Waking up in a cold sweat at 3AM in the spring of 2019, Jeff knew he was done with corporate life. The startup he moved his family cross-country for was broken beyond repair. Great concept, handful of happy clients, but zero marketing presence to get to that next level. After advocating for a strategic marketing approach that the President liked and the COO didn’t, things stagnated. Rather than do nothing, Jeff handed in his resignation. Today, what they rejected is what Jeff helps his clients with. After 20+ years in advertising and media sales, Jeff realized small business owners have been misled on what they need to know about growing their business. Jeff's mission is to accelerate profits and guarantee quantifiable Return on Investment from his hybrid marketing coaching/consulting services. Unlike 99% of the coaches & consultants out there, he's only too happy to guarantee an outcome of positive results as long as his clients put in the work that is mutually agreed upon. Jeff is a dynamic, energetic and knowledgeable speaker with actionable advice on what you can do RIGHT NOW to get your business back on track. Audiences and hosts will love Jeff and his approach to comprehensive change without spending an extra cent!
Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan and today, you know, I woke up this morning, and there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground out of nowhere kind of crazy day, right? So I woke up a little bit of a frog in my throat this morning. So you're going to have to deal with that but that makes it even better for our guests because he can speak more than me so I can sit over here sipping my water so today, we have a really awesome guest, I'm excited for the conversation we're going to be talking about today because Jeff Pugel is the man when it comes to learning how to find money in your marketing budget, how to actually identify where you're at, with your marketing and how to scale it quickly and what really intrigued me about Jeff and the way that he approached me to come on the show was that he really does have a great guarantee to his offer, you know, I talk about it a lot here on the show, but that that raw sex appeal with your with your offer, right? That doesn't mean putting a scandalous woman on your on your branding, but it means like really giving a really attractive offer that's going to bring people into your world, I think Jeff is going to be one of the best people to answer this question so Jeff, say what's up to everybody and we'll hop in.
Jeff: Hey, everybody, how's it going?
Josh: Super stoked to have you here, Jeff. So I want to kind of kick this one off with a pivotal moment from you. So with your with your business, you know, and I read this in your notes as you send it over to me, but there was a point 2019 to two years ago and a recording this, is my math wrong, almost three years ago.
Jeff: Oh, it's kind of raced all 2020s. Like, did that 2020 happen or didn't
Josh: is that even exist? Yeah. We kind of wish it didn't for some of us, I think for us, our business took off in 2020. So I'm not going to complain. But it's, you know, there's kind of that pivotal moment that everybody realizes that, yeah, this is what I need to do this is when you realize that you have an offer that the world wants. So tell us about that moment.
Jeff: Yeah, so the 2019 was kind of a couple years into working at a digital marketing startup company. The Tech was awesome like, it always is but you know, one thing I found with a lot of startups, especially in the tech space, was that is that the messaging, and the offer is often wrong, or not fully baked. So part of my role, I was kind of on the front end side, head of Client Services at the fact to business, business development director type head of marketing, you know, wearing lots of different hats, like many, many startup was not the tech guy was more like the front of house, yeah. And trying to help the company, come turn around, refine their messaging in the in the marketplace, you know, it says, you know, it's in trying to tell clients and prospects, what the benefit is to work with us, not the features a bit working with us, which is probably see what a lot of tech companies, they love to talk about features, not benefits but like in all startup things ended up going sideways amongst the different people wearing the hats, you know, the time advance, you know, kind of, here's the marketing plan, go, here's our website, refresh, we got to go with new positioning. So it just went sideways, a couple of parts of the executive suite went that way, a couple went that way and woke up one night, literally, literally, three at 2am 3am. Just realizing, okay, here I am, I'm 44 done with, I'm done with this carousel hate having the rest of my life in my hands, kind of stole two decades worth of what I know works, and being basically chopped down by people, that that's not their area of expertise and as you know, enough of this is just you know, enough of this, it's time to take it off on my own, and really start to work with companies that are wanting that level of help with their offers with their positioning, getting their marketing, getting their sales going, and all of that and that was really the impetus for me starting up my own company, ignition two years ago, was it kind of hitting this wall in my old job and just say, Okay, done done being on the treadmill, I'm gonna go off and do it my way. Yeah.
Josh: And I love that because that's, I mean, it's one of those moments that I feel like most entrepreneurs have, you know, where you do have that kind of, in your sense, it was a it was a literal waking up, but a lot of times it's more of a figurative waking up where you're like, Man, I could do this better, or I could improve upon this process and I'm kind of curious with you, you know, I've never actually been in the tech sector but you know, as as an employee, but it's really interesting for me, because I see that a lot of incredible marketers are just stifled by the executive teams in these these tech companies, because they're like, hey, I want you to be an amazing marketer but I want you to do within my parameters, which makes you, marker.
Jeff: Yes, yes. Yeah, I think the challenge that is I've seen is, most of the founders and tech companies are tech people by nature and they love talking about the features. You know, and I remember one great thing, we're meeting once with a client with a prospect, actually, and the tech guys are talking, we do you know, this and this, and this, and this, and this, you know, and the clients eyes are just waving over, it was like director of marketing. Okay, you know, I think what they're trying, hey, client, you know, hey, prospect, here's what the team is trying to say. The benefit of using this is that Oh, got it.
Josh: I love that. Yeah, it's funny to see that because, you know, there's, I'm the type of person I actually like to be pitched. I like when somebody reaches out to me on LinkedIn, most of the time, I will accept the sales call, because I like to see what's out there right, I want to know, hey, maybe maybe I'm just blind to the fact that there's this really amazing sales or marketing or fulfillment system but what I found is 90% of the people I talk with, they feel like they have to extrapolate on this, you know, what they think is really complex and break down how the inside tire process works. But like you said, it's a one sentence statement, It's like, hey, using our platform is going to solve your content problems. We're going to help you like for ours, like our offers, like we're literally in an hour of your time, you're going to come out the other end with 30 pieces of content. Yeah, great. Most people are really excited about that. Right? Very simple, straightforward offer, and ours isn't even perfect yet. We're still working on our offer but we get that a lot with people where they're coming to us and I Okay, so let me let me show you how, like our sales flow and all these different things. You're like, what is the results? What are you providing for people?
Jeff: Yeah, it's a classic thing of you gotta lead with benefits. People are always looking for benefits at the end of the day, yeah, it's there's the old saying features tell, benefits sell, if you just remember that little saying, I think most most companies, most founders, most entrepreneurs, will be well served, you know, features tell but benefit sell.
Josh: Right? I love that. And and you know, it's so interesting is that, I think everybody kind of knows that. Right? So in the back of their mind but then when somebody asks a question, they feel like they have to extrapolate on on the process behind it, when really you should be answering that question, with another question about well, what's the benefit you're looking for? Like, you're asking that question, what are you hoping to gaet out and I'll let you know if our service has that.
Jeff: That's the thing at the end of the day, everyone is trying to solve a problem that they have. So the key thing, how do you solve that problem that I have here? How can you help me solve this? hence the benefit. Get rid of whatever big problem is? In your world and here's how we get rid of that problem for you with a solution. Okay. Then when their interest Yeah. Okay. Now, how specifically do that? How, you know, how specifically do you do that? Okay, now we get into some of the features, right tactics but that's down the road, you got to get them sold in and bought in philosophically first otherwise, yeah, to your point, doesn't make any difference. But all the features may start rattling up, because at that point there, they have no context
Josh: I had a coach once say to me, and and it just kind of proves your point is that, you know, he's like, the people who think was the Kirby vacuums are those like crazy expensive vacuums
Jeff: is that Dyson?
Josh: Yea Dyson, I say, No, no, it's a vacuum where they basically used to come into your house. But what they found is that they used to like, take, they don't come into your house and break apart the entire vacuum and say, oh, and so this is how it creates suction and here's how the wheels roll. They're like, they throw dirt on your carpet and vacuum it up and you're like, Wow, that was amazing, right? And I had a coach explain that to me. And it was really interesting. Because even with our own marketing, you know, helping people promote their podcasts. It was like, I could go into all these different things that we do and how the whole process works, how amazing it is, which I'm excited about. They don't care at all but if I say, Hey, you only spend an hour of time, you don't have to do anything. I'll literally have our team go in, we'll take that content, we'll blow it up for you, right and then here's what it does. Here's how amazing it is. Here's the content. Let me show you the results of it and that gets exciting for people where, you know, you're you don't want to be breaking out the process and most coaches, that's their Pitfall, right? They're sitting here saying, Hey, I'm going to I'm going to take you from, you know, here to here, but let me explain all the different steps of the process as a nine step system and oh, yeah, glaze, right. You just want to fall asleep.
Jeff: Yeah, and I fell into that trap early on my career as a coach too You kind of have to, that's one of the things you kind of have to do the Trial by Fire approach. Yeah, people, people don't care about your 19 step method, until they know that you can help them get there, It's almost like there's a, there's an analogy out there, I paint this because it's funny, it's like this company where I kind of twist it back on to my clients, because they're all in the same situation. If you think about is, the picture I like to paint is gay, you're up, you're up on a mountainside, you're looking down, there's a river in front of you and there's like the east bank of the river, and the west bank of the river and you with your, with your proven solution, you're on the west bank of the river, you have all your customers, your prospects there on the east bank of the river, and they don't know how to cross the river at all, they're scared of it, you know, I think it's almost gone back, you know, to the 1800s in the US without when all the sevens were moving westward, you know, they didn't know what was beyond the Mississippi but so what you have to do then is you got to get a new little raft or create your little bridge, walk a golf in your West Bank, Cross River, through the east bank, and talk with them, and literally guide them by holding their hands and kind of paint the picture of what awaits them on the other side and only once they buy into that, okay, yes, something, there's a better life or better whatever it is on the West Bank, than there is for me on the east bank. Okay, okay, philosophically I bought into that now I'm interested in how I get to the West Bank. That's your 19 you know, the coaches 19 Step one agencies 19 step process, to whatever that result is, clearly cares about that process. Once they know that you can actually help them get to where they're ultimately getting to, because you've explained you answered the why and ultimately, now, okay, now they got the why forgot. Okay, now, tell me the how. And they see that's where most people tend to get it. Backwards, they focus on the how, not the why.
Josh: Right. See, and I'm taking notes over here. I love that analogy. Because that really is kind of the crux of the matter, right is saying, how do we how do we help you Why do we help you? What's the results? And then how do we get there, right and I also feel like, a lot of times people haven't found out a succinct way to explain how they get somewhere, that typically means that they don't have their process refined yet right because they're saying, Oh, well, you know, here's like these 45 different things. It's like, okay, but that's all gonna change in the next month. I know, because as an entrepreneur, I understand that you're still refining your process. I found I'm kind of curious on your take with this, Jeff, is that I have found just being honest with people about where you're at, you're okay, you're our fifth client and we've you know, we've been seeing some good results. We're refining our process, we might switch a few things up but if we say that to people, they're like, they're way more prone to wanting to stay with us. Because Wow, yeah, I know, they're newer, right? So I know I can I can trust them to give me their most time.
Jeff: Yeah, no, that's something you got to all, because you're only a new startup once. It's like, it's like, it's like the old adage of, you know, when you're like your first 90 days, six months on a job, you can claim I'm the new guy here, I don't know what I don't know and I won't give you carte blanche on anything because you're owning same thing as an entrepreneur. Yeah, your client is going with you because you obviously have a better solution than what they found elsewhere but clients will also appreciate the fact that say, Yeah, I'm also our startup to maybe a couple of bumpy roads, you're playing number five, number three so yeah, I may screw up along the way, you know, I'm kind of juggling, building this airplane, as we're crumbling down, as we're rumbling down the runway here, the flip side, though, too, is you could have a bleeding edge solution, as well plus, you know, hey, we discover some new features, maybe they become standard for you that we weren't there before you you're not working, you're not locked into this pre-existing system, because now we're making we're making a Company, Inc. and you're tied into this enterprise level package and sorry, there's no deviation, probably from this package. I think at the end of the day, most companies appreciate that honesty, because, you know, they know you're going to screw up at some point and you're owning it upfront. And that just deepens you know, the level the level the relationship level too, because you're not hiding it. So yeah, that's a great point.
Josh: Yeah. Well, you know, we've actually done this the wrong way, many times, you know, like trying to be like, well, now we know what we're doing. Here's our process, you know, in theory, right, and so we sell them on the theory and that we test it out, I mean, and that was, I know, for me, that's always been an issue and we actually just had this last week, we had a client, I forgot to bring that up here, we were not a brand new company anymore. You know, we've been around for a couple years, but we are still improving our process, yeah and, and, you know, when you're making content, a lot of that ends up being, and there's always there's always mistakes, it's just how content is because we have to figure out what you want what your audience wants, and and make that into one thing or organize the chaos and make it into one result but we had, we had a big mistake, actually, on her podcast, and she reached out to me was like, this is sloppy, like what is happening, you know, and, and I realized, right, then I'm like, I don't think I ever clearly framed her saying, this is what will happen, right, there will be mistakes happening and, and so we had to have that conversation post mistake, which was way more difficult than when it was pre mistake and I could say, hey, there's going to be huge mistakes, right, we're going to have to pull an episode here or there and replace it, we're going to have to do a different piece of content and having that it just kind of reestablished for me, I'm like, I've got to make sure that every client, we're pre framing them every sales call, we're pre framing them that there will be mistakes, you know, yea and I think people are scared of that and I used to be, but now it's like, knowing what the opposite looks like, when it's post mistake, it's awful, it's very uncomfortable. Where pre mistake it's not
Jeff: gonna screw up at some point, it's, we're human. Right?
Josh: We have human error, we have a lot of different pieces. So in Jeff, you know, I, this kind of like bridges a little bit into the the next topic here, but I have found that with, um, you know, most of our audience being agency owners, it's kind of hard to differentiate yourself as as a marketing agency to most people, right? They're saying, hey, how do I, how do I really step out and become that differentiator, and you and I were talking about this beforehand, you know, it's like coming up with a really amazing offer and then, you know, taking that offer, and, and making it in a way that it's going to attract new people does that make sense? Yeah,
Jeff: yeah. And I resonated, because, you know, before I started my own company, I came up in the agency space so I've worked at more, more agencies I can remember, likely, and it's funny yet he talked about, you know, what makes them different, they all say the same thing, we're digital agency, we're a pay per click agency, we're a Content Agency. We're a creative agency. We're a media agency. Great. So sorry 10 Others down the block, too. Yeah. So yeah, good question. How are you differentiate? I think, what I what I found is, people were coming back, you know, it's like we're talking about earlier, you know, people are looking for solutions to problems and one trend I've been having a lot, we're kind of, you know, what we're chatting about, you know, during the pre-show here a little bit was, every time I've been on the phone lately, with clients with prospects, it ends up being a little bit of a gripe session, because they've had a bad experience with a previous agency, something something didn't work, right and it's it's the volume of this happening now, right now is it's at an all time high. Oh, there's a labor shortage and a talent shortage, I read something about, you know, a lot of people, especially people with analytics, backgrounds are spinning off in different directions, yeah, something's happening out there and just a lot of you, and clients are being burned and frustrated by it and I'm hearing it, and I'm hearing about it at all but when it comes back, this is like, yeah, how do you position How do you offer it? I think an offer is kind of we're just talking about you. It's a it's about pre framing upfront, you know, what can you do or offer position guarantee, you know, pick the choice of your word that makes it no risk for a prospective customer to get to know you. Try something with you. It's almost Yeah, that I found has actually been very powerful for growing my own business is offering several types different types of guarantees and stuff like that upfront and the typical reaction I've gotten was from people all kinds that are like, we've never heard someone else do it like this but then, but then there's the answer is like Tuesday, we like it. We like it's so different and I'm afraid of saying it now because I'm afraid I was like Auckland's what a copycat. I leave my little competitive advantage but it should shows genuineness, it shows you. You're not just hiding how to bail and willing to take the money and run which I think is happening from a lot of places. You're putting your work you're putting, you know, you're putting stuff behind your work out there. You're just not, you're just not, you know, talk is cheap. So here, I'm gonna back it up with this guarantee of some sort, or this offer of some of some sort or, you know, whatever it is and it just, it's such a habit, you know, it talks about, you know, once again, okay, hey, we're digital agency, great. How are you different from five others, well, we guarantee X, you know, well, okay, now you differentiate yourself from everybody else around the street, that client is as hot and others, you, you're also another one that sticks out right, because you've now offered some type of unique position unique guarantee unique offer, that none of the others are.
Josh: Right. Well, and you know, and I want to give an example of this, because I've talked about this agency many times on the show recently, but, you know, we've worked with a lot of different marketing agencies for our own company, because I don't want to have to build a whole internal team to do my marketing right, there's plenty of agencies out there that could do, because none of it's really a high skill service. Right, let's, let's face it, right marketing, marketing is can can be outsourced at a very low rate and what was interesting though, is I've tried a lot of different agencies and every time I get a pitch from an agency, it's, Hey, we'll run your Facebook ads for you and here's my process, and it's amazing and then they start to say, they say, I can't guarantee this, but we could get you feasibly 100 appointments a week, you know, and you're like, Wow, that's pretty cool, right but then you hire them and a, they usually don't deliver on that result. Because you're, as the customer, I'm saying, Well, you could get 100 appointments a week? Well, if I even get half of that, you're killing it. Right? Yeah and, but then when they don't even get half of it, I'm upset but then when, when this so for example, at this agency, somebody referred me to them a competitor of ours, that I was there, kind of like that next step for us that we're trying to, to the competition, we want to beat out and we asked him to whose agency you're using, and we hired this agency but as I was talking to them, there are two differentiating factors I left is that they said, Hey, we're not a month to month contract, right, we have a one time fee to set it up to get it running and then they do have a software that they require us that they own, which I thought was brilliant, because it's just a it's a $75 month software but then on top of that, the second guarantee was with our system will get you anywhere from three to five appointments a week and, you know, as marketers, we feel like we have to promise the world but it's like, for any b2b agency three to five appointments a week, it's worth gold, right? Yeah, you're going to close one of those every week and if they can guarantee they're going to give me three to five calls. I know for a fact we're going to make a sale and so I didn't need them to promise me 100 appointments, and I’m Well, I pay you X amount of dollars, and you're getting the one sale a week. I mean, I'll pay you that any day of the week, you know, we paid them made tons of money off of them are still making money from the system they built for us and I love that about their offers. It wasn't this big grandiose, oh, we're gonna build you the world. You know, and it's you don't have to be that way, you know, there's other guarantees than just oh, we're gonna make a million dollars as an agency.
Jeff: Yeah, no, I want that. You know that so soon, as you know, from from, you know, with with your agency, you only have so much capacity, you said, you know, you can onboard one, maybe two new clients a week, If you got if you got 100 Coming at once you're underwater before you even know it and that does nobody anything plus out of those 100 How many of them want to be totally total junk.
Josh: Right? I'm more concerned when they said they say that concern that many, because I'm like, you're just gonna be Facebook ads that are going to send me a bunch of garbage people don't even know why they're on a call. Right? And yeah, we're like with these guys. Every call someone is interested and they're like, that's, that's a cool guarantee. You know, they've built a system around that so I love that, yeah.
Jeff: Yeah. I think that's a that's a great point. I think that's always a challenge is looking inside of what can you guarantee that you feel very confident? Ah, because I think at the end of the day, the psychology behind it is, people just want to feel that there's value for what they're paying for so if you can say, Yeah, this, I love this product here, but like this example, you gave a fail, okay, hey, we guarantee, you know, 1 2 3 a week and if we're done and we're not even there, we'll keep going until until we get there. Okay. So, okay, and it's kind of a fixed a Fixed Duration, but I know what the fixed result, right, too. I mean, that's, you know, that's something else that is ugly, so simple to really do. I think it just it's just one of those offers are guarantees that you know, when you guarantee people think the worst, I think they're going to lose their shirt. Right? And you don't need those type of things. I mean, you can get daring if you feel really really confident on them. Yeah, you don't need to go crazy, if you're good offer or good guarantee.
Josh: Yeah. And I've even found for us like when we're when we're, if we want to add a guarantee so for us, right. Our first guarantee was for every episode that you send us, we will produce 30 pieces of content, I didn't know, okay, we distribute the content, but we won't, we don't promise, you're going to get X amount of views on your content, all this stuff, right? But then we said, hey, I'd like to add in something where we can put a guarantee of how many people are going to listen to their podcasts, right so we found another agency that we then employed, that has that guarantee, I know they're good at it, we've tried it for ourselves, and we just incorporate it into our offer and then that is now another guarantee, we can add on to it and it just increases that value. without us having to like, invent a new system, right? There's always somebody out there who can provide the result, you're, you're guaranteeing and people are willing to pay you, even it like some people think you have to white label and everything but I'm willing to pay somebody if they're like, Hey, I have three agencies, I'll get you a little bit of a discount by working with me to get all three agencies and then we'll just run the system together, I'll be your point, man, I'm like, I'll pay you to take because that saved me so much time having to bet all these agencies, if you can promise that they can guarantee those results. I'll pay you.
Jeff: Yeah, no, totally.
Josh: And we will see that people are gonna reach out to me now like crazy. Hey, so I have this guarantee and I'm great with that. Reach out to me if you have one, because I am always looking for new lead gen methods and sales stuff so Jeff, you know, we have covered a lot of different topics here today but you wrote a book entirely about this concept, right of finding, finding that money in your marketing budget, creating great offers and everything so can you tell me a little bit about the book?
Jeff: Yep. So the book is called 45 minute break through secrets. And it really covers off a handful of key topics, it's ones I found that most entrepreneurial business owners aren't thinking about in their business so but the real the real main topics is and when you hit it, when you think about it, once it comes out of my mouth, you go, Oh, my God. Yeah, it's so obvious now but that's why I wrote it, because I think it needs to be reminders. So it's all about how do you get more leads? How do you get more conversions, and once you get more conversions, you get more transactions. And once you get more transactions, you get more revenue coming in, which is always the name of business. Okay, great but how do you get that more revenue now, in addition to more leads and more conversions, and then lastly, is how do you get increase your profitability at the end of the day, because ultimately, for any of us running our own business, the end goal is to turn a profit at the end of the day. And I always like to say, I would much rather have revenue $300,000, in clear profit of 200, rather than revenue of a million and clear 100, right, because obviously, 200 profit is better than 100 profit, and by covering these main topics of leads, to conversions, to transactions, to pricing to profit, there's all these little profit pockets in there that most small businesses and most entrepreneurs are overlooking so the purpose of this book is to kind of start to shine a light on these typical little profit pockets of you know, okay, here's where some ideas can be, you know, how you can start to jumpstart your business if you if you feel a little bit stuck in the way or you're not, if you're not exactly where you're wanting to be at here, there's a couple you know, some ideas I found, have traditionally worked to kind of get you to that next to the next level.
Josh: Awesome. I love that. And everybody make sure you go check that book out. You can get an ignition.llc, don't make the mistake I made where it's ignition.llc.com that's not it, okay. Ignition.LLC. So make sure you go check that out. You can get the book there and then Jeff, I just want to end this interview with one final question, which is, if you could give our audience one final parting piece of guidance would that be?
Jeff: get help sooner than you think that's always been the biggest error I've seen is people are usually coming looking for help later than they need to and if they had only kind of sucked up the ego, suck up the pride a little bit and then those business owners, it's all we think, I think we all think we all have all the answers out there but it's easy to realize, I don't know what I don't know and better to bring in an expert, you're, you're likely to get where you're trying to go quicker and usually with a little bit less expense than if you tried to do it yourself first and then Edit, then you have to backtrack, undo the damage, and then still kind of go back down that road. So yeah, I'll tell you get help, whatever it is that you try to work on sooner rather than later.