Mickey started a company from scratch over the past five years while balancing his time with a career in the Army Reserves and 9 to 5 gig, getting married, and buying a house.
In this episode, John and Paula and Mark Parry ask Mickey:
1. How hard is it to create a startup company?
2. How do you balance priorities when you have a lot going on?
3. What are some of the ways you’ve made your business more scalable/flexible so that you can do other things when you need to?
4. What are some of your best methods for acquiring leads?
5. Tips for sales calls?
6. Mindset – how do you keep your sanity?
Paula Williams: I’m the host, so I guess I do this.
Mickey Gamonal: I’ll be, what? I mean, I can be like, “Hi, everybody, welcome,” whatever works.
Paula: Right. Exactly. Okay. So, we’re trading roles today and we are actually interviewing Mickey Gamonal, who is our husband, our book club facilitator, and stepped back from that role for about three months. And I’m sure we’ll probably talk about that decision too because I’m sure that was part of your balancing act. Anyway, should we do introductions and then just basically get into it? So, I’m Paula Williams of ABCI, we help aviation companies sell more of their products and services.
John Williams: John Williams, same company. I take care of the IP infrastructure.
Mickey: And I am Mickey Gamonal, I am the host of the ASVAB domination podcast and I hope people get better standardized test scores so that they can open more doors to different paths that they want.
Paula: Congratulations on the podcast, by the way. That’s a big deal.
Mickey: Thanks. No. I mean, a lot of it came from inspiration from you. So, I see that you’re out there making your podcast and one of the things was like I got a couple of leads from a podcast, so I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. That’s probably something that we’ll talk about when it comes to startups is there are things that you want to do for a very very very long time, and then you just don’t do them because you’re too busy with other things. And so it’s one of those things where the result was super obvious and that was really what led me to the action of creating the podcast. So, yeah. Yeah, exactly like that.
Paula: Fantastic. That’s great. And I guess, the first thing we wanted to talk about is startups and it used to be that in America, anyway, the American dream was the house with the white picket fence. And now I think the American dream is to own a company, how to live small or big and to be your own boss and maybe you can talk a little bit about what made you decide? Because I know, we’ve been talking about this since you were a little kid, but what was it that made you decide that you wanted to start a company? That’s a crazy thing to do.
Mickey: for sure. For sure. Hi Mark.
Mark: Hey, how you doing?
Mickey: Doing good. Doing good. Cool. So, yeah, what made me want to start my own company is I’ve worked a lot of different jobs, a ton of different jobs, and I’ve done a lot of tutoring on the side. And so I wanted to try to make that more legitimate. One of the biggest revelations for me is I used to tutor in person and so I would go before work every day and go tutor one of my students, and I get 50 bucks every day that I did that. And so I started making $250 a week because I was doing it Monday through Friday, and so that’s on top of my regular income. And then I realized like, wow, $50 an hour is so much more than I’m making doing my full-time job. I need to figure out a way to make this more of a reality. And then my business completely changed over time. And now, I don’t even do in-person tutoring anymore, I’m definitely not getting $50 an hour because that’s not my metric anymore. Right?
Now, my objective is not to make X amount of dollars per hour. It’s to make X amount of dollars per month, or something along those lines. It’s a little more farsighted and so I have changed the goal but the result is still the same, right? The reason that I got into business on my own is because I saw that I could make more money on my own. And so, from that point forward, I just tried to see where that thread led. So, that’s where I’m at.
John: And then also get the freedom to choose which 16 hours a day you want to work.
Mickey: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.
Paula: Yeah, no kidding.
Mickey: But yeah, I mean, I guess that leads right into the first question here. The first question is how hard are startups and how do you balance your priorities? I think startups can be as hard or as easy as you want them to be because you’re in charge. And so if it’s like a source of stress for you, which most startups will be, honestly, it’s not going to start paying you. We always hope that it’s going to be this thing where you can like kick back and throw your feet up and just watch the dollars roll in and that hasn’t happened for me yet. And I’ve only been in business for about 4 or 5 years, and I don’t think that’s happened to you yet. Right? You guys have been in business for, at least double that, so, you guys, have been in business for years.
The illusion when you get into this, the lie that we’re all sold is that we will start this company, and then eventually we can outsource all of the stuff we don’t want to do, and then once we do that, we’re just doing what we love and making more and more money every week over week and month over month and year over year. And I think that’s why people get into startups. It’s true in a sense but it takes a lot longer than you might expect. It takes a lot either a lot more time or a lot more energy. You’re going to have to put a lot into this to get it to the point where you’re only doing what you love 100% of the time and you’re making more and more money year after year.
John: It takes ten years to become an overnight success.
Mickey: Exactly. Well, that’s what we measure, right? Like we see the people who are successful in these fields, and we always think, like, “Why not me?” Right? And there’s something super important about that, and it’s very true. Why not you? Any of us could easily be a startup runner, who’s running a very successful business and making money in our sleep but you don’t see the days where they weren’t sleeping, right? You don’t see the days where they missed out on sleep doing business. And so, at the end of the day, they’re probably making up for their lost sleep if they’re making more money and oftentimes, I think more times than not, they’re not sleeping more. Most people who are at the forefront of a successful business aren’t there because they’re lax about it, right? They’re there because they’ve probably been what we would consider obsessive. Obsessive to an excessive point, which is kind of redundant.
But if you’re that focused on something, there’s probably something not mentally perfect with you, right? You can’t just be happy working with the 40 hours a week and getting paid your paycheck. So, yeah, I mean, I think that’s part of the deal. If you’re going to have a successful business, it’s got to be something that you’re making more and more efficient day in, day out, and something that you’re like 100% of the time talking about and it does, it takes over your life a little bit. There’s no doubt.
Paula: Right. And I think part of that is the fact that things change from what you thought they were going to be. For me, it was kind of the myth of passive income, and I thought, well, there are things that I can do like subscriptions and I really recommend that everybody does a subscription package of some kind courses, other things like that, that are kind of automated, but nothing is ever truly automated because you’re always going to have to take care of your customers and you’re always going to have to be tweaking things and making them better and catching up with technology and all of that. Right?
Mickey: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, so I’ve created a course, right? And whenever I get someone who buys that out of the blue, that is not the rule, that is definitely the exception. You gotta shake a lot of bushes to get a lot of people who are going to be working with you. You have to really rustle up customers, finding leads, and working for your email list and everything. There is a lot of work that goes into creating that random success, “random overnight success” as John said, so same thing.
Paula: Fantastic. So, you didn’t open your doors with everything, and Mark, I know you’re in the same situation where you have a brand-new company, day one, you’re not going to start off with a website and business cards and podcast and all of these things and have millions of subscribers on your email list and everything else, you have none of that. How do you prioritize and how do you balance those priorities in a start-up? How do you decide what to do first?
John: Let me interject.
Mark: Hire ABCI.
Paula: There you go.
John: It depends on the startup. If you’re going out after multiple entities. That’s one thing. But if you should do a startup and you are contracted to a large entity and have multiple contracts with them, that’s what I– my first company, I was asked to start it up, and so I did, and I didn’t know what I was doing.
Paula: And you were serving one customer, right?
John: One customer, well, but I had four contracts.
John: I was actually contracted to the Air Force and I had a contract with each of four Air Force bases to maintain their data centers. If you think about that, that’s a lot of work, but they worked, I mean, I was the attorney, I was a CFO, I was the tech, I was the manager, I was the customer service agent. I was everything. But I did, I mean, I was, I don’t know if you use the word luck but I didn’t know enough to engage in marketing. I knew I had to hire somebody, but I didn’t have the cycles to vet somebody that I could trust and get them involved.
Paula: And you didn’t know me.
John: For years, they lost funding for the project and I think if I had had other people involved and other projects then we could have survived so I was forced to shut the doors and go get a job.
Paula: Oh, heaven forbid. I guess everybody’s worst fear, right? Oh my god, I have to go get a job and work for somebody else.
John: That was a startup, but it wasn’t starting up with an idea. I was asked to start up the company by what ended up to be somebody that was on my client list.
Mickey: Well, I think that’s what you want. I feel like that’s the best case scenario is because you’re automatically making revenue at that point.
Paula: Yeah, you’re getting paid, you’re getting a paycheck while you’re running your business.
John: Yeah, but there’s even fewer hours to sleep when you do it that way.
Mickey: Yeah, that’s true.
Paula: So, Mickey, over the last, I would say three years, four years, you’ve done the Peace Corps, boot camp, officer training school, you got married, you bought a house, you got two fabulous little doggies, and you started a business. So, how do you manage all of that? How do you balance those priorities without going bananas?
Mickey: I think you gotta be patient with yourself. You kind of got to be good to yourself, right? Because you will miss things occasionally. It’s really easy to slip into the habit of punishing yourself because you think you did something wrong. Right? Like, you shouldn’t have missed this meeting, so now you’re, you know, so you just get hard on yourself, right? That I think is the biggest mistake that I make and I don’t make it very often but I think for a split second, any time that something is missed, “Oh my god, crap, I missed this,” that doesn’t really help. So, you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because you miss one appointment, doesn’t mean you’re week has to fall apart. And I think, especially in today’s world, we were looking for that perfection, right? We’re surrounded by it, 100% of the time. Like, so-and-so’s in Bali and living their dream and da da da. They never miss appointments and that’s probably not true. But I think you have to get out of your own head and just be good to yourself and try to make it to everything that you can and try to do what you want to do.
Kind of like what you were saying at the beginning of this is we can get derailed by trying to stay on track. We can be like, “Oh, I’m going to make this work. I’m going to make this work. I’m going to make this work,” and then we miss so much opportunity because we’re focused on making something that doesn’t work work or making something that kind of works. That’s the real dangerous one. The one that kind of works trying to make that work better. That’ll drive you nuts. And so, just being kind to yourself, making sure that whatever happened yesterday doesn’t carry over into tomorrow because there’s a ton of opportunity out there. Every day is a new chance to do any number of a hundred things to propel your business and propel yourself forward. So, yeah, I’ve been able to do a lot over the past few years but a lot of that is just luck. That is fortune. I got a lot of good people in my life who are doing a lot with their time and it’s inspiring. It keeps you moving. So, it’s good.
Paula: Very cool.
John: Like Abraham Lincoln’s quote on luck.
Mickey: I know. That’s one of my favorites.
John: Yeah, he’s a firm believer in luck and he figures that the harder he works, the more of it he has.
Mickey: That is true. That is 100% true. The harder you work, the more luck you’ll get and everybody on the outside is going to see it as, wow, you’re so lucky.
John: You feel like you just want to slap them around.
Mickey: Exactly. Well, because they discounted your hard work, right? And that’s like what else are you doing besides working hard, you know? So it gets frustrating. It’s really upsetting when somebody basically ignores everything you’ve ever done, so.
Paula: Right. And it’s just so nice that you get to work from home, you’re so lucky, yeah. One of my favorite workout coaches, Tony Horton has this thing, “Do the reps but if the weight is too much, don’t be an idiot. Put it down and get something reasonable.” Don’t let the weight be the reason you don’t do the reps, it’s his philosophy. So, if you can’t do this weird thing with ten pounds, do it with five pounds, do it with eight pounds, do it with whatever you can, but do all the reps. And I think that’s true in business as well. You know what the basics are, you don’t have to do everything on day one, but you have to conquer the fundamentals, you have to deliver a product, you have to serve your customers, you have to get customers, those are the things that you have to do, but how you get those done, you don’t have to carry as much weight as the next guy to get that done.
John: And I think along with that, there are too many people that will tell you, “I’ve got all these priority ones.” No, there is only one priority one, and you got to sit there and figure that out and then approach it that way. Otherwise, you’ll spin yourself into the ground.
Paula: Right. Okay. So, next question, how have you found, or some of the coolest ways to make your business more scalable or flexible so that you can take the time off to do drill or take the time off to go look at wedding venues or whatever it is that you need to do.
Mickey: Yeah. I think everybody’s favorite for this is outsourcing. Outsourcing is everybody’s favorite because it’s not your job if it’s somebody else’s job. That’s everybody’s favorite. And so, my wife and I went to Egypt last September and I had two tutors on my payroll at that time. And so they work for me. They covered every single tutoring session while I was gone. I wasn’t getting much revenue, like much more leads, I wasn’t serving as many leads during that time because I didn’t have anybody doing sales for me, but I was able to still serve my customers. And then when I came back, I was able to follow up with the customers, make sure they were happy, pay out all my tutors, and of course, that’s the passive income, right? I was making more from my students and I was paying my tutors and my tutors were happy because they were making more than they would have been making working on their own anyway. And so, I was profiting off of a pretty good situation, which of course, took years to build, right? It was the spur-of-the-moment Egypt trip that took three years to prepare for. So, it was good.
Paula: I admire that because we were talking yesterday, let’s go to Bali or someplace for a week. And I’m like, I can’t do that if there’s no internet. So, I mean, if you can work your business to the point where you could make that work without being in it for that amount of time, I think that’s fantastic, but that’s really cool. So, outsourcing is one tip. Do you have any others?
Mickey: The other thing that you can do to be more scalable is the automated courses are huge, right? Automated courses are something that you can sell and then never look back on or better, what I enjoy is selling my automated course, and then meeting up with each person who goes through it at the end and covering any questions that they have about it for a few reasons. One, it makes my course better every time. Two, it helps me gain hella testimonials, right? Which, of course, in turn, will sell more of that course. So, anybody who goes through that course, I ask them, hey, what did you think? What are some things that can make it better? And then I try to implement those changes into the course and, of course, I keep a testimonial because they’re thrilled. They got live tutoring out of an automated course, that doesn’t really happen.
Paula: It’s a bonus, yeah, that they weren’t expecting, so.
Mickey: Exactly. Exactly. And so it’s really easy to get that testimonial. So, automated courses are definitely one of the best ways to go when it comes to making a scalable flexible business for sure.
Paula: Yeah, and I like the fact that you’ve kind of systematized this. Everybody that goes through your course, you do an interview with at the end, answer their questions, add more value for them and get a testimonial from that. And this is something that anybody can do. I mean, Mark, when you do an appraisal for somebody if you make that part of that appraisal process an interview at the end where you say, did this meet all of your needs? Did we get all the paperwork you needed? And how did you feel about the process? And if you can do that on a Zoom meeting and record it– [crosstalk] I’m sorry?
Mark: Yeah, that’s a great idea.
Paula: Yeah, and then you can ask them questions that will lead to some naturally, really great testimonials because of course, you did a fantastic job with their appraisal.
Mark: Yeah, well, you have to be objective. It’s a little tricky sometimes. The numbers might come in a little low and then, [inaudible] When I was a bombardier, we had an incredible system for keeping track of customer satisfaction. Back then, it was just a survey but they really kept track of that and you got copies of everything you did.
Mark: So, if your customer wasn’t happy, you found out so it was good motivation. But, yeah, I would love to incorporate something like that and then follow the new technology. That’s another great idea.
Paula: Yeah. I love that. That’s really cool. And another thing that I really liked about what you said is that you kind of do seasons where you do sales, it’s like a sales sprint, and then you do a customer service sprint while you’re out of town. No sales happened during that phase. You know what I mean? So, it’s kind of like a seasonal spring, summer, winter, fall, or whatever, take 90 days and do just– well, you don’t just do anything, but you focus on one thing and work on improving that factor.
Mickey: Yeah. No, I think one thing for Mark, I was talking to another tutor yesterday. And I know that you’re not a tutor, Mark, but one thing is you don’t want to discount how much asking someone what they liked about your service is going to make you want to do more of your service. Right? So it makes looking for leads a lot easier or reaching out to potential clients a lot easier if you just got off the phone with someone who said they enjoyed or appreciated the work that you put in. And just asking that question sets you apart from the 90% of people out there. Did you like this? Right? Was this helpful for you? You asked that and you’re a completely different caliber, worker than 90% of people that they’ve worked with in the past.
Mark: Yeah. I actually do need to do that. I’m glad I came in for this today because that’s something I have to put together. And I do a bunch of different things other than appraisals, so, yeah, for each segment of my business. I would actually like to put together some kind of a course too.
Paula: Oh, yeah. We’ll have to talk about that. I think that would be a really good way to make this or a service package where you’re on a retainer of some kind. It just makes it a thousand times easier to manage your money and your business if you have the recurring income without having to go hunting every day.
Mark: That would be great to put together a course like that. It’s a great idea.
Mickey: I think that’s one thing that’s overlooked with startups, in general, is you’re essentially just as a problem solver. You’re just looking for what people are doing wrong in your field and you’re saying, “This is how you do it right.” And that is your lead acquisition, that is your customer satisfaction, that is the one thing, right? That is what the business is, “This is the wrong way to do it, I have the right way to do it. Let me help you do that. And we’re all going to come out ahead because I’ve done this for you.” And so that’s the goal in my opinion. That’s the way I see it.
Paula: I love that. And I think, everybody on this call, and almost everybody who’s our client, I’m trying to think of anybody who’s an exception to this. If they think of themselves as a consultant, there is something you can do that is worth recurring income from your clients even if you are trying to help them with one thing at a time like, Mickey, you’re trying to help them through the ASVAB, but then they’re going to end up in basic training. They’re going to have a million questions and they’re going to start needing to manage their money, they’re going to need to start managing their fitness level, they’re going to need to start managing a lot of things to be successful in a military career. And so, you can help them all the way through that and just thinking in terms of what else do these customers that I work so hard to acquire, what else do they need now that they already know me and trust me, what else can I offer them?
Mickey: And they’ll ask you. That’s the beautiful part. They’re going to say, okay, I have students saying, hey, can I trade MOSs with my buddy or something like that and while I don’t have the answers to these things, or at least the answers that I have are not the answers that they want, you’re learning more about your target audience and you’re effecting positive change, truthfully, at the end of the day. A better-informed decision is usually one that leads to a more empowered position. So, you can help a lot of people just by answering questions.
Paula: Cool. I know your sales process is basically to acquire a lead, get somebody to schedule an appointment with you, and then you do a sales call. So, the first part of that equation is how do you get leads? How do you get them to book an appointment? I know that’s also a big concern for everybody else, that first part of the sales process.
Mickey: So, I’ve followed a ton of different coaches as far as getting people onto sales calls and the truth is the best sales call is the one that you’re not asking for, right? The best sales call is going to be the one where the client says, hey, I need this. And the only way that somebody says that to you is you show them that you provide that service without you knowing them. And so, how do you tell a bunch of strangers, what you do? And that’s marketing. Right? Like that’s what you guys do. So, yeah, there are plenty of different avenues. A lot of times, you’ll get discouraged, a lot of times in the startup world, I get discouraged because it feels like a crapshoot, right? It feels like I’m just producing content on all these platforms and then the weird video that I didn’t even think mattered is the one or the weird podcast, right? Like the thing that blew my mind was, I did this Visit Vegas places podcast for fun, and now I’m getting clients from that. And so that was the thing that just didn’t make any sense to me is – how is it that people are finding an ASVAB coach through a Las Vegas podcast.
Paula: It’s like a tourism thing, isn’t it?
Mickey: Yeah. He interviews a bunch of people who do nails and salons and where to get the best cheeseburger and all this stuff.
Mickey: Yeah. It was just something because I do love Vegas, so it was just something like, I’m happy I’m featured on this Vegas podcast. But, yeah, that turned out to be super duper helpful, and then TikTok, right? TikTok is not something I ever took seriously. It’s something that I’ve probably taken a good three-month break from but it’s something that people still reach out to me from is TikTok or Instagram. So, producing that content and the content oftentimes, if you know your field, the content is really easy to create. It seems intimidating because you see people who do it better, but at the end of the day, you probably have something that other people need to know about your field. And so, if you’re telling that, if you’re telling that story whatever platform it is, as long as you tell it consistently, you’re going to find those leads and you’re going to find those people who want to ask you more about what you’re talking about.
John: You’re typically harder on yourself than anybody else because when you say because they do it better, they don’t.
Mickey: That’s true. That’s true.
Paula: It just looks better because you see the end product, you don’t see the whole sausage-making exercise. Mickey and Mark, you guys have both just recently started podcasts, Mark just produced a second or, well, we just finished a second episode of Contrails and Cocktails.
Mickey: Congratulations, that’s awesome.
Paula: Yes. It is awesome. Yeah, and Mickey just produced his first episode, second episode?
Mickey: I just dropped the second episode. Yep. So I’m pretty happy. I’m excited. The goal is 10. I don’t want to say, I’m going to do this for all of 2022. I’m just going to try to get 10 episodes out and then see what comes next. That’s the other thing about content and platforms is if you look at where you want to be five years from now, that’s helpful, but it’s not where you’re going to be tomorrow. So, just do a couple of things at once, eat an elephant one bite at a time. Don’t try to eat a whole lot of things. It doesn’t work.
Paula: I have to say our most popular episode was our Broker 101 episode from I think four years ago, that is still getting more traffic than anything. At the time, we thought it was way too basic, and we were just like, well, we should add more meat to this. John and I were going back and forth about should we even produce this? This is just way too simple, but it turned out to be our most popular for four years running and we’re still getting people calling us about that episode. So, the ones that you feel the weirdest about sometimes end up being the best. That’s cool.
Mickey: No, I completely agree. We overlook the simplicity because we’re skilled professionals, right? Like I know how to solve a question about an area where there’s yards and feet involved and, like, a missing portion of the shape and I know how to do that and so I’ll teach that all day long. I love it. But really what my students need is they need to know how to add and subtract positive and negative numbers. And so, I’m not going to sit there doing this but if I do, that’s what gets me the traction. That’s the one that people are looking up because that’s what they need.
Paula: And I know you guys both are just so excited about math and you want to do these super challenging things, and you’re going to lose everybody.
Mickey: Right. Exactly. We’re looking for areas under curves and explaining how that’s the same thing as length times width. And they don’t care as much as you want.
John: That’s right.
Mickey: See, this proves the Pythagorean theorem because now– like my logo is the Pythagorean theorem, and so it’s my favorite thing to teach. They don’t care, right? It’s overkill. It’s way above their head, it doesn’t help them get a better job in the military. It won’t help them get into whatever situation they’re trying to get into. They’re just trying to get from A to B. And then you can sneak in Pythagorean theorem later and build those critical thinking, or, in your case, build people who are better marketers for themselves or in Mark’s case, build better brokers or whoever your customer is, like, make them better at their job because of the way that you do your job. But that’s the byproduct, right? The real product they’re looking for is probably the simplest part of your job.
Paula: And there’s such a temptation to want to show off because I want to do the coolest marketing thing and show everybody the latest tricks with Google and Facebook and nobody cares, they just want to know how to get customers. That’s what they’re here for. And speaking of such things, so unless you get people–
Mickey: Yeah. I won’t talk about the double kitchen sink clothes or anything like that. The inverted–
Paula: Great. Okay, so people find you by whatever means. They found you through the biggest podcast or whatever and they’ve scheduled a call with you. So that part of your process has worked. The next thing that happens is a sales call, and this is a thing that I know you’ve invested a lot of money and a lot of time in training for this and you also even took a day job that makes you really good at this. So, I think this is something that a lot of people would really love to hear about. How do you get them to the next step once you get them the sales call?
Mickey: So, my tips for sales calls, my general idea on sales calls is, again, just like we talked about with the simplicity thing, you’re more inclined to overthink a sales call. I think one of the books that we read for book club, basically said, if you’re not closing sales, it’s because you’re talking yourself out of them because if they’re getting on the call with you, they want what you have. And so, now, all you have to do, you don’t have to do this value proposition of like X dollars to X hours. You don’t really need to make any big dramatic case, you just need to ask what they want and then how much is that worth to them? And typically, it’s probably worth more than you expect because it’s not your life that’s been struggling with this issue. It’s their life. So, in my opinion, sales calls, personally, my biggest problem is I overthink them. I think about how to convince someone that they need this. That’s not what they need, right? They don’t need to know that they need this.
Paula: They know they need it. It’s just a question of asking them questions that make them think about – how have I tried to solve this problem before? What has not worked. So, they come to the conclusion that, yes, it is worth the time, effort, money, whatever, to take the next step with you, right?
Mickey: Yep. Exactly. Nobody’s getting on a call with you because they don’t like you. That’s the first thing. They can call any number of people.
John: You need to get them to ask you questions. If they start asking questions then it’s pretty much a done deal.
Mickey: Yeah. One of the coaches that I’ve had, the best thing is to ask, can you be disciplined? Can you be coachable? Can you show up? And so you ask these three things – are you going to be able to attend our sessions? Are you going to be able to provide me with XYZ that I need to do in my job? And then, once you ask that question, they start over explaining, of course, I can do blah blah blah blah blah. They sell themselves on your product. That’s really what you want out of a sales call as you want them rationalizing to you why they are your perfect customer.
John: I mean, the ultimate question they need to ask is – so how do I make this happen?
Paula: Let them drive the calls, right? So, what’s the next step? How do we proceed from here?
Mickey: Yeah. And that’s the thing. Anybody who’s good at what they do, there are probably people who are cheaper and there’s probably people who are more expensive but I personally get very hung up on price. I’m sure most startups get hung up on price because deep down we know we’ve done it for cheaper, we know we’ve done it too hook somebody up in the past, or something like that. But that’s an internal issue. Right? That is not related to your sales call at all. The sales call is who you are now and who they are now, and are you going to help them basically. But again, we get wrapped up, and so I think the biggest tip for sales calls is just – relax and listen. That’s probably the best part.
Paula: I think the biggest mind shift for me was realizing that for most of our clients it’s a business-to-business situation. So, this is not their money that we’re talking about. For some people, it is, especially the startups and founders and things like that. So, I need to make sure that every dollar they spend with us is, in the long run, going to make them more than what they spent with us. So, that’s the value proposition that I focus on. But in most cases, it’s not really as much about the money as it is about what are they going to bring to the table? Are they going to be willing and able to start a new website, to start a new podcast, to do what we asked them to do, and to make all that happen? That’s usually harder for them to come up with the money is that courage to take that next step. [crosstalk] Sorry, Mark, I interrupted.
Mark: For me, when I get a call in, what I’ve always done, I almost close. I’ll close almost every time because as Mickey said, the client already is looking for a service, so, you’re 90% there, and then I know my pricing in, obviously, my head. But what I do is ’cause a lot of times, to eliminate clients who are window shopping, typically, they’re not, but they will maybe do want three better numbers or whatever. I just asked them, well, what did you have in mind? I don’t give out my tracing. I’ll ask them what they thought was reasonable. Nine out of ten times, they come in very close, and then if not, almost every time it’s pretty close and then I’ll negotiate a little bit more here or there. And then, I’m all done, literally, on the first ball. And I sent them an engagement letter and I’m good to go.
Paula: It’s just working out the details. The where, when, how, and how much.
Mark: If someone called you, you got the job, in my opinion. Now, I want to ask Mickey on the flip side, doing the cold calling stuff, how much time he’s put into that, how you deal with that? How much time do you put into it? Do you set up an hour a week or what do you do?
Mickey: So, what’s really cool and especially, for anybody who’s doing a start-up while having a 9 to 5 job is my job requires that I make 50 outbound calls per day. And so what I’ve started doing is I start doing an Instagram message to correspond with every outbound call. Because if I’m putting time and effort into somebody else’s dream, I need to put at least a minimum of that much time into mine. And so I will send out Instagram messages or Instagram comments, one for everyone. And so, that works as a lead generator, and, of course, cold calls, Mark, I mean, you know, right? This isn’t where they pick up, right? They’re not like, “Oh, god, I’m so happy you called.” Same with Instagram, same with a DM from Instagram. You never know if they’re going to respond. The cool thing about all of the different content, especially if you’re creating a podcast right now is you may get people who are commenting on your podcast, right? Or you may get people who are talking about your field of knowledge because you’re putting yourself out there as someone who’s an expert in this field.
If they’re writing on there, you can always find a way to reach out to them and nowadays. Right? There’s some DM function, or something like that, or they have their email listed or their phone number listed, you can reach out to them and say, hey, I thought that was interesting. Tell me more about that. And that’s going to be a way better cold call than just paying for 500 email addresses from fiber or something like that because there’s someone who already knows you. So, the more content you create, the higher quality your cold calls become.
Paula: So, Mark, I know you use Facebook. I actually had somebody do this to me today on LinkedIn, and it was somebody that wants to write for us, write some SEO content, and things like that. And they reached out to me on LinkedIn and it was unusual, but it was a DM on LinkedIn and I responded to them kind of in spite of myself because I had a question that I thought maybe they have an answer to and so I asked them a question. We end up in this really long conversation that I wasn’t even expecting to have happen. And it was almost like for this call because I’m still in this conversation with this guy and it is not somebody that I probably would have talked to on the phone because of a cold call out of the blue, and the way that he roped me in to this conversation was basically saying, hey, I see you know that this is your business, how do you manage to create the volume of content you need for other businesses?
And so he asked something super relevant to me in a DM on LinkedIn. That’s what Mickey’s talking about on Instagram because he’s going after the demographic is 18 to 30?
Mickey: 18 to 35. Yeah.
Paula: 18 to 35. Okay. And, Mark, yours is different. So it’s going to be on LinkedIn or Facebook, where you’re going to find the folks that you need to talk to. Maybe Instagram.
Mickey: I wouldn’t discount Instagram work. Most people aren’t like, yeah, let me throw my hat into another arena, but Instagram is where a lot of people spend a lot of time to. Twitter as well, where a lot of people spend a lot of time, YouTube. I mean, there’s no shortage of different places where you can release your content. And the thing is, if you’re already putting content for one channel, it’s pretty easy to cross convert it to a different channel.
Mark: I think my Facebook stuff is automatically going to Instagram, I think.
Paula: It is. Yes, it’s set up automatically.
Mark: I go on Instagram and I just don’t get it yet. I don’t understand it.
Mickey: So, if I were in your shoes, my first step would be to go on Instagram, look at your latest post, and then see who’s liked it. And if there’s anybody who you don’t know who’s not like either, A, already a client or, B, a family member or something like that, ask them, “Hey, thanks for the support,” something like that. “What did you like about this post? I’m trying to make my channel better for people who are like you. What would you like to see more of?” And that gives you more content for Facebook. They’re not independent of each other. People are people. They all have the same needs. So.
Mark: Yeah, I need to spend some time on it because I went on there the other day and I saw another company that I like, I actually wanted to contact them and it was like they didn’t have Instagram. They didn’t set it up or I don’t know how to use it properly, but I couldn’t find out how to connect to them.
Mickey: Well, yeah. No, you can comment on their stuff or DM. Usually, some people don’t like though.
Mark: But on the cold calling, are you still doing that? Or have you gotten to a point where you don’t have to do it as much?
Mickey: I don’t do it as much. Like I said, most people are gonna like or comment on one of my posts and then I’ll just reach out to them. So that’s my version of cold calling.
Paula: Yeah. So, you’ve tipped the point after doing 50 a day for so long, you’ve now gotten to the point where you’re getting enough inbound that you–
Mickey: Yeah, where they’ll reach out to me and say like, hey, I’m interested in this or something along those lines. That’s what you want. You want to get to that point. So, it makes it a lot easier for me when I have messages in my inbox of people who are looking for what I have and this happens with Google too. If you start getting Google testimonials, especially for someone like you, Mark. What is your exact business? What do you do?
Mark: Aircraft appraisals, aircraft insurance claims and maintenance consultant.
Mickey: So, do you have a Google? Do you have your business on Google?
Mark: Yeah. Mom’s got me all set up. Well, I’m actually at the point where I actually need to really, actually, that was where I’m headed, we’re headed next with my marketing, is what I wanted to put together is a questionnaire, with an offer for a free Starbuck coffee and then, try to use that as an icebreaker.
Mickey: Yeah, that’s a good way. But even just getting testimonials on your Google page. I don’t know how many expert witnesses there are in your state or aircraft appraisal people there are in your city, but they’re Googling it. When we’re looking for something, we Google it, so I’m sure if you have even three testimonials, people are like, oh, this is a relatively reliable business, especially if you’re just starting out. They’re like, I could probably get a good deal. They’ll start to reach out to you.
Mark: When you were doing cold calling, was there a better time of day for you? Or did you break it up or how did you do it?
Mickey: I would say, for my situation, my demographic prefers text. So, I would text somewhere in the afternoon, and then based on whether or not I got a text back, ask, hey, can we talk on the phone because I got a lot more to explain to you and then I just went over the phone. But, yeah, I like texting because it’s more convenient, a lot of people dodge a call from a number they don’t recognize, and then, you leave the voicemail that you hope isn’t like choppy or anything.
Mark: Yeah, my side, you have to call.
Mickey: Do you have a pretty decent list? Do you have a lot of people that you’re going through at a time?
Mark: Yeah, I put those over 500 brokers. I narrow them down to financial institutions, that’s really where they’re hiring you. So we’ve got to kind of get through the gatekeepers.
Mickey: Got you. That makes sense.
Paula: Great. Well, we’ll talk in your episode, Mark, about probably a prospecting cycle. I’m probably going to push it into using LinkedIn for this because those financial folks love LinkedIn more than anything else, more than any other channel. So, we’ll talk about your method of you. I know it’s not your favorite but it’s their favorite is the problem. So there we go. Yeah. The last question for Mickey then we’ll move on to office hours.
Mark: Thank you, Mickey.
Mickey: Yeah, my pleasure. My pleasure. Thanks, Mark.
Paula: The last question for Mickey is – how do you keep your sanity with all this craziness going on in your life?
John: Did he keep his sanity?
Mickey: Yeah, exactly.
Paula: Assuming that’s the case.
Mickey: I keep it in a different state. I keep it everywhere that I’m not. That way, I don’t lose it.
Paula: Locked it up in a box.
Mickey: Exactly. No, no, sanity. The dogs help a lot. We walk them twice a day. My wife is amazing. We spend a lot of time together and she works on her own thing, which helps, right? Getting out of your own head, the easiest way, in my opinion, to do that is to see the struggles that other people are going through. And so if you can do something nice for somebody else, you’re going to get out of your head a lot easier and it’s going to help you to stay sane because your problems aren’t the only problems and it seems like it. It always seems like it but it’s not true.
Mark: How much coffee do you drink?
Mickey: 3 to 4 cups every morning? Yeah. Definitely, I’m overdoing it on the coffee. But I’ll wind down one of these days.
Paula: One thing about dogs is they really put things in perspective, right? Because they’re living in the moment and they just want to get you outside, and that’s like their main thing. It’s just so cool to have that adjustment at least twice a day. I think that’s really healthy.
John: What you say is I play the part of the dog, I get you out of the house.
Paula: Exactly. If John wants to go out, at the end of the day, he’s like, “We’re going out.” And I’m like, “Let me finish this.” “No, we’re going out.”
Mark: Got dogs in the dog house.
Mickey: Well, I’m going to pitch out. Thank you. So, my name’s Mickey Gamonal, I do ASVAB domination. You can find me on the ASVAB Domination Podcast on Spotify and thank you, ABCI, so much for having me. I had a great time.
Paula: Great. Halloween at ABCI. I am Mickey’s mom so we’re not biased at all. But our job is to help aviation companies sell more of their products and services.
John: I’m John Williams, I work for her doing IT and CFO stuff.
Mickey: Go ahead, Mark.
Mickey: I’m Mark Carey, for World Aircraft Group. We provide aircraft appraisals, expert witness, insurance claims, and pre-flight inspections.
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