Michael Killen (Sell Your Service)


Aaron: [00:07] Hello, my name is Aaron and you are listening to the WP Square One podcast.

Micah: [00:12] I’m Micah Wood. And today we have with us Mike Killen, the world’s number one sales coach for funnel builders, author, “From Single to Scale”, and founder of Sell Your Service. Welcome, Mike. First question I have for you: world’s number one, is that like world’s best cup of coffee or how did you get that title?

Mike: [00:33] Yes, we spent, we spent millions on market research for that, interviewing everyone. It was actually based off, if you create what your number one at, you’re automatically number one. I knew that everyone was going off to like, how to build marketing funnels and how to optimize your funnels, and sales training is big part of my background and I was like, “Well, I’m going to teach you how to sell marketing funnels,” and sure enough, that’s just us all over Google now. When we first went for that keyword, it was a few thousand results. Now there are millions of results. But if you do Google “how to sell a marketing funnel” or “sell a marketing funnel”, “how to price a marketing funnel”, it’s just me. So, I’m happy to call myself that, but everything else, I’m ranked one millionth and below, but that’s what I’m number one at.

Micah: [01:19] Tell us a little bit more about yourself, what you’re up to 2019 and give us a little background.

Mike: [01:28] As a coaching company, the majority of our products are based around courses and coaching and there’s few other bits and pieces, but that’s pretty much it. My biggest problem with 2018 was we were trying to be everywhere. We were trying to do too much social, trying to do too much content generation. We were trying to create too many products as well. Really, we’ve sat down with my team and decided that we’re just going to try and focus on the closing and the sales aspect of our own business, and really trying to make sure that we’re building the best possible relationships that we can, with funnel builders as opposed to trying to constantly create products, because I think it can become kind of overwhelming when you’re constantly creating stuff. I know why people do it. Maybe we’ll touch on that later, but yeah, that’s what 2019 is going to be about, focusing on closing and sales.

Micah: [02:22] Nice. What kind of background did you start in with sales and that kind of thing? Did you do something previously in the sales area? How did you get into this?

Mike: [02:35] I actually trained as a chef originally, and went out to France and trained under French chefs and stuff. Basically, couldn’t hack it. It was just too much hard work. I didn’t like the hours, I didn’t like the split shifts. I ended up getting a job doing door-to-door sales, which was really rough, but it taught me a lot. From there, combined with my— I then went to university and did a marketing degree, bit by bit, kind of worked my way through some pretty big companies as a marketing and sales rep and then head of marketing. My last job was Head of Digital Marketing for a large data security company. I basically lost that job. I was made redundant, and they fired something like ten thousand people overnight from this company. This was back in 2012. It was a massacre, right? You had all these guys who were sort of— Company cars and all sorts of stuff just suddenly disappeared. They didn’t have a job anymore.

[03:38] So I set up an agency doing WordPress design, a little bit of everything and bit by bit, we narrowed down into doing marketing automation for online education businesses, and that’s all we did, which a big part of that was WordPress. From there I set up Sell Your Service to teach people how to do what it was that I was doing. Now, that business runs by itself and I spend all my time on Sell Your Service.

Aaron: [04:03] How did you wind up getting into WordPress?

Mike: [04:07] That’s a really good question. Everything that we had done from a large corporate standpoint had been entirely coded by hand. We were dealing with banks, we were dealing with meteorological businesses, huge amounts of data. Everything was built from scratch and that was what I was used to. I was trying to develop my own CMS and I’d never heard of WordPress. Again, this was probably 2012, so it was relatively well-known then, but I had never heard of it coming from a corporate background. A colleague of mine was like, “You need to check out WordPress, Genesis, and StudioPress.” I was like, I don’t know. I’m not really a fan of page builders, because at the time stuff like Wix, Weebly, it was all Flash-based, so I assumed it was the same. And he installed it on a server of mine, a friend of mine called Michael, and said just try it out. From then I was hooked. I was absolutely in love. I was like, oh my God, it’s everything I’ve been looking for. It’s so, so, so easy and as it’s grown, even over the last five years, it’s grown exponentially with its impact and its use, but that was how I discovered it, pretty reluctantly, to be honest.

Aaron: [05:21] Nice. So I didn’t realize you were building your own CMS. Do you have a developer background? I mean, do you write code?

Mike: [05:30] No, I definitely do not have a background development. It was kind of learning as I go, because the truth is, I’d set myself up career-wise and education-wise to get a job in corporate marketing. When I left, I had absolutely no idea what it is that I wanted to do. I didn’t know whether I wanted to be design, to be development, graphic design, marketing, copywriting; it was all so open to me. 2012 and 2013 were real eye-openers to me, just as I began to discover just how deep the rabbit hole goes, in terms of everything that’s available. I was like, I can’t do all of this. I physically can’t do everything. We ended up just sticking to WordPress, which I’m eternally grateful for, but even stuff like, when you discover WooCommerce for the first time, and you don’t realize it’s an option and you’re trying to code your own shopping cart system and then you’re like, it turns out there was something I could have downloaded for free that would do 90% of this. It’s a huge, huge relief.

Aaron: [06:32] Makes sense to me. How do you use WordPress on the day to day with your funnels? And if this is like trade secret stuff, I’m sorry.

Mike: [06:42] No, no, no. This is good. This is all I want to talk about every day, so I’m happy to talk about this.

Aaron: [06:48] All right, fair enough.

Mike: [06:51] If we look at the marketing funnel, like in the broadest possible sense, it’s not anything physical. It’s really just a strategy. A marketing funnel is just a strategy. They’ve existed for hundreds of years. In newspapers they used to write serialized letters and then that could bring you on to a product and then that product would sell you on to like a home study course. This is even a couple of hundred years ago.

[07:16] The website now is just a part of a marketing funnel for many businesses. The way that we use them, internally, is that’s a huge amount of our traffic generation because I write content every single day and that goes up on our blog. Then we use plugins like OptinMonster, for example, to capture email addresses from people on our blog, and we’ll create categories so each OptinMonster is related to each category. Like, I’ll give away maybe a booklet on how to price a marketing funnel on all of our categories to do with pricing, or I’ll give away a free report on a sales process for all of our blog posts on sales processes. Then kind of flipping that, when people get a little bit further down, is we use Beaver Builder for our page builder, and that’s what does all of our landing pages, our thank you pages, our delivery pages, it does our online course.

[08:11] WordPress as a name, I suppose, is pretty much at the heart of all of our operations, apart from maybe our CRM system, which shares about 50% of that responsibility as well. It’s a huge amount of everything that we do day to day, in terms of conversions. Of course, that’s then what we build for customers as well. We’ll build their landing pages and thank you pages and sales pages and stuff.

Aaron: [08:37] So you guys use Beaver Builder for all of the landing pages?

Mike: [08:40] Pretty much everything. We’ve tried a lot of other stuff. There’s this platforms out there like leadpages and clickfunnels that I don’t particularly like. I like the idea that I can just have it on WordPress and Beaver Builder does a great job. We use a few of the little extra plugins with that, like Power Pack and Ultimate Add-ons and stuff, as well as a few other plugins. So yeah, that power is pretty much everything.

Aaron: [09:05] Yeah, we use the same type of modules with our websites. We were talking before the call about 48in48, we use that. You said you started off with Genesis and you didn’t want to use page builders and obviously, you’ve moved into the page builder realm and we did the same thing for 48in48, trying to build forty-eight websites in a weekend, without a page builder, even if you kind of understand Genesis, it’s still a lot to try to swallow.

Mike: [09:41] I think part of that comes from— So this is kind of getting away from WordPress, but a big part of our education system, particularly in the Western world is based that the struggle, like struggling, is noble. If you physically, manually, have to work hard and plug away and grind away at something, that’s the only way to know that it’s any good. I always get at WordCamps, even now, if you think how many page builders are out there and are legitimized, and they’ve got clean code, they’re fast loading, they’re responsive, they’re well supported, all of those benefits, you’ll still get guys who say, “Well, if you’re not developing your themes and your pages from scratch, you’re not a real developer, designer, WordPress business.” That used to kind of piss me off, but now I’m like, fine, don’t call me a real WordPress business. I don’t care. It makes my process is so much faster. It means everything’s standardized. It means that I’m able to support my customers better because they’re all on the same platform and I’m able to ultimately increase my profit margins because I’m not having to do everything from scratch all the time. I think it comes from this mentality that we’re taught. If you don’t struggle to do something, you haven’t worked hard for it and it’s just not true. You know, you’ve just got to flip how you want to use some of these tools.

“People say ‘If you don’t struggle to do something, you haven’t worked hard for it.’ and it’s just not true.” @Mike_Killen

Micah: [10:53] Cool. So we’ve talked about sales and funnels and how you put those things together. End of the day, I know a lot of people that have products and that kind of thing, they’re always wondering, how do I know how to price it? Like if I have different service levels, how do I figure all that kind of thing out? How do you approach that?

Mike: [11:18] Yeah, and again, it’s not an uncommon request, and I think a lot of it stems from what we’re taught very early on, outside of even running a business. Let’s say that you guys, what you do, you have your website business or even the hosting or whatever it is that you’re doing day to day, most people will take a list of the things that they want to do per customer and they’ll say, I want to build out the blog and the five pages. They’ll create the shopping list of all the stuff they’re going to do and they’ll look at that and they’ll say, what can I get away with for charging that? What could I charge the customer for this? This might be at the proposal stage, I don’t know if you guys have ever written a proposal and put in all this stuff they need to look at and gone, I’ve got absolutely no idea how much I’m going to charge for this. I don’t know if that’s ever happened?

Aaron: [12:08] Yeah, that happens to me. It used to happen to me all the time. Now my business has grown, and so I’m not doing proposals quite as much. Yeah, sometimes you’re just kind of guessing at the numbers.

Mike: [12:23] Yeah, and that’s exactly what you’re guessing. The difference, the way that I’ve approached this and what’s helped me standardize my business, really work on making sure that we’re profitable and we generate enough revenue is we flipped that and I said, “Instead of thinking what should I charge, I want to think about what should I deliver.” The first question that came into my mind was, “I’m going to charge $10,000 for a website at the time. That’s it. That’s my absolute base minimum; it’s ten grand, $10,000. What am I going to deliver to the customer, then, in order to justify that price?” What we’ve started doing is looking at like, “Okay, they’ll get the website. Maybe they’ll get a year’s worth of support thrown in with that as well.” I had to kind of force myself to justify a 10K price tag. Rather than thinking, “What can I get away with?” I was thinking, “What am I going to deliver?” As soon as you start thinking about what it is that you want to deliver to the customer, you begin to internalize and justify that price tag. It goes the same. If you want to keep going up, and you want to say, “I want to charge twenty-five grand per funnel,” or fifty grand per website, or whatever it might be, having a look at what it is that you’ve got to deliver after deciding the price, in my opinion, is the fastest way of understanding how much you want to earn, because it has to come back to like, what do you need to make per year? What does your family need to make per year? What does your business need to make per year? Allowing other people to tell you what you should be charging, it’s not a sustainable pricing model.

“Instead of thinking what should I charge, I want to think about what should I deliver. Don’t ask ‘What can I get away with?’, ask ‘What am I going to deliver to justify that price?'” @Mike_Killen

Aaron: [13:59] I remember my dad used to tell me that I don’t charge enough for my services. This is when I was in my early twenties building computers, doing networking and stuff like that, and I was charging so little to businesses and stuff. I look back now and I’m like, man, I could have charged a hundred an hour versus fifty. I think one of the things that happened with my company is we had this opportunity to build one site and then some micro-sites with that company and guy that brought it in, he said, “Man, you got to think about value-based—” What it’s called? Value-based?

Mike: [14:45] Pricing or value based proposition.

Aaron: [14:47] Proposition, thank you. And that’s one of the things that really— We were doing a lot of church websites when we started and to them, a website is worth $500, $1,000. For a small site, this company was a billion-dollar company, I could have done— We wanted to— You know, bidding, I mean basically value-based and that really changed our perspective from that point on.

Mike: [15:17] Because the biggest fundamental mistake that all businesses make when they get into the sales process of their business is they think that the customer is buying a website, or they think the customer is buying a bed, or they think the customer is buying a holiday and no one in history has ever bought a website. No one in history has ever bought a bed. What people are buying is a transformation and a future that you’re going to help them get to. What they’re buying, for example, if it’s a church, what they’re buying is higher congregation attendance and more engagement from their community. All of a sudden, as soon as you start thinking about why do they want to buy this? What is it in their future that looks better and brighter, and more valuable, to use the term value, what is it that’s more valuable than their future, and all of a sudden you transform yourself from, “We build websites” into “Actually what we do is we help churches reach out to more members of their community and have three massive fundraisers a year instead of ten smaller fundraisers.”

“The biggest mistake you can make is thinking the customer is buying a website. What is it that you’re really bringing to that marketplace or customer?” @Mike_Killen

[16:23] If you think of the reasons why they want to do it, that’s what you end up selling and that’s what people buy. All of a sudden their budget skyrockets. I’m always staggered when people tell me— I live in a really rural part of the United Kingdom, which is not a massive country. People always say to me, wherever I live, wherever it might be across the world, customers aren’t willing to pay $10,000 for a website. I’m like, I know guys down the road who will spend a quarter of a million dollars on farm equipment. People have got the money. It’s not the money that’s the problem. It’s that you’re not clearly demonstrating what it is in the future that they’re going to have. You have to make sure that that’s the thing that they’re aiming for. As opposed to building websites, what is it that you’re bringing to that marketplace or customer?

Micah: [17:07] When it comes to sales funnels, I’m always interested in what that looks like from your perspective. I mean, after all we got the number one sales coach here.

Mike: [17:19] Now you’re putting me on the spot. I never said I could back it up. I just said I’ve got some Google (inaudible 17:22).

Micah: [17:25] Everything so far, backs it up. So you’re great.

Aaron: [17:27] So far.

Mike: [17:28] Yeah.

Aaron: [17:29] So far. We may catch you off at some point.

Mike: [17:32] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Micah: [17:35] So when it comes to sales funnels, I think everyone gets the basic idea of you’ve got traffic coming into your site and you’ve got people who are interested in what you’re offering and you have people who’re eventually going to buy. I know a lot of people are always focused on getting more and more traffic in and that kind of thing. Then sometimes, they ignore what’s actually happening on their site. Give us a little background on what are the key pieces of a sales funnel and what’s the best mentality to go about thinking about that so that you get the most benefit out of it?

Mike: [18:16] It’s a really good question. This again, comes back to what are you spending, what are you making, spending money on or charging. Let’s say that you managed to sell a website for like ten grand and then the customer, all the customer does is spend money on traffic and they never make any conversions, then obviously that ten grand is a waste, so you’ve got a position and I’ll give you a few of these tactics that I use in order for them to get a return on it.

[18:39] The first thing is that customers will always think that they need traffic, and like exactly as you said, it’s usually they’re not converting what’s already arriving, so use the exact situation, the exact same phrasing that you guys used and tell that to your customers and they’ll go, oh, okay, actually that makes more sense. I think one of the things that a lot of people ignore is, they’ll build a site or a funnel or whatever the hell you want to call it, and they’ll build one sales page for a product. If you’re a financial advisor, maybe you sell five different services, or five different products and they’ll have five different sales pages. The first thing, in my opinion, is creating multiple sales pages per product. That to me is one of the fastest ways that you can increase conversions, it’s multiple sales pages per product. Have one that’s just a pure sales letter.

[19:30] Dan Kennedy, for example, had a book called—I actually got it in front of me—”How To Write The Perfect High-Converting Sales Letter,” and it’s just literally a long form of text. You have your product page, which is what the designers love to go into and they love to make everything look beautiful and have parallax scrolling and all of that. You then have a second page for the exact same product, that’s a sales letter. Your job is to then take traffic that is visited one sales page and then either through your CRM or remarketing or pixeling or whatever you want to do, then display the second page to them. That’s one of the easiest ways that we found of converting people. It’s kind of like saying, well yeah, they understand the offer, they’ve seen the offer, but you need to still convince them, you need to still get in front of them. So we’re just going to spend a little bit of money on Facebook ads that anyone who visits this page isn’t going to be shown an advert for the second page. Or anyone who clicks on this page, our CRM system is going to tag them and say I’ll send them an email about this next sales page and we’ll have up to five sales pages per product. One might be a video sales letter, which is just the video in front of them. One might be just a collection of testimonials. One might be a scarcity-based page that says this offer is going away in three days or two days or the end of the month. Trying multiple different sales messages and closes for one product, in my opinion, is probably the fastest way to begin to close some of those deals and exactly as you say, the stuff that you’ve got already.

[21:02] One of the big things that people forget is, if you’ve already got like a list of customers, you shouldn’t be sending them just the blog articles or videos or posts or whatever. Send them emails directing them back to those sales pages, constantly be trying to work on that list of customers and leads and saying, hey, this is how we can help. This is what we offer, this is what we sell. Try to sell to those people you’ve already got on your list before you try adding some new ones. Then you can start to automate it and start getting really clever.

“Try to sell to those people you’ve already got on your list before you try adding some new ones. Then you can start to automate it and start getting really clever.” @Mike_Killen

Aaron: [21:31] How do you guys help? Let’s say my company, my business partner has a degree in marketing, we probably wouldn’t go to you guys, but let’s say we can’t do the marketing stuff. How does it begin with you guys?

Mike: [21:50] What is it that you sell? Let’s just put down in the ground.

Aaron: [21:54] I sell websites. Basically websites, web development.

Mike: [21:58] The first thing you want to look at is what is it that your business— What is it that you want to work on basically? It sounds very selfish and internal, but we have a system and you’ll hate me for the acronym, so I apologize. It’s called funnels, so it’s F-U-N-N-E-L-S. That system there is essentially taking you through the process of how you close and find and work with more customers if you want to do the marketing. First is facts, there are undeniable facts about running a business and occasionally we find we have to educate people on that. Next you need to look at what makes you unique. I think that word is thrown around a lot in a lot of business text, because people will say have a USP, have unique value proposition, all that stuff. People write up stuff like, we have the best service in the world, we’re the friendliest people, all of our customers are happy. I’m like, well, no company in the world is going to say the opposite of that, are they? No one’s going to say we’ve got lousy customer service. Our customers aren’t really that happy and we deliver everything at a really slow pace.

Aaron: [22:58] I don’t know, I feel like Comcast is like that.

Mike: [23:02] You know what, you’re absolutely right, Comcast is that, they do say that, but that’s what makes them unique, they are happy to own that. You have to look, at what is it within the entire process, or that you enjoy doing and that you value more than anyone else? When you really dig into it, and unfortunately, we don’t just have physically don’t have time on this call, but when you really dig into it, it might be that your business really understands the model of the thank you page, for example. If someone signs up to a landing page, they get redirected to a thank you page. That’s where you can put your conversion pixel, you can put an immediate sales letter to a product, you can clear spam, email addresses, whatever.

[23:44] If you really value that area and you value the conversion at that stage, and that’s a good place to start. I think what puts a lot of people off is they start to think, yeah but that’s too small. That’s too small an offering, it’s too niche, it’s too restrictive. I’d never grow within that, but the idea was you have to look within these areas where you genuinely want to excel and say to all of the other stuff, like, I’m not interested in that. I’m not interested in the e-commerce. I can do e-commerce. I don’t doubt that I could do e-commerce, but I’m not interested. I just want to work on this particular area. Discovering that, in my opinion, is one of the first things that a lot of businesses, service-based businesses, particularly website and WordPress need to do to start separating themselves out from every other player in the market.

Aaron: [24:36] Nice. It sounds like you have a successful business. That’s why we have reached out. I don’t think you are number one. If you were to go back to square one, what would you do differently?

Mike: [24:51] Yeah. When you kind of mentioned that on the call, it was really good because it is something we occasionally think about. The first, I think and most important thing I would do is define a niche and or niche, whatever you want to call it. A lot of people know how powerful they are and they talk themselves out of it. As soon as I decided to just go after a very particular type of customer, not an industry, people go, I want to work in the service industry, that’s like 86% of GDP for most western countries, so it’s not a particularly well-defined niche, or when they go, I work with small businesses and I’m like, okay, so you worked with 99% of GDP created by most western countries. There’s no definition there.

[25:40] Defining a really hyper-specific niche and really grinding that out and working on it and reading everything I could about the niche. Stuart Walker has got a great guide on, on NicheHacks. There’s a lot of content out there and if I would then decide that I’m just going to build thank you pages or I’m just going to work on follow-up email sequences for cart abandonment series, for digital products, for example, that’s how hyper-specific you want to become. So if I had to go back to square one, everything else that I provide and do and serve and sell is irrelevant, because what defines businesses, this is something Ryan Deiss said to me is, “Businesses are defined by the markets they serve, not the products they sell.” If you have a crazy, clear, hyper-specific idea of who you serve, you’re way more likely to grow, because everything else that comes after it stems from knowing who your audience is and serving them better than anybody else. That’s what’s important. If I had to go back in time. That’s probably what I’d focus on.

“If you have a crazy-clear hyper-specific idea of who you serve, you’re way more likely to grow.” @Mike_Killen

Micah: [26:45] Yeah, I like that. Yeah. I’ve heard a lot about niches and that kind of thing. But I think one of the things that kind of really drove it home for me was somebody who was talking about how massive clarity can drive massive action, right? So people (unclear 27:01) business, they have no idea what they are really going after when they have such a broad market. They hone that in, then it becomes a lot more clear what the rules of the game are and how to play. Right?

Mike: [27:14] We’re bombarded by tactics every day, right? Like, you should be doing Facebook video. Oh no, you should actually be you doing Facebook video cascade sequences. Oh no, you should be doing the hydro method and that’s just one area. Then you should be blogging. You should be search optimizing, you should be on YouTube, you should be on IGTV and (unclear 27:19) Instagram quotes and interviewing people on podcasts. There’s tactic after tactic after tactic and everything gets very, very messy and murky but as soon as you are hyper clear on who you are helping, nothing else matters, because you think to yourself, what is the best way for me to get sales training in the hands of funnel builders? It’s by going on podcasts. Awesome. I know that now, and I’m clear on whatever it is I needed to do.

[27:54] When someone says to me, Mike, what you should be doing is really ramping up your Facebook page engagement of posting stuff out, I know that my particular audience, they’re not that interested in that. I’m aware of where they are, what they do. I’m not going to worry about that. It’s not something I care about. So it helps eliminate like that FOMO, your fear of missing out. It makes it easier to price your services. You’re more likely to gain recognition. It really is. Yeah, I like that. I haven’t heard that before. From massive clarity comes massive action. I like that a lot.

Micah: [28:26] We’re really excited to have you on the show. All this is amazing information.

Mike: [28:31] Yes, thanks so much for having me guys. I appreciate it.

Micah: [28:33] Yeah. For those that want to find more amazing information, I believe you can be found in many places. You have a website, sellyourservice.co.uk?

Mike: [28:43] That is correct.

Micah: [28:44] You are on Instagram as @funnelmike?

Mike: [28:48] Yup.

Micah: [28:49] On Twitter as @MikeKillen.

Mike: [28:52] Yes. @Mike_Killen, I think. I couldn’t get @MikeKillen. I was devastated. It’s an artist who’s got that and it really wound me up.

Micah: [28:59] Oh man. I believe you got a really active YouTube channel as well, right? Or at least lately, I’ve noticed.

Mike: [29:09] Yeah.

Micah: [29:09] All kinds of good stuff on there. One of my favorite videos, for those that are— Not that you need to explain anything, but for those that are interested in finding out more awesome stuff, I believe you have one, it’s titled like Marketing Density or something along those lines?

Mike: [29:25] Yes. Marketing Density, yeah. Marketing Continuum, I think is the name of the video, yeah.

Micah: [29:31] That’s an awesome video particularly, talking about niches as well.

Mike: [29:34] Yeah. That’s a good point. Yeah. They match up well. Yeah.

Aaron: [29:37] Awesome. Well, thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you for your time.

Mike: [29:41] Not at all. Thank you very much for having me on, guys. I appreciate it.

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