Would you like to learn time-tested marketing strategies you can use to market your business and brand to your customer?
Do you even know who your customers are and how to keep them interested in your business?
To discover how to create and grow successful businesses with the use of updated old school marketing methods in a high-tech business world, I interview Bob Britton in this episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast.
More About This Episode
The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to grow their business.
It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.
Trent: Hey, everybody. My name is Trent Dyrsmid. I’m the founder of brightideas.co. In this interview, I am joined by a fellow by the name of Bob Britton, who got his start actually as an auto mechanic and then became an auto repair shop owner.This was an absolutely fascinating interview because he’s now got this auto repair shop, in addition to two other businesses, and this thing is doing just over $1 million a year. Most auto repair shops make 1% to 2% profit. Bob is doing over 25%, actually closer to 30% net profit and he hasn’t even been to his store in six months. How is that happening?There’s a whole lot of direct marketing, using Infusionsoft and really leveraging automated processes. In this interview Bob and I are going to go on to explain conceptually how he does that. I really encourage, if you have a business, that you feel like you’re working too hard to make the marketing happen and you’re working too hard to attract the customers to the business, or you’re just working too many hours, this is an interview you absolutely want to watch. Please join me in welcoming Bob to the show.
All right, Bob. Thank you so much for making some time to do this with me from your home office. It’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview someone who has been as successful as you have. Welcome to the show.
Bob: Thanks for having me, Trent. It’s really great to be here today. I’m looking forward to it.
Trent: Very first thing I always want to do, I always want to give my audience a reason. They’re 30 seconds into this interview and they’re going, “Why am I listening to this? Who’s this guy? Why do I care?”
Bob: “Who’s this joker here?”
Trent: Yes, exactly. In the pre-interview you told me that you’ve actually built a pretty successful offline business and then you used a lot of online stuff to really make that business successful. Tell us really quickly, what is that business?
Bob: My core business that I started with is an auto repair shop. We fix cars. I used to be a mechanic years ago. I worked on cars myself. I kind of went from being the guy under the hood to a multiple business owner now. A lot of that success has been due to the help I got from using Infusionsoft to build my companies.
Trent: Think back, if you can., how much revenue are you doing and how many locations are there?
Bob: I had two locations at one point. I did downsize a couple of years or so ago into one location. I do about $1.1 million a year at that location. The thing that a lot of people don’t realize, that I’m very proud of, is I’ve got a three-bay operation. It’s got five total employees there. To do that kind of volume in that space is virtually unheard of in the auto repair space.
Net profits typically in an auto repair shop tend to be around one and 3% net profit. It’s not a very profitable thing. We typically run around 28% to 35% net profit. It’s not only huge volume, it’s supremely profitable. A lot of that is because the direct response marketing that I’ve used and Infusionsoft that goes along with it.
Trent: Wow. This is going to be an interesting interview. I’m looking forward to this. I notice that you’re not doing this interview at the auto repair shop. Do you go there every day?
Bob: I have not been to my repair shop in probably six months. I don’t go there on a daily basis. I have no need to. I have a general manager that takes care of the day to day operations. I do some things remotely. But in a weeks’ time I may spend a couple hours working on the repair shop stuff. Very little is required of me at this point.
Trent: Let me make sure I really understand what you’ve just said. You have a business that’s making about a $300,000 a year profit for you after everyone’s been paid and you haven’t been there in six months?
Bob: Yes. That’s correct. I take that back. I did stop in to get mail.
Trent: All right.
Bob: I don’t work there on a day to day basis.
Trent: Alright, folks. If you’re not hooked on listening to this interview now, I don’t know what we’re going to be able to say to get you interested. I want to get into the auto business now.
Bob: Oh, no you don’t. I have since learned there’s a lot easier ways to make money.
Trent: Yes, probably. Probably there is. Maybe you could interview people for a living and put all the interviews on a website?
Bob: You could do that.
Trent: You could do that. I’ve got to make some notes to myself so I can keep asking interesting questions. $1.1 million and $300,000 net. Let’s go back. The people who are going to be most interested, I hope, in listening to this interview are maybe people who have a business that they don’t feel like they’ve got their marketing figured out yet.
Back when I was running my tech company, lead generation was God-awful, customer acquisition was brutal. We were sitting, cold calling all day long. It wasn’t a lot of fun. It was exhausting. It was ultimately one of the reasons why I sold the business. It just was so hard to get customers.
Since I’ve started to learn about direct marketing and not just the concept of it, I always knew about that, but since I started to learn about the specific tactics and tools, it’s getting a whole lot easier to get customers. Let’s go back, pre-Infusionsoft, just for a few minutes and talk about how did you get customers. I want to see if people can relate to the situation you were in.
Bob: I was in a really unique situation. You’re not going to believe it, but I swear everything I’m going to tell you totally is true. I was in my 20’s. I had very big ambitions about being my own business owner, running my own company. My wife and I, a new baby came along kind of unexpectedly, so my ambitions got siderailed. I took a job working as a mechanic literally just to make ends meet.
I had never actually even grew up knowing the difference between an import and a domestic car. I saw an ad in a paper one day and I’m like, “I need a job”. It was an ad for auto repair and I said, “You know what, I could do that job”. I went and applied for the job. I went out to the library that night and checked out every book I could find and read them all in the next few days. I went and got the job.
Six months later, I was working as a manager of the store. Six months after that I was a certified master technician and I worked about eight years under the hood, fixing cars. It was some tough times but it was enough to put food on the table and take care of my young family. It was a growing family at the time.
Along the fax machine one day came this fax. I was working for another owner and I happened to see it. It was talking about how to really explode and get a load of customers for your auto repair shop. I knew I wanted my own business. I knew I was planning that so I kept that paper. I set it aside.
Trent: You stole his fax?
Bob: He didn’t want it. He was going to throw it out.
Bob: He said, “That’s garbage”. I ended up doing a deal with that owner. It was a horrible deal. It was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. I didn’t understand the terms and conditions of what I signed for, but making a long story short I bought a business that was just about out of business, doing total gross volume of around $20,000 a month for a $1 million dollars. I personally signed on.
The problem was that didn’t include any real estate. It didn’t have any employees there other than myself. I basically bought myself a job for $1 million. I didn’t come to that realization, obviously, until a few years later after paying the bills and trying to grow that company.
There’s that old saying that “If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger”. I lived that. I lived it in a very personal way. I went from basically turning wrenches myself, having to put a huge amount of money to the old owner to pay that debt and grow that company at the same time. It wasn’t in a good location and it didn’t have a good reputation in the community. But I dove into direct response marketing. I went and spent tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands by today.
In my own education, just really learning what the heck is this direct response stuff and what can it do for my business, I took that single store and grew it to two locations, started doing several millions of dollars in volume in about five, six, seven years. That was a direct result of learning direct response marketing, learning how to get people to come in. That was mostly done with direct mail.
At the time, Google wasn’t really out there yet. Infusionsoft wasn’t even around yet. I was old school by any stretch of the imagination. That stuff still works today and I still use a lot of that stuff. But with the tools that are out there today, it’s a whole new ball game.
Trent: Back then, you basically just, I’m assuming, bought databases or lists of people that were probably in your geographic area, blanketed them with mail so they knew you existed. When they showed up at the store you made sure they had the best possible experience and then you probably kept in touch with them with mail again afterward?
Bob: I wish it was that simple. In a nutshell, yes. That’s what we were supposed to do. Unfortunately, I had hired the wrong people. I had some tough lessons there to learn about hiring the right and wrong people. I hired the wrong people. I drove in an avalanche of customers. We had tons of people coming in and they burned them right back out again. I called them the ‘churn and burn’.
That was another valuable lesson there, about having the right people behind your team, learning how to find the right people and manage them accordingly. I did make a lot of mistakes there, some very painful ones, but the end result was I learned some really powerful lessons in a very short time frame. It gave me a lot of strength moving forward to do new opportunities and new ventures.
Trent: Yes, no kidding.
Bob: Yes, you’re right. I did a lot of direct mail, bought lists of what I would consider my ”A” client, the people that fit my profile the best, that would allow me to make a good profit and all that.
Trent: Let’s dive into that for a moment. Customer profiling is so important. I know for me, when I was running my company, I was frightened to be too focused. I thought, “If I get really focused on just this one type of customer, what about all those other people? I won’t be speaking to them”.
In hindsight, I think I was a dimwit because that’s exactly what I should have done, was get really focused on that one customer. How did you figure out who your one customer was going to be? When I say “one customer” I don’t mean one person, obviously, I mean this profile.
Bob: Actually, in auto repair it boiled down real simple: there are a certain number of people that walk in, they throw you the keys, you have their credit card on file and they say, “Bob, just fix it”. They don’t want you to bother them during the day. What I did is I went through my database of customers and I had a handful of those people. I liked to call them my advocates. These are people that love me, trust me, no matter what I said, they just buy it.
It’s not a hassle. They allowed me to be profitable. I took really good care of them. I gave them everything I could. I would think up new things to give them to keep them happy. What I did was I analyzed those people based on their income, where did they live, those types of things.
I built this picture of an “A” client. I went and bought lists of people that matched that criteria. Lo and behold, we got a successful business. The formula is not that complicated, but getting all the pieces together is sometimes going to be a little crazy. That’s what we do.
Trent: Where’d you learn that? Was there a book?
Bob: I learned that from Dan Kennedy. I learned that from being around direct response marketers. I got involved with a mastermind group at a young age. Thank the Lord above that I did because I was able to really accelerate my understanding with that.
Trent: Let’s talk about that for a minute because I’m a big believer in masterminding. I’ve been a participant of masterminds in the past. I’ve launched my own masterminds. I’m getting ready to relaunch my mastermind. Tell me, why do you think being in a mastermind is such a good thing?
Bob: You don’t know what you don’t know. In the simplest terms, that is the absolute reason you need to be in it. I’ll give you a quick story. This is the power of a mastermind. I’m struggling to grow this business. I’m deeply in debt. I’m charged up to the wazoo on my credit cards and I needed a loan. I knew that if I didn’t get this loan I was going to be in some deep trouble.
I went to the bank, they said “No”. I had made one late payment on my mortgage. It was just over 30 days late. It was a black mark on my credit. It was the only black mark, but they would not loan me any money because of it. I was kind of embarrassed about that.
I look back now and I can smile. At the time, it was a really big deal to me. I was really upset about it. I was involved in this mastermind group. I was committed to it. I flew out. The meeting was whatever, but I was having lunch with this guy. We were sitting there and I was struggling with this in my mind and I was worried about it. The conversation came up so I said, “I’m just going to let the guard down. I’m just going to be honest”.
I told this guy what was happening and he goes, “You know, Bob, why don’t you just call them up and ask them to remove it?” I went, “What? They’ll do that?” He goes, “Yes. It happened for me. Just call them. You have a good payment record. Just call and ask them to remove that. Tell them your situation and see what they do.” It never occurred to me, ever, that I could call the creditor and that they would even consider doing that. That little piece of information twisted my head and I went, “Okay”. I went home and called them.
Sure enough, they removed it, got the loan, boom. I was rocking and rolling. All of that changed because I was in an environment with other entrepreneurs and other business people who have been through and around these types of things. It made all the difference in the world. That’s just one example that I can think of. I could give you 100 more. We could talk all day about it. The power is in other people’s perceptions.
Trent: We could go on and on. I’m sometimes known for hijacking my own interviews and telling my own stories. I’m going to refrain. I’m not going to do it. No. What were you paying, though, for this mastermind, to be a part of it?
Bob: Ten thousand dollars a year was the cost of that one, plus airfare and hotel, meals and so on. I look back now and I did not have the money. I mean, I had to scrape up the money together, every dime I had to get to those things and be part of that. Oh my God. If I hadn’t done I know for a fact I would still be either turning wrenches or slaving away at some repair shop and not where I am today.
Trent: Chances are you wouldn’t have got that loan. If you didn’t get that loan…
Bob: Who knows? I would have gone bankrupt.
Trent: All right. You’ve been doing this direct marketing. This is all pre-Infusionsoft. Back then. Let me guess, lots of moving parts, lots of manual processes, lots of work and things falling through the cracks. Am I kind of painting a reasonably accurate picture?
Bob: I don’ think you’re painting it as painful as it actually was. We were doing a lot of direct mail. I do multi-step sequence mailings to get people to respond. It was our most successful thing. I think you can imagine. Let’s say you get a list of 3,000 people. This is a real world example.
You divide that up and let’s say we divide that into 1,000 each. We’re going to mail it and 1,000 people get letter number one. Two weeks later those same people get letter number two. Another two weeks later they get letter number three. I called it my three step letter. Each letter is specific to that person. It has a specific expiration date and it’s always the same for those people. You get a letter and it says this expires six weeks from now. That’s letter number one.
Letter number two: “Hey, it’s still six weeks from now”. It’s very, very powerful marketing. That’s cool. That itself is pretty complicated to make sure the right person is getting the right letter at the right time. Now, what if you wanted to do multiple mailings at the same time? There’s a two week window. What if I decided we’re going to mail out this letter, letter number one, to this 1,000.
Week number two, in between, we’re going to take the second part of that list and mail them letter number one. We started multi-stepping these things. We had calendars going, I had assistants to try and track this stuff and make sure it all went right. I’ll tell you what, it didn’t always go right. It screwed up a lot.
Trent: I’m seeing landmines all over the place here.
Bob: The process was a nightmare. I tried to outsource a couple of times with minimal success. A lot of times, even the mailing houses would screw it up or they wanted a lot of money to manage a campaign like this. It became the law of diminishing returns when you start doing that. We had some fun in the pre-Infusionsoft days.
Trent: You mentioned you had some assistants. In addition to your own time, you had labor costs associated with all of your hard costs of actually mailing these letters out?
Bob: Oh, yes. Yes, I did. She still works for me part-time. She was responsible to get all those mailings out.
Trent: Where I’m going with this is, for example, when I spoke with Janette Gleason the other day, folks, if you don’t know who she is she’s another interview that I’ve done so look for that interview on the blog, they, pre-Infusionsoft, were spending $15,000 per month.
After Infusionsoft was deployed they were spending $1,500 per month and they tripled their revenue. Can you give me a sense of what was the spend before you put Infusionsoft in place? You probably had much higher labor, I’m guessing, than you did afterward?
Bob: Yes. There’s actually no comparison. I don’t have the exact numbers here but I can tell you it’s probably a third. My assistant was full-time with me at that point trying to manage all these. I gave you the example of the three-step letter campaign but we were doing follow-up mailings, new customer mailings, we were doing all kinds of different moving parts. There was a referral program that she would manage. Even with her working full-time, a lot of these pieces would break. If she took time off, some of the things didn’t get done.
After Infusionsoft I took all of those processes, put them into Infusionsoft for that business, I have 72 individual processes that work now. We’re doing my Infusionsoft app for that repair shop business, and I cut her time down to about five or six hours a week. That’s all she works now. She physically makes sure the stuff gets in the mail but she doesn’t have to know who gets what or when or keep track of any of that stuff. It’s all automatic and done with Infusionsoft.
Trent: All right. The audience is probably saying, “Enough with the old school. Let’s talk about what’s working today.” I just wanted to make sure people really understood the problem that Infusionsoft helps people to solve. In case anyone is curious, yes, I’m an Infusionsoft user as well. I’m a big advocate. As a matter of fact, that was one of the reasons why I started Bright Ideas.
Once I started using Infusionsoft in my business I thought, “Oh my God. If I would have known about this stuff back when I had my tech company” I don’t know when Infusionsoft was started, it was probably available in a more rudimentary form, but all I can say is, “Good Lord”. It would have been exponentially easier. Back then I wasn’t even building a list. I had a website with no opt-in form. Can you believe that?
Bob: I actually know that most businesses these days don’t. Even though it seems like we talk about this stuff all the time, if you stopped 100 people on the street that are business owners and said, “Hey, you got an opt-in form on your website?” They would be like, “What’s that?” This is the thing that really gets me excited, Trent. Anyone who is watching this, you are on the absolute bleeding edge of what I believe is the next revolutionary technology.
Not just Infusionsoft, but marketing automation, along with Infusionsoft, understanding these principles, will transform small businesses. It is going to have an enormous impact not just on small, but on small to medium businesses. It’s going to have an unbelievably huge impact. Those people who are going to take that technology and start to use it and run with it are going to be the next Bill Gates. That’s the impact this is going to have on the American and worldwide business community.
Trent: I couldn’t agree more. Again, that’s why I started Bright Ideas, because I wanted to interview guys like you who can say to my audience, “Look, this stuff works. This is how you do it”. Enough. Let’s get into it. Let’s talk about Infusionsoft. We’re going to need to do a master class, which is when we get into it way, way more details. I’m going to be all over you afterward about that.
Those are only available for my premium members and I’ll talk about that later. As best we can, let’s talk about the overview of the process. I call it the ‘life cycle of a lead’, from how you’re getting the lead, how it gets into Infusionsoft, what happens. We’re not going to go super granular and talk about action sets and campaigns because without seeing it on the screen people won’t have a clue what we’re talking about. But, conceptually.
Bob: Until you dive in there, I won’t go to that depth. You want to start with capturing leads?
Trent: Top of the funnel, yes.
Bob: Start with your website. Here’s the best gift I can give to anyone that’s watching this: 99.9% of the web designers out there don’t know anything at all about how to make money online. If they did, they would not be working building websites for $15.00 or $20.00 an hour or whatever they’re getting paid.
There is such an opportunity to make enormous amounts of money if your website is properly designed by somebody who understands direct response marketing, understands how to capture leads from the web. That is the foundation piece.
All this Infusionsoft stuff is kind of behind the scenes things that happen. It manages all these processes and it markets to your people and it can do all that stuff. If you don’t have a good lead generation thing to start with, that’s going to bring people in. I don’t care if that’s brick and mortar or online business. It’s the same for both. I’ll give you some statistics about that in a second. You’ve got to start with the foundation piece. It’s a properly designed, direct response website. There are almost none out there. That’s part one.
The top of the funnel, you’ve got a lead coming in from your website on an opt-in form or people are requesting more information. That information goes into Infusionsoft, triggers a response. They’re going to either get an email back or get physical mail back, a DVD, a CD, they’re going to get something from you. They’re going to get a phone call from a sales rep. All of those behind the scenes things can be managed through Infusionsoft, but that’s where it all starts.
Trent: Okay. I want to go a little deeper there because I know that 99% of the people who are listening to this are kind of going, “Well, how does that happen?” They fill out the form, name and email, they hit that Submit button. They get an email and it says, “Here’s your report” or whatever it was that you promised. That’s called a lead magnet, for anyone who’s wondering. That then creates a record in Infusionsoft, which is the software that you and I pay to use. Then what happens?
There’s all these processes that we can create to have them fire all on autopilot. Can you give me an example of how that works for you? You mentioned some things that I don’t do. I don’t do direct mail. I don’t mail CDs. I want to know how automated is that kind of thing?
Bob: It’s completely and totally automated. One of the things you can decide to do, a lead comes in, you can say, “Okay, send an email to a sales rep with this person’s information and have that sales rep call them”. You can have a fulfillment list that goes out to a mailing house that says, “Send this person this CD”. You can have a letter that goes out, a postcard, a voice broadcast where an automated call goes out to the person and says, “Hey, thanks for reaching out to us. We’re going to get back to you”. You can do so many different things.
It’s virtually only limited by your imagination. I just recently started playing around with text messaging. If somebody comes into my funnel I’m going to text them and see if I can get them to respond that way. We’re going to do some testing in that area. All of those things are part of this whole marketing system that you’re going to put together for your small business. It really is what makes the difference.
Trent: What I’m trying to get people to appreciate is that back when I had my business, the only marketing that I did was picking up the phone and making cold calls. If I wasn’t picking up the phone, and if I wasn’t making cold calls, there was no marketing happening. Every day that I went to work I had this panic feeling of, “There are no leads coming in. There are no leads coming in”. I hated cold calling with a passion because it was so ineffective.
Bob: Let me put this in perspective for anyone watching this. Forget about the new leads just for a second. It’s super important for every business. I can guarantee you that almost everyone watching this that’s in business right now has a stack of papers or business cards that they’ve collected that they know for a fact there is money sitting in that pile, but they haven’t followed up with those people.
What if you had an automated system that you didn’t have to do anything at all and it followed up relentlessly with those people, those new people, those contacts that you’d made, talking about your products, your services, educating them and giving them free stuff. What would happen? What would happen? Would you make more money?
I’ve never met anyone yet who is in business that doesn’t have that scenario. The reason is that in business you’re busy. The phone rings, you have this going on, there’s all these moving pieces. You, as the owner, are typically running around doing all of that stuff.
Sometimes those things fall through the cracks and that’s the power of having a system in place that works 24/7, never gets tired, never takes a day off, using and putting together all of these marketing sequences to make money and make sales for you. It may not be instant. It may be down the road. It seeds the list. It works the people and educates them for you, so you can continually just make sales.
Trent: That’s why your car repair shop makes so much money, because that’s happening all the time. Let’s go back to that. I know we’re both pretty excited about Infusionsoft and I don’t want people to listen to this interview and think, “Well, that was just one big Infusionsoft commercial”.
Bob: By the way, you can do this all without Infusionsoft. That’s a disclaimer right there.
Trent: It takes a lot more work. What is your website for your auto repair shop?
Bob: It’s pro-autocare.com.
Trent: All right. If anyone is listening and they’re not driving their car, presumably they’ll punch up this. There you are.
Bob: You’ll recognize me right away. You’ll notice that it doesn’t look like an auto repair shop website.
Trent: No, it definitely does not. $200.00 at the top, which is your guarantee, you’ve got your contact info, okay. Walk me through. Someone comes to this site and where do you get most of your leads from on this site?
Bob: Two things. Right on the right column, you’ll notice that there’s an opt-in form for a free report. Also, it should pop up a banner at the bottom offering a free report as well.
Trent: There’s the “Make an appointment” button.
Bob: If you scroll down slightly on the right.
Trent: Free report: learn the seven deadly sins people make when choosing an auto repair store.
Bob: Interestingly enough, and anyone who’s in the internet marketing space would say, “How come you make them scroll to make them see the opt-in?” I’ve tested this. We used to have it right above the headline.
Trent: I was looking at it and going, “I don’t know about this”.
Bob: I tested it. It works better that way, believe it or not. We get more opt-ins on this particular one because the headline is so important. I’m driving a lot of traffic from pay per click and other places and they need to see the headline right away. Obviously, they see the banner. But the headline is very important as well.
Trent: It’s funny you mentioned the banner and I scrolled to the bottom of the page. I’m like, “What banner?” Then I just noticed the big orange banner across the bottom.
Bob: Yes, the other one. That’s the second opt-in that pops up.
Trent: People fill this in, they get a report. What happens next? Does it go by email? It must.
Bob: Yes. I deliver the free report by email. Obviously, we follow up and invite them in. We do a couple of other things. We offer them a discount to come visit us for the first time, so it gives them some incentive to visit us the first time. Here’s the thing that you should really take away from this, tracking is one of the big things we talk about in direct response marketing.
You’re not going to do anything if you can’t track it, which is why I love the web so much because it’s so easy to track everything. I know for an absolute fact that when people find my repair shop on the web, versus coming in any other way, that they spend almost three times more money. I started to look at that. Why would people be spending more when they come from online versus direct mail or other ways they come in? If you think about it, it makes total sense.
The people that are looking for repair shops online have a broken car. Something is wrong right now. This is the beauty of the web and getting all these pieces right. Back in the old day, when I was doing all that direct mail, I would have to front all this money, spend all this money to put the mail out then hope that somebody had a need and they would come in and take advantage of that offer. Now, this whole thing has been flipped upside down.
Somebody has a need right now, they’re looking for me. All I’ve got to do is not mess up the sale. I’ve got to convince them that we’re the best option for them to get their car fixed and it’s an immediate sale. They have a need, they find me and we’re golden. They see that website, I’m putting my money where my mouth is right away. This is the beauty of this whole thing, this whole internet marketing for small businesses. This is where it’s at. This is exciting stuff.
Trent: I’m willing to bet that the 99.99% of your competitors are completely and totally clueless.
Bob: Utterly clueless. I love going and looking at my competitors. I have competitors who are spending humongous amounts of money on pay-per-click advertising with Google ad words and other things. I know where they’re driving the traffic. I go there and I’m like, “These guys are just killing themselves and they don’t even know it.” They see me doing it so they’re doing it too, but their website is never going to convert anyone to buy ever.
Trent: They opt-in. They get the free report. You guys follow. I’m assuming you must have some sequences that include making a phone call. Do you get the phone number at some point in here?
Bob: It’s on the bottom of every email that comes in. Obviously, as soon as you opt-in an email actually goes from my service manager to you, inviting you to come in. He doesn’t send it, but Infusionsoft sends it for him. It actually drives you back to the web to make your appointment.
If you click the “Make an appointment” button, that’s an Infusionsoft web form that then follows up religiously with people once the appointment request is made. He will either call or email. He’ll email automatically from Infusionsoft but we’ll follow up with a phone call to get people to come in. All of those processes that are happening, you can see the front of it is the website. The whole behind the scenes stuff is Infusionsoft.
Trent: I notice you have a tab called “Internet coupons”. Does that work well?
Bob: It works very well. You’ll also notice that the coupons have an expiration date on them. If you look closely and come back tomorrow, you’ll realize that the expiration date is based upon 14 days from the day you view the page. We’re always timely.
Trent: Are you using iMember360 as the plug-in on that? Is this a WordPress site?
Bob: It is a WordPress site. I am using iMember360. I have a membership portal for my customer base there. They can log in, look at their invoices, it actually does up-sells within my membership portal.
Trent: There are a lot of lessons to be learned. You don’t need to be in the auto repair business. I hope that you’re realization that if you’re cutting hair or you’re a florist or you’re an accountant or whomever is running a brick and mortar business and you’re relying on just foot traffic to bring people to your business, there’s so much more that you could be doing, so much more. It’s not terribly expensive to do all this stuff.
Bob: You know what it takes, really? Getting around some people who are doing this stuff and they can show you how. That’s the big thing.
Trent: Back to the mastermind yet again.
Bob: Yes. It really is. Like we started out saying before, this stuff is so cutting edge that nobody knows this stuff. It’s not that many people. You can’t stop people on the street. It’s not common knowledge that this stuff even exists or how to put all the pieces together. I’ve had people come in to my group that have spend 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars on a website and it doesn’t make them a dime. They didn’t know that you could get this stuff done for a couple hundred bucks.
Trent: Are you still direct mailing where you’re just buying lists?
Trent: Okay. How much are you spending per month on direct mail versus how much are you spending, I’m assuming you’re doing pay-per-click to drive traffic to your site?
Bob: I am.
Trent: How much on each of those two activities?
Bob: I spend about a grand a month on pay-per-click and I spend about maybe $1,200 on direct mail.
Trent: You said you track a lot of your stuff.
Bob: I track all my stuff.
Trent: How much revenue is coming, and it might be blurry because your direct mail is probably driving traffic to your site, right?
Bob: Well, it is, but it’s a specific offer with a coupon code so when they physically show up in my shop I know that they came from direct mail. I did one other thing, too, that we’re getting a little granular but I think it’s important because people like this. I did something that nobody had done before.
I don’t know that anybody has done it again. I tied Infusionsoft into my point –of-sale system at my repair shop. This point-of-sale, which is a computer, physically, sitting at my repair shop, at my service manager’s desk, is at night synchronized and all the data goes up into Infusionsoft by a special program link that I had created.
I had a special algorithm written so that the point-of-sale, when you show up at the shop, it says, “Hey, wait a minute. This guy lives at this address. He must have been direct mail. He’s a response to this direct mail”, even if you don’t use the coupon or the offer. I’m tracking it automatically based upon that, using that system.
Trent: Which is giving you the higher ROI: direct mail or pay-per-click?
Bob: It’s definitely pay-per-click, by probably 10 to 1 at this point. The last I looked, I haven’t looked in a while, I’ll be honest, at last look we were doing $45,000 a month in direct from my website and/or pay-per-click combined from the web.
Trent: It makes perfect sense because of what you said before. The pay-per-click is working because people have a problem with their car. They’re looking for a solution right now. Direct mail, you’re just farming. You’re planting seeds. “I’m in your neighborhood. When your car breaks down, think of me. Think of me. Think of me”. Again, that’s why the whole online part is just so incredibly effective. Are there any video customer testimonials? Are they anywhere in your sales funnel? Like, “Bob’s a great guy. I love the store. Blah blah blah”?
Bob: I do not have video but if you go to the testimonials page, there I have pages. I actually built a custom automated system for testimonial collection as well. When a customer picks up their vehicle there’s a nice thank you card that drives them back to the web to leave their remarks. When they do that, they can go right online and put that in.
It’s an Infusionsoft web form that then captures that information and automatically publishes it to my website upon my approval. I’m getting new stuff coming in. Again, the testimonials page is no longer a static thing, it’s constantly being updated by my customers.
Trent: Yes, there’s a gazillion of them on there.
Bob: There’s a gazillion on there, yes. In fact, every couple of days, sometimes there’s gaps, but every few days somebody puts one on there. It’s a great way to constantly have that happen.
Let’s go back to the beauty of Infusionsoft. Back in the day, somebody would send a testimonial in or leave one for us someplace and we’d have to write them a letter saying thank you and send them a little thank you card or whatever. Infusionsoft now automates that whole process.
If somebody fills out the thing it sends them a thank you. I do a little gift card that goes along with it as a thanks for their testimonial. I don’t have to do anything. Nobody has to do anything. It just happens.
Trent: Are you using send-out cards?
Trent: Janette, she has it tied directly into Infusionsoft.
Bob: I do as well.
Trent: You do as well. I think somebody makes a third-party piece of software to do that. Is that correct?
Bob: That is correct. There are a couple of guys doing that now. It makes it real simple that Infusionsoft basically sends an email and they can get a gift card, greeting card, cookies, whatever you want to send. I do birthday gifts, greeting cards, cookies, that kind of stuff, all kinds of different things. Again, the sky is the limit. What your brain can conceive, you can get it done.
Trent: What percentage of your annual revenue comes from repeat customers versus new customers?
Bob: Repeat business is three-quarters of my business, three-quarters at least. It has to be that way, too. Otherwise I’m not doing something right.
Trent: Yes. I don’t want people to think that by hearing that they should just focus on their existing customers. People are always moving and dying. If you’re not bringing new blood into the fold then you’re dying as well. It’s important that you do both.
Bob: I think you do have to do both. Although, most of the time, as business owners, I do think we get caught up in new business, new business, new business and we forget that, actually, if we worked a little bit harder on getting more money out of our existing customers we would do really, really well. There is two really good targets right there.
There’s only three ways to build a business, right? Three and only three; you get more customers, you get each customer to buy more, so a higher transaction size. Then you get them to come back more frequently. Out of those three, 66%, now, the two, are dealing with existing customers, higher transaction size and more repeat business. I think it is a valuable target to go after the new customers and you definitely need to spend time there. It can be more profitable if you focus on those other two areas as well.
Trent: Bob, I want to talk a little bit more about, if you haven’t covered it already, your best strategy for getting repeat business from your customers. Then, if people want to get a hold of you, because I know that you’ve got an Infusionsoft mastermind and I want to give you an opportunity to talk a little bit about that. So, let’s go with those two and then we’ll wrap up.
Bob: The first one was what’s the best idea for getting repeat business?
Bob: The best idea I’ve ever heard or came up with and developed was getting people to pay me in advance for my services. Here’s the thing that I’ve come to realize: we all, as business owners and human beings, actually, accept that there’s boundaries and limits based upon our own thinking. I think if you stopped 100 people on the street and said, “Would you ever consider prepaying for auto repair?” 99 out of 100 would say, “You’re out of your mind. I’m never going to do that.” I get a lot of people to do that.
The benefit to me is that I give them a lot of benefit for doing so. There’s a whole program that goes along with it. It’s a great sales pitch that I put together for it. It actually benefits them tremendously. They get the best price, the best discount all the time, all that kind of stuff. They’re prepaying me every month. Their credit card gets dinged for a set amount that we’ve agreed upon or they’ve opted-in for.
I have money rolling in before I even put the key in the door and open for day one of business at the first of the month. That is guaranteed locking them in to do business with me for as long as they stay in the program. I already have their money. It’s already been prepaid. It’s a great program. I think with a little bit of creative thinking and stretching your own assumptions of what people will or will not do.
Just about any business can come up with something that gets a cash flow system like that in place. In the info businesses we call that continuity. We want to add continuity coming in. I haven’t seen a business yet where we haven’t been able to come up with some way where we have that kind of thing. That’s one. That’s a higher level.
Trent: Can I interrupt you for just a moment? Something I want people to understand: I had a computer fixing business. We built continuity into that business and I was able to sell that business for $1.2 million when I was done. If I did not have that continuity, that business would not have been worth 10 cents because people who are wanting to buy a business, they want certainty. They want predictable cash flow.
If for no other reason other than your exit strategy, which is the time when it comes to sell your business, if you want to build value you have got to figure out some way to build continuity into your business. Sorry, I just could not go past it without hammering that point home.
Bob: Couldn’t resist that one, could you?
Trent: No. It’s so important.
Bob: The other thing you can do is never work in your business and it makes it a lot more valuable to an investor.
Trent: It does. They don’t like buying businesses that are all wrapped around one person. People don’t like that.
Bob: That’s very, very true. The other thing, real quick, is to have some kind of club or membership that people can buy into. Obviously, I call that my VIP program when it’s prepaid. I also have what I call the ‘Car Care Club’ card where they can buy a card and it’s a bunch of services at a discounted price which also locks them into doing business with me.
They’ve basically bought a discount and it’s guaranteed that they’re going to come back to me again and again and again when they have a problem. Those are two quick strategies that pretty much any business can use to get that working for them.
Trent: Okay. Which kind of segues us into the whole mastermind thing because people might be thinking, “Well, yes. But how do I figure that out?” That’s, I think, a great segue. If you want to talk a little bit about your mastermind, this is your chance.
If you have a URL where people can get more information, please feel free to give that. If there’s any kind of coupon codes or anything that you can extend to my audience, mention that and we’ll make sure that underneath this interview there’s whatever links they can click on to get whatever deals there might be available.
Bob: Let me tell you how this came about. I built this whole system with Infusionsoft, took this business to the moon and was kind of bored. I was home and I was like, “This is boring”. I started another business and started another one after that. I’ve got three different businesses now. My second one was in the IT industry like you, Trent. I sell marketing information to the IT industry. That’s completely online, completely automated business.
Then, I won the ‘Ultimate Marketer’ from Infusionsoft in 2012, got a lot of notoriety around that. It talked a little bit about my repair shop and these other businesses that I started. I realized that there was a real need within the Infusionsoft space to have a sense of community. There’s some there now but I wanted to take it to a whole other level.
I wanted to get a group of people who are serious about taking their business to another level and helping other people work together. I kind of felt like it was almost my duty to do so because I had been given so much in the past at my own mastermind that I had been part of and I had some real key people that made a big difference in my life. I said, “You know, it’s time to do the same thing”.
I created what we call the ‘Marketing Automation Group’, or MAG, for short. Some people who are in the Infusionsoft space may have heard of it. It’s not a huge group. I don’t want a great, big, huge group. It’s a small group of very passionate entrepreneurs. We work on all facets of business: hiring and firing, management, sales strategies, marketing, direct response marketing.
The common theme that runs through everything is automation. We take all of these ideas and we say, “Okay, how can you take that strategy and how can we automate as much of it as possible, if not all of it?” We come up with new ideas. Members share with each other. It’s really a fun and exciting group.
You can go to marketingautomationgroup.com. I just have a basic funnel there right now. I don’t really do a lot of online sales for that business. I actually do most of it in person. At this point, we get a lot of referrals from people that are members who have friends and they’re wanting to get in business. Don’t expect a big, fancy sales funnel because it doesn’t exist. But, make no mistake.
When it comes to building your business, we’re very, very serious about helping our members. We’re seeing some tremendous results that people have gotten. I’ll give you another link, too, actually, at the end of it. I don’t want to say the wrong thing in the recording.
I’ll give you another one, Trent, that you can put underneath the video. People can get more information as well. It’s not for everyone. It’s not cheap to be part of our mastermind. It’s for people who understand what we’re doing here and want to be part of something bigger. I think one of our members said it really well. He said, “My sales are up but the most important thing is having infinitely more fun along the way than he ever could have doing it himself”.
Trent: My sales are up but my work is down.
Bob: Yes. And he’s having fun with his new friends. It’s pretty cool.
Trent: How much is it for people to become a member of this?
Bob: It’s $13,000 a year to join plus travel expenses. There’s a whole list of things that you get as part of your involvement in the program. I’ll give you the link that gives that out to everyone. I will make an offer to your people that are watching this or want to join your master class. We’ve got to talk about the specifics of that. I’ll definitely discount that some for people who see this and say, “You know what? This is the kind of thing I’ve been waiting for. I know this is going to be right for me”. They can see the ROI of being part of something like this. I’ll make a special offer to them.
Trent: Okay. Terrific. Thank you very much for making the time. This has been a fun interview. I think that you and I are going to be talking lots more in the months to come. I just love being around other passionate, energetic entrepreneurs who are excited about what they’re doing. That’s why it’s such a privilege for me to be the host of Bright Ideas because I get to talk to you guys every day.
It’s pretty rare that I have a day where I feel like I’m overworked or things aren’t going that well. They have. We’re entrepreneurs. We’re humans. It all happens. But every day that I do an interview, I get this dose. I get my fix basically.
I hope that my audience gets as much of a fix out of these interviews as I do. I want to thank all of you guys for being my audience. If you think this is good stuff, please tell somebody else about it. Put it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, wherever it helps spread the word. For that, I would be really appreciative.
Bob, again, thank you so much for making the time.
Bob: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me. It was really fun.
Trent: All right. Take care.
Bob: Okay. Bye.
Trent: Okay. If you want to get the show notes for today’s episode, go to brightideas.co/14. The other thing I want to tell you about is the Massive Traffic Toolkit. If you go to brightideas.co/massivetraffic and enter your email address you’re going to get instant access to the Massive Traffic Toolkit.
What is the Massive Traffic Toolkit all about? It is a compilation of all the best traffic generation strategies that have been shared with me by all those really smart people that I’ve had here on Bright Ideas. The really great part about all these ideas is that you don’t have to be some kind of SEO guru to be able to implement them.
To get access, again, just go to brightideas.co/massivetraffic and enter your email address. You’ll have access right away. That’s it for this episode. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid.
If you really loved this episode or, heck, even if you just liked it a little, please do me a favor and head over to iTunes and give it a five-star feedback. Go ahead and leave a comment.
The more people that do that, the more visibility that comes to the Bright Ideas podcast and the more people that we can help with all of the really terrific bright ideas that are shared by the experts that I’m so privileged to have on my show.
Thanks very much for being a member of the audience. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:
How to Increase Web Traffic and Stay Well Ahead of the Competition by Marketing to a Huge Volume of Customers
Bob talks about his success building and running a brick and mortar business with the help of marketing strategies that are also applicable to small and medium online enterprises.
You’ll hear him discuss these marketing strategies that can be applied universally to all forms of business.
Marketing plays a big part in the overall success of a business or brand. With well implemented and well planned marketing strategies, entrepreneurs can expect severalfold growth in profit.
Listen to the show to discover how Bob managed to create and implement efficient plans that helped him grow his profits both online and offline.
Automation is an important key step in maximizing the returns of any investment. Bob paints a realistic picture that shows just how essential automation in marketing really is for the overall financial success of a business.
A business that wants to dominate in a field or niche will ultimately have to deal with competition. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you should be able to make full use of all available technologies to market your business efficiently to your potential clients. To do this, you should reach huge volumes of your target clients. Bob makes this clear as he explains the best strategies that entrepreneurs need to utilize to market to their customers.
Listen as Bob shares his extraordinary tale of triumph as he reveals his beginnings as a young man in need of a job to a mature and successful entrepreneur earning $1,100,000 a year in his auto repair business.
Many modern day online methods of marketing evolved from old school strategies. Learn the connection between the old school and the modern-day marketing strategies by listening to the show.
If you wish to build and manage a successful business, whether online or brick-and-mortar, you first need to hire and manage the right people. Learn from Bob’s experience by listening to him recount his beginner’s mistakes in hiring the wrong people.
If you wish to go far with your business, you need to take good care of your clients or customers. Before you do however, you must first know just who your client or customer really is. Bob discusses just how important customer profiling is and relates the techniques he has used to bring him his present day success. He first starts by describing what he calls his “advocates” and later on proceeds to outline his method of creating an ideal customer profile.
Listen to the show to discover just how you can use your creative mind to gather and analyze information required to help you create a clear picture of your customer.
The Mastermind Principle helps individuals achieve their goals with the help of others. Bob describes the importance of a Mastermind concisely by relating it to the single piece of information that changed his entire life.
Listen to the show to learn just how being in a Mastermind has allowed Bob to achieve the successes that he has now experienced.
The internet is an extremely powerful tool for business. It allows entrepreneurs to run their operations faster, more accurately and infinitely more fun. Bob explains the great potential for success that current entrepreneurs have with the available software and technology by comparing the next successful small or medium sized enterprise to Bill Gates- type success.
Bob explains just how to boost your sales with direct marketing and automated marketing campaigns. He shares many proven strategies that defeat the law of diminishing returns that are so inherent with today’s websites and business models.
Listen to the show to learn why it is important to have an Opt-in Form and just where to place these forms on your site.
Bob boldly states that 99% of web designers and web masters DON’T know how to create websites. He then proceeds to state the common mistakes of average or ordinary websites and web designers that don’t generate and convert leads into profit.
A business always aims to bring in new customers and keep old ones to remain successful in their specific field. Listen as Bob enumerates wise business facts that allow you to do just that.
Listen to the show to learn Bob’s best ideas for creating and keeping leads.
About Bob Britton
Bob Britton is a business owner, direct response specialist, author and speaker who has 19 years experience building and growing brick-and-mortar companies as well as online businesses.
He started his career as an auto repair mechanic but his ambition brought him to new heights. He soon built and managed his very own successful auto repair business at pro-autocare.com. His business genius has allowed him to win the Infusionsoft Ultimate Marketer Award for 2010.
Aside from running three successful companies he is also actively involved in his Infusion Coaching Group and Marketing Automation Group that allow him to coach and influence other hardcore entrepreneurs.