Always be Closing

Hosted By Andrew Morgans


See All Episodes With Andrew Morgans

Joey Gilkey

Today's Guest: Joey Gilkey

CEO - Sales Driven Agency

Knoxville, Tennessee

Ep. #792 - Always Be Closing

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Andrew Morgans and Joey Gilkey, CEO of Sales Driven Agency, talk about building a winning sales team. Join Andrew and Joey as they discuss everything about the sales process, people, and vital assets to have in place.

Covered In This Episode

How do you build a sales team for an agency? Andrew and Joey will talk about everything in forming a sales team. 

Establishing a sales team isn’t just about hiring people. It also includes establishing systems and frameworks. That’s why it is key to lean in and learn from experts with tons of experience forming successful sales teams.

Get Started with Full Scale

Listen to their conversation in today’s Startup Hustle episode.

Best Entrepreneur Podcast Available on Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts


  • A short welcome for the guest (0:00)
  • Joey’s background from full-time ministry to the corporate world (2:50)
  • Risk Management to Sales (10:30)
  • VP of Sales (13:00)
  • Tribe (14:57)
  • Sales Driven Agency (21:06)
  • Finding clients (27:34)
  • How to build a sales team (29:11)
  • Sales mindset (33:05)
  • Sales pipeline (36:41)
  • Invest and value your people (43:08)
  • Wrapping up (48:53)

Key Quotes

See your people as an investment, not as, oh, yeah, that’s what they are their investments. That’s amazing. think when you think about like a real estate investment portfolio. You want to add the best properties that are going to add the most value to your portfolio. Like your company has a portfolio, and the people that you install in your company are those assets, and so you want to take care of them. You want to set aside objects like you would in real estate operating expenditures, things that come up, right? You want to set those aside to take care of your assets, your people.

Joey Gilkey

And there’s a sales side of me that’s hungry, that’s like ruthlessness. Like I can go get whatever I want and eat. But I also know that if I over inundate or overwhelm the deliverable side of the team that I will crash and burn, and my reputation is burnt, trust is burned.

Andrew Morgans

When it comes to bringing on an onboarding a salesperson, right, like, it’s easy to hire a salesperson, it’s easy to fire a salesperson, but it’s not easy to make them successful. It’s not easy to onboard them, not easy to train them, not easy to manage, lead and coach them.

Joey Gilkey

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Andrew Morgans 0:00
Hey, what’s up Hustlers. Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Mark Knology, covering all things eCommerce, Amazon agency life entrepreneurship. Today’s title is Always be Closing. We’re going to talk about sales. We’re going to talk about agency. I’ve got Joey Gilkey here from Sales Driven Agency, Sex Panther. I think this is one word that or one phrase has been used to describe him. We’re gonna have some fun just chatting about me and Joey, I’ve talked before I’ve been on his show. It was it was a lot of fun. Before we get into it, let’s give a shout-out to today’s sponsor. This episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Gusto. Gusto is a modern solution for modern HR problems. Whether it’s talent management, payroll, or onboarding tools, Gusto HR platform has it all for you. Be smarter than your competitors. Try a three-month free subscription now just sign up at backslash Startup Hustle to get started. That’s backslash Startup Hustle, Joey. Yo, welcome to welcome to the show.

Joey Gilkey 1:02
Sex Panther to you, brother.

Andrew Morgans 1:03
Hey. Out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Are you in Knoxville today?

Joey Gilkey 1:07
I am. Yep, we’re in the drippy Cold East Tennessee. January.

Andrew Morgans 1:13
I love it. I think I’m gonna get away for a weekend, and I’m looking at Tennessee or Arkansas just to drive the Jeep somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Come on through. Awesome. Well, it’s a pleasure talking to you again. Full of full of euphemisms. I think that’s the right word. If I can do that, I think it is going to be some fun today. Sales is part of what I do. It’s a big part of what I do. My agency wouldn’t be here if I weren’t selling at the same time. It’s something that I think I’m in a beneficial spot of still doing sales and Marknology in some capacity, being able to limit a little bit of how much I sell so that the team doesn’t collapse. And we don’t over-scale and things like that. I’m super excited about chatting with you about that because that’s something very relevant to me even now, in a world where everyone needs what we do. But before we jump into just like, you know, the sermon, so to speak, yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about joey, like, how did you get into this space? How, like, let’s talk about how you became an entrepreneur. I think the origin story is honestly as important as anything else. Because it’s something that a lot of people can relate to. Did you always know you’re going to be an agency owner, or like, where’s Joey’s? You know, the story starts?

Joey Gilkey 2:31
Yeah, no, the answer’s no, I don’t think so. I mean, entrepreneur to be honest. So yeah, I run the Sales Driven team now. But that’s not always been the case. For me, I actually started in full-time ministry. Believe it or not,

Andrew Morgans 2:47
I knew that so I was setting you up for this one because

Joey Gilkey 2:50
I was smacking people in the head with the Bible and telling them to repent. I’m kidding. I didn’t do that. But I was on a college campus. So yeah, my wife and I got married, I got married super, super young, like 21, and then ended up going into full-time ministry for one full year. Very committed at the University of Tennessee, I was on campus there. And yeah, it was, that’s where I started. I thought I had a really unhealthy view of money, to be honest. And so for me, like I was going to live this calling of being in full-time ministry was interesting is mission calling the thought of being a campus missionary, if you will, felt like a higher calling to me than business. And what’s funny was, I felt like I had a tug on my heart for years of like, No, I think that there might be something for you in the business world. So I didn’t have a whole lot of choice. It just kind of fell in my lap a lot of opportunity that I couldn’t say no to. So I got a really good opportunity to work in the corporate world, which was not fun. But it was really good for me. So I ended up going and working for a fortune 100 company in the IT staffing world specifically. And I got handed a lot of responsibility really fast. And I kind of climbed the ranks, if you will. So the opportunity out the gate was really good. And I got to climb the ranks and ended up building a sales team of 115 people hated corporate world so decided to leave and I got poached actually, by a consulting firm, a local in Knoxville consulting firm.

Andrew Morgans 4:27
Then we pause right there. Okay, so just as someone that’s fourth generation preacher’s kid, okay, missionary to Africa, like was a missionary kid to Africa. My entire community everyone I know, my entire bloodline is, you know, some kind of pastor or preacher evangelists or something in the ministry, servitude. The mission, the cause, very like, can be all-consuming right and when you’re putting it through the lens of like, I just want to Self sacrifice and serve others. And it’s hard to see that in a bad light. You know, what can be so wrong about wanting to love on people. But I would love just like, because I’m I’m on the show and biome about people getting to know me getting to know who’s on here. And I think there’s a lot of people that go through these transitions where their relationship with money, how can I make money for other people, right, like, as an agency owner, that’s meant to grow businesses, if I can’t do the same thing for myself, right, and whether you’re religious or not, I think we have a lot of people have upbringings, where maybe their family didn’t have a good relationship with money was taboo, you didn’t talk about it, like, money is the root of all evil. You know, I remember a time when I was first starting my business, my family wasn’t part of it yet. I work with my sisters now. But they weren’t part of it, I went to a family thing, which I didn’t go to often, because I just felt negative and judged, when I went, I was divorced at 25 Wanting to be around the family. I went, I was kind of telling them about a couple clients, I landed early, and like no one in the family really has money. And I was just had a little bit of positivity to share. And I remember like bringing that, you know, at this little like, family thing, and I was like why Lance? And it was like three of them. And and a couple uncles were like, you know, all of them had something to say about Well, money, you know, you shouldn’t be driven by money. And, you know, money isn’t this and when he’s I’m like, we’re all poor and broke. And like, Why aren’t any of you guys like a little excited for me, this is not money. This is like, work, you know, I’m getting. So that’s I’m sharing a little bit of mine, maybe just to relate a little bit about a real-life situation where a family or whoever is kind of contributing to that negative mindset, you talked about being married at campus, and you skipped over a little bit, but then you went into the corporate opportunity. How big of that how big of a decision was that to leave, like campus ministry and go into that?

Joey Gilkey 6:52
It’s huge, I think a lot of my identity was wrapped up in that, you know, my identity was wrapped up in being a leader in the ministry and, and in the mission. And so for me, you know, leaving something where I found a lot of my my self worth and identity, which is ironic, you know, and so it’s all about like, self serve, you know, like serving others and laying down yourself. But in all actuality, my identity was wrapped up in it. And so that’s why it was really interesting. Because, again, I thought money was the, the root of evil, if you will, you know, like, I only saw rich people who were screwing people over at the time. And, for me, just a really unhealthy view. And that’s all I saw, right. But what’s ironic was, I felt like, I had just as much in my own heart that I had to deal with, and I was dead ass broke, you know, like, and so I think for me, that was kind of a realization, like, Dude, you gotta get, you got to do your own heart, it has nothing to do with and that was kind of the out of the heart kind of flows out of the mouth, right. And so I think, for me, I think money is a magnifier of what’s already in you. So if you’re good, and you’re a good dude, and you care for people, money is going to amplify that. And if you’re a good dude, money’s gonna do the same. But I think poverty does the exact same thing. It reveals other aspects of you. And so it was definitely an interesting journey for me. You know, I think there are a wrestle with some conviction there for a little bit on whether it was the right decision or not, you know, but I think that thankfully, I made the decision I did. And I’m at where I’m at now, where I feel like I’m impacting a lot more people in the business world, and I probably would have been in the ministry.

Andrew Morgans 8:22
Yeah. And that was something that from my family to a church I went to many years later you know, there was a minister there that was just having like a men’s breakfast and he said, you know, he just randomly was like, Andrew, you know, your ministry could be business and helping grow people’s businesses and you know, I just never had anyone in the way I grew up say that anything ministry wise could be could touch money in your business, it was like these other different roles musician or evangelists or speaker, whatever the case might be, right? And it was it was life-changing for me to have somebody like have you know, of that status. You know, say something like that over me was just kind of like this light bulb and I’m not very religious. I’m not religious at all. Now, I’m spiritual and you know, so I’m not saying no to any of those things. But for me, it was just like I’m someone that’s been cultured by growing up abroad in some ways, but I’m also like, had a very tight or closed-minded upbringing and so hadn’t even seen people in business or in the church doing business like at a high level that was also something we didn’t see it’s like you know, you didn’t just didn’t see I didn’t see that much business.

Joey Gilkey 9:37
A lot of us are very self-sabotaging. Yeah, like, I think because of that inward like conviction of, I’m not sure I should be making this much money. I think sometimes we can put a ceiling on ourselves and say, You know what, this is good enough. We’re good here and to each their own, you know, but I think they’re dealing with the heart issues there. And so that’s what I had to do at least,

Andrew Morgans 9:58
yeah, worried that the money might make me worse than I kind of thing. Yeah, like, I don’t know what’s gonna happen when I get it. Okay, so I just wonder, I just wanted to relate to that I don’t get to meet very many people that go through that. So you’re you’re at a staffing company. And I know, depending on what industry you’re in, you can do very well, especially if you build a team of 100. Plus, let’s be honest. Okay, so it’s kind of a tiered thing that grows from there. And so you got poached to a company in Tennessee?

Joey Gilkey 10:30
Yep. Yeah, what were you doing there, it was a local company, we’re doing risk management, consulting and commercial insurance for high-risk manufacturing companies super. So we’d come into these super high risk manufacturing companies who had massive insurance premiums because they’re super high risk, right, you have a lot of workers comp issues. So we come in and, and we do risk management consulting to help them eliminate some of the risks which therefore drop their premium costs and things like that for their insurance, real sexy. But nonetheless, I got poached to, to kind of head up sales there and build it from scratch, there are that private a million dollars and top line revenue when I got there. I was there for about 18 months, had some success, my success. I mean, we went from 1 million to nine and a half in 18 months, and then ended up getting poached again to be a VP of sales of an agency. And that’s what thrusted me to the agency world about, I guess nine years, 10 years, 10 years ago now.

Andrew Morgans 11:22
So we went from relationship building. And what people don’t understand is like campus ministers or whether you’re going to Congo or a campus or Hawaii, it doesn’t like you’re going and creating something out of nothing, and you’re selling them probably the hardest thing to sell, and nothing that can give up all your freedom for a better eternal life that you might have. And you know, like, it’s a very hard thing to sell. Then you went to like IT staffing, which, if you’re in the right, industry is kind of easy to sell, because everybody needs it. I don’t know what you are in. But it’s like, if you’re selling e-commerce talent, right now, it’d be insane, you know, to, again, selling something probably pretty hard. Everyone needs insurance, but no one wants to pay for it. And don’t trust insurance salesman, at least I don’t. For the most part. It’s like, not that I don’t need what you have. But like, are you listening to do a whole lot.

Joey Gilkey 12:13
It’s kind of like real estate. And you don’t really do that much. You fill out some paperwork. And you know, you send it to the carrier and they get it done for you. It’s like, yeah,

Andrew Morgans 12:21
you’re connecting me. And then from there, you went to an agency world which like I have created an agency like you know, I obsess about agency world, I study it. Now I read books, all that kind of stuff. I don’t come from an agency background. I went more into like, as an E-commerce manager and learned a lot of my experience inside of brands that way, in corporate, completely different thing fast-paced. You can only sell as much as the team can produce. In some ways, like let’s talk about advertising a little different. Why don’t you tell it in your own words so you become a VP of advertising. They’re based on your sales experience. So what do they have you doing?

Joey Gilkey 13:00
Yeah, I was actually the VP of sales at an agency. So there was a HubSpot agency was right when HubSpot hit the scene. So it was like it was written there out there HubSpot partnership. So I was VP of Sales at HubSpot agency that focus on medical practices, which also not super fun.

Andrew Morgans 13:16
What’s the HubSpot agency is that mean? They come into like, let’s say, a company and then get them all set up on a CRM and it’s more like inbound marketing.

Joey Gilkey 13:23
So content marketing, yes, some advertising, but mostly, it’s all about Inbound Marketing, how do we generate inbound leads for businesses and the marketing automation platform of choice was a HubSpot platform. So we put them on HubSpot, where they would run their marketing automation, and then we would just run the automation for them or the content marketing and marketing automation for them. Okay, so that was our stick, kind of the same thing, like came in there really small. You know, and I had a lot of promises at the time of, you know, equity partnership on the future and all those kind of things that you know, I felt like I was making this guy a lot of money feel like I was making the previous owner, by the previous company a lot of money, and I was like, I’m out. There are some other things that happen there. But you know, I was out at a certain point.

Andrew Morgans 14:09
Okay, so out of the HubSpot agency. And so what happened after that?

Joey Gilkey 14:14
That’s when I finally started mounting. So that was my journey to starting something. What’s ironic people don’t know this. Or not many people know this. I started a a funnel building agency. This is so because here’s my thought process. I’m incredible at sales, on how to build sales teams, I just sold, you know, $6 million worth of agency services to you know, for this agency. This should be a piece of cake and little die. No, I love selling it. I love building sales operations. I really hate delivering the marketing side of things. I’m not a marketer, right? I’m a sales guy. And so I come out the gate and I’m landing these really, you know, decent sized accounts and then I’m like, Oh, shit, I gotta

Andrew Morgans 14:54
deliver, deliver

Joey Gilkey 14:57
So, retention wasn’t great. And pretty quickly I realized because I what was cool about that, though, and all this kind of worked perfectly as I got around a bunch of other agency owners, right I kind of found a community of other agency owners. And I was very different like kinda like you I came to the space very different, didn’t have an agency background, didn’t have a marketer background. But here I am. Now I’m an agency owner, and I’m selling massive deals while these people are struggling to sell. And they love delivering, they love marketing. It’s why they got into it, they didn’t get into it to sell, whereas I got into it to sell and not to deliver. And so I was like, Oh, shit, maybe there’s something here. So I tapped a few of my buddies on the shoulder. And I was like, hey, like, let me build out some sort of, let me just help you with sales. Let me get some leads for you. And so that’s what turned into my last company, which we exited back at end of 2018. But that was a company called Tribe and Tribe was essentially an outsourced sales lead generation company. We would do outbound sales for agencies. Yep, I know that well, that yeah, that’s you’re getting hit up by him all day, every day nowadays. But at the time, we really early to that space. And so there was kind of a blue ocean for us. And I think I got out and exit at the right time, thankfully, and built what I built now. But yeah, that was interesting, I started an agency for very short, and I was like, I’m not doing that. And I don’t, I don’t like marketing. And then I decided I’m gonna help agencies. And since then I’ve been doing it for now six years, give or take.

Andrew Morgans 16:26
I love that I know, a couple individual guys that have companies that are like, brokers basically, and they introduced brands to, you know, three agencies, and those agencies compete for them and trying to give them like that kind of white-glove service that’s cool of working that out. And it’s worked very well for them. Because you’re just leveraging the relationships, you already have to bring the best to the table, you know, and saving people that time kind of like an IT staff or but not, you know, right or so definitely understand that space. And then also, like, what I was bringing up kind of at the beginning of the show is that deliverable piece, right? So, you know, in, I also am a co-owner in a property management business and property investment business here in Kansas City, for me, made a lot of sense. One, I had a best friend that was leaving the military after seven years as a captain of military intelligence to like, go start doing investing in real estate. And I’m like, I went in, like, if he’s involved, I want to end because totally, you know, just the ability to break down a market and the numbers and everything was like, He’s just an amazing human. I was like, I want it and the other thing was like on the Airbnb side of what we do with property management. There was so much like that’s the same as eCommerce. So photography, building listings online automation system. Version.

Joey Gilkey 17:47
Nine, I’m about to have seven, but I hadn’t Hein or I have not Airbnbs currently.

Andrew Morgans 17:52
Okay, in the Tennessee area.

Joey Gilkey 17:54
You’re all in Knoxville. Cool.

Andrew Morgans 17:55
I love that. Well, we’ll have to talk about that a little offline. Sure. Yeah, but for me, it was like, Look, his team is one of the best in not just the city, maybe the Midwest, the sales team that he’s built over the last three years. And I benefit from that, as you know, but they have their own thing on the sales side. And so I’ve been here for the last three years watching my best friend and partner build a very good sales team. And, you know, just we build each other’s businesses talking to each other and things like that. And, you know, as a straight sales guy, they just think about always be closing, you know, closers close and shoot or shoot and, you know, close the deal as an agency owner, whose job now is to serve my team. Yeah. Okay, and set them up for success. And there’s a sales side of me that’s hungry, that’s like ruthlessness, like I can go get whatever I want and eat. But I also know that if I over inundate or overwhelm the deliverable side of the team that I will crash and burn, and my reputation is burnt trust is burned, like, you know, all those things. So it’s, it’s definitely a give and take that I’ve had to navigate as someone in between versus just being a go, go kill all you can eat kind of kind of team. And that’s a unique position that, you know, I have to tell a sales guy now it’s working for me or Brian, or like, you know, because I’ve seen him have an amazing contractor, or to like, do amazing projects on these house or flipping. You give him three projects, and that guy crashes and burns. He has to and he’s amazing. Oh, yeah. And you’re like, Well, I have these deals, I can make all this money. If I just push him. He says he can do it. And yeah, because everybody wants to get paid. Everybody wants that opportunity. But you can overwhelm the deliverable side and smart move on your end to move to tribe. I think that’s it was called tribe right? It was Yeah. Okay. So and to move to the tribe model, which was outsourced sales and just focus on your strength what you guys do best. Where do you end up after tribe? So going from all outsource sales to now the Sales Driven Agency. What are we looking at?

Joey Gilkey 20:06
Yeah, so after we exited that. I had some time to kill and some money in my pocket. So it’s kind of chilled for a little bit. And I was like I’m gonna get back in the game. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do. But the biggest pain point of running Tribe was I’m sending leads to a black hole and they disappear. And so what I mean by that is oftentimes agencies just don’t have their shit together when it comes to having a sales infrastructure or sales operation or, you know, maybe they’re decent at sales, but it’s the founder who’s stuck selling like in your case, like you’re, you’re incredible at sales, because you know, the product, you know, the market, you come with authority and trust, but he put a salesperson in your position, you’re probably gonna take a hit to conversion. And so you’re sending leads into this broken system. And it’s frustrating, because I can’t control that, right? When I was running Tribe, it was like, I’m gonna send leads to this business, and I have no control over what happens when I make that handoff.

Andrew Morgans 21:01
And if you don’t close, eventually, they’ll stop keeping you on retainer. Oh, yeah. Because you’ve overwhelmed them.

Joey Gilkey 21:06
Yeah. And it’s what have you done for me lately? And it’s, you know, it’s a typical agency thing, if you’re doing anything from a legion perspective for agents as an agency, like, you know, the pain point of your clients, and what have you done for me lately, or, you know, they’re CRO sucks on their website, but you’re driving amazing traffic to them. It’s like, well, I can’t control your CRO and so you give me the CRO business and said like, same thing here is just different side of the coin is sales instead of marketing. So that was a big pain point that I recognized when I ran track was one of the frustrating reasons why I ended up hating running it and just decided I’m done with this, and someone gave me enough to walk away, and it’s a cool. So that then said, I’m gonna get back in the game. But if I’m gonna get back in the game, I want to solve the whole problem. And that’s when I said, I’m going to build Sales Driven Agency. And what I actually did before I even started the offer, I think people should do this before they roll out new offers, is I paid my ideal customers for 10 minutes at a time, so I’m gonna pay you, I want to spend your time I have nothing to sell you right now. But I would like to have something to sell you in the future. That’s why I’m reaching out at the end of the day, I know I can solve a problem for this space. I’ve been in this space for a long time. But I don’t know how to how to put together the offer that’s going to fit this space. And maybe I’m making a lot of assumptions that I’d like you to shoot holes in it. So I’d like to have 10 minutes of your time. I’m gonna pepper you with questions, I want you to shoot holes through everything that I do, and you have permission to tell me and shit on my idea if it isn’t good. And so I did that about 15 times. And that’s what created the bulletproof offer that I have today at Sales Driven Agency years later, same offer. And that’s where we come in, we build the whole sales operation, right? So we from beginning to end all the sales processes, we architect all the processes and frameworks and systems, we actually have a recruiting team in-house. So we hire your salespeople, we train them for you. They’re your people, we just do all the hard work of getting them they’re onboarding them, training them. And then we build out the tech stack and enablement, scripts, templates, campaigns. We tie that all together in a bow, and it’s yours, and we teach you how to drive it. So that’s kind of our model. And that’s when I said I’m gonna get back in the cockpit, because now I can control the success, I can control Legion, I can control follow up, I can control closing, I can control account handoff, because I built it, right, I built it for 300 Plus agencies now and so it’s automatic, it’s easier. But it’s a massive pain point. And so

Andrew Morgans 23:32
I love that I love that tip on those informational interviews, or even, you know, paying them maybe that’s getting them to a dinner, maybe that’s like doing whatever you do to get to get in front of them. I learned that the hard way, which was probably 1000 rejections. But that’s why I think we’re one of the best in the space is that I know the problems that these brands and manufacturers at a high level are having any commerce or amazon before they do, I’m talking to their problems they had in the meeting before we got on the call, you know, and knowing that like you know, knowing your competition, knowing your competitor, knowing the your client and everything that they need. And that’s why I’ve gone full service with my agency which is very hard to deliver on every level but that’s why I’m also so confident about my team and what we do is because I saw for all those things, I was tired of having clients or brands go out and get bad photography that doesn’t work for Amazon or you know, I launched my own warehouse in 2020 for my brands and I’m building because I was you I’ve talked with 300 plus three pls in the last 10 years. They all operate differently some of them are slow is the Titanic and regards the moving and I’m operating in E-commerce I can’t have a slow I’m only as good as my weakest. You know our supply chain and so everything you’re saying really hits home and being able to say hey, I’m a full service agency which is basically like a fractional employee to accompany or a fraction ration apartment or Exactly, because no one’s just getting one person over here. It’s not like one person is an Amazon expert, it’s that we’ve got all these teams from creative to advertising to whatever and handing them over that playbook to say, Hey, we’ve created an Amazon store for you, or we’ve got your business optimized and running. And here’s how we go. In this, you know, we keep doing that for them. But it’s also like, instead of them just outsourcing it to us, we are now part of their team. So you know, if they take that back over, they have systems and process and that’s kind of our play. So very relative and genius, and continuing to innovate, to where you can control control, I think that’s a big, big, big, big part of it. And the same reason I’m building my own brands is I’m tired of losing. for things that aren’t outside that are outside of my control. I want as many of those things as you can get. You will so what does that look like? But actually, before we go into my next question, why don’t we give a shout-out to our sponsor? For today’s episode, you’re doing this all possible? You’re in you use Gusto as well, right?

Joey Gilkey 26:04
Oh, yeah. For six years now, me too, it

Andrew Morgans 26:08
was something that took me a little bit to get to I am someone that when something’s working, I’m not trying to break it. And, you know, was doing stuff through a localized like CPA, bookkeeping firm taking care of me, but I wanted to be able to pay people internationally, I wanted to be able to be in Tennessee and send payroll and not have to do those kinds of things. And yeah, trying to stay lean, in a lot of areas is is something not easy being in the cloud. But if we’re not there, then we’re getting left behind. So once again, shout out to our sponsor Gusto. Question from them? Are you tired of long hours because of payroll save more time with Gusto? With its automated process, you can file taxes and manage payroll in a matter of minutes. What are you waiting for registered backslash Startup Hustle to get a free three months subscription now, that’s backslash Startup Hustle. Joey, back to a question I had for you here. You’ve used the same playbook since like you’ve launched the company in regards to like, what you’re offering your bulletproof offering. You’re going into companies, you’re going to the company you want and saying, Hey, let me help you build out your sales team. How do you find how do you know what companies are using maybe like, let’s say a founder, like me plus one or something like that the ones that you know, need a more sophisticated and more sophisticated process? Like what’s your methodology for finding those companies?

Joey Gilkey 27:34
Well, the good thing is there’s probably 2% of agencies that I feel like have a really, really good sales operation that doesn’t involve the founder, maybe even less than that. So my the world is my oyster kind of thing, I can probably throw a rock and hit an agency that’s, that needs our help. So that’s one thing. But I would say outside of that for me, by the nature of how we price, like I can only work with seven and eight-figure agencies. Today, now we’re about to roll out a six-figure, and I’m gonna do the same thing where I interview people and pay them for their time, as we wrote an offer for the smaller, you know, the much larger market but the much smaller agency. Yeah, but for now, I’ll work a seven-eight figure. So I know a typical agency operates at about $100,000 per full-time employee rough estimate for revenue, so they have 25 employees, they’re likely to earn between 2.2 and 3,000,002.5 would be a safe guess. So I know one that can afford us to I LinkedIn slash, or other data resources. Tell me, Do they have sales titles in internally? Is their sales title just like a sales leader title or a VP of sales? Because if so, they don’t actually have salespeople, they just have like, some guy who kind of does the pitches and proposals, but he’s not going out and drumming up new business. He’s not doing follow up and nurturing and closing. And I’d say most agencies don’t have that. And so for me, that’s I’m looking for is employee count, because no one’s gonna tell me the revenue but because I know the space well enough, I know your revenue within a million or so I can guess. And then do they have sales titles? And if that’s the case, if they have less than two sales titles, I know I can come in and blow it up pretty quickly.

Andrew Morgans 29:11
I love that I have a question for you. Cuz I’m just I’m getting you here. And I’m going to interview you to help myself. And hope and hopefully it helps some of the listeners too. So one thing that’s been, you know, I’ve got a guy working on commission only what we sell, there’s so many people that need us to it’s like, you know, shooting fish in a barrel kind of thing. It’s more, it’s less about finding them. And we have a great inbound funnel that I’ve just built through years of content and trust and reputation and bizdev and things like that. But outbound is something we’re building and we’ve had some success testing other stuff. One thing I guess that’s what’s on my mind is like a big role of me still saying in the sales whether that’s at the end of the funnel or not, is that most sales guys or men or women whoever don’t necessarily are not thinking of the team first, right? They’re trying to get paid. They’re trying to get paid, they’re trying to go get new business as they roll every team. Correct. And so for me, that’s a huge concern as like us getting results and quality of the team and not wanting to lose employees, which is a huge thing right now in our space. If there’s not me as the gatekeeper to, you know, it could be getting a narcissistic brand owner, it could be I’m talking to misogynistic, you know, manufacturer, owner or VP of marketing, it could be a team that’s not digital first. And that’s so archaic, that it was slow my entire team down, it could be, you know, a team not willing like they maybe they built the brand themselves, and they think they know everything they know, they need help, but they’re not gonna listen, you know, there’s all these different kinds of clients outside of just landing them, that takes someone with not genius, what’s the word I’m looking for? Almost like emotional intelligence to know those people, when you’re in the early phases, like you’re in the early phases of that. And for me, every single brain that slips through that is one of those things is a huge negative on pain in the ass for your team. Yes, exactly. And so for me, it’s been more of like, I can get someone to follow my template and be able to close and keep close rate high and things like that. But getting that built into the culture of my sales team is something very concerning for me, like I would love to just get your feedback on that are like tips or ways that you combat that.

Joey Gilkey 31:30
I’m gonna give you two, two different answers. One is, I think it does come down to what you just mentioned about culture for the sales team. I think that one thing that I have always taught and one thing that I do internally, in my team, I have a pretty decent-sized team myself. And for me, because we’re the same way, I can get some terrible clients if I allow it. Yeah. When it comes to bringing on an onboarding a salesperson, right, like, it’s easy to hire a salesperson, it’s easy to fire a salesperson, but it’s not easy to make them successful. It’s not easy to onboard them, not easy to train them, not easy to manage, lead and coach them. And so that’s why I think it’s important what we do is important, right? We come in and build those frameworks out to make sure that successful, but part of that is product market training. Right. And part of product market training that you assemble for your salespeople is what offers do we have? What’s our product? What’s the things that we do for people, but it’s also market training? Who is our ideal customer profile? What does that actually look like? What are call recordings that show ideal customers? What are not ideal customer profiles? What are call recordings that show those? Right? So you have examples of both right? Sometimes the positive and the negative? You gotta show? Yeah. And then the third is, is decision-maker profile. So there’s the ideal client, which is the company itself, like, yeah, we want to work with some dope fashion brand. You know, it’s doing 50 million in sales currently, right? Okay, that’s easy to spot. But what if the founder, like you said, as a total ass or I don’t want to work with them? I’m allowed to cuss. Right? Yeah. Okay, whatever

Andrew Morgans 32:59
you want. Sorry. It’s even more allowed if you’re extra-religious. So.

Joey Gilkey 33:05
So, so the, so that’s the company, but then you have the decision maker? Like who? Whom are you interacting with? Who’s my team going to be interfacing with? So that’s the product market training, you also have to do like mindset training. Like one of the first things that I do is foundation training for salespeople. What I build for clients is foundation sales training. And that’s all about, like, what’s the sales mindset? Right? Like the people around you are dependent on you. They’re dependent on you financially, right? Because the revenue you generate eventually goes to pay the bills for those families that are on your team, and they don’t control revenue. So that’s on your shoulders, you should feel a healthy weight there. The second is, is training them simultaneously. You also are the gatekeeper to their emotional bank account, right? And so there’s that, well, if they’re in a commission only, or a high bonus structure type of model, right, which I’m high, I’m a big proponent of the base plus commission having a really healthy commission model. Then they’re hunters, they eat what they kill. Well, you know, there’s a conflict of interest there. So what do I do? I incentivize you to walk away from deals with money. Okay, so I’m not going to pay you the same as if you closed the deal. But you don’t have to do the hard work of closing if it’s a deal that we could close and it gets to a certain stage in our pipeline, and you identify that it would be cancerous to our team, it would not serve our team, and you walk away from it, and you send me the recording said, Hey, Joey, I walked away from this deal. Could have closed it. Here’s the recording. I just didn’t feel good about it for the team sick. Dude, I’m striking. You check. I don’t care.

Andrew Morgans 34:44
Thank you. Can I ask, you don’t have to give me your numbers. But theoretically, how does that work? What like let’s say you got salary plus commission. To close the deal. What’s it look like to not click 25% of what I would have?

Joey Gilkey 34:56
Okay, so average deal, my salesperson is gonna make about four grand and commission. So I usually get about a grand. Okay. And that’s, I mean, that’s fair for them. Because realistically, it’s easier than not that the contracts, not the chase, not proposal payments, like, just not clean. And if I agree with them, you know, then I’m happy to pay you because you preserve me a lot more money, I’m going to lose by losing an employee, you have to find a replacement, train them, etc. I think that’s genius. Yeah. And now they’ve been willing to do that, because their goal is performance, like that is performance. It’s just not the performance you want. From a revenue perspective, it’s performance you want from a retention and profitability perspective. We all think about it. So that’s the number one answer I’d give you.

Andrew Morgans 35:39
Well, that was that was gold. So thank you, number one, good.

Joey Gilkey 35:42
The second that I would give you is at the end of the day, if sales are doing their job, meaning they are going out and they’re hunting, and they’re killing, you know, then there is going to be that tension in a people business, like an agency, where you might stress out the delivery team. Now, I would argue I’d rather have more revenue to go fix the delivery problems than have no delivery problems, but no revenue, you know. So that’s, that’s one mindset, I have to always remind myself, be quick to invest in solving the problems. But what I tell people because it does happen, is if you feel as though you need to tell your sales team to slow down. Momentum is one of the hardest forces or, or whatever it is called a vector, technically, because I get corrected all the time. But I think I like saying it’s the strongest force, and all of creation is momentum. It’s hard to create. It’s also hard to stop

Andrew Morgans 36:36
in dating in business. It is it’s huge fitness, like, yeah, it’s huge.

Joey Gilkey 36:41
And so you don’t want to stop momentum. So how do you do that? And take care delivery team? Well, I think of growth in three categories. Pipeline, where are leads coming in? How many leads? Are we getting an inbound, outbound referral, win rate? How many of those leads? Are we winning into paying customers? Client value? What is it client worth to us? And all three of those, if you pull in all three of those levers, you can have that hockey stick growth? Well, in some seasons, it doesn’t make sense to pull on all three of them. So what I would do is I would say, Hey, don’t stop, don’t slow pipeline down, don’t slow win rate down. I’m going to organically slow winrate down by saying, Hey, you can no longer offer any of our packages less than, let’s just say, your average deal. 7500 bucks a month, you can’t charge any less than 10 grand moving forward. You can’t charge any less than 12 grand a month moving forward. Yeah, because what that’s going to do is it’s going to lower your win rate. But it’s going to keep revenue high. Right. So you I always give the analogy so I’m probably talking too much, but it’s helpful for someone out there. I get that there’s a story I like to tell. There’s an entrepreneur who goes and gets his hair cut from this barber. He’s been doing it for 20 years, ever since he was a kid. And he’s sitting there, and he’s you know, the barber’s name is Jack, this seems like a barbers name. Right? Jack’s cutting his hair and the entrepreneurs just sitting there. And he’s doing like normal, great haircut. And he could just tell Jack off. And so he looks at Jack. He’s like, Hey, man, you just seem off today? What’s going on? Yes. And he just opens up, like the floodgates, man, I’m stressed out. You know, I’m back-to-back-to-back haircuts. I’m running late on this one, which makes you late in the next one, people get mad at me, you know, and I gotta pay bills and rents going up. And the entrepreneur goes, that’s an easy fix. Double your price. I’ve been coming in for 20 years; you’ve been charging me $10, a haircut for 20 years straight. And then Jack looks at him and he goes, I can’t, I’m not gonna go from 10 to 20, I lose half my customers. And it goes do the math. Because you double your price and lose half your customers, you do the same amount of revenue, but you now have twice as much free time in your calendar. He does, and I guarantee you’re not gonna lose half. So that’s the way I look at sales too, is okay, let’s say your win rate is 20%. Well, what if you double your pricing and you dropped to 15%. You’re still net positive, and you’re taking on less deals and not stressing out your team?

Andrew Morgans 39:02
I can 100% echo that statement, like, with even I’ll use the Airbnb model. You know, during the pandemic, we made all kinds of pivots to keep our cleaners in business to keep investors paid to make it work right with staycations and booking first responders and people in need to quarantine and all kinds of stuff, just keeping it rolling. And when you’ve got 22. You’ve got a few people under you that rely on that work, right? Whether it’s the property manager, whether it’s cleaners, whatever. And so, you know, Priority One was lowering rates, you know, because the cleaners are getting paid regardless if there’s a clean, which was like Priority One was we don’t want to lose our people. Yeah, it’s hard to see and see what happens, you know. And so, but what happened was our quality of guests really went down. Our property is in change. Yep. But instead, you start getting staycation. You get people that aren’t wanting to trash their own house. You get pardoned up, people come into KC to like, you know, go to a conference or Chiefs game or whatever you get some clowns, you know. And so it’s been a progression coming back after 2020. And like we didn’t lose money any month in 2020. And I’m proud of that for our investors or for us or whatever, but we had to pivot to make it happen. Well, it’s been coming out of that where one was getting a property where we were able to charge, I think, like 250 a night on a weekday. Okay, so a higher-end property that’s really nice in a good area of town that I was able to do, like when we were decorating it out because of the investor that we had wanted to do all the bells and whistles and let me design how I want it. So I went more high-end. And we saw that we just started booking it out, it’s been booked out, it’s booked out all the time. Well, the thought process being Okay, let’s stop doing these individual rooms like we had in one property that’s like bring it to a full house, raise that price, and just raising the prices across the board. So we started going from our booking rate draft, right? But the amount we were making per clean, we started being able to pay the cleaners more to be there longer to do a better job. We started you know, making more money because maybe the house is sitting empty. And there’s electric costs and gas costs during the weekdays, instead of just booking those out, and have been making more money than ever before, by raising our prices across the board. And the difference was like, the difference in strategy, even from 18 months, it needed to change. It’s easy when you’ve done it before, just kind of see that. But when you’re like you’re going from $85 a night price point to maybe 140 or 150. You know, to get a kind of different customer, it’s, you got to take a leap of faith and investors might not believe in what you’re doing. And you know, they’re like, why are these days saying I’m booked, and one is either like do it yourself, so you don’t have to respond investors. So you can do whatever you want, right? That’s one thing, control it. And the other is, you know, proving the model and showing them that too. But that was a little bit of a longer story. But my point being like I can definitely attest to that. And it gets, you know, as it can get scary to just like raise your prices, you got relationships with people, you don’t know how they’re going to respond. You convince them one time that your values that that like are they going to believe that your values double that? You know, there’s a lot of things going on mentally. But huge, huge and great advice. Thank you. I definitely, especially number one, I think that’s incentivizing to not close is something I’m going to take away from this and try to put into action. As we get close to the end of the show, we are coming up on 45. I would love for you to just like, you know, we’re going to have all your contact information on the show notes for anyone who’s listening. So we’re gonna touch base on that. But with our last five minutes or so, what’s something as a person who has built multiple teams of 100 plus still building teams for other people? What’s something you want to leave freestyle, with any of our listeners today? This is a show by founders for founders. So a lot of our listeners are running some kind of team of their own. Yep, what’s something you’d leave with them?

Joey Gilkey 43:08
Don’t skimp on talent or overpay for talent. I think that that might be obvious for some. It might not be for others. And I think for me, you know, one of the frustrations I had when I was running Tribe was I think that for the longest time I tried to fill seats with bodies because I could find the best deal for a person. And since then, I have realized the headache that comes with that, versus paying a little bit extra now and taking a small hit, you know, like my highest paid employee is going to make for 25 this year. And he’s not in sales, believe it or not. So I’m happy to strike that check. Because he oversees our entire delivery team, I don’t have to manage him, I don’t even have to talk to him. I want to enjoy him. But I don’t have to. And I am more than happy for him to make build wealth through my company because he’s never going to leave me. You’re not going to make that money elsewhere, too, because I trust him. And he feels as though he really owns something and so he has no need to leave elsewhere. He’s making more than most entrepreneurs probably listening to this no offense to you guys listening. And so for him, I know I’m gonna have the best talent. He’s never gonna leave me. He’s loyal to me. You know, and that’s something I would say is a worthwhile investment for me, and that’s exactly where it is. See your people as an investment, not as Oh, yeah, that’s what they are their investments. That’s amazing. think when you think about like a real estate investment portfolio. You want to add the best properties that are going to add the most value to your portfolio. Like your company has a portfolio, and the people that you install in your company are those assets, and so you want to take care of them. You want to set aside objects like you would in real estate operating expenditures, things that come up, right? You want to set those aside to take care of your assets, your people. And so at a certain level, I think the very beginning, it’s about your offer, right? It’s about nailing the offer. It’s about, you know, product market fit. But a certain level when you figure that out. And you figure out how to somewhat grow relatively systematically, because of the people.

Andrew Morgans 45:21
Yep. And that’s where I’m at. And that’s, that’s, that’s definitely where I’m at, which is like, look, my full-time job now, whether it’s sales, whether it’s whatever is like, and that’s not even coming from the religious background. It’s just like, I think that’s just a principle of leadership. That’s No, I got my job is to protect and serve my people to get the best results. Whatever that takes, and I know that I personally, as an agency, am an agency that probably overpaid on labor, like if someone was to evaluate my books, and but I’m nothing without my people. So, you know, investing in them for some times for some of them, it’s career jumps, it’s, you know, eCommerce, like they’re doing jamming of a restaurant, or whatever the case might be moving over. And so giving them that stability and investing in them until they get up to speed. But yes, well, I’m one of those who agrees with you, dude. I’m a big fan of value-based pricing, right?

Joey Gilkey 46:09
I want to price what my clients pay us, I want to price it according to the value that I bring to that company. I think it’s reasonable that if I can drive a million dollars in revenue for you, that I should charge $100,000. That seems like if you put $1 into the slot machine, you got 10 out, probably a pretty decent gamble, right? Yeah. And so if that’s what I believe we can do, right? Same thing, if I can drive 10 million, then I’m probably gonna charge you 500 grand, you know, more than likely, if I can, if I can actually attribute what we do to do that. Now, what’s interesting is, if we do that with our clients, why don’t we deal with our employees? It’s about the value they bring to the company. And what’s ironic is that we don’t think about this. We drive more value for clients, and, therefore can charge more when we have more valuable employees who can help us drive more value for clients. And so why not pay them more, because they’re helping you charge more. I love it. That’s the way I look at it.

Andrew Morgans 47:09
I think one of the things here that we can say to the founders, maybe that we aren’t in the position to pay an employee for 25 is, you know, at the beginning. I was using interns from the high school program, I was using UMKC graduates, or college internships. My sisters were my workhorses because they believed in what I was doing. And you know, so you do whatever you have to do to get by, and for me, that was young and inexpensive talent. In the beginning, I didn’t want to go outsource because I believed what we were doing needed collaboration. And I needed like, butts and seats to listen and watch and learn versus like, process sent overseas. But I think what got me here is not what gets me there kind of thinking. And there was a turning point where, Okay, girls now, even if it’s going and getting someone that makes more than me, and me and the girls, it was like we need some talent. And so trustworthy talent, too. But it was like, Look, if we want to get some people that are at a managerial level, to be able to, like, do this in the corporate world, or whatever the case might be, we’re gonna have to pay you to get what you pay for. And it was like, it was definitely that what got us here is not what gets us there.

Joey Gilkey 48:25
Yeah, that’s what we call it. You got to to- fill your talent. And like you said, what got you here? You got to top-filled with better soil on top. And sometimes that, you know, that’s not a slight on who got you here, you know, there’s a there’s an aspect of loyalty here. But we’re also in a world where it’s a meritocracy. And, and we got to pay bills. And so if we feel as though the people who got us here can’t get us there, and there isn’t a role for them, I think that unfortunately, we have to promote them to someone else’s company, as

Andrew Morgans 48:53
Yeah, there is no there’s no one that’s left Marknology that didn’t leave with you know, four zeros, five zeros, more like five zeros plus, you know, growth. And so, you know, feel bad about that if you want, right, but it’s also like, hey, being here, and whether we promote you to another company or you move on yourself part of their journey, you know, exactly. And you can see that and so you know, I tell our tale, our team. At the end of the day, when you leave here, if you choose to leave or whatever the case might be a reflection of us. And you can have them leaving and saying he was a tightwad, or you can have them leaving, saying he was super generous, and, you know, what do you want that to be? They’re an extension of your reputation and your trust regardless, um, I can have on that for another hour, but it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to chat it up. And yeah, man, to hear more about your side of things versus mine. I know I’ve left with a couple of nuggets that I’m putting in my tool belt. So I really appreciate that.

Joey Gilkey 49:50
Well, thanks for having me on, man. And thank you guys for listening. Yeah, of course.

Andrew Morgans 49:52
And once again, shout out to our sponsor for today’s episode, Gusto. Manage your HR needs with Gusto. It’s the way to go make it easier to onboard talent, handle payroll, and support your people in any way, what we’re talking about this whole show. Gusto platform is powered by advanced technology, so talent management and payroll processing will never be the same. Try Gusto for free, sign up at backslash Startup Hustle, and enjoy a three-month free subscription. Joey, if I’m in Tennessee, I’m going to hit you up. Might be as early as in two weeks or something I might get a road trip and try to find a

Joey Gilkey 50:26
70-acre ranch, and we’ll shoot stuff.

Andrew Morgans 50:28
Yeah, that sounds like a blast. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you, listeners, for tuning in, and we’ll see you next time.