Jason Swenk on 20 Years of Agency Changes and What Comes Next

Episode 40 of The Verblio Show

Looking for something positive to come out of 2020?

Jason Swenk is here with some impressive success stories from the agencies he’s coached through the pandemic. He and Steve also revisit the predictions he made on the show back in April, hear why he requires every client to have a podcast, and learn what happened when he jumped out of an airplane.

Guest-at-a-Glance

📛 Name: Jason Swenk

💥 What he does: Agency coach and host of the Smart Agency Masterclass podcast.

🖱️ Find Jason on the web: Agency Coaching | LinkedIn | Twitter

💡 Get smart: “Your most valuable asset in your agency is your people that you have, not your clients.”

Top Takeaways

The theme of 2020? Unexpected growth 👉

In Jason’s first appearance on the show, he and Steve discussed how marketing budgets might be cut and what agencies should do to survive the coming downturn. Eight months later, the reality has been quite different.

“We’ve had some million dollar agencies double,” Jason says of clients in his elite Mastermind workshop. And those aren’t isolated examples: outside of restaurants and cruises, he’s seen tremendous growth in every industry. How is that possible?

Jason attributes a large part of the growth to focus. With fewer things to do outside of work, there has been no better time to buckle down. “We’re kind of in hibernation mode, right?” he explains. “We’re  like, ‘Let’s get all this stuff done, and then when we can travel, we’ll take some time off.’”

Create a podcast 👉

According to Jason, having a podcast is “the number one strategy for agencies, and they’re complete morons for not doing it.” In fact, he is so convinced of the benefits of podcasting that he requires it of every agency he works with.

What are a few of those benefits?

  • Having a podcast builds authority for your brand.
  • Doing research for every episode helps you stay in tune with the market.
  • Interviewing guests allows you to talk to people you would never otherwise have a conversation with, and you just might gain a new client in the process.

Of his Mastermind members, Jason says “They’ll actually close about 30-40% of the people into clients”—and that stat doesn’t even begin to cover the potential inbound leads from listeners.

Episode Highlights

Bring back the Flintstones

“We live in a Jetson world, but you need to be like the Flintstones, right? I think we try to automate so much, and we try to use technology to replace ourselves. What we should do is just use technology to help us, to remind us to connect with people like we used to do. Obviously, we’re in the middle of a pandemic so it’s a little harder to meet. But if you can, just pick up the phone and chat with people rather than send out these blind automated e- blasts on LinkedIn trying to sell something.”

Take a cue from the military

“In the military, they try to plan for everything, and half the time, they plan for stuff and it never happens. But we should do that in our agencies as well, so then we don’t have to panic. Because stress happens when we’re not prepared, and that’s when we make bad decisions.”

Don’t rob the bank

“Being decent and helping is always the right thing, rather than being the taker. I always use the analogy of, you need to make deposits in the bank before you make withdrawals. Too many people are trying to make withdrawals, and that’s called robbing the bank.”

On the risks of staying remote

“People are dying for interaction and engagement in the office. And by going totally remote, you don’t know when people are disconnected anymore. And I think people think the grass is greener on the other side, and I think you’ll see a lot of job hopping with some of your key employees if you don’t do it right, which is gonna be a challenge, right?

Because your most valuable asset in your agency is your people that you have, not your clients. It’s easy to get clients. It’s hard to find the right people and I think in the next year, you’re gonna see a lot of turnover if you don’t do it right.”

What his Mastermind agency owners are doing right

“They’re laser-focused, they have complete clarity, they’re really building their team up around that clarity of what they want, and they’re putting the right people in the right place. And they’re building authority and creating the content. They’re taking the time to create the right systems in place to truly scale their agency rather than grow it.

Because growing a company’s easy—you just sell more. But if you wanna make more profit—and this is what the Mastermind members do really well—they build a business that will grow or scale without them doing everything. They’re not that toll booth owner where all decisions flow through one lane where everything backs up. I feel like when you do that, then you’re in prison.”

Know what you won’t sacrifice

“People chase the wrong the things. I think most people get it wrong, and I got it wrong for many years where we just chased revenue. And we said, ‘Alright, in ’21, I wanna be a eight figure company, or nine figure company,’ or whatever it is. But you’re chasing revenue, which means you’re gonna sacrifice your time.

I find that you should design your life around the time goal, and really start a time goal or rules around it, where you’re not gonna sacrifice everything else.”

Top Quotes

🎙️ Jason:

[15:13] “When you niche, you’re picking a particular market for your marketing, but you still can take on work outside of that niche.”

[28:38] “The year of 2021 for me is, ‘Be the dumbest person in the room.’”

[29:13] “What makes the most successful people is the stuff that you do when no one’s looking.”

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