sure that I keep everything going as I follow through. So, um I feel like really investing in my health and myself has been a game-changer in terms of handling stress is the big one. Eating right.  Like I can, I can probably go on 56 hours sleep and that's okay, not recommended, you still need your eight hours you do for recovery, right?


But, but I feel like I can handle a mass amount of stress, you know, so, you know, I feel like I could take on way more even though my schedule is full, 


Natalie: That's amazing. So talking about being an implementer, how does that affect how you run your agency? 


Rudy: I guess it's just, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, right? Because sometimes I can just get things done really, really quick, but now I overwhelm myself with things that I have to continually do on an ongoing basis. So I think there's still, you know, just like anything, everything is in moderation, so I think that you have to be really careful and very choosy about what you need to accomplish.


But in retrospect on the other side of that, I feel like being an implementer is probably one of my good traits, it's one of the skills that I really am proud of because I just don't, I don't fear a lot of these things, I used to don't get me wrong, I used to, but I think what's happened now is when I realized that if I actually do something and get it done, I feel so much better. So it's almost addicting in a way like, okay, now I have this big project, I have to do, let's just do it, get it done right, because I want to see what's going to happen on the other side of that, you know what I mean? 


And I like that feeling. So I think that's kind of been very helpful in my business getting a lot of these things done because when you're starting out or you're growing a business, there's a lot that you have to take in and it's like drinking from the firehose as they say, right? So, you know, the easy thing is though, in that analogy is if it's a fire hose where you can go over to the top and turn that fire hose down a little bit, right? And then you can just drink what you need.


Natalie: So you know, talking about being an implementer and how that helps you with your agency and that fire hose in the beginning, how did you get started? How did you land some of your first clients? 


Rudy: Well, let's see. Originally I had a service business myself. So this was going back to 2013. So I think when I had my service business and I actually started a window cleaning business and the reason why I did that was I came back from a bunch of traveling, I was doing a bunch of backpacking when I came back, I had a whole different perspective on my life and I didn't want to work for anybody anymore.


I just wanted to do my own thing and I just wanted to be in control of my own decisions and my destiny, right? So I thought, okay, but I didn't have a lot of money because I just came back from all this traveling, I was almost kind of like a living on the street almost, I didn't have a lot of money and so I thought maybe this was the best choice because it's a low entry, right? Anybody can go into home depot and buy a bucket and the squeegee and everything else go on Youtube, learn how to clean windows, and just practice and do that kind of stuff, and before you know it you're a pro that's pretty much how it goes.


Like there's no skilled trade for window cleaning. So that's kind of what I did and I actually did it under the table for a while because I couldn't afford to pay the government all the taxes and pay my rent and you know all that kind of stuff. So I ended up kind of getting into it then it became legit and then I started really growing that business making it automated. In fact, I made it, this is where the digital marketing side coming from. So I built the website myself.


I started getting into that again and I went into Devry Institute of Technology which is an I. T. College up here in Canada. I don't know if it's in the States appreciates in the States actually. So I was learning originally I was learning computer programming. I wanted to you know make video games, that was my thing because I was young. I was like yeah and you know what if I would have stuck with it and probably, I probably would be making a crap ton of money right now right?


But I didn't I dropped out. I got really sick from ulcerative colitis and all this other stuff happened in my life and I just didn't work out. But I did love doing that and then I just kind of went to the wayside and I got into sales was my biggest thing through history was my, my was doing sales, corporate sales, and everything else. So I had a big experience with that. But going back to the window cleaning, I started to get that love for building the website.


I got that back to what I had before. I started realizing that maybe this is kind of what I want to do. But I learned automation. I got my CRM, I started to build this thing out to the point where I had customers I never even met. I would, I had the whole thing completely automated, even the pricing, they would accept the pricing. I had a calculator that was conditional math. The whole thing would just like build out on a form and they would accept it and then it would go to the calendar where they would actually book themselves in and then we just had to go and do the work and invoice them.


And so that's how my window cleaning business ended up, which was amazing. And it saved me, I don't even know, probably 20 hours a week in that kind of work, right? So because of that, I was able to sell it and I really wanted to get out, I didn't like it. I didn't like going up on the roof. So I didn't like you know, having to risk other people going up on the roofs and if something bad was to happen, there was just a lot there that I really wasn't comfortable with.


So I just wanted to get out of it and the same was with the Christmas light installation company that had as well. I had that for about 23 years, a very lucrative business. But I wanted to get into digital marketing and that's how it started. So, my first client, I met him at the window cleaning the huge convention which is a window cleaning pressure washing convention that they hold every year, went down to New Orleans and met Kevin and he's still my client to this day. But I talked to him about the fact that I'm doing all this stuff.


We were friends and associates through our Facebook group. Knd of just chatting back and forth when I had my window cleaning business And I told him I'm getting rid of it and I want to get into digital marketing, would you be interested in me building you a new website? Because his old website was not, it was like from the 90s almost, it seemed like it was just this tiny little square in the middle of the window and you had the tabs on the top of that type of website, right?


And I was like I could build you one better, right? And at the time I thought a full-page website with all the services on it was the answer, right? Single page website and it went for a page like for a long time, like all the services have their own sections, you know what I converted really well and he was actually getting more business than he had before. But see I was learning right, I was kind of you know, and I was taking these courses and I was doing all these different things learning SEO and you know, and he was very patient but he was very happy to do it because it was already helping him right away, so it was a win win on both sides.


And so that's kind of how it all started and um he was more like my guinea pig this whole time right? Like and he's still with me, So now he's he's grown from, he was stagnant, he was at $300,000 a year, $350,000 a year for like 30 years. And then when we started he started with me we were doing all this stuff, building, it getting into SEO and Google ads and all these different things and now he's at about $850,000, so he's like almost tripled his business since being with me and it just goes to show that it's not me that did this, it's digital marketing, but I was just the tool to help him through that, right?


But it really worked out in both our favors. So now he's just you know happy. I don't know if he'll ever go, like I don't think he'll ever leave because we have such a good relationship now. It's just so amazing. In fact, that's one of the biggest things that I like to have with my business is a relationship. Digital marketing is digital marketing, anybody can do it, you can hire anyone and they can do it. But it's about having that trust and having this relationship, I think that's really helped my business so far.


Natalie: That's awesome. So when you're talking about those relationships, how do you bring in new customers right now? Do you do a lot of inbound outbound or a mix? How do you start to build those relationships? 


Rudy: Yeah, it's totally a mix. Originally before I had a legacy agency and that's where Kevin kind of still senses in my legacy agency and then I was reaching out to landscaping companies and bless their souls. I love them, everything is great, but I feel like some of it is still antiquated if that's the right term and you know, there's a lot of traditional ways of doing things that, you know, a lot, a lot of them are buying into the idea of digital you know, a lot of them referral based and you know, they really have and you know what, maybe there's a lot of trust problems there too, and you know, maybe if I spend more time trying to show them that there is an agency that cares, you know, I would have stayed in that industry, but at the end of the day I just didn't. Every time I talk to them that didn't seem like there was, they were seeing enough value in it, so maybe that was on me, but you know, at that, at that time I just decided to switch to concrete coating and you know, already, I feel like, you know, a lot of them are buying into the idea that digital marketing is the solution to grow their business very quickly and that's the important thing and they get it right.


And so that's kind of why I switched to concrete coating, I have a client that you know, you know, lee baker from your one day floor. He's been awesome and, and he has this, this and I'm going to kind of give him a little bit of, what do you call that? Yeah, Kind of boost in this podcast, right? I'm going to tell him, you know, talk about him a little bit because he's, he was able to grow a business concrete coating business from barely anything to over two million in three years.


So he has this strategy to take all of what he created and mentor people coming in, like, you know, people who want to get into concrete coating, previous business owners, business owners who were from pressure washing and window cleaning or even landscaping. They're buying into getting into floor coating concrete coating because it's so lucrative and it's such a good business model and it's scalable, right? And so he's going to take all of that and he's going to teach people and we're going to I'm going to do the marketing for him, right?


And so we have this joint venture, so that's where a lot of the business is coming from, is this joint venture that we've been working on together. And so I really feel like Bill, that's why relationships are important because had I not built a really good solid relationship with lee this, we wouldn't be in this position, my agency wouldn't be in this position where we're going to have that. So I really strongly feel that, you know, having relationships is important. 


Natalie: I think those JV relationships are something a lot of agency owners overlook, especially in part, I think a lot of folks are reticent to give part of their revenue to somebody, but to have that lead generation coming in for you, where it's already on a foundation of trust is such a game changer, I feel like if more agencies took advantage of that and they're not easy to get like, you know, you have to learn that 


Rudy: I happened on this honestly, like I got lead from a referral from a landscaping company, right?


Go just the flow of it kind of just was weird, right? But I think it comes from building the relationship, but I also will say that I don't think we necessarily have to give up portions of your revenue. I just think that there has to be an equal compromise, right? So for example, he's going to be handling different parts to help them out and he's going to benefit from that, right? So I haven't didn't have to give any of my revenue up to example, right? It just works out better for him because he's going to be charging them some kind of, you know, nominal fee every single month to be able to provide them with the coaching and the facebook group and providing them with a few other services that help them grow their business because when you come into four coding or concrete coding, you know, nothing you don't know about, you know, what about the diamond, the diamond standard, right?


You know, those different things that are involved with, you know, prepping a garage floor, for example, like these guys coming in, they don't have a pressure washer, but that's it. So he's going to be teaching them all of these things. So this relationship on that side and that's the thing, like you have to be open to coming up with ideas. You don't necessarily have to lose revenue. I don't think, I think that there is opportunities on different stages in different channels, if you're willing to be open to accept that 


Natalie: So you found something truly mutually beneficial between the two of you?


That's awesome. So you have that one source coming in, What are some of the other sales hurdles that you've hit as you've been doing this over the years? And what tactics did you use to overcome them? 


Rudy: Well, one thing I do know is marketing for my agency is a completely different ballgame than marketing for my clients. That's one thing that really punched me in the face right away, like I got my teeth kicked in, right? I thought it was gonna be well, if I can do it for my clients is going to be no brainer, I'm going to have a, you know, million dollar agency in no time, Right?


But turns out it doesn't necessarily work that way. So I think that the biggest struggle is outreach cold outreach trying to get them to buy into somebody that they don't even know who the heck you are, where you're coming from. So not saying that doesn't work. I just think it can take some time. Right? I think Facebook and a joint venture for me is definitely the way to go. Facebook has its ups and downs too, if you don't have a customer list that you want to import then you want to just try to figure out a different way that's going to take more time. Right?


So I think Facebook for me has been good so far. And if anybody has any revenue or capital or extra money that they can throw at Facebook to get more clients, that's definitely the way to do it. 


I think I will have to say one thing. It's officially raining outside. Yeah, it's the first time it’s raining here and this is the West Coast in three months. So we have massive fires in B. C. Over here in Vancouver massive like we were all worried that we're gonna get wiped out because it's not bad and it's finally raining.


Yeah the tables have turned yep 


Natalie: We're waiting for the same here in Park City, we've got a fire about three miles from where we are. 


Rudy: is it coming your way? Is it still coming? 


Natalie: Thankfully, no. Thankfully the winds are in our favor so we'll keep sitting tight. So these podcasts are a great distraction. 


Rudy: Yeah, as long as you don't wake up smelling like you're still camping because that's what it’s been like.


Natalie: I'm glad to hear that there's been rain. What a pleasant surprise. That's awesome. So what I do like to do is ask every person on the show three different questions.


So let's see, let's start with the first one because this is my favorite, what's the worst sales call you've ever had. 


Rudy: Oh I've had one time I made a phone call asking for the director of marketing of a landscaping company and was able to get through past the receptionist and I really fumbled on myself when I was, when she finally answered, I was surprised. I thought I was going to get voice mail. She actually picked up the phone and she was like, who is this, what do you want?


And I said, oh hey, it's Rudy from landscaper marketers because that was my agency at the time and I didn't even have get two seconds like it was, I was like, I don't know what I want, right? I forgot because I was so surprised and I never heard the sound of a hang-up that was so loud. I just wasted her time. She was, obviously there were things going on on their end of things right that I didn't know about. And that's the hard part was cold outreach, right?


Because you don't know what's going on on that side of it, so don't take it personally if you're going to have something bad like that happened because it might not necessarily be about you. 


Natalie: Yeah, we'll all get hung up on at some point. I like the people who can tell right away what you're calling from hang up before you can even say anything that wasn't the best. 


Rudy: Let me just say it took a couple of hours to calm down from that. 


Natalie: I always need to take that pause to recenter and then try again and keep trying, yep. So I know you've got your 75 hard that keeps you grounded. How else do you stay focused with all of the things that have to happen as an agency owner? 


Rudy: one thing I've been doing in terms of trying to make sure that I'm getting things done is I create a 90-day plan. I just write down all the things that are bugging me, all of the things that are pending, all the things that I know I have to do that are going to help move the needle forward.


So it just gets it out so I don't feel stressed. And so I put that, I go in 90-day plan and I put the date on it and when it's all due, right? So I can write a 90-day plan tomorrow and it'll be 90 days from now. So that's the nice thing about it because there's always going to be new things that come up. So I do this 90-day thing and then I break it down. So now I go, okay, what are the made the priorities that I need to get done right now?


But I know I have to do it like I'm feeling guilty about this kind of thing and so I'll take that and I put it in a 30-day plan and then from there, I'll take the priorities of those and I do my top three for the week. So if I have a big one, let's say if it's dream 100. We all know that dream 100 takes an awfully long time, especially if you don't plan it. If you're just like, you gotta do my dream 100 Well, yeah, it's going to take you months to get that done.


But if you break it down like this, then you can say, okay, my top three for the week get 25 more contacts for my dream 100 Right, Okay, so that's part of the dream 100. And if I have other things that I need to get done, let's say, develop my program and packaging. Okay, so that's the next one. So come up with the budget sheet, right? So that would be. But then even within that, there you there's still extra things that you can do, right? So, if the budget sheet is, it's pretty um broad, that's a broad task.


It's not something that you can get done necessarily in one day. You could, you could, but, you know, if that's still too overwhelming ideally what you can do that because I do, like a top three for the day, right? And I always write those top threes the night before. So at the end of the day, today I'm gonna be writing down what I need to do tomorrow, and so I continually try to make sure that I'm doing that and I feel like that really keeps me on part and so then if things do come up, there's still room because I might get my top three done by the end of, by the end of the afternoon or early afternoon, there's still extra time, then I can go and I can continually work on other things that are still pending or if there's some fulfillment problems and whatever.


I think ideally it's just good to take chunks and break it down throughout your day, so that you're getting at least some of it done and if you do that over time then it gets done, right. 


Natalie: So being really specific something that you can ensure you can actually get done in the course of the day versus just that overarching task here, is that piece of the task I can actually get done. 


Rudy: Yeah, I think there's a common misconception about when they say take massive action, that that's almost like overwhelming in itself, right, take massive action.


Okay, well, good for you that you can do that. What does that even mean? Right. Well, in my, my opinion, like when every time I think about taking massive action, I get stressed out nervous, I freeze up, I don't take any massive action at all. Right? So I think what that means is to take the project or a thing that you need to work on and just break it down. So it's editable, right? And then that's taking massive action, right? Because if you're still doing it. So if you do it, that's a massive action in my opinion.


Natalie: So you seem to have a really good setup for success. And my last question is how do you deal with failure? 


Rudy: Not very well, I hate failure. Failure is one of my is not a triumph at all, but you know, I'm learning, honestly, I'm learning about it. You know, I know failure always tends to lead to growth and you know, you become something better because of it if you're willing to accept that. Yeah, I used to get really, really hard on myself and I would beat on myself for weeks about something that didn't work out, but I don't have control necessarily over the outcome as much as I do, how I react to it.


So I feel like, okay, that happened. That sucked. Okay. It's done though, so I can't focus on that anymore. Let's just solve it and move on, right. It's taken a long time for me to get there, but it's still a work in progress, right? Things happen in business all the time, especially on the client-side with comes to fulfillment. You might drop the ball on something, right? Well, now you got to figure out how to explain that, right? I mean, you got to fix it, right?


And then you got to come back and build that trust with them again. Right? So it's a long thing. That's my biggest fear actually is failing my clients, right? That's the biggest one. You know, if I dropped the ball on my own agency and something, okay, that's easier to handle. But my biggest fear is failing my clients because I want to establish a good relationship. I like making people happy and I like seeing, I like seeing them grow and I like seeing their lives become something better because of what we do.


But that's important to me. It's one of my core values. So when it doesn't go that way, right? And that's, that's a big problem for me, right? So I really stew on that for too long and you know, so I gotta work on that a little bit more. But you know, there's a lot going on there too. 


Natalie: Well considering your clients are sticking around as long as they are, I think you're doing a pretty good job. Go, Rudy. That's awesome. Well, this has been a blast to chat with you.


I really appreciate you joining us today. Any last words of wisdom you want to impart for other agency owners? 


Rudy: Yeah, don't give up. Yeah, just keep going. Sometimes you have to pivot and I am definitely one to say that it's okay to do that. But um, but that doesn't mean you fail, just means you're finding a better opportunity. So just don't give up

Natalie: Yeah. Isn't that the truth? Well, thank you. Rudy. We appreciate it. And I'm sure we'll have you back sometime soon. Thanks, everyone.