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0:00:00 - Corey Quinn
as we go along. And yeah, I'll just jump in by introducing you and I'll ask a little bit about your background and go from there. Okay, and there's a prerecorded intro so we don't have to go through that. Today I'm joined by Seth Price. He's the founder of the Law Firm Marketing Agency Blue Shark Digital. He's also the managing partner with Price Benowitz LLP, a personal injury law firm. Welcome, Seth.
0:00:31 - Seth Price
Great to be here. Thanks for having me for it.
0:00:33 - Corey Quinn
I am super excited for our conversation. Just for a little bit of context for our listeners again mostly agency owners, aspiring agency owners Could you, what could you share about your, your, your marketing agency, blue Shark Digital?
0:00:49 - Seth Price
Sure. Well, you know I was somebody who had started as a lawyer you know, for better or for worse and grew my law firm with digital marketing. I loved it. I love digital marketing, as many of us there probably do, so I wasn't somebody who had to niche down. I was in a niche and ended up taking my in-house team from my law firm and I helped build my firm from a modest two guys in a basement to what's now a substantially figure firm with 40 plus lawyers. Along that journey, I took my in-house digital team and turned that into what is now Blue Shark Digital, which now represents several hundred law firms and now plastic surgeons around the country.
0:01:33 - Corey Quinn
So and that's fantastic I think you're unique in the market in that you are an attorney. As you mentioned, you were an attorney, started off as an attorney, you found success in marketing a two person firm and then eventually ended up as an agency itself. What impact have you found that your background as an attorney has had in your ability to grow your agency?
0:02:01 - Seth Price
I think it's a two-fold. It's a blessing and a curse at the same time. What I started, it was great, and it still is, in that there are a certain percentage of the market that are like, wow, you get me, you understand the ethics laws, you get what it takes to move the needle, and that's how I started right. I did it for myself and they helped me do it for you. There's a percentage of the market which is good for your listeners who may not be a lawyer, which is they don't want a lawyer. They want somebody who is a digital marketer. What's this much Is a lawyer like me. What does he know about digital marketing? And so, over time, we're now at the point with a firm with a business development team and a counter. It used to be I knew every client personally in my first weeks, years of practice worth the now, at the point where we service a lot of people that I don't know particularly well at all.
There's some, many of who I've never met, which was not how we started, and so I think that you dance with what you got. I know your background a little bit Like if you are the largest seller of Google AdWords and that's your. You know that you have superpowers in how you place their money. God bless, you dance with that. For me, I was like, hey, all the other guys aren't lawyers. I'm a lawyer, so I went with that, and then, as you grew, I found that it was really useful to be hey, you get the best of both right, you want to be where you have a firm that started by a lawyer, which is great, but nobody really cares about that. What can you do for them? And that's where the team, the talent that I think this is what's true for any of your listeners is building that great team around you that can execute at scale, because I would argue.
In fact, one guy I mentioned one person pre-interview, but the guy named Height right now is trying an experiment where he wants to go out and start an agency from scratch in a city by himself to see what he wants.
0:04:00 - Corey Quinn
I know JC yeah. I know JC yeah.
0:04:02 - Seth Price
So what I love about that story is great, but like what it is, those first few clients you could do through sweat equity you can will your way to some clients. It's some success, god bless. But to really scale an agency it takes a lot of things right. At some point it's more than you can service. You need account reps. There's going to be work that needs to be done and you're going to have to decide can I find like I never white labeled, but people who do white label can I get the quality that I need? Can I move the needle, or is it that's my baseline? I'm going to do additional work beyond that and as you build and grow, you're adding those different pieces and I think the skill set goes from are you a great SEO? To are you a great operator? And this is true for whether it's a law firm or digital agency or whatever that, it's the amalgamation of those people.
When you were at Scorpion, you had a thousand employees or some nonsense.
0:04:58 - Corey Quinn
Eventually, yeah, Eventually, I started. Yeah, yeah, I started. I started. I was a hundred, but, yeah, you grew to a thousand.
0:05:05 - Seth Price
A thousand, which is great, but that means you have a thousandth worse than employee. You know you wind up your employees, so that's a daunting thought to wake up to every morning that you have like that nine, that 997, 998, 999, and a thousand they mean. And so the question is how can you create systems in a team that operates in a way that allows you to deliver high quality results despite the fact not just you doing the work and I think that's where a lot of people, my guess, is who are starting out. The nice thing about Anish is that it's focused and you can bring expertise to that and talk that way, and I think that that is, you know, to me, I think that is the greatest advantage I've seen with a lot of different affinity groups in this area the idea that if you find something and dance with where less people are dancing, you have a pretty good chance of getting some nice results.
0:06:02 - Corey Quinn
Absolutely and speaking to sort of the ability to scale and to get to a thousand employees, which you know you mentioned a blessing or a curse. That may not be what an agency owner wants to create for themselves.
0:06:14 - Seth Price
And, frankly, at a thousand employees, quality control is tough.
0:06:20 - Corey Quinn
As is HR.
0:06:22 - Seth Price
And so you know I've pinched myself where we are and I'm blessed. You know it's not that we haven't had, you know, a quality control issue here or there and there's been a prior to loss because of it. That's going to happen. But on the law side, I sort of say I live in these two different worlds. You know some of my mentors on the law firm side that have built some amazing organizations. One in New York if you're a New Yorker you'd know is Jacobia Myers.
It's a big guy on TV and my buddy, andrew Ficklstein, has done an amazing job.
But he's like look, if you don't get comfortable with mediocrity, I mean it's not going to be done as well as you. You could have a very great small agency that represents 10 people and you do it, maybe an assistant or two. But if you really want to get to the point, you have to know that it's not going to every inch, is not going to be done the way you want it done. And it doesn't stop me from pounding and pushing and hoping that I can push people in early days, pushing people until they've broken left. You know I'm not proud of it with that. The idea is you want to hold your standards but know that, yes, there's some people that are coming that know more than you, and that's awesome, but there also going to be a lot of people that come along the way that are not ideal, and that you're going to have to figure out how to get them ideal or sort of supplement pieces, so that you are making sure that you take care of those all important clients.
0:07:41 - Corey Quinn
Yeah, and I think what's interesting about taking a niche approach is that you remove some of the variability in your agency. For example, if you were serving restaurants, dentists, attorneys, cpas and pool cleaners all these different types of businesses you have all this variability in your business. To be able to provide outstanding results becomes much more difficult.
0:08:08 - Seth Price
Well, and I think some of it is formed over substance. Some of the digital marketing is the same, no matter what, right the fundamentals of getting the phone to ring. What I would say is and I was shocked because we opened the second vertical about two, three years ago, three years ago now and it was interesting that there were huge differences Whereas a lawyer, you would more likely lose a client if the phone wasn't ringing enough, I mean quickly enough, as you know, compared to PPC with SEO, that's one of the big risk factors that you have to take yourself to critical mass for it to work. It was easy and you just pay one month of SEO and you're off to the races. Everybody would do it, but it's not like that. You have to figure out how to get the algorithm to like you enough better than everybody else into the organic, into the three-pack, versus what we saw, let's say, in the aesthetics area, the plastic surgery, elective medicine area. There, not that they don't want to make money, but they are so focused on the looking field of the site, whereas the lawyer yeah, it needs to be right, they don't want to see typos, but whereas if a photo is not cropped right on a plastic surgeon's site. That is like and we were sort of you put resources in different buckets based on what motivates a client For a law firm. We know that if we don't get the phone's ringing we're out. They're like plastic surgery they would be forever if they're not doing it, but that they have so much writing on the aesthetic because that's their and that's what they care about. What brought them to there is taking people and making them more enhanced. You know, with lawyers they want to have their little badges showing the top of this and top of that and what they're doing on their photos. But they are looking and it was fascinating.
I'm guessing that as you go and I've seen in the home services space, as I've talked to people in that space you have a benchmark. Whether it be Andrews List or Home Advisor, people are used to getting the X number of phone calls. If you're not apples to apples with what they're doing, just buy more leads you sort of have to figure out what is it that's driving? I'm guessing there's no aesthetic issue. Nobody's reading copy. I get lawyers rewriting copy in my blog markers like that he would rewrite something he wrote a year ago and we were just doing a relaunch of a site. God, this is terrible. I want to rewrite it. Okay, you rewrite it, I'm launching it. I have about 25 websites for my law firm different niches, different geographies, different, everything right. Sure Old strategies that used to work, and I would have like none of them if I waited for him to write content or approve content. Not that it has to be ethical, but you have to figure out in each area what is it that I'm talking about?
0:10:56 - Corey Quinn
It's so true. So we went at Scorpion from primarily journeys into home services. And you're right, those two types of businesses had a similar local marketing problem, but what they cared about were very different things. So we went into dentistry and aesthetics a little bit as well. The same exact experience that you said is like we went in thinking, well, you're a local business and you want leads, but that wasn't their primary concern, their primary concern, exactly our experience was the same, which is that they cared about how the site looked.
0:11:32 - Seth Price
Right, I look thankfully for you at Scorpion Love or hate Scorpion, they make beautiful sites, so at least you got that going for you. But when I look back, as my ego would say, hey, I can figure out an Eagle SEO you're telling me that this HVAC guy shouldn't be thankful to have me. It doesn't work like that and that's why the niche concept that if you go in and you know that you're the pediatric dental specialist, that you're going to be able to connect with people and that those guys know that you have to be able to show touchy-feely, that the parents are going to be warm welcome, then you're not selling. You're selling to the parents for the kid, whatever it is, if you can get to the point where you speak their language. And that's what I've seen at trade shows, where when I go to a trade show in legal, I come with great gravitas. As I look at other niches, I see I've never been to an aesthetics conference. I'd be like a fish out of water there.
I tried to get on a phone call with our head of sales for that division, thinking that they'd be lucky to speak to me, and these people who care less what I had to say, and it's crazy. I mean it makes no sense. It's like saying, hey, I'm not going to listen to Tiger Woods about training. You figured out how to get pretty good at a sport. Not that he can tell you how to shoot baskets, but he knows how to compete, how to deal with pressure, how to train and so. But at the same time, it is definitely true that you speaking to a market, and I think it also helps on a psychological basis. I see this at my law firm. I have multiple verticals, but each one is a vertical unto itself.
0:13:22 - Corey Quinn
Personally trade, criminal defense, family law and it's not like I very early on.
0:13:28 - Seth Price
Our lawyers don't dabble. For the most part our staff doesn't dabble, so it's not that and this may be less popular to the narrative over time. I don't think it's impossible to have multiple niches. It's just if you go, if you're a master of everything, it's very, very difficult. It's very difficult to gain that credibility and the good news is anybody's a potential client.
But I find that most people, whether it be law or marketing in the B2C space, specifically that those industry it's true anyway, like B2B industry, knowledge means a lot. But that the way that you scale it, the fact that you're not your team, when you think about people, right, let's say, you're magical. You could go and do a dentist one day, a lawyer the next day, all of that will work for your first 10 clients. But if you have people doing it, the fact that they're going dental, dental, dental, is going to make them much more efficient. They are going to learn the process and the new ones as much more quickly. Because while you may be bright enough, you meaning you and your listeners who are listening may be bright enough to be able to pivot as you set up those systems. The systems don't work when there's tons and tons of variables.
0:14:44 - Corey Quinn
That's right. Could you take us back to the early days of Blue Shark and when you were just starting to build the agency, because you were working as the attorney at the firm? Like, how was this a separate business unit? Was it a separate company? Like, how did you manage them through the?
0:15:04 - Seth Price
So mine was essentially the in-house team, became the agency. So it was just price battle until we added clients in. Okay, and then we went from the basement of the law firm to an apartment, to an office. You know, we're one of those startups that every two or three years whatever the sublets over move to any location. You're speaking to me from a clubhouse in the hippest gentrifying area at DC union market, and until they decide to knock our building down, we have this awesome space.
0:15:38 - Corey Quinn
So, as you were building the marketing practice back then, how would you go out and get more attorney clients Like, what was that?
0:15:47 - Seth Price
Well, at first it was people, sort of personal Rolodex and people you knew. I started out there I had a ton of conferences in my space and I would go and I was pretty cheap and I didn't love paying the $1,000 to attend the conferences. And I found out if you spoke you went for free. So I was speaking at these conferences just cause I was frugal and everybody else was selling something. So I was like, hey, if they're selling something, I should sell something. And you know, to me there are many different ways.
And take Scorpion as a unicorn in the space that figured out how to scale an outbound sales team. Nobody really in the space has done take outside a score in a scale that way. I'll put that to a side for a second. But the reason, one of the reasons that Mishin is so powerful is that you can go to places, meet people and get to know them, not just over one conference. It's not like you can go to one conference and sign up 50 clients. But I look at the conference world like dating. You go on a first date, maybe you get a bite to eat, great. By the second time you go to a conference it's a long lost friend. I don't, my God. This is the conference analogy, which is like somebody is like oh, it's so good to see you again, but the third one, by conference standards, you're now long lost friends that are there to be made Family, yeah, family.
And there's an entire world. So if there are circuits in different industries that go around to these different events and that what I've seen in life, for me, I have the benefit that I sort of double dip. I may meet somebody and I'm sort of ADHD, so maybe they're a client, maybe they're going to be a law firm client, or maybe it's just going to be a buddy. And I've built this sort of world that I enjoy Because I always say people do what they like.
If you hate people, I say hate people is a strong term, but if you're an introvert, if you don't want to be a cocktail parties, this model is probably not going to work for you and you better figure out how to scale outbound sales quickly, because I was lucky enough that I love talking to people and got to know people.
And if you are able to show your mug at multiple conferences, one after another, that shows that you're not disappearing overnight. There are plenty of people that show up to a legal conference, as, I'm sure, everything else. So going to one, eh, like a single date not getting you very far. It's a three dates. The three date rule, back to my single date, is there's something there and that once there's something there you can do great damage in that people do business with people they know, like and trust. There are people I look at you, I can tell talking to you here. You're one of these guys and if I met you for 10 minutes we would be business friends, like we would conduct. I could see you doing real damage in a bar back in the day.
And that you know they're there, but that gets you so far and it's just you. And so the question is as you want to scale beyond you, can you? And there's a whole world that it's kind of funny, because the law firms, by definition, are much more dysfunctional. They're lawyers, they're legacy issues. What I've loved about the agency is it's much more pure, much more buy-in.
We have people it wasn't from day one, but over the first and let's say it takes about a four year cycle before you figure out who you are, what you need and, frankly, have enough gumption to attract the right people. And not that you can't stumble into good people early on, and we did, and those people are now managers in our organization. There's been plenty of early turnover and I wouldn't be where I was if we hadn't gotten those people out of the way and brought in a team that really buys in. At this point you know we have poor values. We're now in EOS and all these different components. You're jamming in and it becomes more self-selecting trends at joining you and I think you have much more stickiness than when you first start out and you're trying to figure out where you're going. It's much more haphazard.
0:19:54 - Corey Quinn
At what point in the company's history did you hire your first salesperson?
0:20:02 - Seth Price
Great question. So we ended up having sales assistants that would come and go partially to work with me and then eventually we ended up I'd say three years in taking somebody out of analytics who I took up to a conference with me and she was smitten and she became our top evangelist. We call her Chief Strategy Officer, but she is essentially our first group person that could go on the road and sign people up. That's not needed and that's a whole other sales people. There are things I could tell you when I figured out and cracked that nut. I have a sales deal of eight, eight or nine people. I still haven't cracked that nut. Hiring sales is not for the faint of heart.
Nora's managing them.
0:20:59 - Corey Quinn
How did content marketing play a role in your growth? I know you have two podcasts. I know you've contributed a chapter in a book a couple of years ago. You've obviously been doing a lot of content. What type of content did you do in your early days and how did that help you grow?
0:21:13 - Seth Price
The SEO and me thought you were going off with how do we build the content team, which is one of the hardest things to do in SEO period. But I think that each of these things is a layer and I enjoy my SEO podcast that I'd love to have you on. That is the SEO Insider. It was just basically a network with other industry insiders. Bring people on if you call me and say, hey, stuff, let's chit chat. It might happen, might not happen, but you say, hey, come on my podcast. And all of a sudden we spend this great time together.
So the idea that I could get people that otherwise were the glitterati of SEO and could come on my podcast some of those have ended up reciprocating with speaking opportunities, with just emails from time to time, with tips or tricks, with networking, with it's built a greater network.
So, again, there are a thousand things that we need to do, but I would argue that if you are a niche, there are two things that I love about some version of the podcast. The first is that it allows you to network with people that otherwise you just wouldn't get that pilot. It's like golf you have four hours with somebody here. You have 30 to 45 minutes. They can talk about themselves. People like talking about themselves and that's a really good thing. But the second piece is I think it can be used as a business developed in Trojan Horse, where if you're doing something, all on whatever it is plumbing, roofing putting people on your podcast as a way, whether it's an existing client, whether it's a prospective client, whether it's somebody in the industry that people know, like and trust that's being associated with you. That's really valuable.
Old school people used to do breakfast meetings in town and it was amazing because you would basically have people give them breakfast paid by a sponsor and then you would bring if you were a B2B player, my corporate waterfront would bring who they wanted to do business with as the speaker and then all of a sudden, the speaker got to come. They had an audience. You, as the host, got time with your speaker. I think that podcasts have allowed you virtually to do a lot of that, and whether it's upstream, where you get to see somebody who's been inside the belly of the largest outbound sales organization in our world, or whether it's the ability to think that the person who you're putting on could either do business with you or be a referral source, those things are extremely powerful and I think that if you look at it super maniacally, like that's my only reason for doing it, it will come through.
But if you genuinely enjoy people and enjoy talking to them, then it becomes more of a joy and hopefully the other person feels it the same way and it becomes a positive touch point. And again, like a conference, you go to one conference the odds of it going anywhere, anywhere. What's going to come from this? Is it possible that some person's going to reach out to me and say, hey, I got a small thing going? I'd love to roll up into what you're doing. There's so many different permutations out there that every time you put yourself out there, it's just one more opportunity for that additional touch point that will hopefully pay you the bill.
0:24:34 - Corey Quinn
Well, I'll tell you, I'm already going to ask you after this interview if you will be willing to let me quote you in my upcoming book so we can talk about that later.
0:24:44 - Seth Price
It would be an honor.
0:24:48 - Corey Quinn
Outside of podcasting is very, very powerful. I agree for all the reasons that you said and I'm a big proponent of the relationship side. So building up relationships within an existing industry that maybe you're a newcomer, you can get direct access to some of the people who have a lot of influence rather quickly.
0:25:07 - Seth Price
It also doesn't take that long to break into different industries more than others. But outside of the stupid developed ones, it is amazing that it can continue to show up the average that could be done.
0:25:26 - Corey Quinn
Exactly, and to your earlier point, many agencies don't think of it as a long game. They think I'm gonna go to a conference. If I get a bunch of leads, maybe I'll go next year. It's like that's not necessarily the right mindset.
0:25:41 - Seth Price
It's really, you know, admitted to this industry you know, Correct and I see it now.
I'll give you an example. So, even though they're people with one guy with a might the world who niches only to PI lawyers, we've done multiple B to C lawyers, pi, criminal and family and we've never attended a family law conference until recently. I mean, we went to the first one. It was good and a friend of mine happens I wasn't there, but a friend of mine is like the big maca. She's been going for years. She's like the queen of the conference and she introduced my people around. It was great.
But you know, are we gonna close anything? Maybe, probably not. If we do, that's out of benefit. But there are times where you have to go in.
I saw this, for example, in legal. We were East Coast centric. Most of our clients were East Coast. We were known on the East Coast and it's funny, can they talk about rap East versus West? It was a thing. There is a thing like that in legal and it wasn't until we put butts on a plane and got ourselves to West Coast conferences that we got West Coast clients and we got a buzz out there and it became a thing. But it's like if you're willing to get on a plane and go. It's amazing what could happen. But if you're looking at what is my, if you, I think that ideally you wanna be looking at is it fruitful? Are people there using somebody else that could be using you? Where most of my industries are pretty developed, where it's not like somebody's not having a web person, that they're coming from somewhere else, and so I think part of it is is there a market for it? And being smart about it? Because if there is, then it's just a question of people getting to know you.
0:27:24 - Corey Quinn
Yeah. Are there any suggestions or ideas that come to mind when it comes to building trust within a vertical market? Let's say you're an outsider and you're trying to really build trust. You wanna do whatever you can to short circuit or shorten the timeframe, to become more of a known factor in that industry, get some sort of build a reputation for yourself. What are some good ways to do that in addition to conferences and podcasts?
0:27:48 - Seth Price
Well, I mean, okay, so, and I think, as you're saying, it's multiple touch points. It could be, for example, social media marketing. Doesn't take a hell of a lot to target an audience with your message. And so I'll tell you. I became. I formed a niche myself. I am now the moderator of legal conferences and panels. There's a legal panel at a. There's a panel at a legal conference 50-50 chance. I'll be invited, if it has anything to do with growth or marketing, to help lead that panel. Some of them are on digital marketing, which is awesome, and some of them are not gonna do with. They're gonna make money out like intake.
And as that visibility grew during COVID, the numbers on the podcast and the webinars were insane and off the charts For a webinar out there. People, we did a series on PPP loans and had 2,000 people live in a legal webinar. That's never happened before in the history of the world. Amazing, right, amazing. We went back to 200 after COVID. But all of that said, when the COVID sort of ended, we went back to a conference. I felt like a celebrity for a minute, in the sense that so many people had seen me over and over again and look, that's an extreme example, but it shows you the power of this. So what are the things you can do? Co-branded webinars with somebody in a related industry, related technology. Let's say somebody is doing intake technology.
When you're doing marketing, doing one where you share it to both your lists. Each of these are basic. They may get 70 to 100 people on them. Are you gonna sign a single person from it? No, but you have, ideally, over time exhibiting at conferences. You have a podcast.
I'm not presuming that you're gonna be so good. You're invited to speak. That's like the ultimate right. But the things you control right are you can put out contents. You can buy lists and make sure that you're targeting the people that you wanna be targeted for. Now, is that alone gonna do it? No, but each of those are touch points so that when you finally go to a conference and you meet somebody, hopefully they have a sense of who you are and that they've seen you and they have a you know, a brain. Like the name means something and if you could, just if it's in the back of their mind, that's incredibly powerful that it's not the first time they've met you. When somebody's oh I know who you are, that goes a long way. It doesn't happen overnight, but it's definitely something to aspire to.
0:30:21 - Corey Quinn
I love that you mentioned outbound. Have you guys dabbled in outbound? Has that channel worked at all for you guys?
0:30:29 - Seth Price
I would say that I am not the poster child for that. I've tried. We've had limited successes here and there, but I bow to the masters with that. You know one of our rocks is to like improve outbound. And you know it's like I tell a story. I don't tell a whole story here but a neighbor looked over my fence and said oh wow, your grass is so beautiful and mine was like crabgrass because my kids would rip out all the grass and hers or father built this beautiful lawn and like, literally, lady, you're the living embodiment of the grass is always greener. So I'm very, very blessed that our income is extremely strong, our brand of blue shark is awesome and that we get tons of referrals from clients, from friends, yada, yada. That said, I'm gonna have to listen to your podcast to figure out how to craft it.
0:31:14 - Corey Quinn
I took us a long time to figure it out, as well as you can imagine. So talk about hiring. So how important is it for you to hire employees for your agency who have a legal background?
0:31:28 - Seth Price
Oh, I'd say that would be anybody's Other than the only people that have any lawyer experience as employees that coming in were our contract writers and we want them to be able to understand the subject matter.
And I believe my personal and hopefully this helps somebody listening I do not believe in hiring the writers full time. I have been burnt too many times. I hope this doesn't anger anybody, but the people who sit in a room and write all day, every day, have very often a fuse that pops, and I would like to not. I would love to give them as much work as they want, pay them well and if they don't want to write anymore, that's great. I don't need a last day lunch and everything else. They can go and do whatever they want, but I want that's a piece, that a lesson that I learned that while you need in-house editors over time and you need optimizers for the actual writing, I am not a fan of handling within the office. All of that said, hiring in general, if that's your question, is one of those things that we could spend an entire podcast on.
0:32:37 - Corey Quinn
I'm sure yeah.
0:32:38 - Seth Price
But it's, I think it's figuring out piece by piece how to. When you start out you've got nothing but you. It's hard to remember those things. I started with a co-pilot. I think that's pretty important, that if you really want to scale and having somebody beyond yourself with you is important. So when I started the agency I had an in-house team and part of the reason I started is every two years I had a guy. One two-year period was a woman, but it was like they'd stay for two years and they'd move on to do something else and I realized it was good because I got cheap labor for the next person. But it became old, you know, in the 30s that's fine. But when I hit my 40s I was like this isn't fun anymore and I would end up hiring a. You know I wanted an opportunity. That's when the agency came in.
But the sooner that you can get stuff off your plate once you have any meaningful revenue.
You know that to me it's that hustle.
But you know, if you're willing not to, if you're allowed to, if you want to put money back into the company, not worry about your margins for a minute, you know, and allow yourself to get that team, that team will allow you to grow. It's easier advice to give than to take, but I know that if you really want to produce quality work, obviously you have no clients. That's silly, but as clients are coming in, making sure that you are staffed for delivery and again, this entire world that I haven't played in that maybe some of your listeners do as far as you outsource this, this, this and this and that's awesome, the people on the law firms that do that and I think to really scale, my, my humble opinion is you want to control those pieces and not have it just Replicating somebody. I've never white labeled out because I don't love that experience. I know I need people to make a lot of money doing it and that's not to say they shouldn't but my feeling is to really scale, you need to get beyond that.
0:34:32 - Corey Quinn
Yeah, I, I share that belief. It makes me think about you know, mark, sales and marketing. Like you, to really grow a firm, you need to figure out how to do that in-house, so that you own that IP and you own that process and you get better over time.
0:34:49 - Seth Price
What do you so give me your you know, for this is with just I Proof, not proof of my lack what would be your top three pieces of advice you give to people for building that outbound sales team? Because that is is not going to thank you, yeah.
0:35:03 - Corey Quinn
Yeah, yeah. So I Think a big challenge I see a lot of agencies do is that they outsource the the very Fundamental thing as relates to going outbound, which is building the list. So let's just use the context of personal injury attorneys. You could, or one could, go out and hire some third-party cold-cone company or third-party Cold email or cold LinkedIn party who are going to come to you and say, hey, we have a list, we can get a general list on Apollo or only one of these platforms. We'll start just kind of what they call spam, your tam right, which is just sending out messages and seeing what comes back.
Okay, so the number one thing that that we did at Scorpion, that I that I advise my clients on, is actually going out and developing the list in-house. And it doesn't mean you get a hundred percent of all the personal injury attorneys in the US. You focus on sort of the Pareto principle, the 80 20. You focus on the 20 percent of the personal injury attorneys in the largest markets that Align with, let's say, if you're focused on larger law firms, focus on building a list of those businesses.
0:36:13 - Seth Price
You get the top 10 TV spend in every market.
0:36:16 - Corey Quinn
There you go done and then you focus on those Exclusively through in-house outreach. That's personalized, that's consistent. Another big thing that really works for us at Scorpion You're probably familiar is that we sent a lot of gifts in the mail. As a first touch you know this this law firm wouldn't know who we were and we'd send them a good box of cookies or a video brochure or one of these things. That helped to Create more of a warm outreach for the sales team versus a pure cold call from you know, yeah, anyone who's doing a cold email, a cold, cold phone call, so easy to ignore that. But if you receive an amazing gift, it's much more difficult to Ignore the incoming calls. You want at least talk to them, acknowledge the gift and then see where it goes with some percentage of people will.
Some percentage, and it's not a hundred percent by any stretch.
0:37:10 - Seth Price
No, no, no. I'm saying this with love. Yeah, look, I've played around with it. You know you're wearing your, your pods. I know what agency that's played around with that and I would do it. I just it's like anything else. It's a I always say this to people people like it's been a whole different business. Again, it's not a good or bad, it's a different mindset. No, it's a different mindset.
0:37:30 - Corey Quinn
Yeah, it's a skill set.
The other, the other, one last point on this is that it requires same thing as you're saying about the conferences and the podcast we're choirs a long period of time you need. You need to keep that person on your list and send them a gift every 90 days Until you get them on the phone, right, and along the way you're building up all this reciprocity and awareness that eventually, if they are a large law firm, you know they have a budget, you know they have a need and that they're going to be in the market at some point over a three-year period. If you market to them, you're going to get on a phone call with them, right, and that's kind of the mindset is that we're going to keep investing in this one relationship, this one potential relationship over three years. We know we'll get them. It's just a matter of time.
0:38:14 - Seth Price
Right, if you get, if you get one out of four of the yeah on the phone, yeah, and then one out of five of those convert, it's exactly lost, effective. I get it. One of the things that I struggle with curious how you guys dealt with it at Scorpion or another place is where you've done Outbound. Is that every look you speak truth, anybody listening? There are a lot of people out there saying a lot of things. What you just said I know works up in the recipient. I know we got those gifts on a regular basis till somebody puts on a blacklist Because I'm more into my lawyers independently.
But my question to you is I find that the ethos of the outbound salesperson Outbound salesperson is very different than almost every other employee that I've seen across two businesses and you know we all talk about culture and core values. I find that the outbound salesperson very often is a different breed. How do those two worlds mix? I'm talking about prospectors slash cold cars, yeah, people that went to conferences and did those things. How did you mix that with the thousand employees? Because that those aren't easy people to mix it.
0:39:21 - Corey Quinn
Yeah, so this is a sales team is definitely a different culture, different group Dynamic. Then people on my team, the marketing team, or the people on the client services you know, same same as true across the Oregon. So they definitely had a separate kind of culture that was very performance driven. They were very well compensated based on based on their performance and they also had a lot of what I consider to be very high quality resources that help them, to coach them up and to help you know that keep them on the block, the feet in the person doing it, but it was the pod with the managers.
Pog the manager, we had sales consultants, coaches. They would, as a benefit, they would go to the conferences because they were the way that we had our sales team set up, as they were based on Practice area personal injury as an example and a certain geography so let's say West Coast and so they'd be prospecting into the same law firms over a number of years. They'd also go to the conferences and they'd go get a drink with them, right, and go maybe have a dinner or have an experience with them, and so, as a result of that, you got to start to see results. But I think I'll speak to scorpion specifically. It's a very performance driven, sales driven organization and so that was not a very foreign kind of energy in the company.
0:40:47 - Seth Price
It was always I even know it's like it was built like that, like, yeah, I have this amazing culture in this team that I die for me and fights like crazy, but it's hard to comport that with it and that that's one of the. I think that's you know. Yeah.
0:41:04 - Corey Quinn
I would say the other thing that you know, when I arrived at the agency back in 2015, it was there's eight sellers. They subsisted a hundred seven in bounds. They drove really nice cars and they had, you know, they've made a lot of money as a good life. The challenge was is that we weren't going to be able to hit our revenue goals.
That founder, rustin, you really wanted to grow the company and so we had to introduce Outbound, because you can only you know there's a limited supply of attorneys in the US. We're looking to change their, their marketing or their website vendor, and so, as a result of that, we had to go. We had to go out about it. So we had to introduce this whole new culture, and the way that we did that was we brought it a really amazing sales trainer, but then also Rustin, jamie Adams, the folks who were sort of the leadership team Then and now would actually be in the trenches with the sales team doing the cold calls, you know, following up on these gifts and and really being a part of that process, and that really helped to build the confidence over time.
0:42:10 - Seth Price
That's awesome. What did you find? You try a lot of different Senate for the salespeople. You know I mentioned fine law. Yeah, they historically pretty huge percentage. Yeah, all the revenue, the pretty first year revenue to salespeople. What, what? Where did you find the happy me? I don't think anybody pays more than those guys as far as a percentage.
Yeah how did you? Because this is something that young people starting like you only get so much money in. You're like, okay, well, off the top, all this money is going on a sales guy. Obviously, we're not busy without them. But where did you wear what you find the sweet spot when you were paying enough that you kept people incentivized, but not so much you killed your margins so being a salesperson let's say it's scorpion specifically is a pretty good deal, because you had a lot of, yet a lot of support.
0:43:00 - Corey Quinn
You would have. These Marketing team would send you to conferences, they'd send out these gifts to your leads, and there's a lot, of, a lot of support. That said the compensation. I'll speak generally, but you know it was fairly. I considered me fairly standard, so, out of a hundred percent of their on target earnings, half of that would be salary, another half would be performance based, and so they were provided with in bounds as well, as they had an expectation to go outbound, and so, though, they had to make up Did you need you have a target for outbound versus inbound, or were they just one big love?
0:43:37 - Seth Price
just one big love.
0:43:38 - Corey Quinn
But the sales team was big enough that they know one seller could live on in bounds and still had their quota.
0:43:44 - Seth Price
So give it so like looking at some of you starting here, you know so he has an agent. They're hiring their first salesperson. What would you set a tar, understanding that you guys had some advantages with brand?
0:43:55 - Corey Quinn
Yeah, and with yeah, yeah, I was, yeah, we were, we were a known brand in the space.
0:44:01 - Seth Price
Yeah, what would you, what would somebody have as a target? Generically just an order of magnitude.
0:44:07 - Corey Quinn
I mean, I think, I like the idea of 50% of your comp is in salary and the other 50% is performance based. And what that is is based, you know, the performance piece is based on what their reasonable quota is how many deals they need to close per month. Two to three maybe, maybe four to start out, and you'd have to kind of back into the figure of okay, well, if I want to compensate a junior salesperson on target earnings, maybe $70,000, $80,000 a year, half of that would come in through salary. The other half would be sort of a ramp up of a quota that they would have an expectation of closing X amount of business over X amount of time. That would compensate them the rest of the way.
0:44:58 - Seth Price
It's awesome? No, it's exciting. It's the path not traveled. You know you do think different ways and I don't think I'm gonna magically turn into a sales machine. Were there any types of people that you loved for that role? Were you hiring decent college grads? Were you hiring people that sold cars? Was there any sort of telltale of what might make a decent squirky and salesperson?
0:45:21 - Corey Quinn
So, interestingly, one of the things we learned is that someone with a background in, let's say, home services maybe owned a home service business became a scorpion seller in home services. They were much more productive than someone who's just a junior guy who didn't know anything about Hence your question before about coming out of space.
Yeah, exactly so, having specific experience in the space, whether it be a seller at another agency with a Rolodex of clients or someone just familiar with the space but ultimately I think it depends on where the life cycle of the agency is. The reason why I say that is that most agencies don't have a sales development sort of resource or a very sophisticated sales coach or trainer there to help bring up junior people. In that case, it maybe makes more sense to just find someone who's been selling into that vertical for a while and basically bring them over. When it comes to scaling up a sales team, you need to hire junior people and that requires having a really strong onboarding and training and coaching and sort of development process in place. That's really where it.
0:46:39 - Seth Price
No, I mean, did you credit? I feel it's very similar to what you're seeing in some of the insurance syndicates. Yeah, the first guy at Undercover billionaire. When you look at the people that have scaled the insurance company, that feel like you took that playbook and turned it to internet marketing.
0:46:57 - Corey Quinn
Yeah well, thanks for that. Curious about your experience with sales with regard to anything you're comfortable sharing. With regard to, like you mentioned, you have an eight person team. Is it mostly in bounds and they're just qualifying correct with the news?
0:47:13 - Seth Price
You have an outbound asset that does that. I've tried and lost money on third party agencies. It never found that to work. I've also learned something which is even different between Scorpion and Blue Shark. So we are SEO first and SEO and local first with paid second. Arguably, scorpion was paid first.
0:47:37 - Corey Quinn
From a product perspective.
0:47:38 - Seth Price
From a product perspective, yeah yeah, and not making a value judgment either way, I would argue from what I've learned that the paid sale is a sale that more people can grasp more easily. Yeah, and that when I took people and I maybe I don't know if I've ever dealt with anybody post Scorpion, I've definitely dealt with people post Fila that the people that we saw that the idea of selling a directory or selling paid search was significantly easier Not saying that easy, but easier than the SEO sale, and that's one of the things that we have seen and that it is one thing to call somebody and say, hey, give me $2,000 a month and I'm gonna get you X number of phone calls and you can sort of know what you're dealing with in the market to, hey, give me X amount of money and I'm not gonna show you anything for nine months.
0:48:40 - Corey Quinn
That is a much harder sale. That's a tough sale, especially for a small law firm Correct and we figured stuff out.
0:48:46 - Seth Price
We have now entered products. We now add PPC and stuff.
0:48:50 - Corey Quinn
They're all such a great place, but if you lead non-PPC.
0:48:53 - Seth Price
It's a more intellectualized sale it is, which is again why I'm not a billion dollar organization. At the same time, we have sticky clients that love what we do because when it works, even somebody who's a paid first person, as great as paid may be, there's a Google. You may be the best paid person on the planet.
0:49:14 - Corey Quinn
There's only a limited ROI that Google will let you do that Absolutely and the market can go against you Like. We have no control over cost per clicks.
0:49:26 - Seth Price
And so that has, to us, made it much harder. So, again, let's go back to your audience for a minute, away from our personal month, I think, here which would be, when you're doing this, knowing what your widget is, because the more sophisticated the widget, the harder the sale process is compared to. So for me, I believe, it took an extra much more for us to sell because we were selling something that took a leap of faith versus hey, we're gonna build a site and within 30 days you're gonna have phone calls with your budget and, as you know, there's a distinction between paid and organic in the sense that, yes, the best answer is both. I'm not somebody who's like paid sucks, organic's great, I'm like I love both.
But when you're dealing with a client with limited resources, where do you start? And if you can get through that pain, I know that there's an ROI that can be achieved on the other end. That's great, but that's a very hard concept to get through on the phone. When I listen to some of the people if you listen to any of the legendary stuff from our friend from Wolf of Wall Street he's not doing it. He's like I'm gonna make you money right now. It's a dream, it's there.
0:50:43 - Corey Quinn
It's a compelling sell. I think the challenge that we faced and other agencies face when they are focused on an SEO based contract or a SEO based product, at least as the cornerstone product that negotiating contract length becomes challenging because the client doesn't wanna agree to 12 months or 24 months because there's a lot of risk in that. But the agency needs enough runway to be able to provide results and show efficacy. It's funny you say that.
0:51:16 - Seth Price
So we never went with on our higher dollar SEO contracts. We've never done a contract length. We have for 60 day out, but that's about it and one of the things that that's been a good selling point. So that helps our salespeople right. We're not saying you have to stay with us for a length of time, but that's what we all part of the reason we. I sort of look at it like, if you, if somebody leaves that we never have people leave that for three or four months I say, yeah, but like you want some history company. But that is much less of a fear in the sense that you get your money for those three months. You're just selling a website. God bless, go off and do what you want. And, as you know, an unhappy lawyer locked in a contract isn't really a fun place to be anyway.
0:52:02 - Corey Quinn
Absolutely not, and yeah, and.
0:52:07 - Seth Price
If she's like on that, I'll go wrap myself yeah.
0:52:09 - Corey Quinn
I was gonna say yeah.
0:52:10 - Seth Price
He brings you back to PTSD for the days of problem.
0:52:14 - Corey Quinn
Exactly so kind of. As we wrap up here, I wanted to ask just two more sort of final questions as, having been down this road now for a while, specifically on the agency side, what advice would you have to maybe an agency owner that's taken more of a generalized approach to their market? They want to take a verticalized approach. They've enlisted in our conversation Any sort of parting advice you would have for them as they consider this vertical approach.
0:52:42 - Seth Price
I mean look, there's no one size fits all. I think long term most people will end up with especially if you're with exceptions most people will end up with some sort of a niche. It may be defined differently. It may be friends in DC that do mid to larger size organization web rebuilds and they're $50,000 to $80,000 and they churn them and even though it's not industry specific, it's digitized. The quicker you digitize what you're doing, the more money you'll make. If you're doing PPC for one person, social for the next and SEO for the third, like it gets you through the day, it gets you some revenue.
I think the only benefit to that is you can see what you like to do, what's resonating. But I think in order to get margins because at some point you're gonna go from I have a business to one of my margins, to one of my taking home and I think that the sooner that you get to some sort of systemizable process, the better you will be. That doesn't mean you can't have more than one over time, but it means that the sooner that it's not just like for lawyers people like anybody who knocks on the door is my client. Those guys generally don't make the same money as somebody who says this is my vertical, I'm known for it. Go to Starbucks because there's coffee. They may sell books and some other stuff there, but you're there for a thing and that's the sooner that people associate you with that, the better.
0:54:08 - Corey Quinn
That's awesome. Seth One last question. I wholeheartedly agree with that, by the way. What's your motivation?
0:54:16 - Seth Price
What is my motivation? You know I enjoy what I'm doing. I love building stuff and I've been very blessed that. You know there's one of those things that like not you know, like child rearing. You know, bigger kids, bigger problems. I thought when I had like little toddlers I was like it was the worst ever, and now kids were screwing up at school, doing all sorts of terrible stuff and they had bad phone calls. So. But what I would say is that with scale, I've been able to you know I didn't understand the time, but I've been able to be more of the more of the entrepreneur who works on the business, and so I feel like that is what drives me is to get to the point where I'm able to tinker with and build things rather than be part of the production of it myself.
0:55:03 - Corey Quinn
That's awesome. If folks want to reach out to you and get connected with you, what's it going for them?
0:55:10 - Seth Price
I'm a pretty easy guy to find. I'm Seth J Price on socials, seth at Blue Shark Digital, noe at Seth at Blue Shark Digitalcom. But I'm pretty accessible. You know you pick up the phones. I know you want to do this, I'm in. So if there is anybody in your audience I say this because nobody will actually call me I would tell my cell phone right, it's 347-661-999, and if anybody's listening actually has a question, call or text me. I challenge you and it is unbelievable how many people are out there that, if you did that too, who are upstream from where you are, that would help you out. Well, how few people actually do it.
0:55:44 - Corey Quinn
That's true. That's true. Well, thank you for your generosity and your time today, seth. It's been a great conversation. I appreciate that. That's all thanks so much for having me, thank you.
Transcribed by https://podium.page