A farmer since birth, Will Dukes now helps grow business through strategic alignment of their branding, marketing, and sales processes. Clients of his company, SalesPartners Florida, save thousands on ineffective marketing while simultaneously increasing conversion and profitability. He holds an MBA in Global Business Management has trained at national levels on sales, leadership, communication, and networking skills. Will fundamentally believes you can serve others and make the world a better place through solid, ethical business practices, and his role is to help you do just that. Small business owners started so they could be free. But then they realize their lack of understanding marketing doesn't just hold them back, it often chains them down. SalesPartners gives strategic clarity to local service business owners, then helps them to execute and grow. We ensure our clients understand how to address the right audience, with the right message, through the right channels, and then have the right processes to convert and retain clients.
In this episode
Will Dukes of Sales Partners Florida argues that bringing in revenues requires you look at your marketing and sales activities like a campaign. Answer the questions, "What am I trying to sell" and "Whom am I trying to sell it to" and then develop a campaign targeted to do that. Will advises that you have to act with intention not randomly in coordinating all your sales and marketing activities. He provides a 5 step approach to building a campaign for your sales activities. Listen to the end for his gift to understand how growing up as a farmer has informed his work in sales.
A glimpse of what you'll hear
01:22 Branding, marketing, sales, and retention are different parts of the same process.
04:34 When it comes to getting new clients, you need to think about all your activities as a campaign
07:40 Act with intention, not randomly
11:37 Benefits from using a campaign approach to marketing and sales
19:25 5 steps to follow to implement a campaign approach to client acquisition
24:39 Learn about Will and what farming has to do with it. Email Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)
Centricity Introduction 0:04
Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.
Jay Kingley 0:43
I'm Jay Kingley, a co founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to another episode of our Best Kept Secret show where I am happy to welcome Will Dukes CEO of sales partners, Florida. Sales Partners focuses on the strategic alignment of the branding, marketing and sales processes for small businesses. Will is based in Orlando, Florida, he also has an office in Coral Gables, which is in greater Miami. Welcome to the show. Will.
Will Dukes 1:15
Thank you, Jay, very much for having me.
Jay Kingley 1:17
Terrific now, well, one of my choice in life is speaking to lots of owners of small businesses. And one of the things that I have noticed, when I talk to them about revenue generation is we'll talk about branding, we'll talk about marketing, sales, client acquisition, of course, client retention. And in that conversation, they are very clear and distinct buckets that somewhat stand alone from each other. And yet, right after we go through that, they will tell me that their marketing and sales, their client acquisition is not at the levels that they want it to be. And in particular, so many have such pride in the quality of the service that they provide to their clients. They get frustrated that they're not attracting more of them to use their service. And I know well, you have a lot of experience in working with small, the small business market.
Will Dukes 2:25
Jay Kingley 2:25
Tell me what you think they're doing wrong.
Will Dukes 2:27
The simplest answer to that is just what you said. They're looking at those four different things as distinct parts of their business distinct functions. Maybe they even have distinct departments or, or maybe it's marketing and sales. And the problem is that revenue generation client acquisition, it's all one process, it's it is all the same process. Yeah, there are distinct parts. But we have to look at one thing. And so the simplest analogy that probably everybody could get off the bat was, you know, think about your car, your car, you have an engine, you have a drive train, you have a suspension, you have tires, right? And all of those are distinct parts. But if they are not working in concert, you're not really going anywhere. And that's what happens a lot of times, and businesses, you see these guys that come in, and they're investing heavily in marketing, because they're getting pitched all these different ideas, and there are 10,000 different ways to increase kind of leads into your business. And so they'll dump money a lot into, you know, SEO or print advertising or Google ads, whatever it is. And it's like, they're souping up their engine, but then they never tune the transmission or work on the suspension. And so all that power never gets transferred to the road. And so they, they end up getting really frustrated because of that. And it's just because there's a lack of a strategic view of all these things as one component leading to the other and kind of working together at the site.
Jay Kingley 4:00
You know, I love that car analogy. I mean, you don't hear people bragging about their drive train, or, you know, bragging about, you know, my transmission is just so amazing. They talk about the car and how the car performs. And yet in business, when we think about our client acquisition, where we make these very distinct differences between all the different components, and we don't spend hardly enough, nearly enough time figuring out how they really need to come together so that we can achieve our objectives. So given the nature of the problem, well, what is it that a small business owner needs to do? How do they need to change their thinking in order to get this right?
Will Dukes 4:45
The easy answer to that and maybe it's a simple answer to that because it's not always easy, but the simple answer to that is when it comes to looking for new clients, you have to think about things in terms of a campaign. So what am I trying to sell and who am I trying to sell it to? Becomes that fundamental question. And, and I grew up on a farm. And so I relate everything back to that. And we can talk about that maybe a little bit later, but we've grown up on the farm, it was alright, we're not just gonna go out and just plant, you know, whatever we have in this magazine is like, alright, you know, it's summertime, it's time to grow watermelons, we're going to grow watermelons. And we're going to grow them here. And there's that intentionality to it. And there's the practices that go into cultivating that crop. And so I work with like a lot of attorneys, for example. And they may have, you know, multiple different practice areas or even within one practice area, there are certain different legal services. And they're just trying to spend money, broadly, advertising, broadly branding, and then training, their intake and maybe their attorneys or other staff that are involved in that sales and conversion process. And they're all doing those things independently. Like no, we need a campaign that is specifically focused on, for example, simplified divorces, or one of my clients right now is in the process of developing one for post judgment, modification of time sharing. So after the divorce, a divorce, dad changed the schedule, and now he wants to get more time sharing with his kids, because he did what the court said he needed to do. Well, that's a very different situation that he's in from a mom that is trying to change the divorce settlement around child support, because situations change, she's in a very different situation. And yet, a lot of times, they're thinking about just alright, we need to get more post modification, change cases, to come into the firm. And that's the wrong mentality. Because you we've had these, these conversations before, we're just chatting. Before we got started here, the emotion is always the leading driver that's then justified rationally, and so we have to have that branding message that's resonating with them, then we have to have the marketing the right offer that is speaking to that pain. And then we have to have the right sales conversion processes. And people need to understand that particular pain, and whether I work primarily with service businesses, but it's true in products as well. If you aren't creating messaging that is specific to those different ideal client profiles, or avatars, or whatever you want to call them. It's just part of the noise. And there, I read a book the other day that said, there's 60,000, or Now excuse me, 60 billion messages go out, or posts go out on all the various social media channels in the world every day. And if you're not cutting through the noise, with all this, you're just part of the noise. And unfortunately, really generic advertising, marketing, things that are focused on the business and what they're trying to get out of it. Don't cut through all that noise. So the simplest answer is to focus on what you're selling and who you're selling it to and develop a campaign that is targeted directly to that.
Jay Kingley 7:58
So, Will, I heard you say a couple of things that I just want to shine a spotlight on. And maybe you can just add another comment or two. The first is acting with intention rather than acting randomly. And it's that intentionality that I think a lot of people don't fully grasp. It's just like, what's the shiny new object? Let me turn it over to that, then I'll run over to something different. And what it lacks is intention. Now, I don't think you can get intentionality, right unless you run everything in reverse, you really got to start with what your objective is that you're trying to achieve. What are the metrics that are going to tell you whether you're on track or off track, and then work backwards to all the things you need to do in order to make that happen? Create a set of, if you will, preliminary metrics that measure those so that you end up creating this entire chain of things that have to happen? That's all intentional, it's all linked, then you measure each different activity across that chain to understand what's working, what's not working, and when you need to fix it. What are your thoughts on that?
Will Dukes 9:11
Yeah, I think that's exactly right. I mean, go back to that, that great book from the 90s Highlight habits of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Right, Stephen Covey. And that was one of the first habits he talks about beginning with the end in mind. And, and that's true of a lot of different types of planning. But I, you know, go back to that example, you know, we've started the beginning of the year and say, All right, where do you want to go watermelons, how many watermelons we want to grow? Well, we kind of have rough estimates and nothing is ever for certain. But we know that in general if we plant this many watermelon seedlings out in the field that we should get one, two watermelons off of each plant. And then we have kind of that historical data that we say all right, if we need to plant that many we know the spacing that has to go in there. What are the cultural practices, how much room do we need, and you work backwards from that, and then you lay out the plot, you prepare the soil appropriately. And then you go and execute the rest of that whole cultivation process to get to that end. And it's very much the same way in those campaigns. And so you know exactly that process. I work with folks and say, another attorney, he was a tax attorney. And we were just going through this process of saying, Alright, are we focusing on collections defense? Are we going to focus on audit defense? All right, collections defense, how much are those cases worth? Is that aligned with the goal of what we're trying to achieve overall in the year? All right, how many of those cases do we need? How much capacity do you have? If you took on 15 of those new cases in one month? Are you going to be able to handle all that work? And then kind of working from there and getting a clearer picture? Now we can go back and say, All right, what's your conversion rate? Once you get people into a consultation? Alright, how many leads? Do you get the need to get those consultations? All right, how much advertising do we need to put out? Or how many people in front of a, how many times do we need to deliver this message depending on the channel, so to be able to generate those leads. And we start with kind of that baseline data. And sometimes it's just kind of rough estimates. But hopefully, there's some historical data to base that on. And then we work on tweaking and improving all of those things. And so if we can do that, and create that one campaign, it's not that we're saying we're going to exclude everything else, obviously, anything else is coming to the business, we won't take that. But we're going to build this one campaign, and then we're going to have a pretty set process, and then we can have it running. And then we go build another one. And then we can focus our efforts on generating that. That's kind of the process in planning it backwards, and then executing it forwards.
Jay Kingley 11:49
So very nice segway, as we talk about process and metrics. And you very briefly touched on this a little while ago. Let's talk about the benefits. And there are really two categories of benefits. Let me start with the benefits to the decision maker. So here I am, I'm a small business owner, I'm listening to what you have to say, I'm guilty as charged, what you're telling me that I need to do instead makes a lot of sense. But at the end of the day, I am running a business. So give me a sense. You know, first, my you know, from my perspective, how's is going to impact me as the owner,
Will Dukes 12:31
Two big benefits that I can think of that what my clients have told me coming into it, what generally led them there, whether it was a referral or through something else is they had this just immense feeling like they know they needed to be investing in their marketing and sales processes. Like everybody's out there doing it, they see other people in their industry doing certain things, but then they have this finite budget, or they are currently doing it and they're not, they're just not happy with the results. And they don't end up the problem is not so much that they're not happy with the results is that they don't know why because if they knew why then they would fix it. And so the first benefit comes in the form of once you have a system laid out and you're thinking about things in terms of a campaign, well, then we can measure those results fairly objectively, and go into focus, and it becomes clear, where you need to put extra effort in maybe bringing in an outside resource or get some additional training or you hire the right marketing tactician that can go in and do a certain process to improve that. And so just that sense of clarity, and knowing alright, this is what I need to do, to be able to move forward. That's one kind of a just a huge relief. And then the second benefit is don't go back to my lawyer clients just to illustrate this. You know, a lot of people have complained for years about how their lawyers speak legalese. Right. And, you know, they don't understand what the heck they're saying. And he's just like, yeah, get it done. And then they just have to trust that the lawyer is going to do what they're doing. And you try to explain this to lawyers, and, you know, they have all these different kind of answers to that. But then I, I go back to my clients, like oh, you know, your, your, your marketing guy over here, the SEO guy or the digital marketer, you know, how they deliver you all these reports, and they don't have all these graphs and charts and they're talking about this click through and they converted here and that and they're like, yeah, it's pretty, I had no idea what he's talking about, oh, this is exactly what your clients are saying to you. When they say you're speaking legalese. And so getting folks to be able to understand what is actually happening because marketing's become very sophisticated and even in the sales processes. There's always a different book or a process. Try this or you need to be doing SEO or you need to be doing these different ads and it can become very, very overwhelming. And when you see your competitors, or just maybe your industry peers and other things, you know, they're doing this and then you're like, well, will that work for me? How will I even do this? How will you do it? And it comes back to what is your goal. And if you have a campaign strategy for achieving those goals, or those segments, you know, this product to this target market, and then we're going to build on that, again, it comes back to clarity, but it also gives folks the confidence that you know, they don't have to know how to design their website, or necessarily set up the, you know, the back end and Facebook, pixel, all that technical stuff. But if they have a strategic understanding of what needs to happen in order, now they can know when somebody says this, alright, I can see how that would fit into our strategy. And not just oh, this has worked for somebody else, maybe I need to try it and see if it worked for me.
Jay Kingley 15:58
I think confidence is necessary. In order to be proactive, and have a sense of control over where you're taking your business. When you're wracked with uncertainty, you become paralyzed. Yep. And being paralyzed is not on the path to success. So that I think is a pretty compelling story for the business owner. But the other thing that you're going to hear a business owner say is that well, well, that's all and good. We're all well and good, but I am running a business I want hard metrics. So if you think about revenues, costs, risks, assets, what quantifiable things have you found when people make this transition in the way they're looking and going to more of a campaign view of the world what results for their business are they able to achieve?
Will Dukes 16:51
Well, it kind of varies depending on the business. But you know, some of the ones that I point to regularly like we've had gym owners that by focusing on this campaign and getting a higher quality of lead coming into the gym, and then tweaking their sales processes, according to that, they were able to see a 50% increase in their conversion ratios to long term subscribing clients. And that took about six weeks, just to get that up to that level. So you know, I was very ecstatic about that. Sometimes it's coming down to strategic goals. So I had a dog trainer as a client one time, and she was trying to transition from, you know, just kind of being outgoing to people's homes, she had a team, but you know, they didn't really have a home base. And she wanted to get a brick and mortar location, but she needed to raise all the capital, and nobody wanted to be alone for that. And she had some very high level, high profile clientele. And so like, look, we're going to build a campaign directed at that high level clientele, and we're going to sell $10,000 dog training packages, and they're going to pay upfront. And that's going to give you the cash that you need. And, you know, she kind of like shook her head. But I just know her clientele and what they had already spent with her and how much they loved her, I knew it was possible. And she did that and it was just in a matter of months. Now she has a multimillion dollar dog training business that you really kind of let fourth or kind of hit that J curve actress, you had that, that foundation. And then you know, other service professionals, I have a tutoring company, when I originally met the founder, he was all over the place and kind of you know, tutoring in these different things. And just kind of taking referrals on like what we need to really promote this one, this one function, this A SAT math preparation that you do. And let's build the course around that. And let's really focus on marketing that. And you can still do some other things and with the clients that you have, and he's been able to triple his own one on one rate. And so now he charges like $250 an hour as a math tutor. And it's largely because, you know, he doesn't have a lot of time to do that. Because the sad math has become so much more successful. And in he really just has an upward trajectory is hiring TAs from his own students now. And so it's like this really awesome growth story by being able to just narrowly focus on promoting one thing. And to one group of people and then being able to replicate and grow off of that, and whatever way is necessary.
Jay Kingley 19:33
Well, that that is some pretty compelling three examples of how getting more focused thinking about it as a campaign, integrating these elements, which used to be viewed quite separately and disparate together can really move the needle. So I'm guessing that some of our listeners are sitting here saying okay, so Will what is it that I need to do in order to make this happen? Then what are you going to tell him?
Will Dukes 20:01
Just kind of building off what we said before, the first thing is, is pick that goal, like go look back at your numbers, see what is the biggest opportunity for you in the next quarter? Right? So what's going to be the hot thing if you have seasonality in your business? Or if you don't have seasonality, just what would be the thing that you want to focus on selling in about three months, and then start working backwards from that. And because I grew up on the farm, I lay everything out in that process. So the first part is planning. So you've got to plan, what am I going to sell? Who am I going to sell it to? And when, and then the next step forward is, alright, prepare the soil, how do you build trust and credibility with that target market. So that could come through content marketing could come through a couple of different various channels in ways that are doing networking could be one, for example. But however you build that familiarity, trust and credibility in the market, so then you plant a seed. And that seed is usually some initial offer of value. So for my contractors and kind of trade services, it's often that free estimate. For some more knowledge base workers, like my attorneys, maybe we build something that's kind of like a lead magnet, people would call like, it could be a little online course, or just an e-book something to that effect, or it could be that initial free case evaluation. But they're focused on offering that and promoting that to get people in. And then you have to think about what are we going to do at that point? This is my biggest problem with like SEO, for example, people promote SEO, get people traffic to your website, what's going to happen after that? You know, are they actually submitting their email address? Are you following up? So what is that path? Are you nurturing those opportunities? Are you protecting them by differentiating from the competition, just from the status quo. And depending on the industry, that can be a long kind of sales cycle. Or it could be very short. But no matter what it is, you need to have those steps to continue adding value to build, continue building trust and credibility, and to really speak to the people's problems that you're trying to serve. And then eventually, you know, all that work out in the fields would be pointless if we didn't go in and actually harvest at the end. And so you need to have a strong sales process or in scripting that comes to that. And again, can be, it's not like you need to create a unique one for every situation, but build in some opportunity to be able to tweak and train folks to recognize, these are the people that we're trying to serve with this particular product or service. And this is their pain. And then once you have that delivery and customer service, and you that does kind of become a different thing, but everything sells at the end of the day. But you need to know that point where you can go back and now come to that client and ask them how are we doing? You know, how would you rate us? Would you leave us a review or give us a testimonial? Would you refer us to other people. And so that becomes the propagation of this whole cycle. Where now, it is cutting down a lot of that trust and credibility because now that you need to build with new folks, because you have those folks referring you in or giving those testimonials that are speeding up that process and the next go round, you get really clear on what you're trying to accomplish, and then build out the steps.
Jay Kingley 23:27
Well, I love it, you have challenged the way I think so many of us look at this, you've given us a roadmap for how we can move forward, we are going to take a very short break. And when we come back, we're going to learn a little bit about you. And perhaps you'll tell us a little bit more about the farmer side. And how that has influenced what it is that you do today. Be right back guys.
Centricity Introduction 23:56
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Jay Kingley 24:55
Now let's find out a little bit more about well Well, let me start by asking you about the pain points that you solve for your clients. And why is it that they need you to get rid of that pain?
Will Dukes 25:11
I can be somewhat of a hypocrite even in this too because I talk about giving confidence and, and clarity around this. But the other reality is that the business owners are often overwhelmed, they got 10,000 things going on. And so even though some people have been able to take this, and they have the team and the ability to implement it off of, you know, very short kind of interactions or engagements, a lot of times they like having the accountability, the outside perspective, and really just the direction of being able to say, Okay, here's, here's step one, let's get clear on this. Now, let's refine that, let's make that a little bit better. Now let's move to step two. So having somebody coming along them come alongside them as a guide, is really going to help further that process along. And, and ultimately, like for my highest level clients, one of the things that the pain points they like so much is they get all those pitches, or they get people email and are calling them and they can just say like here, talk to Will. And I basically become like their, their outsourced or fractional chief marketing officer, and can kind of filter all those things out for them.
Jay Kingley 26:24
So I don't have to tell you about the intensity of competition, I'm sure there are days, it feels like there are billions of people that are offering to help business owners with their sales and marketing issues. So rather than talk about what you do, let me understand the key reason why people work for you or work with you, which is that you're great at what you do. So what are the couple three things that make you great?
Will Dukes 26:54
Well, I really just boil it down to one. And that's my, you know, there's all these different kinds of tests or things that you can take. But I did one that was on identity once. And it pointed out that my kind of core identity was as an educator. And that makes sense because I was a high school teacher, I have multiple degrees and education along with my MBA, ultimately, I said, it's still how I approach things. And so I know that there are some people out there that don't want to go through a process, they don't care to learn, they really truly just want to hand it off to somebody, maybe find an agency of record and not have to touch any of that. And that's fine. But for people that want to, to learn and to build that confidence and have somebody that can break down all of these things in a way that they can understand. And that is very specific to their business and not just some generic course that you find online. That's, that's what I do really well. And that's what a lot of my clients and just colleagues kind of point out to me. And I'm, I'm hesitant to accept that sometimes. But I think that it is, there's a lot of, there's a lot of truth in it.
Jay Kingley 28:11
So farmer, teacher, business executive consultant. So you know, and I encourage everybody to go to Will's LinkedIn profile, and you get a sense for what a varied and impactful career that he has. But my question, Will, is, as you look back from where you are today, and you look at things that have happened in your personal life, things that have happened in your professional life, what would you point to as the key reasons why you're doing SalesPartners of Florida?
Will Dukes 28:46
Yeah. So it was if you'd asked me 20 years ago, like what I'd be in this situation out of just laughed, right I was, the plan was to go in and become a geneticist, I minored in molecular biology and kind of had that. But I went off and taught and there are different reasons behind that. I decided to teach for a few years before I came back and pursue my PhD. The program that I taught was one of these career development electives, and so I had to recruit students, and because it was under the agriculture, kind of umbrella, it being a suburban school down in Miami, where I taught like there was a lot that I had to kind of fight against for that. And so I actually invested heavily in myself in marketing and sales, training and going off to conferences, to learn these things that are going to be helpful and just grow on my program that wasn't thinking about any of the business consulting side but then after a while, and the success in that and grew the program a lot. I was learner Teacher of the Year for all of Dade County. At one point, I actually got recruited into one of those companies to come and do training for them. And unfortunately, the company got started right before the great financial crisis. And so even though I came into it and launched, it kind of started to unravel a little bit. And so everybody just kind of went their separate ways. But I was already out and I was doing this and I was building my network down in Miami, I ended up becoming a training director for BNI Miami Dade, that was something that was very effective for me, helping me to really learn principles around networking and building those strategic relationships. But the other t