How to Build a Business (and Life) that is Full of Abundance, with Stephen Christopher

How do you build a business that’s true to yourself? 

In this episode, marketing agency founder Stephen Christopher shares how he built a purpose-driven company serving the home services industry. After his mortgage business failed in 2008, Stephen started over in digital marketing.

He explains his philosophy around conscious business and personal development. By focusing on feeling good first, Stephen believes you attract the opportunities and abundance you seek. He cautions against just following the next guru or book without true inner work.

Though his agency delivers results through SEO, PPC and other tactics, Stephen says caring about their clients is what really sets them apart. He discusses the importance of being an authentic partner, giving critical feedback both ways. Stephen also shares why he created an outbound calling solution to follow up on leads.

Ultimately, he aims to build a values-driven team that makes a positive impact on technicians, families and communities. Stephen emphasizes staying open, having fun and not stressing about the future of digital marketing or robot plumbers.

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Transcript

Intro  

Welcome to another edition of inspired stories where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges they’re facing.

Anthony (host):

Welcome to another edition of the Inspired Stories Podcast where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges. My name is Anthony Codispoti, and today’s guest is Stephen Christopher. He is the founder of Witt Digital, a multi-million dollar marketing agency that serves home services companies. One of their clients said they went from 5 trucks to 12 trucks after working with them, and the phone just won’t stop ringing. They’ve recently started an outbound calling service for the home services industry. And aside from helping home service companies grow their business through proper digital marketing strategies, he’s also a conscious maverick, and we’ll learn what that means to him. He uses intuitive coaching to inspire leaders to learn that they can choose the life they want by harnessing the power of creation. 

 

Anthony (host):

And before we get into the good stuff, today’s episode is brought to you by my company, AddBack Benefits Agency, where we offer very specific and unique employee benefits that are both great for your team and fiscally optimized for your bottom line. One recent client was able to save over $900 per employee per year by implementing one of our proprietary programs. Another client is going to save over $1,200 per employee per year by implementing a patent construct that we offer. Results vary for each company, and some organizations may not be eligible. To find out if your company qualifies, contact us today at addbackbenefitsagency.com. Now back to our guest today, the founder of Witt Digital, Stephen Christopher. Stephen, I appreciate you making the time to share your story today.

 

Stephen (guest):

Absolutely, man! Great to be here, Anthony. 

 

Anthony (host):

Stephen, tell me in plain English, what does Witt Digital do and how did you get started with it?

 

Stephen (guest):

So plain English? We do digital marketing for large home service companies, which home services generally like plumbing, HVAC, electrical stuff like that. We do search engine optimization, paid advertisement, web design, conversion optimization for those. We like to keep it really simple because our job is to make their phone ring and get them more leads. How did I get started in this? So, I owned a mortgage company until 2008 when at which point in time it crashed and burned. So I learned how to fail in business relatively early on and out of that, I kind of said, “Okay, cool. What skills did I learn that I could potentially take into another business?” And it was like the early days of SEO, search engine optimization. And I had kind of learned how to do that. We ranked first for a lot of these big keywords in the mortgage space. And I was like, cool. I learned SEO, and so on the heels of that, I went and took a job making like $20,000 a year. And I started building my next company with a friend. And we built a digital marketing agency. And then in 2014, just the partnership wasn’t a good partnership, and so I ended up selling my half to him and started with the next day, and that was in 2014.

 

Anthony (host):

So, coming up on 10 years, tell me a little bit more about the mortgage business. How long were you in that?

 

Stephen (guest):

Yes, so that was about 2 and a half to 3 years. And it it it was. It was cool, it was. It was very great meaning like, I don’t know how many people remember what was going on with the mortgage industry, but it was like, you know, it was crazy, right? It was Wildfire, and you kind of like buying houses flipping them. And you had all these crazy loans like no income, no asset verification which you know ultimately was kind of the thing that broke the broke the camels back. But yeah, it was. It was a lot of fun, and I also realized how little I knew about business. But it was one of those things like, I just went all in. I was like cool. Let’s just do this thing and see what happens, and probably a couple of my best lessons out of it was pick resilient industries. Hence why we do marketing for plumbing, HVAC, and electrical like, you know, even in the biggest recession. If your air conditioning goes out in the middle of the summer, it’s 100 degrees. You’re probably gonna get it fixed. If your toilet goes out, you’re probably gonna get it fixed, or at least prioritize it over a lot of other things. So I learned I learned to get better perspective, to actually pay attention to what was going outside on outside of my little business and what was going on in the rest of the world, and certain things that could have an impact on what I was doing for business, because at the time I just didn’t really even think of that. And it sounds silly now, but I don’t know. It’s just one of those lessons that I learned.

 

Anthony (host):

So tell me more about that experience of having this business that you built up over the course of 2 or 3 years suddenly just collapse. I mean, that had to just be crushing.

 

Stephen Christopher:

It was, you know, it was kind of interesting because there was, yeah, like it was. It sucked like it was super annoying. And you know I put a lot of time and energy into it, but honestly, at the same time, there was like almost like a relaxing piece of it, right like, you know, I was always so worried like, man is this really real? Is it ever gonna go away like man? Am I really creating a business? And so there was this relaxing piece to like cool like all the pressure is gone, and even though I was dead broke and like couldn’t pay my rent to my buddy, whose house I was living in and couldn’t pay my car payment, I don’t know. It just wasn’t that big of a deal for some reason, and I think that probably that was also the thing that started me down the journey of like mindfulness. And you know, whatever you wanna call it kind of the spiritual side of growth to like cool man, Mike. The business crumbled. Can I learn something from it? And like what’s next.

 

Anthony (host):

So did you have that mindset at the time when it was happening? I mean, I’m hearing you use words like cool like, hey? No big deal whatever right like it, and almost like relaxing that it failed. But I’m also hearing you say flat broke. I’m sleeping on my buddy’s couch. I don’t have any money. I can’t pay him rent like, how are those 2 things? Sort of jiving together?

 

Stephen Christopher:

It just kind of…So let’s see, I mean to kind of answer the specific question, right? So, yes, there were times in that where it was actually stressful, right where I was like, “Geez! I got no money. I can’t do anything, you know. I can’t travel. I can’t. You know. I wanted to take somebody on a date. It was like, All right, cool like what’s kind of a feasible place. That kind of looks nice that won’t cost anything.” But I’d say more than anything, there was just like kind of this relaxation and peace around it. And maybe it was for the right reasons. Maybe it wasn’t like. Maybe it was more, for, like cool like now, I can’t fail any further. You always hear these stories about people hitting rock bottom right and then coming back out.

 

Stephen Christopher:

There’s something just really peaceful about, you know. I was by no means at a rock bottom, but it was as close as I’ve ever been. And there’s just something peaceful in that, and there’s something to where it’s like you don’t have to stress any more. And now all your time and energy can go into what you want to put it into.

 

Stephen Christopher:

It was almost as if you had this fear, like you were describing that. “Oh, my gosh! Is this real? Is this? Gonna go away like am I building a real business?” And that fear, then, was in some sense realized like. And it was taken away very quickly. And so you were able to tell me if I’m wrong. But you were able to face this fear and realize. “Oh, this isn’t so bad.” This isn’t. But I had it built up in my mind to be. 

 

Yeah, I would say that that is, that is an accurate statement. and you know, depending on how deep you want to get on this. If we’re all creating our own realities all the time, like, I probably somewhat created that reality, because that’s what I was focused on.

 

Anthony (host):

Okay, so this kind of opens the door to what I’m seeing here on your Linkedin profile. Not only are you the founder of Witt digital, but you are a conscious maverick. and so I’m hearing you talk about sort of creating your own reality. Let let’s dive into this a little bit more. Te tell me more about this kind of thinking, and and how you found it. I found you so I would say it found it. 

 

Stephen Christopher:

You know. I think it’s there for everybody. It’s this underlying pull right like when you’re at the job that you hate, and you go every day, and you have a headache, and you’re miserable, and you know that there’s something more. But you don’t do anything about it. When you’re in a relationship. And you know that it’s time to exit that relationship like we’re all being pulled toward a life of more happiness, more fulfillment, more joy, you know truthfully, more abundance. And every way you know financial time, experience, all of that, you know, we’re all being pulled to that, because I think that that’s just our natural state. And I think we.

 

Stephen Christopher:

I think for me, it was just this deeper pull. And when I got to the place where things were so stressful. And they just didn’t seem to work. And I kind of just decided cool. There’s gotta be something more. And that’s when I started reading like personal development books. And then, you know, I was all in on like man. I’m gonna I’m gonna set my, you know, my my revenue goal for the year and my personal growth goal. And I’m gonna create a vision board of my house. And you know all that kind of stuff. And that was that was all fine and good. But what I think a lot of people miss with that is the truth is, is that for most of us, when we do that it doesn’t actually feel good. Right? We look at our vision board, and half the time we feel like crap, because we don’t have the things that we say that we want.

 

Stephen Christopher:

And I did that for a corporation for Several years, and I would look back at my journals, and I was like dude. I’m setting the same freaking goals every year, and I’m never quite getting them, and I just feel like shit when I don’t. And so phase 3, there’s got to be something more than I started going down more of a spiritual path, not religious or anything just like cool man, you know, like hippie stuff like, you know. Why are we here like? Let’s, you know, let’s go deep. Let’s get into, you know, meditation. I mean some of the stuff that you know that you’ve done with me, Anthony, and then really started to just kinda see what else was possible. And so I think that the suffering kind of led me down a path of there’s more, and the ability to listen to that poll. And even when I was doing the things that I thought that most people told me I should be doing right. Get your vision board, set your goals like, do all this. I was like. This doesn’t feel any better than when I was like, completely miserable and broke. But it’s just this weird trick of like, yeah, man, I’m gonna I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna get it. I’m gonna I’m a manifestor. but it didn’t feel good. And I was just like cool. There’s got to be more. And I think the, you know. I think a lot of people stop in that, and then they just end up perpetually, creating more of what they don’t want. But I’ll kind of digress here for a minute. But yeah, it was like. if you don’t actually feel good, then I’m kind of missing the point of life. And so I just said, cool, I’m gonna find things that make me feel good. And then when I started feeling better and I started having more fun, and I started letting go of like these old beliefs of how things should be. And you know what most of us might consider facts like. It just started letting them go like magic started happening. And then I finally started realizing, oh, shit like we do live in a universe where kind of our minds and our thoughts and our energy create stuff. I just didn’t realize that I was aiming in the wrong direction for quite some time.

 

Anthony (host):

Would you say it was the release of the attachment to these things that was kind of like a flip of a switch for you. I would say that that was a was a big part of it. And then probably the bigger part was down the journey of like self awareness. Right? Like, truly being honest with myself like, Okay, what am I actually thinking about all day?

 

Stephen Christopher:

And I did this weird exercise? II forgot if I heard it somewhere or not. But I basically took a tape recorder, and for 3 days in a in a little notepad, and for 3 days II voice recorded or wrote down every thought II had at least that I could capture right? And I mean, this would go on for like 20 HA day.

 

Stephen Christopher:

And yeah, it’s a very interesting experience like, I wouldn’t recommend it to a lot of people. But if you’re kind of a glutton for punishment, and you really want to figure out what you think about all day. Do this. It will make you feel kinda crappy, but then you can realize what the truth is right like. We all, we all tend to go around thinking we’re like these positive people. And like, Yeah, man, I’m thinking about what I want. Like, the truth is, most of us are not doing that like, we’re thinking about crappy stuff all day, and we’re we’re poisoning ourselves. And so, anyway, point being, is that the journey of kind of self awareness. And just being honest with myself about yeah, like dude II I think a lot of non-ideal thoughts, and like. ho! How can I change that? And so, you know, you go into like Buddhism and some other religions like that, like they talk about discipline. And I used to think discipline was like against the flow of the universe, and you know, life and God, and whatever. But it kinda dawned on me like, if I’m gonna be disciplined about anything, be disciplined about like what thoughts I’m allowing to get wings and legs in my mind, and the ones that I don’t want be disciplined about letting those go, and then shining a light on the good ones shining a light on like the things that are going well, and the potentials that I really do want, even if I don’t know exactly how to get them.

 

Anthony (host):

But yeah, I would say, that’sand so is what you’re describing, is it? Sort of the power of positive thought is just when I’m thinking better thoughts, when I’m thinking happier things, I’m putting myself into a better mindset. And so I’m just going to be happier about what comes my way, or are you describing something that’s a little bit more metaphysical that you believe takes place. Where kind of like what was that that book in the movie a while back? The secret where you’re actually attracting it to you.

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah, I mean, here’s the basics of it, right? Like, everything is energy. right? Like, you know, we’re we. You know, we. We think that the desk is solid and blah blah blah. And really it’s just made up by a bunch of energy and vibrating molecules and stuff, and so ha like attracts like. So whatever whatever vibration we are vibrating at, we’re gonna attract and create more of that. And so yeah, I don’t necessarily know that I would follow exactly what the secret says. I think there’s some pieces missing in there, but the simple part of it is like, when you feel good, the universe in God. And whatever reflects back more things to feel good about. So whether that’s the new car, whether that’s more money, whether that’s more travel, whether that’s a better relationship, whether it’s whatever it is, right? So it’s not necessarily about like forced, positive thinking, because I think that that was a trend that that also created a lot of issues kinda like the whole Vision board thing, right? Because, you know, people get up in the morning. They feel like shit, but yet. They’re over here reading this mantra about like, you know, what’s the old steward Smalley, when he looks in the mirror like, you know? I’m good looking whenever yeah, I’m good enough. I got it. People like me. And so I think the I think the most important thing. And this is like, even how we teach our staff about this stuff is when you say something, does it feel good or not? And if it doesn’t feel good, then you need to find a better entry point to it. So if you’re like, I’m a millionaire. I’m a millionaire, and and deep down, you’re like, you know. I can’t even figure out how to make a thousand dollars a month like cool. You should probably not try to force yourself to think the thoughts of. I’m a millionaire like. What if you could just think a thought and feel a positive emotion around? You know I can be abundant. I just haven’t quite figured out how to do it yet. You know, like Kit, what’s something that you can actually hold on to and feel good about, and then, as you feel good about that thing, you will get the opportunities that lay out in front of you to move you down that path. So it’s not necessarily about like forced, positive thinking, because I think that that was a trend that that also created a lot of issues kinda like the whole Vision board thing, right? Because, you know, people get up in the morning. They feel like shit, but yet. They’re over here reading this mantra about like, you know, what’s the old steward Smalley, when he looks in the mirror like, you know? I’m good looking whenever yeah, I’m good enough. I got it. People like me. And so I think the I think the most important thing. And this is like, even how we teach our staff about this stuff is when you say something, does it feel good or not? And if it doesn’t feel good, then you need to find a better entry point to it. So if you’re like, I’m a millionaire. I’m a millionaire, and and deep down, you’re like, you know. I can’t even figure out how to make a thousand dollars a month like cool. You should probably not try to force yourself to think the thoughts of. I’m a millionaire like. What if you could just think a thought and feel a positive emotion around? You know I can be abundant. I just haven’t quite figured out how to do it yet. You know, like Kit, what’s something that you can actually hold on to and feel good about, and then, as you feel good about that thing, you will get the opportunities that lay out in front of you to move you down that path. So it’s not necessarily about like forced, positive thinking, because I think that that was a trend that that also created a lot of issues kinda like the whole Vision board thing, right? Because, you know, people get up in the morning. They feel like shit, but yet. They’re over here reading this mantra about like, you know, what’s the old steward Smalley, when he looks in the mirror like, you know? I’m good looking whenever yeah, I’m good enough. I got it. People like me. And so I think the I think the most important thing. And this is like, even how we teach our staff about this stuff is when you say something, does it feel good or not? And if it doesn’t feel good, then you need to find a better entry point to it. So if you’re like, I’m a millionaire. I’m a millionaire, and and deep down, you’re like, you know. I can’t even figure out how to make a thousand dollars a month like.

 

Anthony (host): 

So do you have any resources that you recommend for people, whether they’re particular instructors to follow, maybe books or websites that you have found helpful on your path?

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah, so this is an interesting question, right? I used to always have a ton of books. I have some bigger books like, you know, Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth,” one of my favorite books. They’re very kind of woo-woo-woo, high-out spiritual and not everybody is gonna be ready for those. I mean, I read some Eckhart Tolle like 10 years ago, and I was like, “What the?” I was like, “This guy is ridiculous,” and he talks so slow, like, how could I ever listen to this? And now I go back and listen to it, I’m like, “Oh yeah, I totally get it now.” So, I’ll say this. I think that it’s really important for people to be cautious about what they are seeking because you can spend so much time reading the next book, following the next guru, and we think we get it mentally, and so we move on to the next thing. But it doesn’t actually sink in. And so what I would tell people to do is, you know, I love some authors like Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Joe Dispenza. You know, I think you could just pick any of those and just listen to something and see where it ends up taking you, see what next book recommendations, see what next YouTube recommendation. But be really cautious about just taking in information over and over and over and over, and learn to actually get to know yourself a little bit like, you know, for people listening, like, when’s the last time you just sat in a dark room and closed your eyes for 10 min and like, breathe consciously, deep into your belly and see what shows up? We’re always looking for these answers outside of us, right? But very few people take the time to kinda get to know, you know, yourself. And we have this amazing intuitive guidance system called feelings and emotions, and we just, you know, we were never taught as kids to get in touch with those. And so we lose out on this whole, you know, sixth sense, or whatever you wanna call it. So, before you go down paths of just like following teachers, right? Like, also make sure that you’re learning to get in touch with yourself at the same time, then you can more consciously choose who those teachers are that you should be listening to right now. ‘Cause there’s teachers that I had 10 years ago that were perfect for me at the time because they opened a door to something else. But now I look back and I’m like, “Haha, yeah, like, I would never listen to anything you’re saying because you just, you know, you never actually evolve.” But thank you for opening that door for me at that point in time. Is there something that’s a little bit more entry-level for people who maybe aren’t ready for kind of the woo-woo that you put it? You know, Wayne Dyer has some really good stuff that is what I would consider to be like entry-level because it bridges that gap between kinda, you know, big picture spirituality, but also like manifestation. And so, I think he’s a really good kinda intro person. If you’re finally ready to lean into this like, you know, the universe is all energy, and you know, manifestation and like and stuff like that. So, I would say he’s a good one to kind of start that stuff with. I mean, Joe Dispenza’s great because Joe Dispenza does a ton with science. So, people that need something to grasp onto that’s kinda factual or scientific. There’s, there’s plenty of proof in a lot of his books to like, hey, like meditation can completely heal you and here are 17 examples of how it happened with X-rays, and you know, all of that kinda stuff.

 

Anthony (host): 

And so how does this type of conscious, conscious maverick thinking show up in your business for your employees, for your clients?

 

Stephen Christopher:

So we talk about this stuff with them. I mean, I have a one-on-one with every employee in the company every other month, and my whole kind of my structure for my one-on-ones is very much towards mindset. Right? So bring me the things that are stressing you out. Bring me the things that you know that you’re that you can’t quite work through in your mind. Bring me the things that are making you, you know, making you unhappy. And I’ll kinda work through that. And then my business partner focuses more on the structure of the business during his one-on-ones. But I don’t know, like I’m just a believer that this stuff works because I’ve seen it work over and over again, and like I just I use it all the time. And so we don’t force any of this kind of stuff on our employees, but we make it available. And we talk about things like, I mean, we do. We do meditations to sometimes open up our all-team meetings, and you know at first, like with new employees and like, “Oh my gosh! This is weird like, did I join a cult or whatever.” And we’ll do like a 10 min meditation. And I’m like, cool. Do you feel better now than you did before? And they’re all like, well, yeah, I feel great. I’m like, perfect. You can do this at any point in your day, right? And so we’re giving them these tools that are that are leaving cracks and doors, and then they can choose to walk through ones that they’re ready for that they want to. But I believe in business that you know, business is really the number one place that we have to impact adults. Right? So kids, you have school and whatever your opinion is on that. But with adults, right? Like business is the place where they spend the most time. And it’s where most people are gonna get almost all of their education from, right? ‘Cause other than that they go home, they hang out with their spouse, they hang out with their family, they go to football games and whatever, and you hear chatter on the sidelines. But I mean, there’s nowhere else to actually educate adults that aren’t seeking it besides business. And so I I believe that as a business owner like, I have some sort of a duty to like help people grow if they want to. It’s not forced, right? Like, I don’t care if you meditate or you don’t meditate, but I encourage you to like try things on and see. Does it feel better than what you had been doing before? So we make it a point to make this stuff available to our employees. I coach, I mean a handful of our clients on this type of stuff like when our clients are having bad days, they call me. And like, how cool is that? You know, like we’re not just a marketing agency like, we’re the resource that they call when they’re having a bad day, or they’re struggling or like, you know, they? They know that they’re trying to create something, but it keeps not happening. And like we’ll work through that stuff with them.

 

Anthony (host): 

I’m curious how those those kinds of conversations come up for the first time with a client.

 

Stephen Christopher:

So, it’s kind of weird. But besides people that might know or have heard me talk about this stuff, ’cause I’ll talk about it occasionally. I do our social media and stuff like that, but this is the weird part. We’ll just get clients that call, and they’ll even just say they’re like, “Dude, I don’t know why I’m calling you. I just your name popped into my head, and I thought maybe you could help.” And I’m like, “Yes, perfect. That makes perfect sense.” Right? Like it. Just you can’t deny the amount of, you know, coincidences in the world like if you are open to helping somebody, the people that need help with your skills will just show up.

 

Anthony (host): 

So who is your ideal client like? Why would somebody hire you guys versus one of your competitors?

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah, so ideal client? You know the specifics about. It is a home service company that does, you know, probably 3 to 4 million on the low side up to about 40 million on the high side, and they desire a marketing agency that will actually create a partnership with them. And I know all agencies say this, and all agencies say they have the secret sauce and how to get results, and blah blah blah. But we’ve actually just done it. And we actually partner with them. We, you know, we go in and we listen to hundreds of their phone calls during a given month to try to figure out where is the revenue going? Is there an issue? Is there a lead generation issue? Are your CSRs not doing a good job answering the phone? Kind of whatever it takes to truly help them identify issues and solve them, whether it’s within the set of sort or set of things that they’re paying us for or not. And honestly, as simple as it sounds, that’s why people partner with us because we are there all the time. We send them weekly updates, whereas most marketing agencies don’t talk to these people for, you know, sometimes months on end unless the client reaches out to them like they’re just. They’re just a number to a lot of agencies, and we train our staff the importance of like, “Hey, what we do for them is very, very important. What we do is drive leads, and that drives revenue. And if we’re not driving enough leads, they’re having to send technicians home, and their technicians don’t get paid. If they’re not working, and that impacts the family. And then that impact impacts that family. And then that family takes that out to their community that has a negative impact. So when we talk about what we’re really doing here and and our staff enjoy that like, they take it personally that they are impacting a lot of other people down the chain, and I think that’s what makes us different. I mean, I’d love to say that we have some sort of secret sauce, for you know, for SEO and pay per click. I mean, we are very, very good at it, and we get excellent results. But you know it’s not rocket science to do really good SEO. Most agencies are just too lazy to do it. you know, they don’t give their staff enough time to do it, and so they don’t have good results. But we get really good results. And we just, you know, our team laughs internally right. I don’t know if I can say this, but they laugh internally, and the thing is is like we give a shit the most. And that’s their theme that they talk about all the time, and they tell clients that, and clients will call me, and they’ll say, like dude. They they said this to me, and I thought it was Bs. but now, 3 months later, they’re like, you guys are awesome like, you actually do care.

 

Stephen Christopher:

That’s great. You described going through the call recordings to see what’s going on or the customer service reps doing the right thing, not doing the right thing. Following the script, etc. Are you guys I’m guessing the the the advent of a lot of these AI tools is probably making that a lot more feasible, a lot more efficient to do that kind of scrubbing.

 

Stephen Christopher:

It’s getting there. It’s not as far along as we’d like to see it, and it’s not as far along as most agencies will tell you. At least, not that we found, you know we’re we don’t know everything, and so maybe there is something out there but surprisingly like there’s still some work to be done within AI to really go to the level of detail that our team goes to like. I mean we’ll do reports, and it’ll say cool, you know. It took you know. How many rings did it take to answer? What was the tone and the emotional impact that the CSR had on the person, did they know the software? Did they not know the software? You know? How many times did they hesitate? How many times did they say did they use any words that could be potentially offensive to somebody like we had a client with this really sweet older woman, and she called everybody Hon. And what we found out is that a lot of people actually didn’t like that. So there’s a lot of things that you know we haven’t found ways to compile using AI to actually do the depth of which we’re listening. But I mean, you know. Hey? Give it 6 months, and it’ll probably be there.

 

Anthony (host): 

Right? Yeah. I was checking out your blog one of your entries. You talk about something called Melissa data reports. What are these? And how are they valuable to your customers?

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah. So Melissa Data is this big data company and what they do is it’s not much. It’s a few hundred bucks will basically take our client’s entire database right? All of their existing clients, any past clients. It just anybody that they’ve talked to or gone to their home or done an estimate for received the phone call. It will upload all of that data and they will spit out this really detailed report that shows cool. Your average client is a 40 to 65 year old female that has one and a half kids has a household income of over 100,000, drives Lexis, whatever they can aggregate on those people’s information and then that way. Now, from a marketing perspective, we can talk to that ideal client more intelligently. So if it if it tends to skew older, demographic, great. We’re probably gonna make the website a little more simple little larger font. If it skews younger, we’re gonna make it make the website look a little bit more like a social media feed because, you know, you get a 35-year-old. What are they used to? They used to sitting on Instagram all day. So we’re gonna make the website look a little bit more like that. So it’s just information. You know, our clients already have all of this information on their customers. It’s just this is a really cool way to kind of aggregate it, and spit out some reports that can really help us identify. Who are we talking to as a true ideal client that way? Our messaging is on point, you know, things like font things like color schemes and all that. We can be a little bit more intentional with that to speak to their primary ideal client.

 

Anthony (host): 

Tell me more about the new call center solution that you guys are offering.

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah. So in the home service industry, there’s a thing called outbounding. And essentially, you know, you have people that take the calls right, you know. So that’s inbound phone calls that come from leads or existing clients. And that’s an important piece. But when home service companies are a little bit slow. Or if they’re just doing a really good job of keeping their brand up one of the things that they can do is called outbounding, meaning, like, you know, an average Home Service company might have, I don’t know, 10,000 people in their database that they’ve worked for over the years or have called in for estimates and stuff like that. So we will call those people out of their CRM, and either just check in on them. See if they need anything. See how they’re doing. Thank them for utilizing our client or do things like call on like open estimates. Right? So you think about an HVAC person. They go out to a bunch of homes every day. They see people. They’re writing an estimate or a proposal for work to be done, and unfortunately, a lot of home service companies, you know, they write the estimate, and then that’s kind of the end of it, and if the customer calls back in books cool like we got the job, if they don’t a lot of times, nobody ever follows up on that, on that, that lead or that open estimate. And so this is kind of a way to solve that problem for them, because inbound call takers like like a customer service rep is one type of kind of skill set right like it takes the type of person to do that, but to actually call out and start a dialogue and create trust and show somebody. Hey? I’m not here to to sell you anything. I’m just. I’m gonna ask you some questions. I’m gonna see how you’re doing. Cause none of our stuff is is hard sell it just takes a very different type of person. And so in the industry, very few companies have that kind of outbound department built, or have figured out a really good way to do it. So we just saw a a need in the industry. And so we started. We started building a a solution for it.

 

Stephen Christopher:

So you’ve got some folks that have sort of this skill, and obviously some training as well on how to do it. There’s got to be some kind of a tie in to the client software is that sort of a difficult integration to manage there. No, no, they just they log in directly to the client CRM, they, you know we have. We have it sorted to where they know cool. Here’s the people that you can call. They put notes directly in the client CRM. And then when we book something. Now, we have data directly from the client CRM to say, Hey, you know, you guys spent whatever it is, you know, $3,000 with us this month, and we made you, you know, $35,000 based on follow ups and things like that. So everything we do is out of the client CRM.

 

Anthony (host):

No, that would be powerful. If you’ve got those reports to be able to tell them. Hey? You paid us whatever it is, you know, $1,000 $2,000 this month for this service, and we turn that into $35,000 in revenue makes it pretty easy to get them to renew at that point.

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah, exactly. And that’s how you know, even from the marketing agency side, everything we do is all based on ROI. So like our reporting is, we make sure our tracking is all set up in your CRM. And then we pull your ROI data from there every month. So you spend $5,000 in SEO that month cool. We made you $95,000. Seems like a pretty good investment. Pay per click. It’s you spent this. You made that whereas most marketing agencies are just afraid to do that, because, well, I mean, it sucks right like you’re being held accountable to a number that you don’t have complete control over, whereas we just said, you know, we’re just going to be held accountable to what the most important thing is. And then we’re gonna go in and do things like listen to phone calls. So we can say, Hey, we’re doing our job. We’re sending you hundreds of leads every month. But you know, you have 4 to 8 phone calls a day that are going to voicemail your CSR. You know, poor Sarah is just, you know, her booking percentage is like 5%. She’s losing all these calls like, Come on, be a good partner with us. We’ll take ownership if we’re not doing a good job. And you need to kind of take ownership in those areas that you’re not doing good job you’re holding your client accountable to do their part of it. Yeah, yeah, look, I mean, let’s be a partner like, let’s let’s all do our part. And let’s let’s have a real relationship to where you can say, Hey, you guys suck this month, and we can say, you know, jeez shit sorry we do. We’ll fix it. You know what I mean, but we need to be able to point out things to you, and we’re not trying to get rid of the blame or anything. It’s just like, you know, guys, these are businesses like, you gotta answer the phone. You’ve gotta book the call. We can’t just keep getting you more and more leads so that you can squander 70% of them.

 

Anthony (host): 

Whether you’re choosing an employee, a vendor, a business partner, maybe even a client. What qualities are most important to you?

 

Stephen Christopher:

Openness. Right? Like somebody that actually is open to the fact that they don’t know everything. So during the sales process. So we’ve been through a couple of different salespeople and business development people and stuff like that. And those people were good. But what we found is that they want to do their job. They want to close business right? And so we would get clients that just weren’t a good fit. That thought they knew everything and just simply didn’t. And that would stress our team out that would take away from other clients, and so I meet myself and Andrew, my business partner. We, one of us, talk to every single new client before they come on board. because we have to know that they are open to being in a real partnership. and you know whatever that ends up meaning down the road. But they have to be open to like, hey? II don’t know everything, and we’ll say that we don’t know everything. So let’s just do a really good job of forming an actual relationship. And if if we’re kinda sucking one month great, we’re on it, we’re gonna fix it. And if you’re kinda sucking one month like be open to hearing our feedback and just fix it. We’re not mad at you. We’re not. We’re not trying to point out anything like you’re a failure. It’s just let’s be in this thing together. And so I mean, we kind of have a rule. No, no jackasses as clients like. It’s just life is too short.

 

Anthony (host): 

You ever fire a client?

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yes, often. I guess I wouldn’t say often, but we always fire clients as soon as they are no longer a good fit. and we do not mess around with it.

 

Anthony (host): 

What’s that conversation sound like?

 

Stephen Christopher:

You’re no longer a fit period. Goodbye. and we do so just like internally with Staff. This is the way we deal with that. If if we can go to sleep at night and say we gave this person every opportunity to succeed. and they continue to not or not be open to growth or willing to grow. Then that’s the end of that relationship.

 

Anthony (host):

Steven, I just have one more question for you. But before I ask it, I want to point people to your website so they know how to get in touch with you. It’s wit delivers. WIT. Deliverscom. Is that the best place for people to get in touch with you? Yep, right? Okay. So last question, how do you see your industry evolving in the next 5 to 10 years?

 

Stephen Christopher:

That’s a great question. So do you mean the home service industry or the digital marketing industry? Which one feels more specific to you? So I’ll touch on both of them. So digital marketing, to be really honest with you, I have no idea. And I don’t think anybody does right, like even the biggest companies, the 100 million 200 million dollar companies that are building their own AI, and all this kind of stuff like, you know, I’ve seen a lot of it, and it’s cool. but as soon as as soon as the rest of the world changes and evolves, it almost becomes obsolete like it’s it’s happening so quick that the people that are trying to be out on that little razor’s edge and be this like silver bullet or magic bullet, or whatever it is like. They’re getting some incremental changes. But there are some incremental changes and result. But everything else changes so quick that it kind of shrinks it back to almost nothing. And so a lot of those unfortunately, are selling based on claims of like, oh, we have our own, you know. AI, that’s smarter than anybody else, and I’m like cool. Well, then, how come every one of your clients in in markets where we have clients. We’re winning because we don’t have. You know, we don’t have a multi 1 million dollar AI tool like we’re just doing things right based on how Google wants to see them. So II don’t know how the digital marketing industry is gonna change, but it’s always gonna change slower than we think it is right, like, you know, marketers ruin everything like so many emails a day to you get like, Oh, my gosh, Anthony, I’ve got to tell you about this new AI software that my company created it. We can book you 14 to 22, you know new appointments every single day, and we don’t. We don’t. We don’t get paid unless you book. It’s all too good to be true. It’s all BS right. And and so it’s gonna change slower than we think it is, and we will have time to to catch up, and things like that. And then, as far as the home service industry goes, you know, the home service industry is still like 5, 6 years behind most other industries. They just had a ton of new like digital marketing come in that are promising over promising under delivering, and they kinda got burnt on it. So I think they’re going back to like jeez, I’m just I just wanna deal with people that are good people that care that do a good job and that I can actually talk to and I mean.

 

Stephen Christopher:

From a standpoint of like AI and stuff like that, I can’t imagine in the next 10 years that robots are going to be replacing hot water heaters and homes. There’s just too many variables. You know. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s 5 years, maybe it’s 7, but you know it’s hard to believe that in the next 10 years these workers are going to be be replaced by some sort of robot or AI like call centers and stuff, maybe online booking, sure. But I mean to replace a hot water heater in a home requires just so many different factors that I just don’t see it happening so would probably take somebody longer to get the robot set up inside the home than it would for the guy to come in and do the skill itself.

 

Stephen Christopher:

Yeah. I mean, you know, how does a robot know how to like walk down a flight of stairs? And you know it’s a house that was built 40 years ago. And so the blueprints say this, but they’ve had 7 different. You know. They had 3 different bathrooms put in, and you know, this guy wired this and this guy plumb this like you, just you know it’s it’s hard to figure that out so I don’t know. I I don’t know, man, your guess is as good as mine, and I think it, you know, outside of the very the really really smart people which you know, you and I have some of those in our little group, I mean, outside of those elite few. You know anybody else online. They’re just making it up. They have no freaking clue. What’s gonna happen in the industry and what’s not like? They’re just trying to sell you something. But there are some really cool people that probably could answer that question. And hey, maybe they say, Oh, dude hot water heaters! We’re we’re in on that in like 5 years. What?

 

Anthony (host): 

Well, it’ll be fun to watch. See what happens.

 

Stephen (guest):

Yeah. And and that’s the other thing like going back to the beginning of the conversation like, don’t stress out about what could be coming in the future like pay attention to it like the lesson I learned from the Mortgage Company. But dude, when you’re just having fun doing what you’re doing and and like you’re helping people, and you’re feeling good. The next thing will naturally evolve for you like you’ll never. You can’t be left behind. If that’s the mindset that you have, and you’re open to the change, and you’re open to seeing what comes next. Like. Just have fun with it, like we’ll all be fine.

 

Stephen (guest):

Thank you, Steven.

 

Anthony (host): 

Thank you. That’s a wrap on another episode of the inspired stories, podcast. Thanks for learning with me today.