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Joe Troyer

How to Follow Up with Customers and Increase Your Revenue [Part 1] with Cris Rodriguez

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In this interview, Joe speaks with Cris Rodriguez, the owner and founder of Grow Pro Agency, a digital marketing company that specializes in social media and PPC marketing for martial arts schools. With years of experience in customer service and marketing, Cris has also developed a concierge service that does customer follow-ups for her clients.

During the conversation, Cris shares her insights on the importance of customer follow-ups and the keys to her success running a concierge service. Whether you’re a martial arts school owner looking to improve your online marketing or a service provider interested in starting your own concierge business, this interview offers valuable insights and inspiration.

Show Notes

  • How Cris got started in marketing
  • Grow Pro Agency Overview
  • Developing Informing and training services
  • In person vs remote teams
  • The importance of a following with up with your customers
  • Building a concierge team

Resources and People Mentioned

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Joe Troyer 0:48
It's Joe Troyer, and welcome to another episode of show me the nuggets. Today I have on a very, very special guest, Chris Rodriguez from my old home state of Florida representing. So for those of you guys that don't know, Chris, Chris runs a really cool digital marketing agency called Grow Pro. And we'll talk about that in a second, we met at a digital marketing, agency, mastermind, I guess you would say, and we've known each other for quite some time. Very, very impressed with a bunch of things that she's doing. And one of the things I really wanted to highlight is they're helping their clients follow up with prospects, and not just getting the phone to ring one time or booking an appointment. You know, I feel like so much of a stop, you know, our efforts there. And I saw her doing this was like, man, we gotta get Chris on the podcast. So, Chris, welcome to the show.

Cris Rodriguez 1:43
Yes, Joe. Thanks so much. I'm pumped to be here really excited about this topic. And, you know, nothing's off limits. So any questions you ask, we'll rock them.

Joe Troyer 1:55
I'll take you up on that. I'll take you up on that. So before we get into kind of this follow up, that you guys have been doing, can you share with us a little bit how you got started in this digital marketing agency space and then ended up the agency world?

Cris Rodriguez 2:10
Yeah, for sure. So I've been a lifelong martial artist, I always knew I wanted to own a martial arts school. So I went to college to become an educator. So I got my degree in education from the University of South Florida figured that'd be an easy sell to the parents teaching their kids like, Hey, um, you know, martial artists, but I have a degree in education. So I've owned a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA Academy here in Tampa, Florida for the last 10 years. And Tampa, as you know, because you're from Florida, it is freaking hot. And when I first opened the school, I was a one woman show. And obviously, you got to market you got to get people in. And I'm like, it's too hot outside to be putting out road signs to be, you know, dropping off rack cards and other businesses to go flyering parking lots, I don't want to do that. I'd rather just sit in my air conditioned office and launch some Google ads. So I really went all in and learning how to market my martial arts school, through Facebook and through Google. And we grew very, very quickly. in under a year, we had 100, students had a half a million dollar school in about three years. And in the martial arts space, that's a pretty successful school. Most martial arts schools are probably averaging between 5000 to 10,000 MRR a month. It's not typically to get in because you want to be rich, it's a it's a passion. It's a hobby. And you know, so we saw some really quick growth, and it was predominantly through online marketing. So I had taught myself, you know, all self taught with that I had some really great mentors that that helped me as well. And people started reaching out on Facebook, like, hey, like, you're exploding. How are you doing this? And I told them like, oh, well, you know, it's through digital marketing. And they're like, Oh, will you teach me? And I thought about and I was like, Well, I love teaching. That's like one of my superpowers. I love digital marketing. I love the martial arts. Sure. So I launched an eight week marketing Mastermind course where we did four weeks on Facebook, two weeks on Google in two weeks on Instagram, and it's sold out instantly. I'll never forget this coolest moment ever. I was on stage. Speaking for the martial arts industry association. I launched this eight week marketing Mastermind course said I only had 30 spots. Legit. There were like 10 people that jumped up, ran down to the stage and threw their credit card at me like never had credit cards thrown at me before. So instantly sold that out. And at the end of day weeks, all the school owners were like Chris, this was amazing. I learned so much but I don't want to do this. Like this isn't fun for me. This is stressful. Will you just do it for me? And I said no, I'm really just teaching because I still had my martial arts school. And then Finally, you know, I did another eight weeks and another eight weeks and same thing, Chris, will you just do this for me and my wife was like, Babe, just do it. So I took my first 10 clients on from that course. And then I realized I bought myself another freaking job. And I said, you know, if I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do it right, I need to start building out a team. So this was back in March of 2019, I built a remote team of AD account managers and grew to 30,000 MRR pretty quickly. And then all in the martial arts niche, right? It's the only people that we work with Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads, that's really all we were offering. And then COVID hit, and we lost about 30% of our clientele. And that's actually when I reached out to Josh Nelson of seven figure agency, which is how we know each other and joined them in, let's say, May of 2020. And, you know, we're pushing almost 3 million this year, in a very short period of time. And, you know, I credit that one to the amazing team that I've built here, but second to the mentorship that seven figure agency has has given me

Joe Troyer 6:11
that's awesome. That is quite the growth trajectory, right. From COVID. Hitting, and things like imploding, you know, to where you guys are at today. That's, that's absolutely amazing. You should be super proud of yourself. Thanks, Jim. So, I'm curious, when you look at growth pro agency today, can you give us a little snapshot like how many clients you know, what kind of packages are the clients on? What kind of services are you providing?

Cris Rodriguez 6:41
Yeah, for sure. So 347 clients, we are a low ticket high client volume agency, and it's just due to the niche that we're in. Like I said, most schools are averaging five to 10,000 MRR you know, and you definitely have your 3% schools, you know, that are doing 5060 70,000 MRR, but it's just not the bulk of them. There's also only 15,000 martial art schools in the United States. So we have a very small pond that we are fishing out of. But I've really tried to keep blinders on. You know, it can be very easy as the entrepreneur to get shiny object and syndrome and want to start going into other niches. And we do have that game plan on our three year game plan to start going into other verticals because I know the martial arts industry isn't going to get us to eight figures. It's just not big enough. So in terms of programs, we have a standalone program, which is just Facebook ads starts at $500 a month we do a lot of additional bonuses for our clients. Though I teach a monthly masterclass. As a martial arts school owner, I can also consult other school owners. So we teach a monthly masterclass, we have an online training portal that has all of our previous master classes and also as training videos for the clients and their staff on how to use our programs to the best of their ability. We also offer a social media calendar that's literally like copy and paste that they can use for their own organic, you know, postings and we also do a conference each year as well that they can come in and fly into. So that's kind of our base package. 500 bucks, standalone Facebook, next would be our pay per click authority, that's going to add Google ads, and it's 750. And then we have our online dominance complete, which then adds social media management as well as database reactivation. So those are like our three core programs. And then we have add on programs. So we in the beginning of last year started offering tic toc ads, so you can do an add on for Tiktok ads. And then in July of last year, we offered our concierge agent program, which is $600 a month for an add on we realize that taking clients that aren't also using our lead generation packages is very difficult because we can't control the amount of traffic and if they're running their own ads or another agency and you're only getting 10 leads a month and our niche like 10 leads that's just not enough to justify the the concierge program. So this service of live lead follow up has been something that our clients have been asking us for for the past two years. I didn't have the space to do it. So we started in an office that smaller than my own office that I'm in now there was four of us it was like a co working space. And once we were like, you know on top of each other, I was like oh, we should probably get something a little bit bigger. We have moved to an entirely in person model. I started with a remote model and I know that's really popular for a lot of people. I realized I wasn't a great remote boss. And I also noticed that every other agency in our niche and most of them are remote so I thought that it would be a unique selling point that we would be able to sell our prospects on that, hey, we're in person we're US based. And I do believe it gives you an edge on offering a higher level of customer service, it makes training new employees so much easier because we're here together. And I had successfully built a brick and mortar martial arts school, which is in person. So I figured the in person model would just work better for us. So we switched to that model. And I bought an office building, which is right next door to the one that we're in. And it had two suites, got a chiropractor in one and then we moved into the other and we had 1500 square feet when we moved in, there were four of us in under a year, there were 16 of us in 1500 square feet with one bathroom. And it got tight. Yeah, it was tight. So the building right next door opened up. And that's the one that we're in. So I bought this building as well. It has two suites, 2000 square feet, there's a pediatrics office. And then we have 4000 square feet, and much more space for bathrooms, conference areas, 11 offices, huge break room. And that's where we're in now. So now we had the space to build out the call center for concierge. So when we moved in here in July of last year, I hired a contractor, they built out the call center space. And then we launched the program. And you know, there there was a huge learning curve with this because I really built a business within a business. It's a very different model than, you know, than just a normal digital marketing agency. So that's where we're at now. That's our snapshot 347 clients, we just took on our very first dance client, that's the next niche that we're going in, launch the ads yesterday to $3 cost per lead. So everybody's stupid excited, because that is a very similar service to what martial arts schools do very similar avatar. And you know, we're going to slowly make our way into that that niche now. So that's where we're at 25 team members. And a lot of them are rockstars, which is awesome.

Joe Troyer 12:12
That's awesome. So lots of recap there. I think one of the big things I took away, though, was the info and training kind of bundle in your packages. I think that that's really, really smart. I love that. It seems like that kind of happened on accident, right? Because you started in in info and training, and then kind of went into services. Any thoughts on why why those came together as one versus keeping them separate?

Cris Rodriguez 12:41
Yeah, you know, so I actually work for the martial arts industry association. They're the longest standing consulting company in our industry. They've been around for 20 years. I'm their digital marketing consultant. One of the things that helped us see some extreme growth, were JV partnerships. So I have a JV partnership with the Association, I have a JV partnership with the largest website company in the industry, JV partnerships with curriculum like martial arts curriculum businesses, and that has really helped us so because I'm, you know, kind of integrated into the coaching scene, it's allowed me to build a lot of authority. And because I own a martial arts school, there's instant rapport built with clients when they're coming on sales calls, because I'm in the trenches with them. I know what it's like to own a school, and call it an unfair advantage if you want, but I cut my chops run in a school for 10 years to be able to, you know, to be able to do that. I think that you've got to be careful in packaging it. And that being the only choice. So I'll give you an example. There was another coaching company that was also doing digital marketing work. And they said, you know, our coaching is $1,000 a month, the digital marketing is 500 Tell you what, you get it all together. It's 1500 bucks a month, all of our coaching clients are going to get it. Well what happened was they didn't get great results on the digital marketing side. So guess what, not only did they lose their digital marketing clients, they lost their coaching clients because they forced them to pay for it together. So I think that's an inch. That's interesting, right? That happened for them. That wouldn't necessarily happen with everybody. But there are certain areas just depending on location, demographics, how much competition you have, you know, we have schools that get $2 leads, we have schools that get $20 leads, we have schools that get $60 leads, it's the same exact system and process. The only thing that's different is the location, the assets that they're providing us and their offer that they're telling us to use. So I think it's a huge value add but I would be cautious and forcing people to do both, because we do have a lot of people that come to our agency that are already part of other coaching programs that have helped them have enough success to be able to pay for us. So it's a value add but I wouldn't be cautious of forcing people to, you know, to have both of them together.

Joe Troyer 15:05
Yeah, that's really interesting. I think that so many times there's there's a huge gap between, you know, just generating the lead, and then actually turning that into a real bonafide business. And I can see where you know, coaching can help fill that gap, obviously, can help make sure that the businesses in a traditional agency model are taking advantage of, you know, what it is that you're actually providing them, I think a lot of times, you know, they're not getting the best return on investment. And I think a lot of agencies don't really care, right. It's like we did our part, you know, good luck with that. So I think, you know, one of the things that I see inside your agency, you know, inside of your business is, you know, really going to that extra mile to ensure that they get the result that they signed up for

Cris Rodriguez 15:53
100%. You know, yes, I actually read somewhere, it was on Billie Jean's Instagram. And he said, stop calling yourself a digital marketing agency and start calling yourself a customer acquisition agency, because they don't want lead gen. They want customer acquisition. And yes, they're hiring you to get the lead gen, but you can get somebody 5000 leads, if they don't close one of them your services stank, you know, so you've got to be able to provide them the resources. And for many people, they don't want to do it themselves. So can you provide them the convenience, right? I mean, look at Uber Eats, look at, you know, Uber look like, we don't even go to the grocery store, my wife and I anymore, because we order it online, we value convenience, and we'd rather pay extra for the convenience. And this is really where you know, the concierge program steps into play.

Joe Troyer 16:42
Yeah, let's talk about the concierge. I think that's a good natural bridge. So I thought it was interesting. You said, like, really, we built out this business inside of the business with concierges, because it's such a different business model. Let's start there. Explain what you meant by that.

Cris Rodriguez 16:58
Yeah. So in the martial art, and give you an example, in the martial arts industry, typically, when you open a martial arts school, you're offering like evening classes, right? So kids are in school during the day adults are at work during the day. So usually a martial art school starts at around like four o'clock, right? What a lot of martial arts schools realized is that parents needed some form of care after school is out, right? If school gets out at two, I don't get off work till five, who's gonna watch my kid. And that's where daycares come in. And there were a lot of martial arts schools who jumped on this bandwagon of offering after school programs where you buy vans, you go to the school, you pick the kids up, and you're a glorified babysitter. And it really is a business within a business, you're running a daycare inside of a martial arts school. And that's kind of what this concierge program feels like you're running a call center inside of a digital marketing agency. So you know, one of the things that, you know, we learned very early on in the prospecting aspect of trying to find agents is that when you put appointment setter, or call center or anything like that, we were getting a very different type of employee that was, you know, putting in their resume, very different from the culture that we had in the agency. So in order to really get some rock stars, we just offered a real legalization package. So our concierge agents start at 40,000 a year, and they get $2 per appointment booked, my top agent is booking over 500 appointments a month, at $62,000 a year to work in a call center, basically, which is a pretty sweet gig on top of, you know, we offer 401k We offer health care, we offer PTO, and all that kind of stuff. So that was really important to me, I didn't want the culture that we had worked so hard to build, change, because we kind of had this business within a business, right. And you know, when when I told one of my mentors, that that's what I was going to be paying, he was like, you could pay him 15 An hour and I'm like, well, then I'm going to attract people that want to make 15 an hour. And that's going to change our culture, which you know, as the visionary as the founder. That's my job, I got to protect that at all costs. So the thing about concierge is you can't just hire one agent, because when you're offering live lead follow up. So what the program is, is we offer to follow up with their leads between 9am to 5pm. Eastern within five minutes. So a lead comes in, we're going to follow up with that lead within five minutes with the ultimate goal of booking the appointment. That's what you're hiring us for. Anything that comes in after 5pm. We will follow up the next day. Anything that comes in on the weekends we follow up Monday, Monday is pretty hectic. But here's the thing, what happens, you hire an agent, you launch this program, you get 10 people on the program, and now your agent is sick, your agents gotta go to the bathroom. What are you going to do when they're on launch? So it's really a program that you have to start with two hires which was very different than when I hired account managers, right? It's like I could have one. And, you know, I could I could cover if needed. So we started with two agents. And the hardest part for us was figuring out the tech stack that was going to make this very efficient. And it took us almost four months to figure out that tech stack. By testing different technologies, all of our clients use go high level. So we knew we needed it to it to integrate with go high level. But one of the struggles was, in order for me to keep a gross profit of 74%, I needed my agents to take 20 accounts. And when you have 20 accounts, and you get some of your clients are getting 1015 20 leads a day, having to click in and out of different sub accounts in high level was taking way too long, it was eating up time. So we actually ended up finding Eliza, which is a high level software that you can use, that really helps speed up the efficiency. And then we also use Slack as our notification of when a lead comes in. So it took us a while to figure that out of what makes the most sense, because this is a job that at any point during the day, it's basically like a bell goes off, you've got to stop what you're doing. And you've got to follow up with that lead, you know, and it's a very reactive position to be in. And we wanted to make it as efficient as easy as possible for our agents. So that was honestly the hardest part was the tech stack, figuring out, you know, how can we make this efficient? How can we keep our gross profit margins, you know, where we want them to be. And we have about 60 clients on the program. And, you know, it's, it's a really easy sell, because, hey, we're going to generate the leads, but you know, fortune is in the follow up. If you're not following up within five minutes, that lead is going cold. And what typically happens, what I've seen in all industries is the client, they get the lead, they call them once. And then that lead goes into the black hole of hundreds and 1000s of other leads that they have, because life gets in the way. And they forget, oh, I got to follow up with that lead again, and again and again. And there was a really great Harvard Business study that came out a couple of years ago about lead Response Management and they found that it takes at least seven connections before you're going to be able to book that appointment. And business owners and their staff they don't have the time they don't have the energy they don't have the want to continuously follow up. So that's what we do we follow up with the leads seven times in a you know, a mixture of phone call and texting, I will tell you the majority of our book appointments Get Booked via text is what we found. And we've also found that between the hours of 9am and noon, and between the hours of four to five for us, because that's our when we're open have been the best booking days and times for whatever reason, like 12 to 312 to four it gets really slow. And believe it or not federal holidays. We book an insane amount of appointments because everybody's off so everybody's picking up their phone. So that was an interesting thing that we found out throughout this process as well.


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