Wednesday, 18 May 2016 12:37

Ringer Radio Episode 10

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Monika
Good Afternoon Atlanta. This is Monika Meacham and Gabriel Meacham with Ringer Radio.

Gabe
Wait are we recording. Well good afternoon!

Monika
Apparently Gabe’s not here right now.

Gabe
I thought this was just a mic check and everybody’s looked around going “let’s start the show.

Monika
Yes, I always do mic checks in a very high vocal…

Gabe
Usually I'm pretty much not even in the intro or the beginning part, so this morning I made a splash. Thank you guys.

Monika
Yes, there you go. Welcome. Alright everybody, we have Jen here with us from Grace Works. Jen, pronounce your last name for us. I don’t want to butcher it.

Jen
It’s (pronounces) Hebblethwaite.

Monika
So it’s not as complicated as it looks.

Jen
I know. Hebble like Pebble and then thwaite.

Monika
My former last name, I had a lot of issues with people pronouncing it as well so…

Gabe
It had to be changed.

Monika
I didn’t want it to be changed. It’s a really cool last name actually.

Gabe
She fought with me forever about this.

Monika
No! Well technically my former last name was (pronounced), but if you looked at it, it looks like “such a diva”.

Jen
Nice.

Monika
So it kind of worked out for me and then he made me get rid of being a diva.

Jen
You can get a lot of mileage out of that.

Monika
Right! He made me get rid of it. He’s like nope.

Gabe
You did alright.

Monika
I did alright. It’s my middle name now. So anyway…we have Jen here with us for Grace Works. Jen, tell us a little bit about Grace Works. A lot of people out there may not know what it is.

Jen
Well we’re headquartered in New York but I head up our little Atlanta office. We do presentation, leadership, communication and business writing training for the professional services industry and we do it nationally and internationally and this year we were 20 years old. October was our 20th anniversary.

Gabe
That’s awesome.

Jen
Thanks.

Monika
So professional industry…is there specific areas that you guys focus on more than others or…

Jen
We spend a lot of time with Architects, Engineers and Construction folks, but we also do things like Commercial Real Estate, we’ve done some National Retail Firms, we've been spending a lot of time with Internal Auditors, which has been pretty interesting…

Gabe & Monika
Internal Auditors…

Jen
Yeah.

Gabe
This is how you talk to people. OK, everybody’s afraid of you right now so this is what you need to know…

Monika
Overall personality of an Internal Auditor…is there a stereotypical personality for one?

Jen
I think Auditors struggle because people tend to be afraid of them. They show up and they think ‘oh no, they’re here to judge me or change my process’, and they’re not. They’re there to be helpful and so just working with them on communications technique to help them help other people be comfortable…because they need people to be really open with them about what their processes are and the kinds of things they’re struggling with…so if they can get them to the place where they’re comfortable and can be honest, then they can make progress because they're just there to be helpful. They’re not there to be scary.

Monika
They’re not there to ruin the day.

Jen
No. They’re there to be helpful.

Gabe
I don't know…I’ve talked to some Auditors before…they need help.

Jen
They’re the good guys. They really are.

Gabe
That and you said Builders right?

Jen
Yes. Architects, Engineers, Construction…

Gabe
People that build stuff. At the end of the day, you’re taking people that build stuff and you’re helping them communicate in a way that's going to help them do something.

Jen
Right, so in this industry, we have to do presentations for clients. You have to be able to sit down and talk about your design, your process, your plans, your schematics, with the client across the table, in a way that they can understand what you're doing.

Gabe
…not just pass it off and say “it’s awesome!”

Jen
Correct, but there’s also a lot at stake because for this industry, institutions will decide to do projects. For example, a University might want to build a new building. They’ll put out an RFP for that and will say “hey industry. We want to build a building.” And they’ll get all these proposals for it and from that they’ll go “OK, all these people are qualified. Who are we going to bring in to really talk to?” So they’ll invite those people in for a short-list interview, and in that interview, which runs somewhere between 20-90 minutes, depending on the project usually, you have that amount of time to create trust, commitment and chemistry with that client. We do general training to help people have the strong communication skills to get in there and be able to win that work, but we also coach individual projects. There's a lot of money at stake.

Monika
What do you mean by “coach individual projects”?

Jen
So if that University, for example, says “we want to build this new building” and “Firm A, we’re going to short-list you. We want you to come in.” We go in and sit down with you and help you get your story ready to go so you can communicate that with the potential client and create dialogue with them and answer questions effectively with them and tell a story that focuses on what the client cares about and things like that.

Monika
You help someone, basically win when it comes to presenting?

Jen
That's part of what we do.

Gabe
…and I guess you have the long-term part of that particular project too, is helping the sale or the story evolve overtime, naturally. Am I correct in that?

Jen
Right, because all along the way, you have to go in and you have to present the progress…

Gabe
…it’s not just a one-time thing…

Jen
…these people are going to spend 5-10 years together, depending on what the project is.

Monika
I'm sure that means you also help with the overall presentation skills if they have to present to large groups, people that may have to do.

Jen
So when we go in and we do presentation training, we can do general training, which helps you with those communication skills across the board, whether it's that short-list presentation or that client presentation or say you’re going to present at an industry function for a lot of people as “the expert”. Then we can do the short-list where we go in and help you get ready with that story for that one project. We also do Leadership Communication and we’re grounded in something called “whole brain thinking”, which is developed by Herman International, which is a little like Disk are Myers-Briggs.

Monika
I’m familiar with my Myers-Briggs. So for all those people out there that have no idea what we’re talking about…Myers-Briggs is basically a personality test. I took it in college. I took it during one of my Masters, I don’t remember. I’ve taken that as well as another pyramid scheme, but essentially it helps somebody understand whether or not they’re an introvert, extrovert, where they lie in a triangle…

Jen
With Myers-Briggs and Disk it’s personality-based and “whole brain thinking” has to do with thinking preferences…how you prefer to think influences how you prefer to communicate and be communicated with. So when we do our Leadership Communication work, that’s a starting place for us. And then we do Business Writing Training, which we call “grace writing”…Grace Works Grace Writing. It’s “how do you make a human connection on paper?” It’s designed as a series of modules so that we can really tailor it to the client because writing needs are all across the board.

Gabe
It’s not isolated. Just about every industry…I'm thinking right now…we do web stuff, but it's directly applicable to exactly what we do as well, both on the selling and maintaining those customers and on the…you can take all the same concepts and probably bridge them over for my line of work, which is on the web. All the same concepts are likely transferred over. I don’t know. I get an ‘ F’ on tests.

Monika
There is no ‘F’ on these tests. You probably would get like and introvert. I don’t know Gabe.

Gabe
I don’t know.

Monika
I obviously always get the extrovert because I’m loud and extremely vocal.

Gabe
…and very obnoxious.

Jen
I think though, all of us fall on the introverted and extroverted scale in some way. We define extrovert as someone who regains their strength by being surrounded by other people and introverted is someone who regains their strength by being alone. So, for example, when we get done with our workshop, my CEO, who’s very extroverted, she can't wait to go to dinner and talk about it and make plans. We now have a rule that Jen gets 20 minutes. I need 20 minutes. I just need a moment to be still and quiet.

Gabe
I need like a 20 minute nap between things.

Monika
You do. I’m convinced he’s partly narcoleptic. You look over and he’s asleep. He’s just sitting there sleeping and you’re like ‘wake up!’

Jen
Well you two have a little one right? So that’s a game changer.

Monika
Well, yeah but it’s not like he’s up at all hours of the night trying to put him to sleep to where it’s making him sleep every 20 minutes.

Gabe
He’s the reason I’m sleeping. Running after that little booger. He’s not moving yet but…

Monika
…mentally you’re running after him.

Jen
I have teenagers so I’m up all night for other reasons.

Monika
Ooh teenagers. That's scary. On that note, we’re going to take a quick break. We’re going to come right back and again, we have Jen here with Grace Works. So we’ll be right back.

Commercial Break

Gabe
Welcome back, Atlanta, to Ringer Radio. If you have any questions or comments for us please for free to call at 404-369-0738 or look at our website hirearinger.com. We’re here with Grace Works, continuing our little chat and I’m going to give her the opportunity to go ahead…how do people get ahold of you? Smoke signals, website, email? What do people do?

Jen
We do respond to smoke signals and we really like knock, knock jokes…that’s very popular. If you go to our website graceworksinc.com, there’s a page there that has those links and we do respond to your knock, knock jokes if you put them in there.

Gabe
Really?

Monika
Have you gotten knock, knock jokes on your website?

Jen
We’ve had a few but don’t ask me to tell them to you because I can’t remember.

Monika
They were serious knock, knock jokes?

Gabe
Do they just start out with “knock, knock” in the message and then press Send and then you’re supposed to say “who’s there?”

Jen
We’ve had it across the map.

Monika
Wow, it sounds like she’s got some good online stories of the form submission.

Jen
That was quite an adventure…the website redesign.

Monika
So, for a lot of our listeners out there right now, I know one thing that that maybe you can help them with is, they’re always struggling is winning work. When it comes to the sales, when it comes to the pitches…I know that we struggle with it sometimes…actually having to go there and pitch that big client or that whale or whatever you want to call it…just being able to do that in a very comfortable way. What would you suggest to somebody who’s going out there and trying to win the work when they're in front of their potential end client?

Jen
Nice. It's funny that you use the word “comfortable” because when you are out there winning work, when you are out there talking with a client, being comfortable is incredibly important because if you're comfortable, your client’s going to be comfortable and if you're excited about what you're talking about, they’re going to get excited about what you're talking about. If you're passionate about what you’re talking about, they’re going to be passionate and if you're bored and you're phoning it in, we are so very done. It’s a funny thing…live communication is contagious. What happens for you will totally happen for your client. It makes you incredibly powerful as a communicator because you can totally affect what happens…affect the temperature in the room by what you bring to the table. So part being comfortable really has to do with what you focus on. So when we’re starting to work with people, just at a very foundational level, we teach that everything you do when you walk in that room is about helping your listener get it. It's not about proving, it’s not about selling, it’s not about differentiating…

Monika
It’s about them.

Jen
Right. It’s about them and their stuff all the time. In fact, you can use that concept of “help the listener” your decision set for everything you're talking about. So, should Monika talk? Will it help my listener? Should I tell that story? Will it help my listener? Should I show that graphic? Will it help my listener? Should I stand up, sit down, what should I wear? What will help my listener? And if the answer is ‘yes, that will be helpful’ and it’s not about selling, differentiating, proving, qualifying and all that other mess, you’re in the right place.

Monika
Now what if you’re not engaging the person on the other end of you? It’s about helping them, so you’re going to ask questions, you’ve got to get them to communicate with you back, to where it's about them…but what if they’re just not…you’re pushing and you’re pushing and you keep giving topics? I’ve been in that situation where I just feel like I'm pulling teeth out. What do you do to engage them further? Is there point where you throw up your hand and say “this person’s not engaging with me”?

Gabe
You trip them and push them down and say “you listen”.

Monika
But you’re trying to get them to talk to you.

Jen
So normally what happens when I go into work with a client and they sit down, what I get is what we call “the We-We show” and it something like ‘this is who we are and this is what we do and here’s a project that we’ve done that’s just like yours.’ Whom does the client care about?

Monika
Themselves.

Jen
Yes. Whom does the client not care about?

Monika
You. But I have a question because I've heard this a lot and I get it and it makes perfect sense, but I know in a lot of cases, when we sit down, we tend to start a conversation with a potential client by going over who we are and what we've accomplished and the reason we do that is because we think that case studies that we've come up with and what we've done and what has been accomplished is something that should help the client decide whether or not they would want to use a firm like us because of our triumphs. How do you do that when you're not being “we-we”?

Jen
So your relevant experience is incredibly important. They need to know that you’ve got the goods to do the stuff but I would recommend that you start in a different place. We use a lot of metaphors, so just pick whatever one you like. I suggest that you start with ‘what's your listener’s “splinter”? What is it that keeps them up at night, that they’re concerned about, that they’re worried about…the pain point or it could be a positive…it could be a goal or a vision or a dream…start with that, offer them concrete solutions for that, emphasize the benefits of those solutions, and then prove it.

Monika
OK, so you end with the “we, don’t start with the “we”?

Jen
You don’t start with “we-we” but you prove it and you bring it back to them as well. You want to begin it and end it by talking about their stuff and what they care about. That’s really the foundational concept of the “help the listener” because think about it, if you are really focused in the moment, on somebody else and what they care about and what they need, they’re going to sense it and they’re going to like it and they’re going to want to spend time with you. The 2nd thing is, if you’re really focused in that moment, on helping that person, you don’t have time to think about yourself. As human beings, we really get nervous when we start to think about ourselves and what other people think of us. So if you can stay out of your head and focus on that other person, Oh Baby, it's just holding your ticket to freedom because then you don't feel crazy anymore. You’re just taking care of somebody else.

Gabe
You’re offering me a chance not to feel crazy?

Jen
I know! I would love to set you free from the crazy. In order to do this, it really does require a lot of research on your part, of knowing that client before you go in to sit down with them so you can talk about what they care about first. Also, if you are in a position where that client won't talk to you ahead of time…which happens often…then you really have two choices...One, you do have all that great experience and you have that breadth and depth that you can pull from. You can go to people and go “on this kind of project, what was the real deal? What was the real stuff you really struggled with?” and apply that moving forward. The 2nd thing is, the question “why” is incredibly powerful.

Gabe
Why?

Jen
I’m going to give you an example. I was coaching a firm that was going after a National Parks project and this National Parks project focused on renovating historical buildings. It’s a government project so no one will talk to anyone about anything…that’s how it works. So we went through the RFP and we kept noticing that over and over again it would say “must demonstrate relevant experience with…” We’re like “of course they want to know we have relevant experience. Why do they keep saying it over and over again?” Then the light bulb went off. This government project specializes in renovating historical buildings. What happens when you destroy a historical building? It has historical consequences, it has economic consequences, it has educational consequences, so of course they want to know that we have relevant experience. That’s the why. They need to know that we’re not going to go in and mess this building up. So that became our basis for addressing that client and we won the project based on that. So the question of “why” when you're just not sure what to do, looking through their website, looking to their materials and saying ‘why do I see this over and over again? What are the values here? What are the missions here? How does that feed into their splinters? How can I use that as a place to start?’

Monika
Why do they need it? Why do they want it? Why?

Gabe
I’m not going to play this “why” game with you. It takes too long.

Monika
Alright, well on that note, why don’t we go to break? Why not? We’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

Commercial Break

Gabe
Hello and welcome back to Ringer Radio. I hope you had a good time listening to the commercials and be sure to support our commercial people, commercialing. I just want people to know that they play commercials for a reason and you should act on that. So get back to business…

Monika
We’ve got Jen here with Grace Works. Gabe’s a little lost today. I think the pollen’s still getting to him.

Gabe
It’s the coffin…

Jen
He’s actually dead.

Gabe
It’s the coffee and the pollen. I did take a little nap on the way up here so I’m waking up.

Monika
He’s still waking up. Again, every 20 minutes he falls asleep. I don’t know if he’s getting narcoleptic…I don't know what it is. Can’t blame it on the baby.

Jen
He’s working too hard.

Gabe
I wish I could say that.

Monika
So again, we have Jen here from Grace Works…anything communication, it sounds like. You help out with communication anywhere from presenting to communication skills within an organization…helping them grow, helping them nurture and foster their own growth through effective listening and communication. Basically right?

Jen
With a little writing thrown in…that’s a great commercial.

Gabe
When it gets down to the brass tax of it, our listeners are either going to know or not know, if they come in contact with your kind of service, do they even know it existed. What are some good examples or some good qualifications for clients to where you feel they would be a good fit for your firm?

Jen
If you are communicating with the public, and you are face-to-face with clients, we can come in and do general training to help you do that more effectively. If you have specific leadership teams in place, and you want that team to have better internal communication within itself, we can come in and help you with that and we can certainly come in and help you win work. If you've got to go in for the interview, that's a sweet spot for us and we’ll come in and sit down and talk with you and help you build your story to really communicate with that client.

Gabe
Do you do rehearsals with your clients? Do you set up mock scenarios? Do I have this in my head right where you kind of really walk through it with people…

Monika
…as if you’re their end client or something?

Jen
OK so the general training is not so much about rehearsals but that short-list presentation…Whoa Baby. You better believe you need the practice. You need to rehearse. One of the biggest game changers when it comes to rehearsal is something we call “the ugly rehearsal”. We call it ugly because it really should be a train wreck. There are very specific rules that go with this “ugly rehearsal” because a lot of times when people come in to do these presentations, they do this awful thing where they put a PowerPoint up and they really just want to talk to their graphics or they spread out books and images of things and they really just want to talk to those, as opposed to making a human connection and really talking with people. “Talking with” is really different than “talking at” somebody or talking to them.

Monika
So you wouldn't have a presentation necessarily?

Gabe
In your training, you had a presentation but you made a great point to show…the presentation was way behind you.

Jen
I had graphics. The presentation is you and your connection with your audience…graphics are something different.

Monika
OK, so elaborate a little bit for the listener out there. You mean literally graphics, as in pictures?

Jen
Right or a model or a board. The presentation is you and your connection with the audience. Everything else is gravy. Now for my Architects in particular, that makes them a little nervous because they’re very visual people.

Monika
Right and you deal a lot with Architects and plus, isn’t their forte being visual?

Jen
Yes. And I’m not telling you to not use graphics. I think graphics are very important.

Monika
Just don’t talk to the graphics. Talk to your audience.

Jen
Graphics will never write you a check. They just won’t.

Monika
Gabe has tried. He stares at his graphics a lot.

Gabe
I can create graphics that… So with this ugly presentation…

Jen
The “ugly rehearsal” there are rules for that. So the first step is the whole group stands up and warms up. No joke. People thinking and shaking and dancing and exercising seems a little crazy but it does 2 good things for you…the first thing it does is it pushes your energy way up and remember energy is contagious. We talked about being comfortable and that's contagious. Secondly, if you are nervous that’s about adrenaline. Once your nerves have kicked in, it’s about adrenaline and the only way to get rid of adrenaline is to move. So to start off by that shake and dance and moving around, brings your energy up and takes the nerves and brings them way down.

Gabe
Do you tell people to yell real loud?

Jen
Not necessarily, but vocal warm-ups can be a good decision. If you would like to do that I would support that decision. So we’re going to warm up and then we’re going to sit down. This first rehearsal, particularly if it’s a team presentation, is a seated presentation…it’s a seated run-through because what we’re going to do is really focus on speaking out our story. If you can own your story, you can do just about anything. Everybody goes around the table and takes a turn speaking their piece of the presentation out loud. You don’t just say “I’m going to talk about ‘X’ and you’re going to talk about ‘Z’.” You actually talk about ‘X’ and you actually talk about ‘Z’. Remember, it’s an ugly rehearsal, so it can be a big mess. That’s fine. The point is to get the ideas out on the table. Now, no one should interrupt. Everybody should take notes. Give people a chance to really get all their story out and then when we get done with the ugly rehearsal, then you go through your notes and go “you know what? You’re talking about ‘X’ and you’re talking about ‘X’. You thought you were talking about ‘Y’ but you’re really talking about ‘X’.’ What kind of adjustments do we need to make because when we’re doing a team presentation, we all have one story…you have your piece of it but it’s one unified story. But the big kick of this rehearsal is that you don't use graphics. No graphics. This is all about owning your story, first. Now once we’ve gone through and we’ve had that discussion, then you bring the graphics in it and we do it in a storyboard approach. “Monika, you’re talking about ‘X’. What graphics do you need to support that story for the listener? And you’re talking about ‘Y’. What images do you need to support that part of the story for the listener?” The story starts with “what does the client care about?” and it’s focused on them and their staff and then the images support the story…story first, graphics backup. Now for a lot of people that’s really radical because they'll do things…particularly in a business situation we’ll bring in an old PowerPoint and they’ll go “OK, this project is really close. We can just take it and we can just tweak it up a little bit and it will be OK.” And what they end up doing is compromising that client’s splinters…compromising that story and trying to shoehorn it in to some old thing and it takes them twice as long because then they have to fix stuff.

Gabe
I’ve been in that exact situation to where the worst thing ever is skip slides…”oh, that doesn’t apply…” They know that that has nothing to do with them when you skip a slide real quick.

Monika
That looks really bad, when you skip a slide.

Jen
I’m a big believer of if you really practice up, you practice so that you're comfortable enough to really listen to your audience and adjust to them. And if you get to a place and your ideas was off, your research was wrong, you can tell they’re checking out, they’re bored, it’s not going well…

Gabe
Kamikaze…

Jen
Right. Then you can just skip through your slides…you can say “I don’t think this point is on target. Let’s go to the next thing.’ And skip through your slide and they won’t care because you're being helpful.

Monika
I have a question then…at the same point, yes, preparing to this extent is great but when is it too much? When have you crossed the threshold where you’re over prepared and you’re spending too much time on one particular client versus all the other potential clients that are out there?

Jen
Well once you’ve reached the short-list presentation, the stakes are fairly high at that point and that's worth your time.

Monika
So short-list presentation is basically when you're saying “OK, I already go the appointment with the client, they’re interested, they have a need. I'm going in to try to fulfill that…

Jen
They are moving forward with the project and they’re going to choose between you and several other firms.

Gabe
You can’t go through it so many times that you sound like a tape-recorder but if you're doing it properly…if you’re doing it on your own then that's when people think they’re doing the right things and they’ve got a formula for going through it, but it’s still boring just to try to get through and I think that’s where having the right firm behind you, that can come in and work with you to polish those edges a lot, is really valuable.

Jen
Normally when people practice, they practice from beginning to end and what they do is they practice the same thing over and over again. They practice and they practice and when you do that, what you do is you practice the stinkin’ life out of it, so it sounds dull and boring, just like you were talking about. Also if you get in there and it doesn’t go just right…

Monika
You can’t adlib and change it.

Jen
You can’t and it totally tanks you and feel like you’ve done something wrong and then the next time you present, it’s 4 times as hard. So the way we recommend practicing, is that you come up with that story and you put it in a bullet point format…I’m going to talk about ‘A’, I’m going to talk about ‘B’…and when you practice it, instead of that straight line, how you practice is a little more fluid from point-to-point. And then the next time you practice, well between each of those bullet points, how you get there, is just a little fluid again. That’s how you keep it fresh and new. Each one of those points operates like a story that lives in a bucket…like a bucket of stuff…and you can reach into your bucket…we are metaphor crazy…you reach in your bucket and you pull out what you need. You can pick pieces up and move it around and adjust, based on what you hear and what your client needs. Is that helpful? Does that make sense?

Monika
Oh absolutely! I’ve seen Gabe pull out from his bucket quite a bit. Well we’re going to take a quick break and reach into our bucket and then come back and give you some more exciting stuff with Jen from Grace Works.

Commercial Break

Monika
Good afternoon, Atlanta. Welcome back to Ringer Radio. Again, you’re here with Monika and Gabriel Meacham from Ringer Consultant Group and we have Jen here from Grace Works. If you guys want to give us a call, you have any questions for us or for any of our guests, please do. Our number is 404-369-0738. We’ll get to those calls, field them and answer them for you on next week’s show.

Gabe
So Jen, we have like 8 or 10 minutes left…

Monika
It’s the tail end of our show…

Jen
Is it my turn to ask you questions?

Gabe
I guess so. Let’s grill the host.

Jen
So I’ve talked a lot about “help your listener” as opposed to selling and differentiating and all that. We also apply that to when you’re writing…help your reader. I know you guys are a full-service, creative firm…you do website design, you do software, you do digital marketing…so what do you guys do to help your listener, help your reader, to help your client?

Gabe
We always try to think of the end-user that’s going to be looking at the website and what kind of personality profile they might have…

Monika
…the client’s end-user, at end of the day. The client’s client.

Gabe
We try to think ‘what does that person need to see to 1. be convinced that our client is that the right person or service for whatever they’re trying to get done. If they’re a lawn service then they’re the most local service and dedicated and dependable and all that. If they’re a manufacturing company, then they’re highly skilled and qualified and they can get it done right all the time.

Monika
If they’re professional services that they have the knowledge…

Gabe
…so we’re making sure we’re acknowledging all the things the person needs to see as a minimum qualification for entry. Then we work with a lot of copywriters to really get in there and hone in on “what does that in user need to hear? What does that voice need to sound like?”

Jen
What the end-user’s needs are…splinter’s are.

Gabe
Exactly. And a good copywriter, for us, is going to have that almost intuition. Now some of them through training and I'd love to have copywriters that have been through great training like you all provide.

Monika
Actually there’s one ting that a lot of people do…I think it’s a mistake…where the company will actually cater to the client, not the client’s client. At the end of the day, the client’s not going to make money from himself. He's going to make money from his own clients and sometimes when we sit down with our clients we have to teach them that. They don't really quite see and they’re like “why?” You have to cater to their clients.

Gabe
A lot of it is kind of like holding up a mirror, is kind of how I imagine it. You have that viewer in front of you. You want that viewer to identify with the site somehow.

Monika
The content can be as simple as a video or we do the copy…

Gabe
…graphics that back it up and stuff like that. A website is only as good as that is but you’re going to have to have people come in behind them and really sell it. A website to me is a tool for a salesperson and it's however far you want to push that tool. Infinitely you can provide all kinds of content or if you know your ideal client you just drill in right after that.

Jen
Are there questions people normally ask you when they call you?

Monika
Depending on what they're looking for because we are little bit diverse especially since we the software side of the house. Price is a big thing of course, because there we are considered more on the upper end because everything we do is custom. There’s a lot of template-based shops out there and a lot of questions that we do get is educating the client on why we chose to go down the custom route. Why do we think it's a better way to go and a better way to build a business? Those generally are the questions that I field when they come in.

Gabe
And our perfect customer is going to want white glove service. They’re not going to want to get a form when you start and “you just sign the contract” and they give you a 30-page booklet that says “fill out this form because this is going to end up being your content on the website”. They want somebody that’s going to sit around, talk with them and really learn the business so we can…

Jen
…do your research

Gabe
Yeah, so we can figure out how best to sell that company online versus the other cheaper guys that are just “hey look, here’s your website…’ We think the job goes a little bit further just like y’alls firm.

Monika
I think in many ways, we’d consider ourselves an advertising firm overall.

Gabe
We’d like to think that.

Monika
…making sure that at the end of the day the purchases is made.

Jen
You guys have a tagline: “Hire A Ringer”? What does that mean?

Gabe
First thing, when we established the company…the minimum qualification is you have to have 10 years in a prospective field of interest to be a Ringer. The consultants that we bring in, the consultants that we introduce into our clientele, they’re really going to know how to nail it out of the park. They’re done being guppies. So it's kind of more of a sports reference, when it comes down to it. It's when you have to bring somebody in to win the game…just hire a Ringer. They come in, they put on your jersey, they put on your company hat and they step up to the plate and they knock one out and that’s their sole reason for being there and they know it. So we’re kind of like that…we partner with a company, we’re focused on what a win looks like and then we throw all our efforts at getting that win for that company.

Monika
In many ways, we like to be part of the company. Most of our clients have been with us for over eight years ,so we’re almost like a little extension off of their own business.

Jen
And your office has recently moved too right?

Monika
Yes. Originally Gabe was up in Dawsonville and he met me. I wouldn’t move up there…plus with the market, he basically had all the business up in Dawsonville. So basically he decided to bring his business down to the Roswell area and that’s when I joined when brought it down here and got a little bit closer to Atlanta. Definitely got in with a bigger pool of fish.

Gabe
There’s a lot of good companies down here. It’s different than it was up north where you had to search to find somebody qualified. Down here there’s qualified people knocking at your doorstep everyday.

Jen
So it’s easier for you to help your clients.

Gabe
It’s harder to find them.

Monika
It's harder to find them, but easier to help them.

Jen
Now Gabe, you mentioned that when you bring in a consultant, they have at least 10 years of experience. Are there special certifications you’re looking for to go with that?

Gabe
A lot of times. Some of the older consultants are going to have all MCSE certifications. Some of our designers, we judge them based on portfolio of work. Monika just mentioned that she kind of joined the team. That wasn't without her own…she's got 10+ years being a pretty bad ass analyst and that doesn't mean a whole lot when it gets into our world, so she’s taken a lot of those skills from just being a regular MBA plus level analyst and finding ways to bring it into the digital world and one of those that she just pass exam on, was the Google Adwords certification. Adwords is kind of one of those little hidden things in companies that you can either have it set up and you don't really think about it, or you get to the point in spending on Adwords, where a lot of companies spend 20, 30 $40,000 without blinking on Adwords a month. But if you can bring in an analyst that figures out we can get you 20% more traffic with the same amount of spend…

Monika
…squeezing that juice…

Gabe
…having somebody crunch the numbers and figuring out what's worth it, what's not worth it, what are some strategies of getting higher ranking even within the Adwords system…that’s where we currently utilize and cut across utilize previous experience. So her acumen basically with Excel and just generally knowing how to look at numbers in different ways…

Monika
…well I mean, at the same time, basically I was budgeting and forecasting numbers before for a big business. Now I'm budgeting and forecasting numbers for an Adwords account and I have the best skill to be able to do that because I’m an analysts, at the end of the day. We are way out of time. Maybe next week we can go a little bit more over Adwords and how it can help a business…

Gabe
…but we’re out of time.

Monika
Again, thank you for being with us today. Jen, thank you from Grace Works. If you want to visit her site it’s graceworksinc.com or you can check us out www.hirearinger.com. Have a great weekend!

Jen
Thank you!

Read 1016 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 15:13

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