They often say that this world is very small, especially the world of online business. When I go to conferences (or at least when I did go to conferences before COVID), I often get introduced to somebody, and we'll find that we've already connected before or that we have a second- or third-degree connection. Today's guest is someone I'd never connected with or even heard of long before we talked, but I'm so, so glad that we met because we had one of the best conversations I've had about lead generation in a very long time on the show.
His name is Anthony Sarandrea, and I'm so grateful he's joining us today because he is a master at lead generation. Anthony has a number of different businesses. One in particular, Pocket Your Dollars, helps people become the financial experts of their own lives, and generates a ton of leads doing it. He also helps other businesses generate their own leads, and he's got some systems and approaches that I very much resonate with—especially when it comes to immersing yourself into that space you're trying to get into.
Speaking of immersing yourself, you'll hear about a really interesting way Anthony did his market research: he literally became his own target customer on purpose. When it comes to lead generation, Anthony is one of the most creative and dedicated people I've met in the space. He knows the importance of remembering that your leads are real people and that you need to serve them if you want to succeed.
Anthony Sarandrea is recognized as one of the top customer generators in the world, specializing in the financial services space, running a team that drove over one million customers in 2020. Today, he runs a profitable portfolio of websites ranging from commerce to content blogs that combined reach millions of buyers every month and drive 4,000 inbound calls per day off of internal websites as an affiliate. He is consistently featured as one of the top “Under 30” entrepreneurs and was recently featured alongside Snapchat’s founder Evan Spiegel as one of the “Entrepreneurs Changing the World.”
- How to really get to know your target customers and what they want and need
- What “cost per acquisition tolerance” is, and why it plays a huge role in choosing a business
- Why Anthony believes the best way to sell is to help people
- The five-step formula Anthony uses to build effective cold ads
- The crucial psychological reframe you need if you have trouble asking for the sale
- How Anthony became his own target customer, and what he learned
- How to build the right commission structure for your product/service and salesforce
SPI 505: The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation for Your Online Business with Anthony Sarandrea
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he starts every day with five minutes of gratitude, Pat Flynn.
They often say that this world is very small, especially the world of online business, where everybody can find out who are the top players and who the best people are to learn from about certain things. When I go to conferences, for example, if I get introduced to somebody who somebody wants me to know, oftentimes we'll find that we've already connected or there's a second- or third-degree connection there. But I got connected to this person, and I’d never heard of him, but I'm so, so glad that we met because honestly, one of the best conversations we've had about lead generation that we've had in a very, very long time on the show.
His name is Anthony Sarandrea. And I didn't know who Anthony was; I had never heard of him before, but I'm so glad that we got to chat and to meet because here he is on the show now, and I'm so grateful because he is a master at lead generation. He has a number of different businesses. One in particular, Pocket Your Dollars generates so many leads, and he helps other businesses with generating leads as well. He's got some systems, he's got some approaches that I very much resonate with, especially when it comes to immersing yourself into that space that you're trying to get into.
And you'll hear a really interesting thing that he did with relation to how he did research and how he literally became his target customer purposefully, which when you think about it, and you'll hear it, it's maybe not a great idea in some cases. And he was able to take an L, if you will, so everybody else could have a W, if that makes sense. So anyway, Anthony, great guy, had a great conversation. I look forward to hearing what you think about this. So, let's generate some leads and remember those leads are real people, and let's serve them. So here we go.
Anthony Sarandrea, and that's where you can connect with him on Instagram, just Anthony and S-A-R-A-N-D-R-E-A. I even asked him, "Do you have like a book or a website or anything else you want me to push out for you?" I mean, I want to give back because this episode's been great, and he's like, "Nah, I just want to connect with people." Man, real guy. All right. Here he is, Anthony Sarandrea.
Anthony, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for joining us today.
Pat, thank you, brother. Super excited to be here.
So lead gen is your thing. This is something that most of my audience knows about, they're trying to tackle. It's very hard to master; you've mastered it. And I'm going to ask you all the questions today so we can unpack how we can get more leads. Now, where would you even start with this? We have all different kinds of businesses. Where do we even begin to go, "Okay, how do I get the most well-qualified leads to come into our business?"
I think it starts with understanding that question right there: What and who is the best-qualified, highest lifetime value of a customer? What do they look like? How do they act? How do you talk to them? Because every business, let's just use auto insurance as an example, like someone who is a 30-year-old guy that isn't married, that rents a home, you need to talk to him much differently than someone who owns a home, multiple cars, has a family. That's a more premium customer because they have higher rates, things like that. So you can pay more for that lead or that customer.
So understanding that is really, really the first step. I know that seems super basic—you're like, "No, duh." But I find so many businesses or affiliates or marketers don't spend the time. And I joke, I'm a method actor when I get into a new space, I genuinely say this, and I did do this, I strategically defaulted on my credit card bills when I was getting into the debt relief market because I wanted to understand the psychology of what it felt to get hounded by debt collectors and all this stuff. And obviously, it wasn't the greatest thing for my credit score, but it was an incredible experience for me to actually turn my phone off at night and be like, "I just did that because I didn't want a debt collector calling me at 6:00 AM." Like, whoa.
Think about how I can market so much differently than everyone else saying, "Our rates are here, or, it's a good time to do this or that." You're tired of having to turn off your phone when you go to sleep? It's much different creative messaging, audience set, landing page, just the entire funnel is just radically different because I actually truly understand what's making those people tick.
All that. So you actually became your target audience, essentially, in that method? Let's say, for example, somebody listening to this, they are a web designer, and they help clients with their websites. How would a person like that really get into the heads of who their client is?
So I'd first start with, I'd look at my client list if I was in this case, and I'd say, "Who's paid me the most money? Who did I like working with the most? Got it. Is there anything that's overlapping around these? Is there industries or personality types? Is there even down to geographically, are they more East Coast people, more West Coast people?” I'm on the East Coast right now, I live on the West Coast, so it's a good analogy for me. "Who are these people, and where are they hanging out? How can I go find more of those?" So a lot of that I would say comes from conversations.
I would call those past customers you had, and really if you've never done this in a friendly way, just be like, "I really want to understand more about your business. Why did you choose us? Why are you here? What did you like? What did you hate? I'm not going to be offended. What did you hate about the experience?" Even just a simple one phone call, like literally an hour after you listen to this podcast, you call your best customer and really just talk to them for a full hour about no agenda, not trying to necessarily sell them or anything that, it's going to go a massive breadth.
But outside of that, let's say, you're a) just getting started, or b) you have customers, but they're not the ideal customers where you want to be. You need to get yourself in those circles, whether it's online or in person, if those conferences open up or whatever that looks like, to spend time around those. So a similar experience, like marketing with the Medicare market, like I can't make myself 65 and feel like what it feels to have a bunch of potentially health problems or scared of dying or whatever it is, but I go volunteer at assisted living homes, that's true. We'll go volunteer there, me and the team, some of the media buyers.
And we're there, one, because it's a nice thing to do and give back. But really, really selfishly, if I'm being honest with myself, we're asking questions and we're poking our target market. So it's spending time around the places that the customers you actually want to sell to and, or getting the psychology of the people that you've already sold to, you already have traction with, that's generally where I see the best place to start, is somewhere you've already, getting back to my first narrative, the customer you liked the most, the customer you made the most money from, and saying, "How do I go find more of these people? Who is that person?" To go find more of those people, if that make sense.
I love that. So you're immersing yourself in their world so you can understand them more. And I would imagine that some people listening to this are like, "Oh, aren't you kind of using them at that point?" Going into an old person's home, for example, and ask them questions. But in my eyes, yes, but so that you can help more of them. That's the response.
You got it. Well, it's funny because the word “sales” is a negative word by nature. I think most people think it's disgusting, where for me helping is selling. I think the best way to sell is to help people. So if you can help and add value... I joke, I say, business is a spiritual game. You have to add more value consistently to the most number of people in order to make a lot of money. That's by definition, find me a company that makes a ton of money that doesn't add a ton of value consistently at scale. That to me is spiritual by nature. So yeah, to be on the same page as you, yeah, it's going in there. I'm not using these people, I'm actually there to understand them better so that I can help them more.
And I genuinely believe the product and the leads and the marketing messages that we use help thousands of people a day. Like literally at one point, we would publish daily how much money we were saving people, and be like, "Oh, credit scores jump on average 40 points. We enroll 500 customers in the credit repair programs today. Okay. On average, 40-point difference makes the difference, I think it's a $40,000 difference over the lifetime value on a home. So 500 times 40,000, we saved people $2 million today." I'm doing quick math; I'm not sure if that adds up correctly. But that's the level of understanding we have of how much we're helping people. So that, “Ooh, are you using these people by learning?” No, no, you're not using them at all; you're understanding them.
I agree. And it's almost like, no, we're not using them; actually, we're allowing them to use us in a way. We're going to be the ones to actually amplify and help more people. I think that's cool. Before we move on, I want to know what got you into this? How did you get so fascinated with lead gen? What's your origin story?
Yeah, I appreciate that. I was doing door-to-door sales selling solar hot water systems in 120-degree Arizona weather, so I developed some thick skin pretty quickly. I stumbled upon this guy that was literally... Basketball is my first love, I joke, and I tell the story on all the podcasts, but he was shooting around on a Tuesday at a health club and I said, "What do you do?" And he said, "I work on the internet." I don't know what that is, but I want to do that. I was blessed enough to learn from him and eventually start my own internet marketing agency. So back to your question, before we started the web development shop, we started taking on anyone and everyone. It was like, "Oh, you need a logo? Got it. You need me to flip a sign on the side of the road? Got it."
Whatever you need, we'll do it, kind of thing. How we drilled down was that exact exercise I went through. We said, "Where do we make the most money? And who do we like working with the most?" And at the time, it was a fix-and-flip company. So it was a company that would buy a house, sell it to a wholesaler. And I said, "What's your budget?" And they said, "Spend to the moon if you can drive me a new customer under," it was like, "$4,000." I had never heard that. We were selling coffee cups; you had to have under a $2 cost per acquisition cut. So I was "Okay. Really really?" "Yeah." "Really really?" "Yes."
So it opened my eyes as far as what, in this case, services, products or services have such significant margins that they can afford a high cost per acquisition tolerance. That was for me where we first started, and then that's how we moved into the financial insurance space because there was such a high lifetime value of the customer that the cost per acquisition targets were just such a big breadth. And then I realized I didn't have to have someone pull out their credit card, I just had to have them take an action, fill out a form, make a phone call, whatever that action was. And so effectively, you're outsourcing a lot of the hard work of an e-commerce brand, which is get them to pull out the credit card.
I've now got a sales team that we're selling leads to that's frankly doing really, I would argue the lead generation is the hard part, but really the hardest part is you get someone on the phone and then it's walk them through to actually pull out their credit card at that point. So I got fascinated by those points. The last thing that I'll mention on the journey was, I was trying to differentiate myself as a marketing agency just because I'm assuming by that question, a lot of your audience works as service companies and potentially the online space, but I said, "How can I differentiate myself? Every other ad agency’s charging a percent of spend?"
And I said, "Well, what if I charged a flat fee," which first off added up to more than I would make on a percentage basis, and then I align, or at least it felt like that, and the intention was to align, but on this, through the sale, it was aligned with the customer. And I said, give me a percent of profits you make, or a percent of sales, you tell me what that looks like, incentivize me like a sales guy and my team like salespeople, and we'll run. And it was great. We were signing up people. We were a differentiator on the pile of, "Which agency am I going to hire?" So we're at the top because we were aligned with them, which we really were.
And I remember one day I got a check in the mail from that customer, it was I think $17,000, and I said, "Hey," I literally, I remember I called them up, I go, "Hey, your controller made a mistake." And he goes, "No man, that's your commission check." And I said, "Oh, this is awesome." So I fell into the idea of really productizing the service.
Congrats, man. That's wonderful. How long have you been doing this for?
I've been in the online marketing space for about a decade, and in specifically lead generation in the financial and insurance spaces, I think we're going on year six right now.
That's awesome. How has lead gen changed for you having gone through this for a decade now, it's I'm assuming very different with now social media and a lot of other things? Or is it even different?
Yes and no. I would say strategies stay the same, tactics change. So absolutely, yeah, there's a ton of tactics. I remember our first million bucks as a company, we ran Facebook lead ads and we'd run it through to text message and an autodialing software. And literally, we didn't even have a website. "What's a website? We don't have a website." It was literally Facebook lead ads through. So that tactic, we don't utilize anymore, it has changed, but the strategy’s still the same, and we can obviously dive more into that. But to answer your question, I think a couple of things. I think one early on, for me, we spent a lot of money on paid social, and that was almost frowned upon. I remember having to lean very heavily into SEO traffic and excitement around that.
And it’s almost—that narrative has almost flipped. When I go to a company now and I say, "We're paid social." They're like, "Oh, thank God. We can't figure it out. You guys are the golden child," where if I said that six years ago, they'd be like, “Lower quality, kinda crummy traffic. Okay. Got it. We're not that excited about it.” So that's been interesting as you ask that question to reflect on it. So I think the overall market's adoption, or I'd say from advertiser, meaning the actual companies buying the leads or things like that have put a significantly more preference on paid social and seeing the power of it versus it being almost like native, I think, a lot of way native traffic, a lot of people frown upon. They're like, "Oh, it's scummy."
This is so interesting. So first step, get to know who your target market is. Really get to know them, immerse yourself in that world, which takes a little bit of time. You may also already be in that world yourself, which can help you, obviously. What's the next step from there? How do we start to gather those people into a specific place? And then where do we put them? How do we lead this dance?
For sure. Yeah. And I just want to piggyback off your point, as far as you said, something really powerful, which is, “A lot of times you're the target market.” Don't quote me on this story, but I'm 99 percent sure this is correct. But I remember hearing somewhere, I think it was the founders of Uber or waiting for a cab and they're like, "This sucks." And they're like, "What does this suck about?" And they're complaining back and forth, back and forth. And that was the birth of the idea of, "Here's what we're going to create." And a lot of times I think some of the best businesses create solutions out of their own personal problems. So I couldn't second that more than what you said there too.
But as far as what's next, so you understand the customer to an intimate level. I think you're able to then not only decide on which audience targeting you're going to go after, but I think equally, if not more important is the actual creative or messaging in front of that. So for us, like someone who is in debt going through that process, I learned, I don't know if people listening are religious or not, but it's actually in the Bible, “You're a slave to your creditors.” It's very bad in religious standpoints. I grew up Catholic Christian, and oh my God, so many people's prayers in church is around finances.
So for me, I understood, "Let's just take that as a marketing angle if we're talking to marketing people here. Okay, got it, a Christian marketing angle." But that only came from the birth of understanding it. So tactically, what it looked was putting up ads and messaging around a middle-aged woman, who I knew my demographic was a woman for that product, particularly Bible belt Southern, she had a Southern accent, and I was targeting only the Southern states. And it was her talking about just the struggles she went through. So tactically speaking, as far as how a creative looks for us, first, we start with the hook. So I need to get your attention.
So if that's like, "Bam, something just... " It could be something so unrelated, it could be me biting an ice cube, anything that you're like, "Whoa," stops the scrolls, number one, for us by far. Number two, within second two to five maybe or two to eight, it's the benefit, very quickly. So, "You can get XYZ money back by this product." You know, stop the scroll, give me the benefit. Then at that point, we get into who qualifies for it, so the qualifier. So if you have over $10,000 in credit card debt, and you recently had a hardship or you were laid off from your job, whatever the qualifier is. So that's really the first, I would say the first one to 12 seconds of an ad. And then from there we get into the actual story.
So, “Before I [blank], before I took action, before I bought, before I called, I was in this place, and it's low point, low point, pain point, pain point, pain point. I was here, I was here. I couldn't believe this. I couldn't do this. I couldn't do this.” Resurface. Now, we're at maybe like 40 seconds in if I'm talking to a video ad on Facebook or Instagram, and then, “Here's where I am today after taking the action.” So really, that's like, what is that? One, two, three, four, five steps. It's like a five-step formula that works really, really, really well for us.
And I think if you study any advertisement that you took action on yourself, you're probably going to see a semi-similar formula there where they grabbed your attention very quickly, and then they locked you in a little bit more by giving you the benefit. And then they told you who is the right person for this, so it felt very much like, "Oh, this is for me," message, and then it took you on the emotional journey to where you actually click and take action. And of course they can do it anywhere along that cycle, but that's, generally speaking, that’s the format.
And thank you for that. I think it's very clear. Number one, stop the scroll. So you need to capture attention. I know this being a YouTuber, that the click and the title and the thumbnail is everything or else nothing else will even be seen. So that's really important. There's obviously a line there. I think a lot of people are afraid of being clickbait-y, but there's a balance there. I want to talk about that in a minute. Number two, sharing the benefit, or also why does this even matter? Why should they even continue to read if this isn't even relevant to what they're interested in. Number three, the qualifier. I think that's really interesting because that'll make people go, "Oh, well, that's me. Oh, you're talking to me. That's great." The story, this is where now emotion comes in. And then you had mentioned the low points and the juxtaposition between that and where they could end up, and then the call to action.
It's interesting because the way you were describing it to me is like, okay, if I'm going to run a cold ad, essentially, to somebody who hopefully fits that bill, that potentially could work, but then I'm also imagining, you know, if you were building an audience or community, this almost is the same thing; it just gets stretched out. First, we need a reason for people to come and enjoy the content. And then they're going to come in and read the content, they're going to now benefit from it and these micro moments along the way that all add up to now a transaction on the other end. Does it work the same way with audience building and such?
Absolutely. The only thing I'd add is for us specifically on retargeting, we call people out right on their face. So it'll be, "Hey, you clicked on and came to X, Y, Z site. Why didn't you call?” They're like, "Whoa!" And that works really well. So we're like, "Hey, you’re a subscriber on the Smart Passive Income Podcast, but you haven't bought XYZ?" And you're just like, "Whoa, what?" "What's stopping you? Maybe it's this, maybe it's that, maybe it's this, maybe it's that." And you're just answering what you know—all these people, I remember we made a nice hire over from a company called Tuft & Needle. They sold for hundreds of millions of dollars.
And the individual was very corporate. And I remember he was like, "Oh, we want to put a survey on the website." I was like, "It's going to kill conversion rates, dude. What the hell?" So we did it, thankfully, and I'm sure it hurt for a half a day or whatever, a day, and I was like, "That was so dumb. I don’t want to do that." The amount of feedback we got from just that pop up, like why-didn't-you-call survey, or why didn't you fill out a thing, it plays into almost every single creative landing page that we create today, because we literally got to get inside those people's minds as to why they didn't call.
So sorry, there's a little bit of a tangent off of what we were talking about, conversation, but yeah, overall, I think the formula does stick very strongly, even audience building. And it may even be, yeah, I would put an interjection of that personalization; maybe you even move that up a little bit more, and/or swap out the who qualifies with the personalization of like, "I know you're a subscriber of, or I know you saw [blank]." And gain, it brings back that relevancy to your point. Like if someone was like, "This product is for someone who just turned 30, who lives in Arizona, who's from the East Coast, but loves basketball."
I'd be like, "What is it? I'll buy it. I don't even know what it is." You know what I mean? The closer you can get to that, it's obviously very dramatic, but the closer, it's like, "Me, me, me, me?" You're actually standing out from the crowd of all the other noise and junk that's out there as far as marketing messages are concerned.
I mean, that just reaffirms our original point here, which is, you've got to know who it is that you want to speak to and immerse yourself so much into that. You had mentioned something really interesting, which was like, when it's a cold ad, for example, you’ve got to go, "Yo, you didn't do this? Go do this now." And I think for a lot of people in my audience who are more playing the long game, which, the long game is good, right? You're building relationships, you're building a brand, you are creating a lot of content, and unfortunately sometimes not doing the ask. Gary Vee, jab, jab, jab, right hook—a lot of people just keep jabbing.
How do you help a person who has been jabbing for so long, they've been providing a ton of value, they've built this audience, and they almost feel that when it comes to making a sale, it's almost like selling out? They almost feel bad asking for money. How do you speak to those people?
I think it's a psychological reframe. I remember when I was going door-to-door sales, I wasn't very good at it, and it was because I didn't believe in my product. And then in high school, I worked for Nike and I got no commission. And I remember I was the best sales person there because I thought you were an idiot if you didn't wear Nike shoes. And so for me, that sale, I could talk to you all day about Nike shoes, how good, bad, or ugly they are, but if you were walking out of there without a pair of Nike shoes, I literally felt I did you a disservice. I felt I did not do it right. So I think a lot of times, whatever you're selling, I think you need to sell yourself on selling it, sell yourself on the benefit of that.
If I had, let’s just say—I don't, but let's just say I had a course, and this course was going to teach people how to be a millionaire. I don't, but again, we'll use this as a silly example. If I really believe that everyone who watched this was in a much better place, financially, life, help, not as much divorce, suicide, depression rates, because they watched this, they were better family men, better health because they could work on their... I'm doing this on purpose, going down this rabbit hole, because I think that this is how you need to sell yourself on whatever you're selling, if it's a good product that you believe in. Maybe you're in the wrong business, maybe you're selling the wrong stuff, that's why you're not asking. But if I truly, truly believe that, you bet your ass I would be going up to every person in a Starbucks going, "Hey, hey, hey, you want to buy this? This is how it works, this is the thing." Of course, add value, add value, add value. But at the same time, how could I not ask for the sale if I knew this was going to change someone's life? And so I think it really takes that sit-down time with yourself and that face-to-face conversation: “Is what I'm selling adding value to people's life?”
And if the answer is yes, I think you really need to every day sell yourself on what you're selling, almost to a delusional sense. Again, hopefully you're using this superpower for good, not bad. Because plenty of people use the same delusional sense to bad. But if you really come from the right moral compass, which I believe most people do, and I'm sure on your audience too, but sell yourself on what you're selling, because if you're not asking for the ask, you are doing such a dramatic disservice to everyone that you're adding value to.
No, you're not, you're giving them tidbits, which is great in adding value, but you know your course, or your product, or your service is the real golden nugget, and you're not getting that in front of people? You are the worst person on the planet. And I don't mean that in a bad way. You should genuinely believe that you're the worst person on the planet for withholding this pot of gold from people because you're too afraid to ask, you don't believe in it. Again, back to the spiritual higher purpose here on this planet. Whatever reason you're giving yourself for not giving the ask, it's probably selfish. It probably comes back to a selfish thing.
And I’m hopefully being raw with people and they don’t take this as a disrespect and hope it's like a real thing. It's probably because, again, you're scared, or you want to protect your own ego. No person that's done an amazing thing in this world hasn't had enemies. And I'm not saying that like, “Go out and find enemies,” but whatever psychological reason you're afraid for the ask, I think when you spend time reflecting on it, you call it meditation, reflection, thinking, whiteboarding, whatever you want, when you actually spend that time reflecting, you not asking for someone to buy from you is actually one of the most selfish things I think you can do on planet.
That probably hit a lot of people in the gut right there. I hope it has, because that is something that when I first started creating online courses, I was very afraid to sell until I finally saw results. I finally saw some beta students get some results, and that's what finally gave me the confidence. And I'm thinking about it, I'm like, if you're selling something and you don't believe it in the way that you had just mentioned it, then why are you selling it? You either didn't create the best thing that you think could help people, and you might feel like a fraud because you don't believe it. You've got to believe it. I 100 percent agree with that. Thank you.
Let's talk about some strategy. This is your wheelhouse. There's many different strategies that work. What are maybe one or two different ways that we can, when we find a pool of our audience out there, what tools should we be using? How do we get those people into our programs?
First off, I hope that last sentiment, everyone knows came from pure love. That's just because I want to see everyone succeed. It's not good because I know it was a punch in the gut and I appreciate more in hindsight people that punched me in the gut growing up than the ones that just gave me a pat on the back and said, "Keep doing what you're doing." I guess no pun intended with your name. But to answer your question as far as strategies, even before we get into audience marketing strategies, things like that, I think a lot of times start with the offer, and where there's improvement points on that.
So if it's your own course, how can I increase the lifetime value of someone through this, coming through the courses? Where can I put upsells, downsells along the way? If it's a, choosing an offer, for me to auto insurance versus life insurance, versus this, which one can justify the highest cost per acquisition threshold, can give me the top salespeople to be on the phones with to remove any friction points, like an IVR or something in between? And again, I could talk in terms of e-commerce for [inaudible] or anything like that. But a lot of times, so many people are focused on the front end. How do I drop my cost per click 10 percent? Or how do I raise my click-through rate 25 percent?
That oftentimes, I think what dramatically moves the needle is actually on the back end more than the front end. So we can go down that rabbit hole all day long, and/or I guess in succession, some strategies on the front end that we use that work really well. I mentioned the formula on the actual video ad itself. Some things that we do that are a little interesting, even for our own services where we own the sales for, we own the entire process. We market as a third party. We're not actually marketing from the brand.
And I've seen a lot of success with that, even in e-commerce brands that I've consulted for, where they're not marketing as the product, they're marketing as a third party talking about it. So that could even look like a woman's face in the profile picture of the brand name. And maybe it's like mommycosmeticsonetwothree.com. I'm making some stuff up. And it's that page that's really promoting a makeup kit or something like that. And it's talking from a third-party perspective.
That's interesting, almost like as if they're an affiliate or an example of somebody in that audience, perhaps?
You got it. And it's funny because we started as affiliates so we had to do that. Not didn't have to, we could have put Geico's brand on there when we were sending leads to Geico, but we would lose attribution because people would go search it. So out of like an accident, we fell into this model of being an affiliate, and I've seen it work on my front end, actual companies that we own, where we own the call center and the service center. But again, back to e-commerce sites as well too, where you're an affiliate to yourself and you don't realize that a lot of big brands, the ones that do really well are actually implementing strategies like that today too, where they actually are advertising as a third party, but then it funnels into a very similar-type spot.
So, just as far as strategies to look at, one is the human aspect. Again, this is really, really in the weeds, but even putting a human face as the profile picture so it looks like a personal profile even though it's an ad coming down to, again, potentially coming off as a third party so that, “Your editors have reviewed this product and you love this, you compare it, you set up this way, because of ding, ding, ding, click here to come through, or call here, or fill out the form to actually get all the benefits we talked about that we saw as we went through the course, or the product, or the service,” or whatever that look like.
So I guess I'll pause on that, but those are just a few just off the cuff that might be helpful to people to at least test and implement.
Yeah, those are really interesting. And as far as the call, I'm curious because there's a lot of people here who are listening who have services and agencies that do coaching, where it's a higher-level price and it is very hard to convince a person, for example, on a webinar to spend $5,000 a month with you, for example, or something like that. So a call can do really well. I think the question I have, where do you find the sales team if you're not swimming in money and can hire your own? But where do you find people to help you with those calls if you don't want to do them all yourself, or if you want to start handing that off?
And how do you best train those people? Because I would imagine it would be difficult to tell somebody who doesn't know anything about my brand to sell my thing, versus if I just was on the phone myself, although that would drain me. Where do we go about finding people to close?
I think a couple of things. One, you and I chatted before this. We drive anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 inbound phone calls a day. And a lot of that comes from, we don't advertise the product, we advertise the results everywhere, and the benefits of this, and the lifestyle changes. So very few times are you actually being told, "Here's why, or how, or what you're going to go talk about." It's, "Do you have a car? Do you own a home? Did you pay over $100 a month on your auto insurance last month?" There's programs out there that can help you save money.
And really, GEICO's the program that can save you money. So that's one thing I just wanted to make note of. And I'm going to answer the call center one too, but as far as, I see too many companies and brands advertising the how and the what, not the actual benefit around it, if that makes sense. So they're too in the weeds of their own product or their own service where they're saying, "We do this and this and this." And people a) don't care, or b) really don't understand. So it's back to the web developer thing. I see, "We're the best PHP coders that code on Rails."
If you're a construction company that has a $100,000 budget to build a website, I'm just making something up, and it's a two-page website because your corporate told you to go find that, you didn't understand one lick of what they said there, one lick of what they're talking about, even though you might be all those things. Anyway, I wanted to poke that with people on purpose and be dramatic with it because I'd like for people to check themselves and say, "Am I too in the weeds of my own business that my advertising comes off like that? If I got this in front of someone at Starbucks, do they get it in a few seconds and understand it and say, 'That's interesting'?" You know what I mean? Let me pick up the phone, let me fill out a form. Let me download something, join the email list, whatever that is.
I saw this image the other day. It was like a picture of Mario, small before he eats the mushroom. So picture Mario small—that's your customer. Plus the flower, the flower that you get that makes you grow big and start shooting fireballs. Most people sell the flower. It's like, "Here's the flower. It'll help you do this, this, and that." But what you're actually selling is the result. You want to show people that they can become the firepower Mario. And that's the awesome thing that they do. That's going to be attractive. They don't care how they get there.
You make the sales call to help them understand that that's what they need, and there's alignment there, and they like the story, and you're trustworthy. “Oh, by the way, here's the flower that can actually do this for you. Go buy it.” Is that what you're saying?
I think it's beautiful. Yeah, exactly what you're saying. It's like lower an anchor into the ocean until it hits. I completely agree with you. Back to, how do you find, hire, train someone actually to sell your stuff. So I'm biased, I come from a sales background, but I'll share a quick story. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the founder of UGG Boots. Everybody knows UGG, of course. Brian Smith, he is amazing. A lot of people don't know his background. He was actually an accountant. His first day as an accountant, he quit.
He said, "I hate this." He said, "I'm out." And then he proceeded, it was like five or six, five years I think he went selling out of the back of his van. And I'm speeding up the story on purpose. And max he did was like $20 grand in sales per year, out of those five years. But he shared something with me. He said, "I think... " Oh, what's the exact verbiage he used? But it was essentially the idea that passions grow, is what he said. So a lot of people that fall into the fallacy that they're not salespeople. I didn't always talk as fast or as confident; it's something that can be learned and trained.
And I think it's very important for you as a business owner to even if you don't want to be selling full time. You know, there's a saying, “Sales cures all.” I think it's the highest-value activity most of the time. I think you can say that as a pretty decent blanket. In a business, the highest-value activity is sales. And if you are not at least good enough to hire for it, I'm probably a three out of 10 coder, but I can hire for it at that level. But I had to actually watch YouTube videos on how WordPress works, on how HTML works. I had to hire people, I had to hire a consultant.
I had to get around people to learn like, how does this work? How does coding work? How long should this take? I now know it in my opinion well enough to hire for it. And I think that's the message I want to preach over here, because… and we can get into tactically, you know, there's teams or agencies with this offshore, onshore, and we'll get into that. But I think it's really important to, again, that gut punch again too, back to understanding the audience. If you're not a sales guy, you're the product guy, you say, "I create the best product or the best service.” In order to create the best product or service, back to what we said earlier, I believe you need to understand that, understand what people actually want.
And in order to understand what people want, you need to talk to people on what they don't like and what they do like about what you have, what you don't have, and those anglings and things like that. So I think it's very, very important if someone's a one-man shop here or one-woman shop or whatever, and they say, "Yeah, you know, here's my business. I'm just not a salesperson. I don't sell. I don't like sales. I'm going to hire for them. I'm going to find someone for it." Which I'm not a salesperson, which, I hear you. I think you need to start sharpening that skill just as I had to become a product guy. I had to sharpen.
You know how tough it was for me to learn how to code and to get excited about coding, and oh man, it was a drag and a drool, but I like it a little bit now. And I know it well enough again, to hire for it and do it around it. And I can understand it more when people say this is possible or isn't possible. And I think that level, if we're talking to, starting out today, I think you need to get on the phones. I think you need to start selling yourself, start reading sales books, psychology books, even if you're the product guy, even if you're the developer, even if you're the coder. I think understanding that just as I had to go the opposite way is a necessary process in growing your business.
Now, tactically, how do you find and train people for that? There’s, at this point, I think in every bad thing in the world, there's incredible silver lining and beautiful upside. And one of that is the number of unemployed people today. And the number of people that don't maybe have purpose in life. So even if they're just getting a check or something like that, or whatever that looks like, there's people seeking for, to get behind a mission, and a goal, and being able to, and this is selling to in itself too, be able to find, even if it's a college kid or even if it's someone who worked in customer service and say, and I'm talking to like a one-man shop today, someone who can't just go hire out a big farm and go, "Let's do this kind of thing."
It's find someone who a) likes to talk. Me, I love to talk. I'd love to be on the phones for your product. That sounds fun to me, which might sound funny if you're a developer. You might be like, "How can anybody like that?" That's me. I kept apologizing to my bookkeeper, I was like, "Sorry, I'm making you do this. Sorry." She goes, "Anthony, I love this stuff. What are you talking about?" And I was like, "Oh." So finding people that actually enjoy those work habits, if you will, and seeing if you can get them aligned with your product or business. And you kind of have to sell them on selling for you, but it really starts with, could be a job posting at a college and saying, "Hey, commission-only salesperson or intern."
And you put them on the phone and start learning and start growing and getting excited there. Those are some really simple, simple, quick ways. Outside of that, there are now so many services, outsource companies that can be stateside or not, that are relatively reasonable that will take on products on commission-only basis as well, too. Now, you have to be good enough to help them understand why they should sell your product. But there are companies out there that will sell on commission only, or sell a small hourly plus commission, things like that. And I can send over after, you can put some of the notes, some of these company names that would be helpful.
But my real, real answer to your question, and it's not the answer everybody wants, is you. You need to start selling. That's where you should start. You should be the one on the phone, even if you hate it.
No, I appreciate that. Real quick, if you do find somebody, what is compensation like for those salespeople typically?
Yeah, I think our salespeople are a much different breed, and I can say that because I am, but I use a round number. Sales guys, person, girl, guy, he's going to make $80 grand this year; 40 of that is base, 40 is commission. And it's going totally vary based on the service, the product, the course, and their performance. And to answer your question, I would have some kind of base that covers necessities in life, but usually, it's a percentage or it's a flat fee based on the sales number. I hate the idea of tapping a salesperson. So you see a lot of companies having capped commissions. I think it's the dumbest thing on the planet.
I don't see why you would slow down a Clydesdale if they're running really fast. So my favorite thing is, I have my media buyers, I look at them as salespeople, but some of them make hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, more than most CEOs in the country, my media buyers make, because they're really salespeople for me, they're online sales people. That incentivization, I've seen their performance and the company's performance just by aligning incentives. For them, it's revenue minus ad spend, and then I build in all my other costs on there to say, "Okay, well, plus this kind of thing, you're going to get 5 percent profit."
We're going to call whatever the profit is, it's gross profit, not net profit, kind of thing. Short answer, there's no perfect answer to the structure, but generally speaking, a base that covers necessity and allows people to be able to feel comfortable. And then where they really make their money and their riches is on a percent or on a flat fee per sale, per this, per that. And you have to test it with your business. So you'll test it through time. I mean, I've overcompensated people where I was writing $80,000 month checks. And I was like, "Hold on."
I had to have a sit-down, and thank God, in this case, this person understood, we were able to get to a better compensation, but you might lose that person. Okay, they go somewhere else; they're used to making $80 grand a month, now, they're not going to make that anywhere else likely. So you'll make mistakes along the way just like any hire, just like any business, just like anything in life, relationships, anything, test, try. Most of your audience, it sounds like are internet marketers in some way, but it's no different than lighting up five different campaigns and seeing what structure ad set or audience works best or angle, same thing here.
So try out different commission structures, see which one actually takes and works, and you'll start to get a good cadence on what the right way is to hire for your exact product or service.
Amazing. Thank you, Anthony. Before we finish up here, you had mentioned that there might be some good books people can read about sales, and leads, and psychology of making money and stuff. What are some suggestions you might have for people?
I'm going to leave with one single book, because I think you get overloaded with stuff. Book called Youtility, Y-O-U-tility. It's by a guy named Jay Baer. It's actually a social media marketing book. So it's got a nice translate to everybody here, but the idea is it's helping, not selling. And I think for me specifically when I first read that book almost a decade ago at this point, it was—I read it because I wanted to learn social media marketing. But read it from a sales perspective and say, "This stuff not only applies to sales, but I think some of the best salespeople are that, the ones that come to help and not sell, to find the most success from that."
So it's a very interesting book for people that want to learn sales that maybe have a bad connotation around it, because the whole book is about helping. It's not, "Oh, I get Pat to say ‘Yes’ five times in the first sentence. Oh, now I got them hooked. Now, I can get them. Pull out your wallet." It's a very approachable book. Y-O-Utility by Jay B-A-E-R, Jay Baer, is one of the best sales customer service marketing books I've ever read, and it wasn't meant to be any of those, I don't think.
I love that. Thinking about it from a sales approach is great. Jay is a good friend of mine.
Oh, you know Jay? Very nice! Great.
Yeah. He inspired me to write my book Superfans after he saw me present on stage. So I owe him a lot. He's over at Convince & Convert, and he's a really good guy. So it’s pretty cool that you mentioned him.
Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah, yeah. It’s a book, I feel like it doesn't get mentioned enough, and I think it should.
If you ever go to a conference, you'll see him; he's one of the best dressed guys there. Dude, Anthony, this has been so great. Where should people go to connect with you? Where would you like them to connect?
You know, Pat, I'm pretty active on my Instagram, so if you just search my name, you can find me there and reach out with any questions. Like I was telling you before, I did this all for fun and to give back and it's a blast for me, transparently. So I get to every question. It might take me a few days, but shoot me a message, DM at anthonysarandrea.com. If you have any questions, happy to help any way I can or point you in the right direction.
Thank you. So that's @Anthony and then Sarandrea, S-A-R-A-N-D-R-E-A.
You got it, brother.
Got it. Awesome. And we'll have it in the show notes and everything. Bro, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for the gut punches, the tactics, and the reshaping of the stories we're telling ourselves. So we appreciate that.
All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Anthony. Again, you can connect with him if you'd like to chat on Instagram. And again, that's Anthony S-A-R-A-N-D-R-E-A. Anthony, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure to chat with you. Hope we get to chat again because I really love what you talked about, and I hope we can perhaps one day meet each other in person. And it seems like we got some close friends as well that know each other too.
Anyway, well done. Thank you. And I hope you all enjoyed listening to this show. Thank you again for just being here and keeping the show going and running. We're in September now, we're over 500 episodes, and we're running and gunning into the next 500. We're not stopping anytime soon, and we couldn't be more grateful for you and your support here at team SPI. And personally, just from my family and I, we just thank you so much for your support always.
Looking forward to serving you in the next episode. We got a lot of great stuff coming your way. And look out for the Follow-up Friday episode coming at you, a shorter episode, but just me coming up, and it should be a lot of fun. So I hope you enjoy it, and hit subscribe if you haven't already. Thanks so much. Peace out, take care, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess, our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.
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