Service Optimization

Episode 66: Service Optimization, with Raul Hernandez-Ochoa

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Service OptimizationElevate your services, exceed expectations, and thrive. Explore the world of Service Optimization today!

On this episode of Sell With Authority, we have a very special guest joining us for an encore interview. If you’re meeting him for the first time, Raul Hernandez-Ochoa is the Founder of Do Good Work, a digital growth consulting practice dedicated to helping agencies, business coaches, and strategic consultants achieve profitable growth.

Now, some of you may remember Raul from episode 57, where we discussed creating a client attraction system. But during that conversation, we stumbled upon an unexpected topic that piqued our interest — productizing a service offering. It sparked memories of my own experiences back in 2002 when I served as the director of business development for an agency.

I can distinctly recall endless discussions within our management team about the incredible potential of productizing aspects of our daily custom work for clients. We dreamed of cracking that nut — the ability to relieve the pressure of starting our profit and loss statement from scratch every month, heavily reliant on billing for time and materials.

Service optimization is a crucial aspect of enhancing operational efficiency and ensuring the delivery of high-quality services to clients. Imagine the possibilities — providing clients with faster and potentially more affordable off-the-shelf solutions. And if we cracked that nut, we could potentially reduce the amount of custom work, leading to fewer cost overruns on our estimates. The ultimate goal was to bolster our bottom line and increase profitability.

Perhaps you and your team have had similar discussions. Maybe you’ve already cracked that nut or are exhausted from banging your head against the same wall repeatedly. Either way, I have great news for you. Today, Raul is sharing his invaluable insights and experiences, guiding you forward with the successful productization of your service offerings.


What you will learn in this episode is about service optimization:

  • The importance of service optimization in productizing services to match the expectations of what a client wants from you
  • The advantages of packaging solutions that you already have productized to create a unique presentation for a right-fit prospect
  • Raul’s framework for productizing a service
  • Some of the pitfalls that get agencies face early on in the process and ways to maneuver them
  • How to streamline productizing a service



Service Optimization: Full Episode Transcript


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI, and my team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner or strategic consultant, and you’re looking to fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right fit prospects, you know, to get the at-bats, the opportunities that you need in order to build and scale, then you’re in the right place if you want proven strategies for becoming the known expert in your niche and attracting all the clients that you need. Yep. We’re gonna cover that. You wanna learn how to step away from the sea of sameness so you actually stand out from your competitors and own the ground you’re standing on. Yeah. We’re gonna cover that too. Do you want to future-proof your business so you can successfully navigate the next challenge that you know is going to come your way?


Well, absolutely. We will help you there as well. I promise you each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights, tangible examples, and best practices, never theories from thought leaders or experts from owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So, I want you to think practical and tactical. Never any fluff. Each of our guests has built a position of authority and then monetized that position by growing their audience, nurturing leads, and, yes, converting sales. But all the while, they did it by being helpful. So every time someone from their audience turned around there, they were with a helpful answer to an important question. So the right fit prospects never, ever were made to feel like a prospect. I also promise you every strategy that we discuss and every tool we recommend will be shared in full transparency in each episode so you can become a known expert in your niche.


Discover more about Service Optimization by tuning in to this podcast: Design a High-Profit Digital Marketing Agency with Raul Hernandez-Ochoa 


Service Optimization: Raul’s Introduction


So you can fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of RightFit clients again, we’re never, ever made to feel like one of your prospects. Okay, I am excited for you to meet our very special, in fact, I should say ee, our very special guest expert today, Raul Hernandez Ochoa. So, if you’re meeting Raul for the first time, Raul is the founder of Do Good Work, a digital growth consulting practice that helps agencies, coaches, and consultants achieve profitable growth. And Raul is also; that’s why I said Remeet my guest back on episode 57 of the podcast, where we focused on how to create a client attraction system. One of the unexpected twists and turns during that amazing conversation was some brief moments where we talked about productizing a service offering. So immediately following that first interview, I’m like, Raul, holy bananas. Gosh, you gotta come back for the podcast for an encore so we can take a deep dive into a house to successfully productize a service offering.


When I heard Raul say the word productizing, I was like taken back to 2002 when I was serving as the director of business development for an agency. I distinctly remember conversation after conversation after conversation with our management team, talking about how it would be so awesome if we could produce something about the custom work we did for clients every single day. If we could crack that nut, we could stop feeling the pressure of creating our p and l from scratch every month because most of our revenue came from billing for time and materials. We could provide clients with a faster and less expensive off-the-shelf solution. And if we could crack that nut, maybe we could reduce the amount of custom work that we needed to do, which might help us reduce cost overruns on our estimates. And if we did all of that, perhaps we would toss some more money to the bottom line.


So my guess is you and your team have had similar conversations, and as a result, maybe you’ve cracked the nut, and yay for that. If you have, or maybe you haven’t cracked that nut, but instead, you’re tired of banging your head up against the wall over and over and over again. In either case, I know that Raul is going to share his insights and experience with you, which will help you move forward faster with productizing your service offering and making it more profitable as a result. Okay. So, without further ado, welcome back to the Sell with Authority podcast, Raul.


Hey, thanks for having me, Stephen. This is exciting.


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: The Power of Productizing Your Services


How does service optimization work? It is exciting because it’s a really exciting topic. For example, if an agency or consultancy can get this right, then it can open up new revenue streams, monthly recurring revenue, and just all sorts of lovely things. So before we dive into the nook and cranny of nook and cranny of all of that, take us to the high level that when you think about productizing your service offering, give us some framework, give us your high-level view, and then we’ll go high-level after that.


Yeah. So let’s actually talk about why not to productize your service, okay? And why do people oppose this idea? Cause there are a lot of different thoughts in the marketplace, and hearing their opinions is really helpful. One of the key things that I’ve heard about not productizing is that if you productize a service, then you focus on features and deliverables versus unique solutions. And then, if you do that, you can’t value the price. And if you do that, then you’ll be seen as a commodity. Now, I’m not going to argue against that, but I will say that you can create bespoke solutions through productizing various services, okay? You can price those bespoke solutions based on value, and you can leverage your positioning because you have a productized system and be more of a category leader versus, I’m just another doer. I’m going to just do these hours for you, and I’m gonna bill you up my 65, 1 25, 200, 2 50 hourly rate.


So I think those are, it’s a good place to start, like the antithesis and what it we’re talking about here. ’cause we’re not talking about creating a course, create video training, have the client do it. Like I hear that argument as well, that people just do those things. But when we talk about product-type services here, it’s matching the expectations of what the client wants from you.  , when they’re buying your services in a streamlined fashion so that sales don’t oversell or undersell, the fulfillment always has the same expectation, the same fulfillment every time you sell the same product or the same service. And the cool part about that, like we men I mentioned briefly earlier, is you can have like an army, I don’t have too many, but like an army, maybe 6, 5, 8 different services that are product ties. And now you have options.


Now it’s like you’re going to the ice cream shop, or the yogurt shop, or the Slurpee shopping; you’re just dipping different flavors into your cup or your cone, and you can create a unique outcome based on something that’s off the shelf almost.  but I think what would be interesting to dive into is the framework of productization. How, how to actually do it tactically.  , but also how this empowers you to move away from, oh, we’re going to do 138 hours. Here’s my rate per hour, here’s the outcome, here’s a due date, versus here are your options. Which one do you wanna do? And price it on value.


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization:  Unleashing Client Value


Service optimization — I love this. Okay. So, but before we go into, you know, frameworks and empowering you, I wanna loop back to this what I think is a really important point. And, so, I want to ask you to tease this out a little bit more. Okay. Because you said to create bespoke solutions based on productizing, that sounds counterintuitive. That sounds like a paradox. That sounds like whatever other kind of opposing forces, two magnets to the same polarity. So tell us a little bit more about why you believe that to be true.


I think we get paid in proportion to the problem that we solve. And when, as entrepreneurs, when we solve those particular problems, we look at our tool belt of How am I gonna solve this problem? Okay? Through experience and time and getting kicked in the teeth, you’ve probably solved similar problems multiple times. So why recreate the wheel to resolve the same problem over and over again, specifically if you’re niching down in an industry, niching down by the services that you deliver, or just niching down in the category that you’re creating or that you’re owning? So if you do that, you’re gonna encounter the same things over and over and over and over again, for that particular client, their problem in pain is unique. Their problem in pain is,  you know, enough for them to take action, but it’s not always new. It’s unique to them, their circumstance, their clients, their market, their personal life, and their finances.


But to you, you may have seen something in the past that’s already been solved like that. So if you have a service or a productized service that you’ve helped solve, even if it’s 80% of the solution, you can package other solutions that you already have productized to create a unique presentation to the client saying, Hey, for your particular case right now, in this particular time-space here together, here’s how we’re gonna solve it. And for the client, that’s immense value. And you don’t have to tell ’em you’re gonna save costs. You’re going to, you know, get it off the shelf. He’s like, we’re gonna solve this just for you. They see that, they see it on value. You can price and price anchor on the value of what you are doing. Now, on the fulfillment side, it’s saying to your team members like Jimmy, Bob, Sandy, and Joe, run the plays.


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: The Power of Productization


Best service optimization? Here are the plays to run; execute them in this order because they’ve already run and run it before. So fulfillment becomes easier, selling becomes more streamlined, and the client feels like they’re getting a unique solution. When all you’re doing, you’re not, like, what is it? If you’re pulling, like, pulling the wool over their eyes, like you’re not doing any scammy, shady thing, you’re essentially preparing yourself to serve more clients at a higher level and giving yourself the opportunity to provide options and different opportunities to solve unique problems with your toolset. So this is just building your toolset.


And I would argue that when we do that, we’re actually working in even better service for our clients because they’re trusting us with potentially a very important business issue, a challenge that if they can get over that, that would be really meaningful and impactful for their business. And, so the more that we eliminate the guesswork, the more that we go to the table with proven strategies and tactics and data sets, and all of that, we level up the confidence that the client has in our ability to solve that problem. And not to make them look like everyone else in the marketplace but to solve their problem. That’s unique to them but not unique to us because we have experience in solving it over and over and over and over again. And I think that is, in my opinion, I have a biased view, but in my opinion, that gives them more confidence to say yes, but then also allows us to walk alongside them in this trusted position to help them fix the problem. Would you agree or disagree?


Service optimization? Everyone wants to be led. I agree. Everyone secretly wants to be letting your clients because they’re, and this is more psychology, but they’re buying a done-for-you service. They’re buying for you to do it. That level of psychology means that they personally want the leader in the room. And if you come to the room, like, who would you buy from? If someone comes into the room and says, I think we can solve it, let me figure out how we’re gonna do that. Let me, let me get back to you in three hours. Versus another person who comes into the room saying, oh, you have this problem. Cool. We’re gonna do A, B, and C this way, this way, that way. We’re gonna do this in this timeline, and we’re gonna get it done, you know, probably by in the next six weeks, and it’s gonna cost you about this much. What do you think about that? Who do you trust, the person with the plan or the person without the plan?


Precisely. Okay.  So last thing, or, another thing I should say before we get to a framework, and Howard empowers you.  you mentioned matching expectations. These are my words. These are not exactly what you said. I was trying to get in my notes as quickly as possible. So I’m, that’s why I wanna go back to this and ask you to clarify and then add some pieces to it. So, I think I heard you say something about being able to match expectations to the client’s expectations. So, productizing gives us the ability to match expectations in a streamlined way. You said it better than that, but tell us a little bit more about why you believe that to be true.


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Building a Stress-Free Sales Process


I mean, how many times does sell to the sales team or the owner oversell, and then fulfillment has to now stretch 120% just to meet that expectation because we can’t, fulfillment can’t precisely do that particular thing or in that particular order, or there’s too much bandwidth going on, and like, they can’t handle that level of stress. So when you have things that are productized, when you cross-pollinate between the product team, fulfillment team and sales team, sales team, or the owner, whoever’s selling to the client is educated, like, here’s what we can do, here’s what we can commit to, and here’s what’s expected based on this commitment, because ideally, the product I service as buffers, and it has realistic expectations, it could take anywhere between six to eight weeks, eight to 12 weeks, whatever your, your parameters are. But the sales team now becomes empowered and educated to look at the client, identify the needs, and then work with product teams like, Hey, can we do this in this timeframe? Using your frameworks of productization. So, I mean, I don’t wanna just throw,  like, random words and just sound fancy. It’s essentially having your team communicate with each other and ensuring that the sales team knows exactly what fulfillment is capable of, and the fulfillment team fearing, confident that the sales team is not going to oversell and then create a super strain and stress on the fulfillment team. And clients become unhappy, expectations are missed and churn is high.


Yeah. So I’ve been in biz dev for almost 30 years inside agencies, right? Various agencies. And I will tell you that some of the most stressful conversations were actually not with the client, hoping that they were gonna say yes. It’s actually when the client did say yes, then it was sort of the drive back to the agency thinking, how are we gonna, like, sell that to the team, right? And you’d, and you get all excited, and you walk in, you’re like, they said yes and yeah, wow. And you sit down at the conference room, and they’re like, wow. The team says, so they said yes to everything they did.  there’s a couple of things that we need to talk about, about, you know, a couple of differences, that kind of stuff, whatever. And then once you get into it, your team is like scratching their heads thinking like, what you said, how on earth are we going to deliver that? And then it’s like, well, did we include, you know, some padding in the budget and project management and all of that? And then all of a sudden, instead of going, having like this joyous occasion of this brand new win, it’s the, oh no,


It’s the expectations. Yeah. It’s scary. No, I’ve been there, done that, seen it have teams that are doing it, and oh my gosh, like for all my fulfillment people out there, product people out there, my heart goes out to you. It’s part of the stress. And that’s why I think it’s unnecessary for us to choose our own stressors.


Amen. So, as we think about the framework and Howard empowers you, how should we step into the framework piece?


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Designing Solutions Within Parameters


I think we need to believe the following statement. You are a designer, you are a creator, and you are creative. Some people think that they’re too visionary and can’t get operational. Some people think they’re too operational and analytical and can’t be creative. I think those are fallacies of the mind. Mm. I think we need to step into this and say if you can solve a problem and you can think you can do this. ’cause creativity is essentially solving problems within a parameter.  So I just like to do a little, like a square or a rectangle. Okay? Okay. Like, we need to have the parameters. The parameters are your current agency limitations, your team bandwidth, time, budget opportunity, and the services that you currently deliver. So those are your real parameters, like real life. But within that, we can have fun and dive into what’s happening in the middle.


Hmm. And use those parameters as creative boundaries. So step two, or the second area that I would focus on is just looking at the customer journey. What does your client journey look like? Not just from marketing and sales, that’s separate from actual sales and biz dev. But once you’re doing marketing and sales and prospecting, when they’re saying yes, what does the customer journey look like per each product that you have or service? How do you onboard for each, let’s say you have five services, okay? And those are your core services. We’re not talking about like, oh, we’ll also do like a little upgrade here, or social media there. Or we’ll use our private agency app here. Or those are, those are peripheral. We can talk about those later. Okay. But your core services, your, what are you known to deliver?


Are you a sales shop? Are you a marketing shop, a funnel shop, an analytics shop, or a lead gen shop? Like, what are you known to do? Hmm. And what are the parameters to deliver? What do you deliver? And what does that client journey look like per each delivery? So this does take some time to think. I would scope out 45 minutes, it’ll white piece of paper. And just think about it: client onboards for, let’s say, your fulfillment is, let’s say, let’s say you do social media management. Let’s say you do ads, direct response advertising, and then you do funnel bills and data tracking analytics, okay, for each one of those, what do, what do you typically do for a client? Oh, we do X, Y, and Z. Okay, what does that look like for the client? Well, we onboard them. What does that look like?


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Creating Productized Services


What timeframe? How do you communicate with a client? What information do you need? How do you gather that information? How do you remove and eliminate friction from gathering that information? How do you allow that to be centralized so that the team has access to it? How do you allow for fluid communication between the client? How do you make sure that the team does that and is proactive? When you’re onboarding, what are the key action items that you need to do? What are some of the quick wins?  what are some of the key touch points? What are some of the calls? What does the agenda for that call look like? Can we set some expectations early on so that the client knows what to expect? So that’s the most important piece, I think, during your onboarding for productization. Cause that helps the execution. Then it talks about what month one looks like.


What are you delivering? What are the key outcomes? Who is doing what? But here’s the kicker. Once you do all that for months 2, 3, 4, whatever your typical engagement looks like, that’s the easy part. The part where I think needs a little bit more intention, a little bit more time. And if you’re an owner, leverage your team to do this part. Leverage your operator, your COO, your operations manager, and your project manager to help you with this. For each of the action items that your team does. How do you do it? And is that how documented with the three modalities, visual video, step-by-step, and written actions? And if you do that, those simple key things, you’ll now have like a version of a productized service for your entire company. So, that’s the basis for all your key deliverables. Those are simply the beginning parts.


Now managing that and leading through that and thinking about how to lead through that. That’s the nuance that we can talk about. But in short, those are the tactical pieces to take action: to have your version one and be open-minded to testing it, getting feedback from the team, and enhancing version 1.2 testing feedback. And it’s probably gonna take, from my experience, it takes three revisions. The first one is your best one, the second one is the fine tuning. And the third one is like, okay, this is the final one. This is what we’re gonna run with. For those revisions, you need to have ample feedback loops in communication with the team and be okay with setting the expectations of the culture that we are experimenting with. We’re going to give this a shot with the open loop that’s going to work. Not that this is going to fail like a test like we’re experimenting.


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Streamlining Service Offerings


Let’s be okay in setting the environment so that if things don’t work out properly, we’re not going to over-stress, but we’re going to address this in a healthy fashion. It might be a little bit extra work, 120% of your normal output, but during that small period, we’re gonna have a final solution. So, in the future, it’ll be 60, 70% of your normal output. So it’s gonna be less stress because it’s gonna be a routine or a habit. So I know I just said a lot, we can dive into the nuances in just a second.


This is fantastic. So this is a lot because it is a lot and it’s super important. So I think you just architected at a high level, but you also went tactical in a couple of the places regarding the framework. So we’re gonna take a quick break when we come back, I wanna start from the beginning of where you went, with the five core services and what you’re known to do and what you deliver. My guess is that several members of our audience said, yeah, no, we’re a full-service integrated. We do everything from, you know, soup to nuts and probably gonna struggle right there. So I want to start in that piece and then break down some of these other pieces when we come back from our break. So we’ll be back in just a minute.


Okay. We’re back and right at the break. You know, Raul did a fantastic job of giving us the highlights and some really big highlights and also a tactical level in a few of those highlights regarding the framework. As we’re talking about productizing services, one of the first things that he mentioned was to think about your five core services and then what you’re known to do and what you deliver. And at the break, he and I were chatting back and forth about, you know, what, let’s come back to that. ’cause I don’t want that to be a sticking point for any of our audience who feel that they run full service integrated marketing agencies and PR firms that try to provide, excellence across a wide spectrum of services.  So, let’s start there. So Raul, when you’re working with, clients in helping them productize their service offerings, and somebody says that to you, how do you help them get past that so it’s not a sticking point, and then everything else is lost?


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Defining Your Agency’s Focus and Goals


I think that’s more of a business model, vision, goal, and strategy of why you are full service versus why you are not focused on one specific outcome with a peripheral of services that can support that specific outcome. Ooh.  it’s just a question that we have to think through as owners and founders. I mean, when I look on LinkedIn, I go to, let’s say, search for agency owners on LinkedIn or even on sales navigator, agency owners, etc. The first 200, I’m pretty sure, are going to be; I do everything under the sun. Hire me. Now, that only becomes, and but then they, there’s like, oh, I have this accolade. I have this award, I have this thing. Like, okay, great. What are the results you’re getting? And I know you’re gonna punch me in the face where people are like, oh, well, who is this guy?


But it’s all about what results you’re getting. Yeah. Like the agencies of the, the world that I come from of, like just like a direct response, results-driven outcomes and stuff like that. It’s what are the actual key things that I’m going to get by working with you? Or what is that key outcome I’m buying from you if I’m buying a full shop service and I’m gonna judge you based on the hands, the hours, and the workload? And that becomes very difficult to scale, scale profitably. So we’ll dive into the answer, but just philosophically look at why you are full service and integrated. Are all of those services necessary? What is the 80 20 out of those services? And what’s your end goal? Are you looking to sell to a PE firm? Are you looking to exit and package this?


Are you looking just to coast day to day and then run, have the agency run itself? Like what are your goals with that? And that’ll determine what kinds of services you need to deliver.  ’cause you don’t need to do, I mean, I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to do everything under the sun to be excellent and proficient and be known in the marketplace. You’re exceptionally good at five or three or one. Obviously, you don’t want to just limit yourself. We can, we can talk about that too, but it’s, it’s a bigger question to ask. But if right now, if you are full service and you’re thinking, well, how do I productize? It’s just more work, really. It’s like, what are you actually doing? If you have PR, email, SEO, ad spend, programmatic, or social media, that’s cool.


Now, instead of doing this for, like, your top three or five or eight services, you’re doing this for all 23 services that you have. So it is gonna take a little bit more work, but then this becomes a little bit cooler for you because then you have more tools in your tool belt to position and price a client. And I always anchor this to the positioning and pricing because what’s the whole goal of productizing your service? Why are you even doing this and wasting all of our time or investing this time, right? Because it could feel like a waste. Well, the key things are, one, you’re either doing this because you wanna add new higher value offerings.  and combine these product high services into outcomes, not just hands. And I think that’s a key thing, too. Like right now, a lot of AI tools will replace your hands.


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Maximizing Agency Efficiency


And that’s a huge issue that I’m seeing across,  across agencies. Some people are literally waiting to be extinct, or some roles are waiting to be extinct if they don’t adopt and find new, higher-value offerings. The second thing is that you can serve more clients with more, quote-unquote custom work, take your 1323 services, and say, oh, for this client, he wants, he or she wants this outcome. We’ll package services 1, 3, 8, and five. And then there you go, custom outcome. But it’s all productized. The other cool thing is, depending on the size and the level that you’re at, you know, you can hire a CEO to take over for you. I mean, it’s already your weld oil machine. Like why not have a CEO or a COO come in? And then, from there, you can set up an exit or a merger, depending again, on your goals.


So, the whole goal of this is to have the system, your business, run as a machine.  , add value to the marketplace, make sales more fluid and simpler, and have your team be able to fulfill and not be going back and forth with clients. ’cause I mean, you work with agencies, I work with agencies. I have clients that hire agencies and the ones that are like, I do this and I, and I do this proficiently every time, it’s like the easiest sale for me to like, here’s the money. Go do it. Run with it. Versus I know that I’m thinking of a team particular here is like, they do everything. They’re a full-stop shop, but they’re not good at a hundred percent at everything. They’re really good at one thing. But the other stuff that we’re working through, it’s like 60, 70% market comparable for, like, what else I can get if I just focus on a specialist


And clients know that. Yeah. Right. And I mean, we think sometimes we fall into, sort of being in love with our own breadth of services, thinking that if we just provide this soup to nuts, that they’re gonna be so impressed and just wanna hire us. And that’s what they’re impressed with. But the reality is you mentioned outcomes. What are the results being given? That takes me back to when the Mercer Island Group ran and taught this fantastic workshop on behalf of the Agency Management Institute a few months ago in January. And Robin Bowler is standing there in front of all the agencies in the room, and predictive was, of course, one of ’em. And she’s like, you need to focus on the business issue and challenge.  , that’s what the client cares about. The fact that you do all of this stuff, maybe that kind of got you in the room and the part of the consideration set, and maybe they might need that stuff, but what they really need is a solid conversation about how result outcomes are gonna be delivered against the business issue.


And they could care less about how it’s done. They just want it solved, right?


Improve your service optimization by tuning to our “ROI of Community” Framework


Service Optimization: Unleashing Your Unique Approach to Service Delivery


Yeah. It’s less about how high you will jump for the client. And I think it’s also the level of the level of experience or expertise in working with agencies from the client. Some clients who are not really used to working through agencies don’t understand marketing or sales as well as we do. They may feel comfortable saying, oh, they do it all for me. So if I ever needed this, I could, so that might be one of the pitches or the sales. But for sharp clients who know what they want, have been around the block, and know exactly what they’re aiming for. You step up your game. If you focus and are proficient on a few things versus everything, you’ll win those bigger deals all day.


Agreed. Before the break, you mentioned the kicker and how you do it. So you gave us the structure of the framework, which was awesome. And then you mentioned managing and leading through it. Could that be a good place for us to pick up again and work through that? Or are there some other pieces in the framework that you think we need to dive a little bit deeper into?


I think, I mean, in the framework, it’s, I mean, reviewing, reviewing what you deliver, matching that to the client experience, from onboarding to communications to action items to removing friction, to having your team know exactly what to do. From there on, I learned exactly what to do. It’s like having things documented in a way: here’s how we do what we do. Here’s our signature way. ’cause here’s the thing. I did a talk in New Orleans, and this was one of the key points you and I like speaking on on a molecular level, which is 97% the same. And we’re 97% the same with the stars, like the same carbon atom, like whatever our genetic makeup, we’re, we’re the same. Our businesses are 97% the same as well, you and me too.  We need sales, we need leads, we need clients, we need money, we need team members, we need operations, we need whatever, the whole nine, we’re 97% the same.


 What separates you from the 3%? Just how, I’m not sure if you took the Strengths Fighter test, but when I took that test eight years ago, I was fascinated by a statistic at the end of the book saying that you, as a human, there is no other human alive because there aren’t as many humans in the world to make this statistically significant. There isn’t another human alive with the same strengths in the same order, in the same time and space. Now that you are, it’s a fancy way of saying you’re unique when you’re doing this with your business. What is your unique style of doing it? If you need leads, what is your unique style of getting leads? If you’re fulfilling for a client, what’s your unique style of fulfilling for the client? If you’re doing social media management, which everyone and their mom is doing, social media management, and ad spend and funnel builds, how are you doing it differently?


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Service Optimization: The Key to Consistent Success


What is your unique bespoke way? How do you capture that? And when you do that, you capture your excellence, even though it could be you as the founder you as a c-suite, or you as a creative genius. Not everyone can be a creative genius, of course, but if you capture that, then your team can execute it at an 85% level that you can, like, you can do it at a hundred, 110% day in and day out, but your team, you know, they might be able to fulfill it 80, 85%, 87% on a good day to your level. But the client, they can’t tell the difference between 65% and 70%. Maybe their max is 75%. So if your team executes above the client’s expectation because they can’t tell the difference, yeah. You’re winning all day. This isn’t to say be lazy; this is to say, once you capture that, you’re managing through that; understand your team isn’t you, but your team can build to become more proficient and excellent as they continually grow, train, have resources and support for them to deliver. And there’ll be a time when your team will be delivering on all cylinders everything that you run in the agency better than you can. And that’s the goal.


Yeah. This will sound a little bit TMI, but I got goosebumps when you said no joke when you said, ’cause I think this is a profound question that we don’t off, we don’t ask ourselves enough what is our unique style of doing in solving this business issue and challenge for a client over and over and over again. What’s our unique style of doing it? And I really love how you then said, if we can capture that then, and you mentioned like 85% or whatever. But if we can capture that, that gives us the chance to do that over and over and over and over again and continue to be even better and better and better. And that gives us a chance to raise the bar. It gives us a chance to step into excellence. It gives us a chance to really prove with social proof and success stories over and over and over in a-ha in a stream of happy clients that we truly know what it is that we’re talking about. So we’re not reinventing the wheel every single time. So I think that that is a profound question. A simple question but a profound question that we should all ask ourselves more often because it’s a great one.


No, I love it. And I think it goes back to what your end goal is. Like why are why are you in the agency game? It pays well if there is stressors with it, you can’t have profitability. What’s the end goal? And let that end goal drive your strategies, drive the services that you deliver. This productization is a cornerstone to whatever your end goal will be, but you can leverage this to maximize whatever you’re trying to reach.


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Service Optimization: Pitfalls on the Road to Agency Transformation


So, let’s think about some pitfalls. Let’s say our audience is in lockstep with your thinking. Yep. Raul is, is speaking to the things that we’ve talked about in our leadership team meetings. We’re gonna be we’re heading down this path. You gave them a high-level framework and some tactical pieces and so forth. Let’s think about some pitfalls. Let’s think about some, maybe, areas where you see agencies trip over and over and over again. Like kind of in the beginning of the process, and then momentum is gone, and then they don’t come back from it. Or maybe there aren’t any, my assumption is there are some. There are. Yeah. So, based on your experience, what are some of the pitfalls that get agencies stuck early on in the process?


There’s this interesting variable that every single agency, alive and breathing, has to face. Okay.


And, the variable is humans, the tactics that we just went through, that those are easy, those are okay, whatever, just do the work. Got it. The difficulty is in how I am going to execute this with the team. How am I going to lead them through this? How am I going to communicate through this? Every, and this might be an oversimplification, but every issue I’ve seen, whether it’s helping a team make their first million, helping a team, trying to scale and strategize it at their hundredth, the number one issue is always steaming back to leadership. Not that leadership is an issue, but that we, our company, and our teams are a reflection of our personal leadership. That’s not a bad thing. Cause some of those things, we have good virtues and good opportunities for us to improve, but it also stems from what kind of leader you are and how you are going to maneuver the team and influence the team to take action out of their own.


Cause they’re gonna have to work at 120% capacity. This is building muscle strain.  This is tearing down the muscles to build stronger, stronger muscle fibers. Right? So this, this is, this is that process. It’s not, is it simple? Yeah, absolutely. Just like going to the gym. Pretty simple. Is it easy? Well, no, you gotta exit effort. Now. How do you manage the team to do this? Have them be excited to do it. And this is the kicker maintained. Hmm. Have persistence over time. Hmm. One of the key things that I would recommend while doing this, and then, like I’m working with a team to do exactly this, is have it be their idea. Have it be your team’s idea first. Well, how do you do that? You introduce the possibility of the change. You’re not saying, we’re going to come in, we’re gonna make this change, because then that’s your idea and it’s an external motivator.


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Service Optimization: Navigating Team Dynamics for Successful Implementation


Then the team’s like, oh, I don’t wanna do this. There’s friction, there’s natural friction. If I tell you, Stephen, I want you to, you know, do X, Y, and Z, you’re like, get outta here. Well, who are you? Right. Right? So you want to lead first with this is this is the possibility we’re trying to do. Yeah. Let’s look at the pros and cons, pros and cons. And then the next week, like, Hey, if we did this, how would this work? If we did this? What would be some of the things that we’d have to do? What are some of the habits? What are some of the daily things that we’d have to focus on? Okay, hey, do you think this is a good idea to do? And then the team’s like, oh yeah, it’s actually a good idea. Here’s what we’re gonna do to conquer it.


Here are our action items. Like, hey, cool, let’s get started with it. And then using it’s like selling like you’re just influencing the team in a positive way. Ideally, you should give them whatever reward or bonus system you have in place, but give them the opportunity to think through what you have already thought through and give them that mental bandwidth to chew on it. Ask the questions, mitigate fear, and be confident. Like, okay, this makes sense. And now, they don’t need convincing. They just need facilitation. That’s the first hurdle of getting them to do something like this. And then as you’re implementing and doing this, the number one factor is communication. Hmm. Having centralized communications, regular touch points, and setting the expectations, just like you do with clients, you’re onboarding the client, here’s what’s gonna happen. Here’s our collagen agenda, here are your action items.


Here’s the team that’s gonna do it. Same thing for the team. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what’s next. Here’s how to do it. Here’s how to heck get support. Because the team, again, people, we, we, we want to be led. And not everyone thinks like you. Like there are different personalities and different modalities. And also as founders or entrepreneurs, not everyone’s as crazy as you are. Some people just wanna show up, do their work, and then do incredible work and go home and hang out with their families and just relax. Right? So it’s, it’s understanding that those are the major pitfalls. The doing is the execution, the tactics is the easy part. It’s managing and leading your team to effectively implement over time.


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Service Optimization: Leadership Lessons from Persistence and Growth


I think this is an excellent perspective. I’m gonna repeat a few of the words back to you. When you mentioned persistence over time,  that, that it’s not a, you have one meeting and all of a sudden you’re gonna be productized, of course, an across your five core services or like what you mentioned, let’s say there are 23 things that you do, and then 23 different productization, but it’s persistence over time. You mentioned muscle strength and then the natural friction. And that took me back to, I think, an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger. And he was asked, you know, back in the day, you know, or I think he actually asked somebody. He was, quasi doing the interview. And he said, let’s say you’re doing a set of 10 repetitions on a particular exercise, which repetition gives you the most, the most growth, the most teardowns of the muscle, the most gains, the most opportunity to get better.


And the person said, oh, I don’t know, probably rep number 10. And the person said, no, or he said, no, it’s, it’s actually 12. It’s, you know, you, you think your limitation is 10 because you’re doing a set of 10. And it’s actually not that that’s the initial framework, but it’s the going, the beyond that piece. You know, you’re expecting your muscles are gonna fail at eight or nine or 10. When the lactic acid starts to burn, you start to feel the tear. You start to feel the exhaustion. But pushing past 10 to 11 and 12 and 13, that persistence, when that really kicks in, that’s where the growth is. It’s like, oh. So to your point about the friction, that when you’re going through all this peace, and you’re thinking about the core services and all of that stuff, and then you hit the wall, that’s natural. That’s a law of nature hitting the wall.  it’s pushing through the wall where all the goodness is on the other side, right?


Absolutely. So how do you have other humans, the rest of your team, being aligned to push through that friction, which is going to happen? And how do you lead them through that? And that’s, that’s the art of productization, the system, the thing we just went through easy. Anyone can do it. It’s, are you willing, is your team willing? Are you willing to be that coach leader? Are you willing to be that person who can relate to, inspire, and motivate but also make it intrinsic motivation? Not just, you do this, you’re gonna get a dollar, or do this ’cause I told you, or do this ’cause you’re gonna get fired. Like, okay, great. Like that’s short-term views. Right?


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Service Optimization: Improving Communication


I love this. So I was just, as I’m looking through our notes here, from our conversation, I know we need to come in for a landing here pretty quickly, but I keep going back to the what is, what is our meaning, our audience thinking through this, through their own lens. What is our unique style of doing it? And then, and then asking and asking and asking and asking and having the persistence. And then, and then la the other, piece, because we sort of touched on this right before the break that I wanted to make sure that we, that we go to before we close out. So, you mentioned the three modalities. And I wanna take this piece a little bit deeper here because I don’t, I don’t want to just gloss over this ’cause I thought this was great when you said the kicker and the how you do it and then the three modalities you mentioned three modalities. You mentioned visual video and then written actions.  So give us a little bit more context there before we come in for a landing.


Yeah. So I mean, the most time zones I’ve led teams through were 12 plus. I stopped counting at 12 time zones. And I think I’m pretty clear and articulate when I explain something, but I’m not, I say something, I think it sounds like clear, but the other team has to also comprehend that idea. And that idea has to exist in their mind. Sometimes, there’s a loss in translation, a loss in communication. And with dealing with time zones, if I miscommunicate or run, don’t give as much context as possible a project that would be delayed by one hour. ’cause we’re remote and online is delayed by four days, multiplied by how many clients you have equals your stress. And I’ve call it like the seven frameworks of like the standard operating procedure seven because this is the, the, the lowest I can get to.


But the key three in the how-to document is to give your team a visual overview first of them for your visual learners. Here’s the framework. It could be a Google, a draw, a lucid, whatever. Here’s what we’re trying to do, here’s what it looks like so that people who are visual, because like, oh, okay, I feel confident and comfortable. People who are kinesthetic learners who learn by doing, you do like a video tutorial. Here’s how to do X, y, and Z. Here’s how to do X so they can watch and do watch and do watch and do. And they need that. And then people who are,  what is it? The audio learners can listen to it and understand it. And the people who are like want to read instructions can just go do the checklist. Okay, I can do X, Y, and z, I can read this long text, I can do all these things.


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Service Optimization: Streamlining Service Productization with AI Tools


And the beauty now with some of these tools, like some of the AI tools, is you just have to record it once.  throw, throw the transcript, get the transcript literally for free, or just pay like 30 bucks for like 10 hours, 20, 30. I don’t know how many of the transcripts are available.  throw it up to whatever your favorite LLM or chatbot is. Ask them to systemize it for you, consolidate it for you, give you a summary, and give you a checklist, etc. And you can streamline this process by doing things at once. And I think to, to kind of land, we talked about the process, we talked about the management, we talked about the doing outside of the prep work of prepping your team, however long that takes. It could take two weeks, it could take three weeks, it could take four weeks.


Whatever your goal is actually productizing a service. I dunno how many services you have, but productizing a service, I would say, takes anywhere from one hour to 90 minutes a day. Hmm. Roughly three weeks. Okay. So I don’t think it’s gonna, it’s, it’s not an insane amount of time. And that’s actually very conservative. So I’m, I’m saying it’s gonna take you 15, maybe 15 to 30 hours, 20 hours to be safe per service. That’s identifying the customer journey, figuring out what you’re doing, and then documenting it. Is it intentional time? Yes. But can you be done within 20 or 25 hours? Absolutely. I don’t see why not. And I can’t say I’ve seen every operation under the sun, but even the most complex ones aren’t super complex. They just take time to document. Now, with the tools, you can go even faster.


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Service Optimization: Turning Ideas into Action


Yeah. And that’s the point, right? Going through that process of x number of hours that might lend lead to, you know, again, early on in our conversation, you mentioned you’re a designer, you’re creative, you’re solving problems. My guess is a very high percentage of the time that we think that we’re solving X problem, we’re doing x productization of said service. As we’re 5, 10, or 15 hours into it, we might realize something that completely changes the game. It’s like, oh, wait a minute. Maybe it isn’t that, maybe it’s this and, and maybe that is where we can be the most helpful to a client, but we would’ve never known that fork in the road existed until we had put in the first 15 hours or whatever the number is. It doesn’t matter what the number is, it’s like get the process started. Right. As opposed to just imagining being in great shape. Get into the gym and, and when you’re in, that’s when you start learning about different exercises, nutritional strategy, how to actually put the right amount of tension in the right areas, what, you know, supporting muscles are like, and what compound movements are like. You can’t do that unless you get in. Right.


Exactly. And then the ongoing optimization and improvement, which is maintenance mode, which is minimal hours. So it’s getting in there when you take action, you open a door, and you’re like, oh, this is what’s hiding back here. Then you see other opportunities and other options for you.


This is so great. So I know we need to close out and say goodbye, but before we do, please tell our audience the best way to connect with you.


The best way to connect with me is through the websites. That’s dogoodwork.IO/SWA, that’s sell with authority.


Awesome. Okay. Everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and re-listen to RA’s words of wisdom, either in this episode or back in episode 57. The key is you have to take all the smart things, all the insights, all the expertise that he shared with you, take it and apply it, and put it into practice inside the business. Because when you do, you will accelerate your results. And Raul, we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And I’m grateful that you said yes for a second time to come onto the show, to be our mentor and guide to help us move our businesses onward to that next level. Thank you so much, my friend.


This was fun. Thank you for having me.

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