Smart Agency Podcast: The #1 Digital Agency Podcast for Social Media, SEO, PPC & Creative Agencies

Have you considered hiring remotely to help cut costs? Where would you look for remote employees that are still a good culture fit? Finding the right talent can be very challenging even if you’re looking locally. Trying to find great talent in a different country could be next to impossible without the right help. Today’s guests run an agency that offers white-label services and runs highly efficient recruitment services for US companies. They’ve perfected a process to find the best talent in Latin American countries and connect them to small and medium US companies looking to source top talent. They’ll reveal the basic parameters they consider as part of their recruitment process and how they match candidates according to their clients’ needs.

Carlos Corredor & Antonio Santana are the co-founders of Condor Agency, a digital marketing agency that helps US companies become more competitive by leveraging the best talent in Latin America. They serve as an agency partner that offers managing services and also recruits talent directly for their clients.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Finding a gap in the market and providing high-quality services.
  • Tapping into the Latin American market to source top agency talent.
  • Understanding clients' needs and best interests.

 

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Sponsors and Resources

Dot & Co: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists that will help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of their knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out dotandcompany.co/smartagency and get 20% off your first month working with them.

Podcast Takeover!!

Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host: Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps companies launch and run podcasts profitably. He followed Jason’s podcast and eventually joined the mastermind and has been a guest on the podcast before. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and getting a new perspective to the show.

 

Finding a Gap in the Market and Providing High-Quality Options

Over ten years ago, Carlos and Antonio were on the client side of the business, unimpressed by the quality of the work from agencies. Some didn’t understand their business and took forever to deliver results. Fortune 1,000 companies and other big clients get most of the agency's attention. Seeing the low quality of service agencies provided for small and medium businesses, they realized there was an opportunity to serve that sector.

Their agency, Condor, began as a managed services agency that worked with B2B companies in consulting, finance, and IT. They leveraged Latin American talent to help small and medium US companies grow. Years later, as things changed with the pandemic and people seemed more open to the idea of hiring remote talent they also started recruiting directly for their clients. Their recruiting service is targeted at agencies, offering an opportunity for smaller agencies to find skilled talent at more affordable rates.

Connecting US Companies with Untapped Latin American Talent

Coming from Venezuela where salaries were much lower, Carlos and Antonio were struck by the cost of agency work. This was especially shocking considering how little attention agencies pay to small and medium clients. However, they had a lot to learn from the US market.

Living in Chicago, they could see agencies delivering top-notch, specialized work. Nonetheless, they paid much more attention to the bigger clients. As a result, smaller clients were not seeing the same level of service or results. They were built to serve Fortune 1,000 clients, charging around $200 an hour or more. They were also very well structured, with dedicated teams handling the different service areas.

Hence, if they were serious about entering the agency space, Carlos and Antonio needed to play in the same league. They needed to offer quality and speed in order to be competitive in the US market.

Additionally, they understood Latin America is a great source of untapped talent that most US agencies hadn’t considered. At first, they struggled with employee retention and learning to be leaders. With time, they developed a solid recruitment system.

Prioritizing Soft Kills and a Good Culture Fit for Agency Roles

As an agency constantly looking for talent, Condor has a scoring system to assess candidates’ skills. One of the most important factors is proficiency in the English language. These candidates are referred to American companies so they must be able to maintain conversations and provide clear explanations.

Soft skills are also highly valued, as well as being a good culture fit. They’d rather hire someone who is passionate about learning and improving than someone with the right skills who’s just going through the motions. Ideal candidates are excited to be challenged and willing to learn from their mistakes. They look for a winning mentality, not necessarily about never losing but taking the right lessons. For the technical skills, they have a number of tests based on the needed skills required by clients.

Condor's clients are agencies looking to fill positions such as account managers, paid media analysts, designers, email marketers, and SEO experts with 3+ years of experience. However, sometimes clients are willing to take candidates with less experience but with great personalities and a willingness to learn. It just depends on their urgency to fill the position and how much training is necessary.

The Five Steps to Source the Best Agency Talent in the Latin American Market 

Carlos and Antonio developed a layered process meant to assess many aspects and weed out uncommitted candidates.

  1. LinkedIn messages. To start, they have a dedicated team to contact people through LinkedIn. This team messages about 1,000 people yielding about 100 responses.
  2. Basic information. Before an interview, candidates fill out a form with basic questions like salary expectations.
  3. First interview. Candidates get scored on a scale from 0-5. Those who pass the first interview with a score of 3 or better go on to the next step of the process.
  4. The test. Selected candidates are tested in a simulation scenario in order to demonstrate their skills or solve a complex issue.
  5. The panel interview. The leadership team interviews the candidate in a panel format. They ask them situational questions and it's a much more candid-style interview where candidates tend to be very honest and transparent.

They weed out candidates who are not a good fit by following this 5-step process. This way, they’re able to refer at least five great candidates to their US clients. Their process has come a long way; 3 years ago it would take them a couple of months to find one qualified candidate. Now that they’ve perfected the process, it takes them about two weeks to get 5.

Understanding Clients' Needs and Best Interests

Once a client comes to them, how do they know whether to stick to offering recruiting services or offering agency services? A big factor for them is whether they have the bandwidth and expertise the client needs. If they do, especially when it comes to management, then it makes sense to offer their in-house services. If not, they offer to build a team ready to perform and dedicated to that client.

Ultimately, the goal is to help clients save time with a plug-and-play team that knows what they’re doing to achieve successful results.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: Tapping_Into_Latin_American_Talent_to_Grow_Digital_Agency_Profits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Are you letting fear stand in the way of success? Have you ever lost a big opportunity because you wanted it too badly? Are you guilty of skipping your own processes only to have it bite you in the ass down the road? Often time entrepreneurs get overly focused on a specific outcome and ignore the bigger picture. Today’s guest has started many businesses with more than half being lessons on what not to do. He shares several of those lessons and the most important, million-dollar lesson that helped him get over his fear, trust the process, and double the agency's MRR.

Derrick Kuhn is the Founder and Managing Director of Brillity Digital, a full-service digital marketing agency. He’s had a total of eleven businesses over the years and considers Brillity to be the culmination of everything he has learned. Now he leverages that experience into an agency that combines business consulting with a true digital marketing strategy.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • The $1 million lesson of not niching down early enough.
  • Losing a big opportunity and respecting the process.
  • Listen more and talk less to increase agency sales tenfold.

Subscribe

Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM

Sponsors and Resources

Dot & Co: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists that will help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of their knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out dotandcompany.co/smartagency and get 20% off your first month working with them.

 

Growing Up with a Passion for Business

Derrick always wanted to be an entrepreneur, taking after his dad, who was a mega-success in the corporate world. Growing up seeing his dad’s business success infused a passion for becoming an entrepreneur.

His first opportunity came right before graduating from college. Some of his friends were programming geniuses but had no idea how to run a business. They had around $100,000 in uncollected Accounts Receivables and needed his help. He collected most of it in about a week just by taking action. It didn’t take massive business skill but he knew he had what it took to make it as an entrepreneur.

The Million Dollar Lesson of Not Niching Down Early Enough

Derrick warns us to be careful of getting overly focused on a specific outcome versus the larger picture. Some agency owners put on horse blinders and will step over a $1 Million opportunity while looking for the $100,000 one.

Opportunities in the digital space are infinite. There’s no use in saying only one tool or path will get you to success when that is constantly changing. People who focus on only one way to do things and don’t adapt will not find the success they want. However, on the opposite side are the agency owners chasing 1,000 things at once. This was one of Derrick’s mistakes.

In his last agency, he found great success in the healthcare space. They grew tremendously within that niche accumulating a lot of expertise and a good reputation. However, he didn’t recognize the golden opportunity to stay in a high-demand niche market. On the contrary, after separating from his agency partners and starting his current agency, he decided to cast a wide net to land clients in a variety of industries. Looking back, walking away from the equity he built in an established niche was a wasted opportunity.

Derrick says he abandoned his niche because it was the first time he was a solo agency owner without partners and felt fearless. Being responsible for his team he knew immediate cash flow was super important, but in his haste to grow the new agency, he overlooked the value he'd already built in the healthcare niche. In his mind, once he figured out the new business he’d go back to the idea of specializing. Nonetheless, he did end up losing valuable time establishing his new agency's expertise.

A Lesson on Respecting Your Agency's Sales Processes

After analyzing strategies for engaging new prospects, Derrick decided to put them through what he calls the Apex Strategy Process. Basically, this is a stage to set expectations, do research, map out the ROI, etc. Unfortunately, when the agency had an opportunity to get what would’ve been its biggest client in years, the team got too excited and skipped this step. They went straight for the close on a big contract and wound up losing it.

At that moment, Derrick decided every sales process, marketing, etc. needs to be funneled in through this strategy. Prospects who don’t want to go through the process are not ideal candidates to work with the agency. It soon paid off.

By committing to the strategy, agency sales increased tenfold. The lesson is -- respect your own processes!

Why Asking a Lot of Questions is a Key Part of Sales

Part of Derrick’s strategy to succeed with clients is asking a lot of questions. When it comes to sales, success increases when prospects spend more time talking and you spend more time listening. There’s value in asking questions and actually listening to clients. The more they talk, the greater chance they’re likely to buy.

A lot of agency owners will chat with the prospect and think they immediately know what they need. However, if you jump to tell them what they need to do right away they likely won’t believe it. Instead, ask detailed questions and try to understand their business first. Naturally, the conversation will lead to saying, “Based on what you told me, I believe we should do…” That way, they’ll see you’re coming from a place of authority in the business and follow your lead. In fact, taking the time to listen will lead to more insightful questions.

A correct diagnosis only comes from asking the right questions and really listening to the answers.

Harness the Fear and Trust the Process

Derrick has learned to take his time before making big decisions and letting his panicked mind settle down. Taking the time to consider big moves helps you feel more empowered to hold the course after the decision. After losing that big deal, the pivotal point in Derrick's mental shift was a conversation with Jason that regained his confidence. Derrick realized he had a great process in place but he hadn't fully committed to it. He let his fear of losing the prospect cloud his judgment of how he knew things should be done.

Does this mean he now leads his agency without fear? There will always be moments of self-doubt. However, fear, like stress, can be very powerful when harnessed correctly.

Taking the time to think about your response to a situation and trust your processes is how you can harness the fear.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: How_One_Digital_Agency_Doubled_MRR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Are you considering adding video services to your digital agency? Do you use video as part of your agency marketing strategy? Do you know how to leverage the power of video for you and your clients? Video is an integral part of any successful marketing strategy; particularly when video case stories are included. Nothing engages an audience as effectively as video content. Furthermore, it’s a great way to showcase your brand's personality, build authority, and improve SEO. As a video marketer, today’s guest understands that people remember, share, and buy stories. He shares what many people get wrong when they roll out video content and the best way to get fast results with video marketing.

Ian Garlic is the founder of Story Crews, a video marketing agency that helps clients tell their stories in video. His team focuses on collecting, crafting, and delivering emotional video stories that help his clients get more leads, better clients, and more sales. He’s also the creator of the Garlic Marketing Show and Authentic Web Agency.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Why is video the best foot-in-the-door offer for your agency?
  • How video helps with client retention.
  • The best approach to add video services to your agency.

Subscribe

Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM

Sponsors and Resources

E2M Solutions: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design, and development agency that has provided white-label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.

 

Leveraging the Power of Video Stories to Sell Results

Fifteen years ago, Ian was working for Thomson Reuters as an SEO consultant in Long Island. He had left his career in commercial real estate to pursue his passion for marketing but was not doing well at all. Looking at what the best consultants in the company did, he realized they all collected stories they would later use while selling. To change things up, Ian decided he would collect those stories in video. With video, it's easier to convey emotion and more easily show people what they need to see. This strategy was the move that transformed everything for Ian. He was no longer selling websites or SEO, he was selling results.

After adding video to his strategy, Ian quickly grew to be among the top-ranked in the company for the next few months. However, he started noticing all marketing looked the same, which made clients hungry for something different. Luckily, this was back in 2007-2008 after Google purchased YouTube, and Ian knew this would change everything. Shortly after, he left the company to start his own digital agency.

What Makes Video the Best Foot-in-the-Door Offer?

Ian believes video is one of the best foot-in-the-doors offers that exist. With video case stories, the client talks about themselves. Most like video format and it is approved quickly. Clients get results quickly from the video too. It just comes down to having the right systems.

When done the right way, video as a foot-in-the-door offer is an effective way to gain more clients because the content is 100% unique. Furthermore, doing shoots with a client means spending the day with them strategizing, which will make them feel like you’re an extension of their business. It’s an opportunity to improve your clients’ results by really diving deep into their business.

How Video Helps With Client Retention

At his agency, Ian started selling websites and SEO, with the video strategy as just part of the package. However, slowly his clients began to realize the power of video. They feel video built their authority in the industry and helped elevate the know, like, and trust factor by being genuine.

Videos can quickly become the best metric to measure success. Ian's agency sends clients very detailed reports – which most don't read. However, bringing eager customers to your clients thanks to video content is what keeps them coming back.

Starting with the Right Strategy to Get Fast Results with Video

Many people start uploading videos to YouTube one day because they have a great idea and want to try it out. Very few, however, have a strategy behind that video content, which means they ultimately don’t see results.

According to Ian, people don’t get results fast enough because they start too far from the right place. Even Gary Vaynerchuck made nothing from YouTube for a couple of years. However, he had the determination, money, and time to keep going. Most people give up after not seeing results for the first six months. That’s why Ian starts with video case stories, which get people results faster.

Nonetheless, faster results don’t mean clients get an influx of cold traffic right away. It can be six months before they start seeing results and one year until they have a successful YouTube channel.

For agencies, one of the most common issues is speaking to the real problems of your target audience. Agencies tend to go for videos aimed at the masses in order to get a lot of views. However, the masses aren’t the ones who hire digital agencies.

The Best Approach to Add Video Services to Your Agency

You don’t need movie-level production equipment to start adding video to your services. According to Ian, you’re better off starting with a partner when it comes to adding any service. This way, you can focus on what you do best and have the proper guidance to integrate the new service into your agency.

There are 3 ways to add video services:

  1. Build a production team. This is what Ian calls the hard option. You’ll need to have a strategy to sell it and hire at least five people to form three departments for production. You need a pre-production team to take care of timing, scheduling, location, etc; videographers for your production team, and a post-production team. It’s overwhelming and it's a process that took Ian years.
  2. Hire film contractors. The second way to approach this is to hire videographers to handle all aspects of the process. You can find a few good ones in your search. The problem, however, is figuring out how to sell or package the offer, knowing timelines, and how to price it properly.
  3. Find a partner. This is usually the best way to start out with a new service. Find the support of a partner with experience in the field who can help you integrate it into your agency. You can focus on what you do best and use the new service as a differentiator.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program enables you to take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.


Are you trying to grow your agency fast? Trying to posture as a big agency to impress clients? There are a lot of big decisions to make when you're growing. However, you could be making mistakes that actually hold back agency growth. Today’s guest learned some lessons from growing too quickly the first time. He shares what he learned and how he overcame it to grow more consistently. He talks about leaning too hard into vanity metrics and hiring a team too soon as well as which roles to hire first.

Christopher Marrano is the founder of Blue Water Marketing, a digital agency that works with direct-to-consumer brands to generate sales using SEO, Google ads, and Facebook ads. Chris started his agency focusing on SEO and grew quickly solely with referrals. However, he did not know which systems to implement to scale and it almost failed as a result. He soon learned from his mistakes and now has a successful agency that continues to grow.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • The downside of growing too quickly.
  • Why you shouldn’t get sidetracked by vanity metrics.
  • Why sales should always come first.
  • A strategy to fill your agency’s pipeline by trusting your results.

Subscribe

Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM

Sponsors and Resources

Dot & Co: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists that will help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of their knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out dotandcompany.co/smartagency and get 20% off your first month working with them.

 

The Downside of Growing Your Agency Too Quickly 

In 2010, Chris was fresh out of college and into a job market still feeling the impact of the '08 crash. Finding his first job after studying advertising took longer than expected, he ended up working at a pretty prominent agency. He worked on big accounts like Lending Tree, Match.com, and National Geographic. It was the perfect preparation for the complexities of agency work.

Since the digital revolution hadn’t taken the world by storm yet, he was still working on traditional media. He later worked on the client side while learning more about the new digital technologies. Eventually, he needed a break from the corporate ladder and started to freelance, which led to his starting Blue Water Marketing in 2016.

Chris’ agency broke the six-figure mark very quickly. After reaching that milestone, he went straight to renting an office, hiring a team, and focusing on a niche. However, within a year everything came crumbling down. He was forced to lay off his team, working alone in that office space with the one client he’d had from the start. This led him to question the decision to even start the agency.

Are You Getting Sidetracked by Vanity Metrics?

Vanity metrics have always been a thing. Even when Jason was growing his first agency, conversations with other agency owners would eventually lead to asking “How many employees do you have?”. If they didn’t have 50 or 100 employees, they would posture based on media spend or revenue. Looking back, it never really mattered -- it's more about the value you provide not the size of your team. That said, there are still people that see a big office and a big team as indicators of a successful agency. However, the move to virtual meetings has made it so that in-person client visits are few and far between.

The problem wasn’t his vision but rather giving too much value to vanity metrics. Nowadays, his vision hasn’t actually changed much since that first attempt. In fact, maintaining that vision is what helped him get through the difficult times. He let himself get carried away by the vanity of being perceived as a legitimate business. Having a team and an office made clients take his agency seriously and, he thought, would help attract more clients. It was sort of the Field of Dreams approach of “if you build it, they will come.”

Chris still values having his team work in the office, for at least part of the week. But now it’s not about the vanity metrics but rather because he likes the camaraderie and relationships the team can only build while working in the same space.

Defining Your Worth as Agency Owner

When everything was crumbling at his agency, Chris took a step back to figure out what went wrong. He brought in a person to work with him on an effective way to grow and scale the agency. They knew there was something there but first, they had to figure out the why behind the failure. This person is now his agency business partner and they’ve continued to focus on things they can improve each quarter. They also work hard to identify and speak to a unique audience and develop effective processes for their teams.

From that experience, Chris learned measuring his self-worth based on competitors' and clients' perceptions isn't good for the business. Currently, he focuses more on team unity and growing effectively while providing the best service.

Who to Hire First and Why Sales Are the Key to Agency Survival

One of the first mistakes Chris made after growing quickly was focusing on hiring for the wrong roles. Once he had an office space, he hired four people. The first was a graphic designer. Looking back, he realizes this was a big mistake because his agency did not offer those services. He also hired a website designer, a Google Ads expert, and an account manager.

If he could go back and do it all over again, now knows sales is the key to survival. At the time, it felt important to hire for fulfillment but that is pointless if you don't have any clients. He realizes he should have approached it differently, focusing on getting the clients first and then hiring the staff as the work grew. Sales always need to come first, followed by delivery.

A Strategy To Help Fill Your Agency's Pipeline

Another thing that really helped the agency grow is having enough confidence to ask clients for testimonials. Chris needed to learn to trust the relationships he has with clients and that they would feel comfortable recording testimonial videos.

They start with a list of ten questions and let the client focus on the ones most important for them. The end result was some very powerful videos about the results achieved by the agency. They have built custom landing pages based on what the topic of the client videos and post them on Instagram and Facebook.

This strategy was a game changer when it came to the agency's pipeline. Now they have a predictable pipeline of prospects that they can pick and choose. One month they may onboard five big accounts and the next they may take no new clients while they focus on the new ones.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: Lessons_from_Growing_an_Agency_Too_Fast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Do you charge for strategy or give it away for free? Are your prospects aware of the value of your thinking and research? Charging for strategy benefits both the agency and the client but so many give it away. However, when you charge for strategy, you'll grow faster and easier. Instead of giving away value for free, you can improve your processes and offer a highly detailed offer and a productized option. Today's guest found himself in this situation as his agency started to grow. He feels one of his biggest mistakes was not charging for strategy sooner. Now his team gets paid for thinking as well as doing. Here's how you too can charge for your brainpower right now.

Spencer Powell is the owner of Builder Funnel, a strategic marketing agency focused on helping design-build remodelers and custom home builders achieve sustainable business growth. With a combination of inbound marketing, software, and proven strategy, they shorten their clients' path to revenue and profit goals.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • Why giving away strategy is a mistake.
  • Agency and client benefits of charging for strategy.
  • Giving your sales team tools for success.

 

Subscribe

Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM

Sponsors and Resources

E2M Solutions: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design, and development agency that has provided white-label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.

 

Why You Should Get Paid for Strategy

Spencer’s journey in the agency industry started twelve years ago. Not knowing a lot about the business, he made mistakes early on. One of his biggest mistakes was not charging for strategy. Building a highly specialized offer and charging for strategy completely transformed the agency. So how did he turn it around and start getting paid for the thinking and the doing?

Like any new agency, the first years are all about gaining clients’ trust and figuring things out. That is why giving away strategy didn’t seem like a big mistake at the time. A couple of years down the line, however, they became much more focused and experienced. Spencer realizes now they should’ve started charging for strategy.

Their process includes looking into clients’ Google Analytics and putting together a custom game plan which took significant “thinking time”. So they add that time into the proposal. According to Spencer, it is part of the plan they present and it makes sense to include it in the proposal. He wants his proposals to have some element of customization to them. Adding "thinking" and research is a logical part of creating a really good plan.

The Agency and Clients Both Benefit When You Charge for Strategy

The shift to charging for strategy is fairly recent for Spencer's agency. It all started with setting the goal of becoming the best agency for remodelers and custom builders. They picked a very narrow niche and started working towards that north star.

Spencer knows ensuring that #1 spot would take a lot of groundwork to create a sound strategy and great execution plan. As they listed all the things they should do to create the best possible plan, the steps kept increasing. It was a good opportunity to justify charging for strategy. When strategy is billable, they’re able to spend an appropriate amount of time on it.

In hindsight, their free strategies weren’t customized enough. All their clients got similar steps to follow. Now, they take a few weeks to review a clients’ analytics and come up with a custom, detailed 12-month plan.

Building a Sales Team and Giving Them the Tools to Success

Two or three years down the line Spencer realized the need for salespeople selling custom marketing plans. But what level of knowledge and experience would his agency sales team need? Do they need to know the remodeling industry? How to sell and market within it? He was convinced he would never find salespeople with this specific expertise, so he decided to productize.

Now, Spencer is three months into hiring his first salesperson. When hiring, he didn’t look for agency experience. He specifically searched for a person with experience in their niche The new addition to the team worked out perfectly and he can already see the benefits. However, you can take someone who’s really good at sales and teach them the industry and services if you have the right systems in place.

With a productized offer, salespeople learn how to manage sales objections and value points. Eventually, as CEO you only need to assist with sales to add color and track progress. The key is to provide them with a solid process and the right tools.

Stories as part of the toolkit. Why is the agency owner always so good at sales? Because they have the stories and can use them on sales calls to draw in prospects with details on how they helped past clients. When you start sharing those stories with your sales team they’ll start seeing results right away. Eventually, they’ll have their own stories.

Shorten Your Sales Cycle and Increase Your Closing Ratio

Back when they improved their processes and stopped offering strategy for free the agency’s sales cycle was around 3 to 4 months. Their closing ratio has definitely improved since then. According to Spencer, this is most likely thanks to the positioning of a blueprint. Prior to the change, they were positioned from a brand perspective thanks to their niche. However, they still offered a list of deliverables similar to everyone else. Now, they have a $20K offer that includes an extensive questionnaire and a 4-week period to get a detailed plan with 12 months of deliverables.

That blueprint is presented to the client who has the option to implement it themselves. They get access to the agency’s training videos and SOPs to execute the plan. Companies under $2 million and over $15 million end up executing the steps in the blueprint internally. But the middle sector is Spencer's target. They’ll almost always move forward with the agency to implement the blueprint.

Filling Your Pipeline by Creating a Community

Overall, Spencer's agency is closing the same percentage of retainer deals and unlocking another option for people who want to self-implement. The feedback has been great because many people actually want to learn to do their own marketing. As an aside, they’ve also launched a website theme for their target industry based on conversion principles, layouts for portfolios, about us, etc. It’s modeled as a design-build approach mirroring their industry.

These options have also led Spencer and his team to create a community of companies learning to market with their tools. This fills their pipeline with prospects that can afford to pay for the agency for marketing services in a couple of years.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program enables you to take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: How_to_Get_Paid_for_Strategy_Youre_Giving_Away_for_Free.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Could your ego be standing in the way of your agency's success? Do you want to perform at peak level but struggle to break through an invisible ceiling? It might be time to reinvent and put energy into a mindset that helps you get there. There are a lot of people claiming to know the “secret to success” but most ignore the core issues of the mental game. Today’s guest has been the coach to pro athletes, public figures, and leaders by helping them improve performance by starting with improvements to their mental game.

Todd Herman is a global leader, speaker, author, and mentor who helps amazing talent, like Kobe Bryant, reach a new level in their careers. He coaches elite pro athletes, leaders, and public figures on the topics of performance, strategy, mindset, and execution. Todd is an insider in the thought process of not only elite performers but legends in their fields.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Overcoming ego death by developing an alternate persona.
  • Separating the different sides of your identity.
  • Being authentic and intentional as your identity superpower.

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Sponsors and Resources

Dot & Co: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists that will help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of their knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out dotandcompany.co/smartagency and get 20% off your first month working with them.

 

The Path of the Mental Coaching Game

Todd got his start in 1997 coaching high school football players and got really good results by helping them with their mental game. Back then, mental game coaching wasn’t really an industry, a market, or even a niche. Nevertheless, he got results and parents started reaching out to pay for private coaching lessons.

Since his coaching career started in the world of sports and being a big believer in mentorship, he reached out to Harvey Dorfman, a giant in the mental game industry. With Harvey, he got to go behind the scenes and see what it’s like to work with professional athletes. This is how he started moving more into the world of peak performance and mental game coaching.

Since then, Todd has improved his methods and moved on to coaching Hollywood and Broadway talent, and top CEOs. Whatever his clients are trying to conquer, he usually goes back to the principles of the inner game, strategic game, and execution game. With this, he builds programs and systems to tackle their goals.

As Todd's coach, Harvey had a huge impact on his career. His best advice was that you don’t need to act a certain way in order to deliver value. He didn’t need to be the kindest or the most aggressive or appear a certain way to help his clients. He just needed to be honest and use everyday words, without the need to posture with big words.

Overcoming Ego Death by Developing a New Persona

Todd met Kobe Bryant when the athlete reached out to his coach Harvey while going through a difficult time due to a public scandal. It was 2003 and Harvey described it to Todd as Kobe's “ego death” or an identity challenge. Harvey referred Kobe to Todd at that time, as he specialized in that kind of crisis for athletes.

As Todd explains, when an athlete needs to step into a new world or new type of challenge, like a college athlete going to a professional league, they need to shed some of their old identity. The longer it takes them to do that, the greater the chances they’ll never succeed in that new area.

At that time, Kobe was going through a moment that forced him to shed his image as a young, naïve player. This was the source of his crisis and he needed to figure out a new identity to get back in the game. Todd worked with him to cultivate a new image of Kobe, both ON and OFF the court.

With Todd's help, Kobe developed an aspirational persona of a stone-cold killer who never gives up -- The Black Mamba. Naming the persona is an important part of the process that helps people tap into their alter ego. Kobe attributes his moment of clarity to the movie Kill Bill where he discovered the black mamba and instantly felt inspired and connected to it.

Developing Your Own Alter Ego Persona

People tend to think they can get to the same success level by modeling their life exactly like celebrities. In reality, the idea is to look at them as sources of inspiration. If you take Kobe and The Black Mamba as the source for your alter ego, you won’t see similar results. An alter ego has to inspire you with its attributes and qualities; then customize that to your current ambitions.

Any person looking to build their alter ego should be very honest about what they want. The problem is that many people don’t know how to articulate it. This is the basis of the alter ego you end up creating. In Kobe’s case, the black mamba was created to help him get through a very specific moment in his career. It was meant for a specific role -- not every aspect of his life.

If you think about the roles in your life, which one is giving you the most challenges and struggles? Which one do you feel the most trapped by? There should be some element of playfulness and creativity in building your persona.

If you’re an agency owner who's feeling trapped, what’s an area in your life where you could be more playful?

The Importance of Separating the Different Sides of Your Identity

The black mamba was only one part of Kobe’s identity created exclusively for the basketball court. This is how we should approach high-performance alter egos. They are meant to help us excel in a specific area where we’re struggling and remain separate from other facets of our lives.

Your alter ego helps you reach very specific goals in one area but it is not who you are.

If you’re an agency owner, maybe you need an alter ego for that side of your identity. Maybe you need an alter ego for being an author or podcast host. Seeing yourself as just an entrepreneur is what makes it so difficult for some people to exit the business and give up control. This mindset gets in the way of agency growth because owners don’t know who they are outside of the business.

As human beings, we love to attach labels to ourselves and label others, as well. Labels can be very empowering. However, when you’re about to make a shift make sure you have the right narrative of yourself. For instance, Todd recommends switching the entrepreneur label to “I am entrepreneurial”. This way, if you sell your agency you don’t lose your identity. An entrepreneurial nature is something you can take anywhere, into anything.

Being Authentic and Intentional as Your Identity Superpower

Nowadays we hear a lot about authenticity and how it's the best way to succeed. However, Todd believes there’s an argument to be made about the results you get when you adopt a persona that helps you get ready to perform at the level you want to be.

Todd believes intentionality with identity is a superpower. If you’re a public speaker, the person who’s on stage catching the audience’s attention won’t necessarily have the same energy as the one answering their questions after you leave the stage. And that’s okay.

In a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, a group of grade 1 and 2 kids were tasked with grabbing a set of keys and finding the correct one to open a padlock. In reality, the test was about resilience. The key was not there but how long would it take them to give up?

The second part of the test included the same exercise but this time, the kids got to dress up as either Batman or Dora the Explorer. The time they spent trying to open the door increased drastically. In their normal clothes, they gave up quickly. However, as a dressed as a character they had a mindset shift. That is the power of an alter ego.

As you step onto the stage, in front of a camera, or whatever your platform -- adopt the identity of a winner or a fighter who gets the job done.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: How_You_Can_Become_Your_Agencys_Black_Mamba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Do you feel stuck on how to unlock your agency's growth potential? Are you struggling to communicate your agency's competitive advantage in order to stand out? Most entrepreneurs hit a point where the old strategies don’t work anymore. There’s when growth requires a different skill set to take your agency to the next level. Today’s guest has centered his career and agency around figuring out the secrets to rapid growth. He shares some of the common mistakes he sees clients making, and how you can prepare your team for quick growth.

Mark Patchett is the founder of Growth Shop, a digital agency specializing in growth marketing. His agency provides brands with a proven methodology that removes the guesswork with the firepower of a team that will help them grow. They’ve helped build brands like Victoria Beckham Beauty and hundreds more. Today he’ll break down his thought process around growth and how to understand your position in the market.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • How positioning creates a competitive advantage.
  • 3 mistakes that prevent you from understanding growth.
  • Preparing your team for rapid growth.
  • Using reviews to understand your position in the market.

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Sponsors and Resources

E2M Solutions: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design, and development agency that has provided white-label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.

Podcast Takeover!!

Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host: Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps companies launch and run podcasts profitably. He followed Jason’s podcast and eventually joined the mastermind and has been a guest on the podcast before. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and getting a new perspective to the show.

 

How Positioning Creates a Competitive Advantage

Positioning is a tricky beast. Mark's competitive advantage is that his agency team has actually built companies in the past. Most performance agencies do some Facebook ads and maybe ad creative. However, when you have experience building a  company you know this is just a fraction of it. Having in-depth knowledge of entrepreneurship means Mark's team can take the conversation beyond just Facebook.

Furthermore, his agency offers a platform where clients can see all relevant data in one unified view. Clients get an executive view with all the key data in order to pinpoint why their business is performing well or not.

3 Mistakes That Prevent You from Understanding Growth

As someone who’s looked under the hood of many big companies, Mark has seen some of the biggest mistakes they make when it comes to understanding growth:

  1. Not understanding attribution across different platforms. They may say Facebook isn’t working because they’re not making as much as they’d like to from it. However, once they learn about the blended metrics they understand it might be doing more than they think.

  2. Neglecting conversion rate optimization and positive reviews. Their clients learn if they increase the conversion rate, lifetime value, and average order value by 26% they’ll be making more money without spending more money.

  3. Assuming customers understand the brand. In these cases, they use a reverse elevator pitch. Basically, as soon as someone lands on your homepage, without even scrolling, they should be able to tell exactly what you do uniquely. Most companies don’t pass that test.

Using Reviews to Understand Your Agency's Position in the Market

As part of their onboarding research, Mark’s team uses what he calls one of the easiest hacks in marketing. Instead of expensive brainstorming sessions to answer the question “Who are we?” companies should be looking at their customer reviews.

For starters, export all your reviews and run a Wordlab analysis. You’re looking for positive and negative reviews so you can extract common themes. How are your customers talking about your brand? What’s resonating with them? They will be things that stand out or patterns you'll find.

Next, do the same thing with your competitor's reviews to find out what they're doing well and not. Learn what your clients really care about and use that information to build your next ads instead of doing expensive consulting activities.

Preparing Your Agency's Team for Rapid Growth

Not everyone is ready for fast growth and it can break a business. Rapid growth can be exciting for many, but client service and operations people usually just see it as a tsunami coming at them.

To prepare client services for the onslaught of new business, his team does a lot on the automation front. There are options like AI chatbots that get great results. However, the biggest hurdle is in delivery. Most client service problems are under control if your product is good and on time. If you really want to grow quickly, you’ll find money comes out as quickly as it’s coming in.

The key is to plan for growth and be proactive, rather than reactive.

Hiring People with the Ambition to Start Their Own Business

At his agency, Mark handles a team of people working from all over the world. Their core values are “smarter, faster, happier”; which stands for being able to build big things while getting better at it and enjoying the process.

This goes back to his days working at venture-backed companies where the mission was hitting the goal, or "crash and burn." As a result, people dealing with that type of pressure were completely burned out. It was that negative experience that helped Mark discover the kind of culture he’d create at his agency.

Mark still handles all first-round interviews where he gets a good sense of someone’s ability to fit in with the agency's culture. He learns this fairly quickly by finding out how they deal with problems in their lives. Next, he has the candidate work on a paid test project where they get access to anonymous data. They mostly look for entrepreneurial people that have the drive to start their own businesses. This may seem counterintuitive, but Marks sees it as helping build phenomenal talent that can later become a client or the agency could even invest in their startup.

 

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: Creating_Your_Agencys_Competitive_Advantage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

What key metrics are you tracking for your agency? Do you know which KPIs are crucial for making proactive decisions to benefit your agency? There are 4 key metrics that enable you to see into your agency’s future and make smarter growth decisions. Today’s guest runs a CPA advisory firm that provides agencies with the tools they need to come up with original solutions for their unique challenges. He shares the four key metrics every agency should be tracking to predict their future moves.

Jody Grunden is the founder of Anders CPAs + Advisors, a virtual CFO group focused on the creative agency space. His team serves as a catalyst for those striving to achieve their highest potential and carry this mentality on to their clients and community.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Crucial metrics to track for your agency.
  • The target average utilization rate for agencies.
  • Assessing profitability and gross margin to make adjustments to your prices or staff.

Subscribe

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Sponsors and Resources

Dot & Co: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists that will help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of their knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out dotandcompany.co/smartagency and get 20% off your first month working with them.

 

The 4 Crucial Financial Metrics You Should Be Tracking for Your Agency

Jody and his team help their clients focus on their goals and achieve their highest potential. They help improve their client's business by teaching them to focus on four main metrics:

  1. Cash metrics
  2. Production metrics
  3. Financial metrics
  4. Pipeline metrics

Keeping track of these metrics makes a huge impact on your agency allowing you to predict your cash position every month and make key decisions ahead of time rather than being reactionary.

1. Cash Metrics

This is annualized revenue; something all agency owners should have knowledge and control over. Keeping track of how much cash you have in the bank determines your next steps in the business.

The goal is to have at least 10% of your annualized revenue in the bank at all times. So if you have a $3 million agency, you should have $300,000 in the bank. Why ten percent? This amount covers 2 months' worth of expenses for a service-based business. Of course, this is the minimum. It's better to strive for 30% or six months' worth of expenses.

There’s no right or wrong answer. Some agencies are fine with 4 months' worth of expenses in the bank, some need less. How do you decide on the percentage your agency requires? Just look at your different risk factors. Are you focusing most of your resources on just one client? Do you have older, retiring partners? In those cases, there is high risk and you need a higher percentage. Do you have high recurring revenue? If so then 10% is fine. Anything over 6 months might be overkill and money you could be using to reinvest in the agency.

Why You’ll Need at Least Three Different Bank Accounts

Jody usually advises clients to have three different bank accounts; a tax account (for 40% of net income); an operating account (money to pay bills), and a cash reserve account (a money market account or a high-interest savings account). Just keep in mind that if that money is sitting in your operating account, you’ll be losing opportunities. The name of the game is making money on your money.

Jason and Jody agree that you should also get a line of credit when you don't need it. Treat it as a safety guard and preferably have it renewed every two years instead of annually. It’s not designed to be used on a daily basis. That’s what your cash reserve is for.

2. Production Metrics

This is the metric agencies use to build a solid forecast. This forecast should be dialed into your non-financial metrics and may change every month. There are two very important metrics to getting that forecast right:

  • Utilization Rate -  what your team is working on and the percentage of their total hours spent on billable work.
  • Average Build Rate - which is not what you’re charging clients but rather the work being done. If you charge by the hour and you’re not accurately tracking the time spent working that reduces your average build rate.

These two metrics will help build a dynamic forecast because it’s all based on people. You’ll be able to build a month-by-month forecast and break down exactly what your agency should do on a monthly basis to achieve your revenue goals.

Average Utilization Rate for Agencies

How many hours does an agency typically work? This varies from agency to agency but on average they expect to work 30-32 (billable) hours per week. This is a benchmark of the number of hours you expect your workers to put in each week.

Basically, the number of billable hours (work hours minus culture hours) divided into the number of available hours will give you your utilization rate. The average utilization rate for agencies is around 60%. However, your agency should strive to achieve your forecast projections.

3. Financial Metrics

Assessing profitability and gross margin. Compare your agency to the competition and to your forecast. Comparing to everyone else will give you an idea of whether you’re in the ballpark but more importantly, how well you're forecasting.

To assess your overall profitability, first look at your net revenue. This is basically revenue minus hard costs. Once you have that, subtract all costs associated with production (anyone who works in the business), including fully-burdened costs like 401K and health insurance. Your goal as an agency should be about 50% net revenue.

Additionally, your overhead costs like marketing expenses, business development, and facility costs should be no more than 35%. So, net revenue (50%) minus overhead (35%) = a gross margin bottom line (15%). Ideally, you’ll want to get gross margin up from 15% closer to 25%.

Try to focus not only on things you can cut back but also if it’s time to increase prices. Planning to increase staff by 5%? Then you should probably also raise your prices or your margin percentage will shrink.

4. Pipeline Metrics

The cash, production, and financial metrics will help you build a great model to predict exactly how much you’ll hit each month. However, it can all crumble pretty quickly without the pipeline metric. This metric helps keep an eye on what you have under contract for the next three months and when you’ll need to make adjustments according to the amount of work.

For instance, if you have 65% under contract for the next three months that’s fine and it’s the typical number for your agency. However, if you’re at 80% or 20% capacity then you’ll need to make some adjustments.

 

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: 4_KPIs_to_Predict_Your_Agency_Financial_Future.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

How often do you look at your agency's churn rate? Do you know the lifetime value of a client? What are your client retention strategies? Do you dedicate time to client retention like you do to client acquisition? It all starts with monitoring the right metrics, understanding what clients really want, and being proactive in client services. Today’s guest is an agency sales and client service expert who manages end-to-end sales activities for a white-label agency. She shares the key metrics you should track and tips to help you master client retention.

Kushbu Doshi is the VP of Sales and Customer Service at E2M Solutions, a white-label agency with clients around the world. She is a customer service specialist with a passion for strategizing, making realistic action plans, and following up on their implementation to get real results for agencies. Kushbu has been on the show before to talk about how to improve your customer service.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • How to calculate client retention rate.
  • Questions that lead to better client retention.
  • Dedicating time to retain existing clients.
  • Important KPIs to improve agency-client relationships.

Subscribe

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How to Calculate Your Agency's Client Retention Rate

The team at E2M Solutions has created metrics meant to track their performance in terms of client retention. The most important step to start getting a sense of how your team is doing with client retention is establishing your client retention rate. You can figure this out by establishing how many clients you have at the start of the quarter (S) and at the end of the quarter (E).

Client Retention Ratio = (E ÷ S) x 100

So basically, if you have 100 at the start of the quarter and 80 at the end of the quarter, your retention rate will be 80%. Ideally, your client retention should be above 75%. Any number below should be something you address with your team to find out what’s not working out.

Effective Ways to Master Client Retention

Client retention starts with the sales conversations and setting the right expectations from the very beginning. There are many things you could start doing at your agency to increase retention level.

For instance, after calculating your retention rate, you can appoint a client service person to start tracking client success. E2M decided client service has to be a stand-alone role instead of something handled by the project manager or the team working directly with the client.

This person ensures the client is happy and the agency is matching client expectations. They have keynotes for every client containing their goals for the next 1-3 years. These details help the agency determine how to work with the client, what may not work, and how to upsell or cross-sell new opportunities to extend the relationship.

Additionally, they also do periodic calls in which they go over expectations and progress. Basically, it’s about keeping an eye on your clients and staying curious about their plans for the future. Are they open to expanding services? What kind of niche do they want to target next?

Ask Bold Questions and Improve Client Communication

Kushbhu's team is trained to ask bold questions in the sales call to find out why clients want to be associated with their white-label agency. What are the major pain points her team will solve? If you can get clients to talk about their whys, you’ll come out confident about exactly what they want. Many times these conversations help reveal what the client thinks they want is not actually what they need.

Additionally, in most cases, clients are pleasantly surprised to receive this type of personalized attention. This type of action helps win trust and mutual respect.

Do You Dedicate Time to Retaining Existing Clients?

Kushbu strongly believes the time spent getting more leads should match the time spent retaining existing clients. After all, if your churn rate is high then what’s the point of just focusing on getting more clients?

The E2M Solutions team dedicates a specific day of the week to review existing clients' challenges. Are those clients working well with the current team? Are they matching the delivery times of previous weeks? A review of these metrics determines whether they’re on the right track to retain clients. The rest of the week is dedicated to new client acquisition.

Many people don’t focus on retention until they lose a few clients. Once they think they figured it out, they move on to the next issue. With a client service team in place, E2M always has dedicated efforts to client retention.

Using AI to Figure Out What Clients May Like

Kushbu and her team are starting to experiment with AI to see how to best utilize this tool. For now, they have been using ChatGPT to create personas and ask them about specific scenarios.

For instance, they have tried the command: “if you were a client success manager what would you do in this scenario?” They also share a client’s characteristics and preferences to then ask what it thinks their client would like. In Kushbu's experience, AI comes up with really good recommendations.

Important KPIs for Improving Agency Client Relationships

Other important KPIs are the Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) ratios. Keeping track of these has helped the E2M Solutions team understand where they’re at and the kind of positioning they need. Another important metric is the average amount of time clients stay with you so you can increase the duration of the relationship.

Kushbu suggests agency owners use these metrics instead of relying solely on churn and retention ratios. It's important to always be looking at these numbers by calculating them every quarter instead of just at the end of the year.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: Boost_Client_Retention_with_These_Strategies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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