Jason Swenk | How to Scale Up an Agency Business in an Economic Downturn
Jason Swenk

Jason Swenk is the host of the Smart Agency Masterclass Podcast where he interviews successful digital agency owners on how they started and grew their agencies. He started his career right after college and worked for Arthur Anderson as a Web Developer before launching his own digital marketing agency.

Apart from being a podcast host, he is also a creator, a speaker, and he is an agency advisor who is passionate about helping agency owners find the freedom to scale their agency so they can do what they love.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Jason Swenk discusses the different kinds of opportunities people can take advantage of during an economic downturn or recession
  • How businesses should treat their current clients in the face of probable recession and why it’s important to adapt to change
  • Lessons Jason took away from his past experiences where he proactively growing a business in an economic downturn
  • How podcasting has helped build Jason’s network and grow his business
  • The importance of creating and offering a ladder framework for your business
  • How a business can differentiate itself from other players in the market
  • Jason’s motivation for moving away from events-based revenue resources in his business
  • How businesses can position themselves to charge premium prices
  • Jason discusses benchmarking and how it can help you track client progress
  • The people Jason acknowledges for his achievements
  • How to connect with Jason Swenk

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network. 

To learn more, go to Rise25.com or email us at [email protected]

To learn more, book a call with us here

Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and done-for-you podcast services. 

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Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 00:40

All right. Welcome, everyone. John Corcoran. Here. I’m the host of the smart business revolution podcast where I talk with CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies and organizations like YPO eo Activision Blizzard, which is the world’s largest video game company, lending tree, Open Table x software and many more. I’m also the co-founder of rise25, where we help to connect b2b business owners to their ideals. prospects. And I’m excited today because my guest is Jason Swank, who we’ve hung out in person a couple of times before a big fan of his podcast. So we’re gonna be talking about that as well now, and he’s a bit of an expert, especially with agency owners, so he scaled up an agency and exited it. And now that’s what he does is he helps agency owners to do the same.

So we’re going to be talking about that. But first, before we get into this interview, this episode is brought to you by rise25 media, which I co-founded, with my business partner, Dr. Jeremy Weiss, who is also interviewed, Jason and our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners and customers. We do that through a done for you podcast solution, and I firmly believe that you have a business, you should have a podcast period. I know Jason agrees with me, because he has gone hook line and sinker into podcasting. And I know that he enjoys it, because I’ve listened to a lot of his podcast talking about it as well. So I know you would agree, Jason. Yes. Something you’re doing.

Jason Swenk 01:52

No, absolutely. Not like you told me to disagree. Yeah, I agree.

John Corcoran 01:57

Yeah, totally. So you know, I volunteer Been to people’s weddings, you know, so many great friendships and connections and stuff that come from it. So I’m, I’m an evangelist, whether people work with us or not. So if you want to learn more, you can go to rise25 media.com All right. So Jason, excited to talk to you here and what you’re focused on now. You know, you had this past life scaling up and agency in Atlanta. And now you’re I think you’re pretty much settled and Durango now or splitting your time at least you were for a while between Georgia and Durango, Colorado, focus on the Smart Energy masterclass, class, podcast and related businesses. So tell me a little bit about what you’re seeing today. And as we record this, this is a really interesting time to be recording this because this is March of 2020. A couple of days ago, the stock market took a massive tumble. And, you know, the coronavirus is everything everyone’s talking about right now. And so there’s a lot of unknowns that are happening. But you say that from an agency perspective or from a business perspective, you know, there are opportunities even in a downturn. So let’s talk a little bit about that. Because I’m sure I know you weathered some downturns with your business as well.

Jason Swenk 03:11

Yeah, I mean, when I ran the agency, I went through a couple of them, right. Like I started my agency in 1999, when al gore invented the internet, right, like so. We went through the dot bomb, we went through 911 we went through the financial crisis in eight, and I gotta tell you, every one of those we grew and everybody’s like, what, like how and like even now like we are going in a recession and I’m happy for it. I’m literally like static because I know what’s going to get rid of all these fake, you know, pieces of you know, you know what, and the cream will rise to the top like I literally just got off about an hour ago with my mastermind. These are all experienced agency owners. And so that was kind of the talk. We were all like, well how’s the coronavirus affecting you like we’re starting to see some agencies say that they’re losing clients or people are pulling back and spend. And so we just went around. And one of them, who we share in common, they were like now people are going to travel less, and they’re going to be driving more. So they’re going to be getting, you know, and more car wrecks. So it’s good for my client hits, right. Another one was like, Oh, they keep canceling events, because the market that they go after is kind of laggards, right? And they generate a lot of business by going to trade shows and events. They’re like, Well, now that all of these things are getting canceled. They’re looking at us to do digital marketing, right? So there’s always an opportunity, you just have to be resourceful, and figure that out, and invest in it. Like every recession, we went through. I started scaling up like I scaled way back before the recession on Facebook, and LinkedIn, and YouTube like literally what kind of non-existent Because everybody was advertising on it. Now everybody’s pulling back like in the past week. I’m like, screw this, we’re going to turn it on, like my cost per leads go way down. Like I’m like, I’m loving it. Like, I always do the opposite of everybody. And you got to stop watching the news because the news is just designed to make you fearful. And if you’re fearful, you’re going to keep watching because you’re like, what do I need to do next? I need to buy a gas mask. Like literally, I was coming back from Durango to Atlanta. And all these people are wearing these masks like, therefore keeping like particles out. Like when you’re like doing sheetrock, like they don’t even have the right masks on. Like, you’re not allowed to breathe out. So that actually helps me out. But you’re still breathing and all that other stuff. And I’m like, Look, 80% of us are going to be perfectly fine. It’s the elderly and the older that I worry about and I pray for. But if you’re healthy like Dude, like just keep going like the flu kills more people than the corona.

John Corcoran 05:57

Yeah, there’s a lot of definitely a lot of unknowns. As well, you know, the fear, I think is just around people who don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future. Let’s break this out in terms of from a business perspective, what businesses should be doing. I was at a gathering yesterday with about 5050 business owners, some of whom were saying, you know, they were like event-based businesses. There was an event production company, there is a company that’s primary product is an annual conference, which had happened a couple of months ago, but now they’re looking at, you know, other events are being canceled. Companies are not spending money on sponsorship. So they’re looking at reinventing their business. But let’s start with how should businesses treat their current clients heading into what looks like a downturn or reception or recession. And then secondly, we’ll talk about more outreach and adding clients.

Jason Swenk 06:46

Well, it’s all about educating the clients like they’re going to initially freak out and going, we need to hoard our money. And that’s actually a huge mistake. Because if you’re just sitting back doing nothing, you’re going to die like little It’s going to go backwards. Like, you have to keep reinvesting. But it’s going to get so cheap, like, everything’s going to get cheap for the ones that want to take advantage of it. And I always tell everybody, I’m like, Look, I choose not to participate in the recession. But actually I do. And I’m actually going to take advantage of it. And I’m going to benefit from it. And I’m going to show people how to benefit from it. It’s just, it’s about how you look at it. It’s like glass half empty, half full, like, I prefer half full.

John Corcoran 07:33

Yeah. So you talk about educating your clients because it’s interesting. I, I had a conference that we were planning to go to about a week and a half from now, which was canceled yesterday. And yesterday, I was talking to some people about it. And people were asking, so have you heard from this conference yet? And I said, No, we haven’t heard anything. And I thought it was kind of shocking. It felt like they were a little bit sticking their head in the sand. So it sounds like what you’re saying is really it’s about proactive education and informing the clients about what they should and can be doing maybe educating them about opportunities. Yeah, there. And yes,

Jason Swenk 08:07

you might have to, like, you’ll have to adapt. But you should always be adapting. Like I always when people say, Well, we’ve always done it this way. That means you probably need to change. And you’ve got to constantly be resourceful. It’s not like you’re not going to lose your business. Because of the market. You’re going to lose the business because you’re not resourceful or you haven’t adapted fast enough. You haven’t tried enough things, like everything that we’ve always done. I got huge into the mountains. That’s why we bought our place in Durango. Like, I didn’t get there. Like I built my house on a ton of noise and you can’t do that. Right? Yeah, like okay, well Screw you. I’m at the top now, like my house is on the Mount. So they’re like, here’s all the people that told me no or you can’t do that. So It’s just it’s how you look at it, like stop freaking out something that’s in the news. Like, I was, I did a video before this. I was like, Look, everybody watches the news when natural disasters happen. And I love Jim can Tory, right? Like we all want to believe like, what’s this guy gonna do? Like he’s gonna get hit in the head with the stick. Like we want to see this stuff, but it freaks people out you need to stop doing it.

John Corcoran 09:23

Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about also proactively building the business, growing the business in the face of a downturn. What were some of the lessons that you learn from, you know, your growth strategies that worked in the prior downturns? the.com bust the 911 to eight financial meltdown, what are some of the lessons you took away from those experiences?

Jason Swenk 09:45

Well, in the very beginning, like when we started the dot-bomb, and 911 that’s when we were small and agile, right? So a lot of the bigger businesses were going out of business, so then I could actually approach them. And and yes, I’ll admit it. We were the cheaper solution, but we didn’t win the race to the bottom, we, you eventually scaled up. Right? So we took advantage of that. So you got to look at kind of where the opportunity is. Or in oae we were just like, Okay, well, what strategic? What strategic path can we take now? If the financial markets crashing because that was one of the niches that we were kind of starting to get get in, we’re like, well, let’s, let’s go for technology and automating and, and really leverage what people were using in the business. So we were able to grow in that same thing. Now, like I was giving you examples of, you know, lawyers going after lawyers going after the health care market or pharma market or manufacturing, like, there’s always an opportunity, and you just kind of look for that. It’s different for everybody. Like, I can’t just tell you a silver bullet be like, right, do this, right. It’s more about kind of just being resourceful figuring it out. And I think also too, it’s about doing that. creating content, creating rich media content. That’s why like, I love doing the podcast, I love creating videos, because people can get to know you, rather than just understand the brand. So you’re actually building that relationship. And that’s what I love about what you and Jeremy do. Like, you guys are connected to everybody. Like you guys are amazing at building relationships. And I feel like in a recession or a downturn, if you can build the authority, you can build the relationships you can whether anything, right, like, there’s like people like with the relationships, you can reach out to anybody. And they’ll be like, yeah, let me do this for you like, yeah, and if you have the authority, people may not do business with you now, but they’ll keep paying attention, especially if the cost per acquisition is so cheap right now or the cost of attention is so cheap. They will remember you like I tell people most of the time before anybody gives me $1 They listened to the show for three years. Wow, three years. Like I love that because I love when people try to get in my market. And they’ll put out a course for like six months, and they’re trying to sell it through a webinar on a regular traditional funnel. They’re like, Ah, yeah, this is hard. Like, yeah, it is fun. Because you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, too.

John Corcoran 12:22

Right? You really have to love it. That’s for sure. That’s how I felt about it. I’ve been doing it since 2011. Now, and you know, I totally agree. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done does require some commitment and discipline. You know, you talk about the thank you for the kind words, by the way about, you know, building relationship building networks. Talk a little bit about for you what doing the podcast how that has built your network. And I know, you’re now you’ve scaled up and are putting out more episodes of building more and more relationships and what it’s meant for your business.

Jason Swenk 12:58

Oh, it’s I mean, it’s crazy. So I remember when I first got into podcasting, it was by accident. As I remember, it’s just a theme

John Corcoran 13:05

with you in any kind of business, by the way, recurring themes.

Jason Swenk 13:11

I’m not smart, I just can kind of read between the lines, like that kind of lines up. So I remember what when I sold my agency, I started talking to a couple old competitors. And we were just chatting about agency life. And I was like, let me record this. Maybe someone would want to hear this. And we did this over Google Hangout. And I remember a mutual friend. I think Jean Hammett went that you know, and he went to me was like, well, you should do a podcast on like, what’s the podcast? Literally, like 14. And I said, That’s the dumbest idea who is going to watch an audio file on your computer? That’s that was my experience with podcasting, like, watching Pat Flynn, who we both know, like, I used to watch his pocket look, you know, the little girl like, I used to Watch it. Yeah, it’s too stupid back then to be like, you can take it on your phone, right?

John Corcoran 14:04

Well, in fairness, though, it’s gotten easier to bring podcasts on your phone, which

Jason Swenk 14:09

it has. So maybe I wasn’t as dumb but, but I was like, That’s stupid. But let me try it like all I have to do is extract out the audio. And it started growing. And we’d always say, like two or three weeks ahead, and then last year, when we built our dream home in Colorado, I want to take off the summer. So now I have a plan I take off every summer, I don’t do anything. But I want the shows to continue. So we started batching them. And then we were able to kind of be like, Oh my God, we have literally two years of content reported. And I was going to your partner, Jeremy. I was like, dude, like, maybe we need to do two shows a week. And so we went to two shows a week and we’re still a year out, right? So it’s just it’s an amazing platform that you can connect with amazing people build relationships with you can learn a ton. Yeah, it creates amazing content. For people it’s like, I look at everything is what’s the resource I wish I had. That’s our Northstar. That’s our why. And yeah, it’s the coolest thing and it’s a great lead generation to like, definitely Yeah, if you notice like in the show like a lot of times I’d be like, oh yeah mastermind member, you know that like I’m literally subliminally doing the Coca Cola or the popcorn in the movies. So then after the show, they’re

John Corcoran 15:27

like you must be thirsty. thirsty. Speaking of that, I do have to say so I have to vouch for you because we purchased your digital product and forget the agency playbook. agency playbook. Thank you. We purchased that I highly recommend it to anyone listening. I told you this over email, but our conversion rate last month was 110%. What does that mean? That means that we actually had some people from the previous month, who held over then

Jason Swenk 15:59

how’d you get over 100 Because I

John Corcoran 16:00

know exactly what everyone says. But I remember listening many of your podcasts where you talk about, you know, people can get up to 80% closed rate. And I thought, that seems crazy, you know, but it’s absolutely possible. So

Jason Swenk 16:12

it is like it just you have to have the right system in order to do that, in order to write and it’s just like everybody, it’s just we’ve always done it this way. Like, I was just working with a mastermind member earlier, and their close rate was 25. And I was like, Look, it’s all about changing your offering, right, like an agency playbook. I talked about, like, having that offering ladder, and like making it easy decision for someone to try you out. Yeah. And then once you show results, you can go up and up and up. And that’s when people are like, yeah, it works. I’m like, well, like, were you like, why are you so surprised?

John Corcoran 16:48

That’s an interesting point. So yeah, I’ve had that conversation with a number of people about this idea of like, allowing people something less expensive to try you out, so to speak. Try the milk Before you buy the whole cow, and a lot of times people’s objection is well, I have a very high priced offering, I want to attract a very, you know, affluent clientele or whatever. And so they’re worried or they maybe haven’t figured out how to break off that particular piece. And this is obviously this following your advice is the way that we sell now, we found it’s been tremendous, but it did require some digging. I mean, it’s probably been about a six-month process of trying different things and implementing one change at a time. So you don’t get totally bogged down and confused about what you’re doing and just kind of isolating that one thing. But So talk a little bit about that philosophy. And some of the objections you hear and how you guide people into that. Yeah,

Jason Swenk 17:42

well, I’m glad you guys use the framework right and you built on it like and it’s never like, one size fits all. Like that’s how I always tell everybody there’s no such thing as a silver bullet. Like I love when people sell the silver bullet. Just take all the silver and put a crate your own damn silver bullet. So like the methodology is think about, like, I don’t care how much money someone actually has. Everyone wants to get a good deal and make a good decision. Right? And so if you have a huge offering, so let’s say you go to someone you’re like, like, one of my clients, I remember he, they did SEO, right? Get people on the top of the rankings for people that don’t know what SEO is, right? And so they sold normally $5,000 a month. And they would be a month, because that was an easy decision. Right? People can cancel at any time. I’m like, well, that kind of sucks. Like that’s kind of like, like, especially in SEO, like you’re building the foundation. And then they can cancel after you build the foundation. So basically, I can start paying a car payment, and then stop paying to say I’m canceling but I keep the car like

John Corcoran 18:47

that’s not right. It’s a great analogy, by the way, people totally get that usually. Yeah,

Jason Swenk 18:51

yeah. And so and what we found with this particular agency is people were canceling out about six months, so they were only making Like 30,000 per account that they would sign on, and they were, that’s a whole nother they were leaving, right? They didn’t understand the value. That’s a whole nother podcast interview. So I said, well, let’s do this, let’s break off a part of an offering that you’re probably giving away for free now, like in the prospecting stage. And so get with them and say, you know, like, and we all look at the particular clients, and we have to gauge them and saying, is this going to be our perfect client, if they’re not a perfect client run. And if they suck at being a prospect, they’re going to really suck at being a client. And so, if they do align well, and you would say, look, based on everything you told me, what I recommend is let’s do this pay blueprint strategy. We’re going to map you out a plan that you can attack so if it was for you guys, I would say we’re gonna map you out a podcasting platform for creating content and leads. Is that good for you? Right? Like, and that solves a problem. Okay? Yep. All right, good. Well, we do charge for this, we charge 20 $500 for this. And the reason why we do is that it’s worth it. And we want to make sure you’re serious. Now, there are possibly three outcomes, that’s gonna happen. One, you love the plan, you go execute it yourself. If that’s the case, I wish you luck. Great. Happy to help, too, which is the most common, you’ll love the plan, you want us to execute it for you, which is most common. Third, you don’t really like the plan, we give your money back. There’s nothing for you to lose. So what we just did there is we overcame their objections without them asking. We made it an easy decision for them in order to engage with us because now, if they give you money, they’re 20 times more likely to pay you again. Right? And then what you do from there, once you go through and you map out that plan, and then you go to them, you’re like, Alright, and you have to build it with them. That’s the thing, right? You can’t just go off in your little longer, they come back from SEO Moz. And all the all these great tools like, here you

John Corcoran 21:05

And why is that? Why do you say is it because they don’t value it? If they don’t, they don’t, they don’t kind of they’re not seeing how you work. They’re not getting to know you as well.

Jason Swenk 21:14

Exactly. That’s the whole point. You want them to enjoy working with the end, you want to enjoy working with them. Because if they suck in this process, like it gives you an out rather than canceling a 12-month contract that you’re like, Oh crap, they paid a year in advance. Now I got to deal with this. And it cost you way more money than giving the money back. Like, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given people money back, just get away from like, I don’t care if it’s 100 grand, like take it like a year off my life as you know, go have this money and go go go to my competitor down the road. I don’t like

John Corcoran 21:52

here. Let me introduce you. Yeah, let me

John Corcoran 21:55

accelerate the process. Really good. Yeah.

Jason Swenk 21:57

And so what you want to do is you want to build it with them, so they get more commitment. And then once you’re done building it with them, and along the way, you’re going to be like, hey, do you think this is a good move here? And they’re gonna say yes or no. They say no, you go, why don’t you think that way? overcome that objection, move on to the next. So then after you and you’re not making recommendations right off the bat, you’re just saying, what do you think if we did x, what do you think if we did y, what do you think we did Zeke? And they’re like, yeah, so now they’ve already they feel like they’re invested in it. Now, once you’re done the plan, and you have to know what you’re talking about to like, like, literally the for the people that there’s a lot of people that come to me, they’re like, I want to start an agency, but they don’t know how to do a service worth crap. And I’m like, No, like, no, go away like me. No, you have to know your craft. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Jason Swenk 22:47

And so after you build this with them, you’re like, do you think this is a good plan? They’re always gonna say yes, because you built it with them. And then you’re like, Do you want my help? And then those positions to the like a project or you could position To a retainer, I always say position it to a project. So what we did with that particular client charging 5000, so they charged 2500 for the audit, or the blueprint strategy, whatever you want to call it, and you can have multiple doors. And then we positioned a three-month project. So they would do 15,000, it was just the same price that he was doing. But while they’re in that project, we would be like, whenever you, whenever they would show results to the client, then we’d say, hey, let’s position the retainer, not waiting to the end. And then they were able to position the retainer for like 8750 for a year. So now rather than making 30,000 on engagement, now they’re making over 100 k per engagement by just changing that ordering. So and you have to modify it for whatever type of business that you’re in like, right if you’re listening to this, like my expertise is in like b2b services.

John Corcoran 23:59

Yeah, it’s It’s not going to work the same for a do it yourself digital course or product offering or something like a physical product type of offering or something like that. This actually this question probably relates to other industries as well beyond agencies. But, you know, you’re an advocate of not being the least expensive offering in the market, charging a premium amount. How do you do that in a commoditized market where there’s a lot of competition? How do you differentiate yourself?

Jason Swenk 24:30

Well, yeah, you never want to win the race to the bottom. Right. And it’s all about positioning really, it’s about branding. Like, I remember I interviewed Seth Godin on the podcast, and I asked him, I said, we’re talking about like, what’s a brand? And a brand is like that recognition. So like, if and he’s an example he goes if Nike or let’s say, yeah, let’s say Apple was going to create a Hotel, we would all know what that hotel would be like. Right? It’d be like why sleek, like one button, right? Like we can all visualize that. Yeah. But if Marriott was going to create a phone, we’d be like, What the fuck is like, it’s gonna have the worst customer service? Like, I’m not knocking you, Mary out. But right. Yeah, you have bad customer service. Right? And so you have to figure that or like, think of any hotel chain, you remove their logo and put it on another you would never know. Yeah, they don’t have a brand. They haven’t positioned themselves in a way to separate themselves. So in a business, I even look at it this way, especially well, when we used to have conferences as we’ll never have conferences again. That’s how I look at it now. Right? And I’m happy. Like I literally cut way back my speaking like, I’m like, Yeah, I don’t want to see anybody like I’m

John Corcoran 25:54

in by the way prior to the whole Coronavirus. Right? You made these decisions. This isn’t real. Indesit Yeah, yeah, it was like, sweet. Yeah. But, uh,

John Corcoran 26:05

yeah, like, by the way, I feel the same way. Because our business about three years ago was heavily into events, we were probably 90% of our revenue coming from events. And I was having more and more kids. I’m up to four kids now not anymore after that we’re maxed out. But um, you know, I was like, okay,

Jason Swenk 26:21

you know, how kids are made now?

John Corcoran 26:23

We figured it out. At this point. We’re like, Alright, so don’t do that. And no more children. So, um, so yeah, so for kids. And, you know, I was like, we were traveling too much. I want to do less of this. I want to be less dependent on event based revenue. So we had made the decision to scale back. And so this year evidence, you know, regardless of coronavirus, was going to be way less than 10% of our revenue and I’m so grateful now that I made that decision. But what motivated you to make that decision was it just wanting to be home more?

Jason Swenk 26:51

I wanted to be home, you know, if I was going to travel because I still travel back and forth half my time from Atlanta to Colorado and when I’m in Atlanta, all I think about Is Colorado. So I’m like, if I’m traveling anywhere it’s gonna be on the mountain. So like, Yeah, that’s it. Yeah. And yes, I have two kids and spending time with them. And my family is the most important, especially as they get older and older. Yeah. They won’t want to hang out with me later on. So, so

John Corcoran 27:17

I kind of interrupted you on the premium prices in a commoditized market discussion. So

Jason Swenk 27:22

yeah, so let’s say I go up to you at a conference. And like, this is how most people position their business. They go, Hey, john. My name is Jason. I’m the best agency advisor in the world. I sold a big business like I am awesome. Like you shouldn’t know me, like, do you want to know more about me? Like, you’re like, asshole Get away from me. That’s how everybody’s positioning themselves like they’re putting all the focus on them. They’re talking about their portfolio or whatever there is right there awards that their company has gotten. Rather than, like how you do it, right. You’re like, hey, Jason, why don’t you come to the conference and You know, anybody I can connect you with like, you guys are connectors, like that’s a huge superpower. Right? So like you’re connecting and what you’re doing by asking questions is you’re putting the attention on me. So I want to talk about me, like, that’s what we’re doing on the podcast. Like, I’m like me, I want to talk about me. And so you’re positioning in the right way. So Donald Miller has a really good way to explain it, where it’s kind of like Think of your positioning or your marketing in a way of a story. If, if I’m trying to sell you and I make myself Batman, that makes you Robin, you don’t want to wear the ugly green tights, right? on if you need to, I need to position myself as Alfred the trusted advisor, which makes you the superhero. Like you want to be the superhero, right? Yeah, doing that is asking the right questions. So if you like look at my website like Jason Swank comm go to the about page. I don’t talk anything about me until the very bottom Like, literally, I’m asking questions at the very top. Hey, do you struggle with growing your agency? Have you ever thought about selling your agency? Do you want to know how to build the lead? Like, boom, boom, boom? Well, you might be in the right place, I might be able to help you. Right? Like, I’m not saying, I’m not like the certain people we know in the world’s like, we’re the best. Those people will be nameless, but we all know who we’re talking about. Right. So and we’re talking about Mary out,

John Corcoran 29:28

of course, they’re crap customer service. Not very, we’re talking about some branding on workers.

John Corcoran 29:34

Mary, but yeah, you’re right. info-marketers, right.

Jason Swenk 29:37

Yeah. Yeah. So you know, it’s all about positioning. And when you position and know who your audience is, know, their biggest challenge and you ask the right questions like, what’s your biggest issue? How is that affecting your business? How can I help you? Right? kind of remember like in the playbook, I talked about the three eyes. What’s the biggest issue? What’s the impact on your business? How important is that to you? Those are the drivers of why people make decisions. And if you can solve them, people are going to pay anything to solve that. Like if I can. If I can solve your million dollar problem, and I charge 100 grand, and you have a problem with paying 100 grand, I’d be like, what am I missing? Hmm, you can get a 10 X on this.

John Corcoran 30:16

Yeah, totally, totally. We’re running low on time. So I want to wrap things up. But before we do that, I want to ask you one more question, which is, I know you are a really big advocate of educating your clients about where they were, and where they’ve come to, and how you’ve helped them and doing that, constantly, always reminding them of that, which is something I think we all could learn to do a better job of myself included. So talk a little bit about how to do that on a regular basis. Remember to do it, track it, all that kind of stuff.

Jason Swenk 30:49

Yeah, it’s called what I call kind of benchmarking, right, or I guess everybody calls benchmarking, but that goes back to remember my original client I was telling you about they lose their clients after six months. Because they haven’t communicated to the clients the benchmark, right? Because we all forget what everybody did for him yesterday. Like, right? Yeah. And so it’s always constantly every time you chat with him be like, like, whenever I start off my mastermind, I’m like, Hey, tell us a win since last time. Right? So everybody can celebrate it. And then we can actively know be like, Oh, how like, wow, they, they just made 100 K, let’s put that in there. Because I always base my pricing on the results that we deliver. Hmm. And that’s how I know or I asked my clients to be like, you know, we always like when you work with someone, you got to think they have a problem. You need to fix it. They’re trying to get somewhere. So you need to build this bridge, and you’re the bridge. And as soon as they get there, now you got to remind them where they came from, and what that pain did, so they don’t go back there. And then what’s the next step? So it’s constantly always just kind of, and it’s a really quick conversation to like, hey, john, you know, man, I’m thrilled About how your agencies progressed and closing like you used to be at 25%. Now you’re at 110%. Like, that’s fantastic. Its just something like that. Yeah, you’d be like, man, I really need to work. Keep working with Jason.

John Corcoran 32:13

Exactly, exactly. Well, Jason hasn’t been great. I want to wrap things up the question I always ask which is let’s pretend we’re on awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys, except, in this case, it’s in a beautiful little town Durango, Colorado, so you don’t have to travel you have to go big city. Now worried about hand sanitizer, and you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up to this point. What do you think were the people you acknowledge?

Jason Swenk 32:35

Well, obviously, family and friends first, but you know, like, they supported me through all the craziness ups and downs, but I would thank all the people that gave us the attention, right, all the agency owners that gave us the attention that invested, you know, with us, invested their time, most importantly, because that’s the most valuable resource we ever have. And, you know, invested their money as well because that’s just you know, All right. And because without them, you know, we wouldn’t be like I wouldn’t be fulfilled. Right? I wouldn’t have that significance again, because I always tell people like I felt depressed when I sold my agency because you have significance. Now I finally found the purpose of what we were really made to do in the second act.

John Corcoran 33:17

Yeah, that’s great. Smart agency masterclass as the name of the podcast. You can check it out there. Jason Swank comm I believe is also the website anywhere else people can go to connect or to learn more about you.

Jason Swenk 33:31

Swank it spiked out it is also URL links to vote the shows and that’s always just a funny URL. I

John Corcoran 33:40

like it. How long did you have that before you used it or did you use it right away?

Jason Swenk 33:45

Oh, I use it right away. I also own swank.me but like that sounds really kind of crummy.

John Corcoran 33:52

But I wouldn’t say that they’re both like the above board at all times depending on the polite company but between the two Okay, so I get that. So whenever like

John Corcoran 34:03

a little less confronting than Swank me, yes, I would agree with this blanket

Jason Swenk 34:06

if anybody gets offended by anything, like even when people go to like the mastermind page, like the first rule we have is don’t be a douchebag. Like if anybody ever gets offended by that, like, they would be horrible, like for the mastermind. So it’s

John Corcoran 34:19

a great point and a longer discussion about making sure people are qualified for you. And disqualifying those people who are not.

Jason Swenk 34:25

Exactly Yeah. So it’s, um, so I, you know, and I always tell people, like, just be yourself and you’ll attract amazing people that believe in the same things that are not identical to you like you don’t want that but all about like similar core values and that kind of stuff. Right, Jason, thanks so much. Thanks.

Outro 34:43

Thank you for listening to the smart business revolution podcast with john Corcoran. Find out more at smart business revolution calm and while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the Revolution Revolution, Revolution Revolution, and be listening for the next episode. So the smart business revolution podcast