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Streamlining the Agency Proposal Process and Managing Scope

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 02 Apr 2024

Jamie and Joey discuss the challenges creative agencies face with proposal and pricing strategies, particularly scope creep, with Joe Ardeeser, Founder of Smart Pricing Table. Joe advises building a "fence" around the agency's work by clearly defining what services are included and what are not, using detailed line items and bulleted lists. He also emphasizes the importance of continuously updating the service catalog based on experience and customer feedback.



Intro (00:00:00) - Welcome to the Virtual CPA Success Show for Creative Agencies. The go to resource for agency owners looking to scale their business. Join us every week to stay ahead of the curve and position your agency for future success.

Jamie (00:00:14) - All right, Joey, I'm going to put you on the spot as the intro for this podcast. So most, of our listeners should know that Joey works with almost all of our clients because he's there for the onboarding and then he's there whenever problems come up. So I'm curious, how often does the proposal and pricing process come up in these when you talk with your clients?

Joey (00:00:35) - I mean, once a month, maybe more frequently because it's always the it's the overwhelming concern, right? That's the first, that is your first opportunity to not only set the like the bar for the engagement, but if you do it really well, you're going to win more then you're going to lose. If you're not doing it well, you're going to put a ton of effort in for something that you're not going to be receiving any results from.

Joey (00:00:57) - And that can I mean, it's a double-edged sword when that happens, because now you're less productive and you have less to show for it. So, I would say, especially now when pipelines are a little bit, you know, still maybe a little bit concerning with visibility. It's probably the most important conversation we can have with our clients on a weekly, on a monthly, weekly, daily basis. However, often we need to have that conversation with them. Maybe not. Yeah.

Jamie (00:01:20) - Then I think especially during that onboarding process. And again, I think a lot of people listening to this are probably going to hear this episode and be like, oh yeah, that's awesome that there's a solution out there for pricing. And so we have our guest, Joe already served today, and he really does talk through the smart pricing table. And we talk a lot about pricing and kind of some tips. But I think, if these tips really resonate with you, I would definitely look them up and check out their website and tick out their demos.

Jamie (00:01:43) - And sometimes, you know, it's going to take you three times as long to create something yourself versus if there's already a tool out there, that's the way to go. So, I would definitely check out his website and listen to this episode, because there's a lot of nuggets in here.

Joey (00:01:55) - Yeah. And I want to I want to highlight something you said Jamie towards the the back third of the podcast where you were talking about, you know, that's a lot of people think there's something, you know, something to like I'm going to do it myself. Like, if this isn't your jam, if this isn't something you feel super, super good about, our default lever that we pull is, let's find you a partner. Who does it really, really, really well. So I want everyone to kind of take a listen to that and see if you feel like you fit into this, this category. Take a look or ask your professional about some other types of things to do that there, because there's no shame in saying, you know, I need to just find a resource for this instead of, you know, trying to make something work for me.

Jamie (00:02:34) - Yep. Definitely. So hope with that. Everybody enjoy the show. And, this should be a good one for you. Hello, everybody. Welcome to today's show. Today's show is going to be a really good one because I know this is something that we work with our agency and marketing clients on all the time. They're always saying, can you build a better pricing tool for us? Can you help us get our proposals out faster and quicker and more accurately? And, while we can help with that, it's sometimes it's great to bring in, an expert in so we have, Joe RDC here to talk through, talk through his tool which is smart pricing table. So welcome to the show, Joe.

Joe (00:03:06) - Thanks for having me. Jamie and Joey.

Jamie (00:03:09) - Yeah, and Joey's here as well. So, guest host. Joey. Jody is traveling today, so we are lucky to have, Joey working with us today.

Joey (00:03:17) - Jamie, it's great to be back. It's been a few months since I've been on the on the show, so thanks for having me. And we continue to be the podcasts with the most J’s on the internet. That's right. I challenge you to find a podcast with more J’s than our podcast.

Jamie (00:03:32) - That is true. Definitely. All right, Joe, why don't you tell us a little bit about you, a little bit of your background and kind of, a little bit about your company.

Joe (00:03:40) - Yeah, well, not to go too far back, but, I'm a I'm a systems guy. I love engineering, and, you know, I've shared this story, but I have, you know, fond memories of doing Halloween candy with my grandma who raised me, and, she wanted to have little baggies with a, like, a tied ribbon on the top. And I remember, just as a young, I don't know, I was probably seven, creating an assembly line, factory style setup so that I could package them the most efficiently.

Joe (00:04:16) - And I'd say that's where my story began. but I, you know, I, I've always been a really big, you know, I like thinking through taking things to the next level and breaking things down. I ran a web design agency for about 12 years. And, you never really planned on being anything more than a freelancer, but it grew into something incredible. Our biggest project was Bluetooth, a new website for Bluetooth, and then in the middle of that, I, disdained writing proposals. I hated it, and so we created a solution that worked really well for us. long story short, I decided to take that to the market about two years ago, and, I'm an odd duck. I like proposals, I like scope of work and I think about them a lot.

Joey (00:05:13) - So a quick question here, because it's kind of thinking about the proposal process and the various ways that, you know, a lot of digital agencies in particular, are what we call time and hour businesses, right? You've got a certain number of hours and you've got a certain number of dollars that you can charge for those hours. And that's the basis for your revenue, right? What have you seen in terms of you making that switch from being in that kind of time and our traditional dev type business to now in a business where you're effectively selling a product as well, has that changed your scope and changed your mentality?

Joe (00:05:51) - It's changed a lot. I'm sure a lot of your digital agencies, a lot of your listeners, maybe they kind of peer around the curtain to see what it's like. And the truth is, is there's a lot of there's a lot of similarities, a lot of the skills that I learned at my agency over 12 years, I, I got to bring with me, but it's different.

Joe (00:06:09) - You know, it's awkward to go from negotiating 30, $40,000 websites to, you so you think $49 a month is too high? You think I'm double? That's right. Okay. How did we get into. How do I get on a zoom? You know, and it's, with SAS, it's all frontloaded. It's very expensive, to get going and, you know it, you know, lots and lots of challenges you know, the life of a founder. Excited, depressed. Excited, depressed. but when you get over that hump, the stability is incredible. I remember agency life. My wife knows well the fiscal cliff and, you know, increasing overhead. And, so there's a lot of differences there. it's very fun, very hard at the beginning.

Jamie (00:07:07) - Yeah, definitely. It definitely a challenge.

Jamie (00:07:09) - And I think kind of like you talked about is, is a lot of that goes back to that first stage is those proposals. And how can you get them out the door quickly and sign quickly. So, as you said you're a process person. So, give us your Halloween candy approach to getting a fast proposal out the door.

Joe (00:07:25) - Yeah, I love I love that. So, I would say the biggest thing I'm just going to go straight for the jugular. I'm going to do my biggest, best tip. and where I see a lot of agencies or even professional services companies, they don't do this. The biggest thing is creating a product catalog. Okay there's a lot to proposals, you know, your team, case studies, testimonials, your terms, all that kind of stuff. But at our agency, the biggest thing was, you know, our prices and our services change between our proposals. Everything else is pretty static. How do I create a system so that I can generate a scope of work as quick as possible? And the solution is creating a catalog, I believe.

Joe (00:08:12) - So a lot of, you know, professional service providers, agencies don't think this way. They're grabbing a line item from this proposal. From this proposal, they're writing another line item from scratch, and they're Frankensteining them all together. And when you create a catalog, there are just so many. I mean, I don't know how long you want me to go on this, but there are so many benefits. just to name two. I was able to hire a full-time salesperson and get myself entirely out of the sales process.

Joey (00:08:44) - Which is the dream, by the way, of, like, every client that I work with.

Joe (00:08:47) - Yeah, yeah. And it really is. And it seems so hard because, you know, as a digital agency, you're thinking, man, the stakes are so freaking high. You know, we were talking about in the green room here about scope creep. It's like scope creep is an issue when the CEO is creating the proposal, let alone a salesperson who's generally going to be non-technical.

Joe (00:09:06) - But if you can create a catalog all of a sudden your sales person, they just need to be a good listener. They need to understand the catalog and they need to be able to put things together. You know, they wanted a blog. They wanted, an about us page, a home page. Maybe they wanted some ongoing SEO. And if they can just grab those line items that have been defined in a comprehensive way, already, and then add them to a proposal, everything starts to change. It becomes, you can get you can break through to that next slide in agency life.

Jamie (00:09:43) - And I can tell you again, we're not an agency, but we are a service provider that has that exact sales process in place. Right. So we have a very, rudimentary spreadsheet that, we could have built in in a couple hours that we use to do our sales. And like you said, it has a catalog in there, and we have the conversations with our prospective clients.

Jamie (00:10:01) - And within an hour of that call, people walk out knowing what their prices options are A, B, C, D, and they walk out of it. And I can tell you from being on hundreds of those calls that it is such a difference maker. It is such a difference maker for people to walk out and know exactly what the pricing can be, what it's going to look like, and oftentimes it's like, oh, this is too expensive for us. And that's great. I'd rather come to that conclusion on day one, then four months from now in the sales process. Right. And so I think it's been a game changer for us. And it's definitely our philosophy is that anybody in our company can sell, because all you have to do is know how to use a spreadsheet.

Joe (00:10:34) - Right, right. Yeah. And things come together so quickly. I remember at my agency, I, I would always tell my team, like, we've got to get back to people quickly because 2 or 3 days of delay because it takes you, you know, so long to create a scope of work or proposal could be the difference between them engaging with one of your competitors and building a lot of rapport.

Joe (00:10:56) - Right. Like, they're loving it. And then you finally submit your proposal. It's kind of old news. Now you're going against the grain and you're trying to, you know, you're on the defense a bit. and another big one is, you know, digital agencies, professional service companies, they hate writing proposals because of the fog. Right. Just like I sit down. I've got 15 minutes between these two meetings, like, I'm super stressed out, and it's like, I can't. I'm just sitting there and with a blinking carrot. I don't know what to do. When you have a catalog, you. A catalog is a fog killer, right? It all of a sudden brings clarity. They wanted this. I add that line item to the proposal. That line item already has a lot of thought put into it. Restrictions, limitations. What's included configurations or upsells? Like to have all that and to be building a system like that ongoing proposal writing can darn near be fun.

Joe (00:11:57) - I would venture to say.

Joey (00:11:59) - Oh, the other thing I like about that catalog approach is it feels like, especially if you're thinking about, see, you know, founder type people creating and then delegating that down to other people. I would imagine that catalog makes a lot easier for you as the founder, to maintain your brand promise in a way that you know you are comfortable with because you've already defined the parameters, you don't have to think about it. It's already baked in.

Joe (00:12:25) - That's the key, Joey. And so, the idea what we did and what I suggest is the CEO or leader, some leader at the company who has authority is the Architect. Okay. They're creating templates, they're creating line items and fleshing things out, and they're setting the parameters because that's the risky business. The salesperson is just simply adding them and then maybe adjusting, you know, if it's small, you know, maybe it's fine. They have a little bit of room. If it's seismic, then they need to get approval.

Joe (00:12:55) - I got to a point where I didn't even have to approve my sales guys proposals. I mean, after a couple of years of doing this, I just said, you got it. Like, because I knew, like, unless you change something big, you need to tell me that, okay? But otherwise he's just playing with the twigs or the leaves, right. He's not actually adjusting the trunk. And so it's like, look, I got a lot of fish to fry. I don't need to cobble over something that could change, you know, $100 of profitability. I trust you go for it. 

Joey (00:13:27) - Yeah. You've got like, a. Little buffer in there where you're like, this is your margin of error that I'm, like, completely comfortable with inside those parameters. I'm going to get out of the way. Right?

Joe (00:13:36) - Right. Yeah, yeah. And try, it's training a salesperson without a catalog. Yeah. Good luck. If you could just read over the last ten years of my emails and every recording of I've ever had and then just mimic me, then it'll be great.

Joe (00:13:52) - No, you can't like they need to, you know, they need to understand your services and the things that you sell. And a catalog is a great way to do that.

Jamie (00:14:01) - I think that what I'm curious with your tool is one of the things that we know with our Excel spreadsheet is we are making adjustments to it all the time. So just a couple of days ago, I was looking back at one of our clients that's been with us for 3 or 4 years, and I was looking back at their original pricing tool and I was like, oh, wow, this thing is way different than the one we're using today. And that's because we learn. We learned that, the AP process needs three different levels versus just one level because it can be so complicated. And, you know, I think that's something that we've constantly had to do is every time something every time we get burnt on the back side and we'll talk about scope creep in a second here.

Jamie (00:14:34) - But anytime you get burnt in the backside, we go in and look at it and be okay. What in the pricing conversation could have made it so we wouldn't have got burnt. So how does your tool work in terms of making those adjustments and adding more items to the catalog?

Joe (00:14:45) - Yeah, well, Jamie, I think you're reading from my notes. I haven't had anyone for a long time say quite like that, because that's almost exactly how I say it. I know how hard it is running an agency, and. And it's just when you're dealing with people, there's so much room for problems and challenges. What I advise agencies is take that pain, I feel you, I'm there with you. Take that pain and channel that energy towards fixing your process so that can never happen again. Or at least it's massively mitigated. And so, you know, with a little bit of detail about my product, I don't like to talk about it a ton on these podcast, but, smart pricing table helps you create really solid scope of work documents and proposals.

Joe (00:15:31) - And, and part of how we do that is there's you know, individual proposals, but there's templates and then line items as well. And I say, that's your system, okay. When you're creating proposals, you're executed. When you're working on your system, you're investing in your business. And so what I'd say, you know, as an example, maybe, you sell a blog and you sell it for $1,000. That's a part of a website package. and you find out that it like, you literally made, like $25 an hour, which is agency and minimum wage. Right. you go back and you say, okay, what? Where did we leave ourselves open here? Okay, maybe I need to clarify the layouts that are included and even specify what's not included, or in our product, like on a blog line item. You could have upsells like author bio pages or related blog posts, and each of those have a little price and the customer can just click on them.

Joe (00:16:32) - And so defining some of those opportunities and then checking your base costs. But if you don't have a repository, if you don't have a catalog, you can't do that. You're just hoping that you remember next time or you have it written down. But again, that just goes back to the whole mental fog and anxiety with the process.

Joey (00:16:52) - Well, I love thinking about it from that perspective. And the other thing too, that I'd love to get your thoughts on is in those pricing tools, building in some dependencies like I'm thinking about ours in particular, where we have it's kind of a it can be all a cart or, you know, very much a package deal. But there are certain things in our product offering that we've decided you can't do this without also having this, because they're so related that if one is, if one is chosen without the other, we can't provide the brand promise. So I think that's the other challenge that I would challenge agencies to think about is not just building in those things that they can check, but also thinking about, well, does it make sense for someone to be able to have a blog without also having an author bio page? If those two from a from a deliverable perspective are so interrelated.

Joe (00:17:43) - Right? I agree yeah. You never want to, make something missional. Mission critical. Optional.

Joey (00:17:50) - Agreed.

Jamie (00:17:51) - Great. Yeah. So curious. Let's, let's go down the scope creep path a little bit. And I think, what we're finding from a lot of our discussions with our clients, and I'm sure you're hearing this as well, is with the way the economy is and with what agencies are seeing right now is everybody wants more and wants to pay less. And so I think part of that is a big part of that is in how you price and I've talked to clients about this all the time is is like, okay, if you want to avoid scope creep, you have to make your pricing conversation as clear as possible. So, that's always a tip I give. I'm curious, what are some tips that that you can give to kind of make sure that scope creep isn't happening and clients aren't always trying to push those lines.

Joe (00:18:28) - Yeah. You know, I, I'd say one of the big analogies or ideas that I go over a lot is build a fence around your work. A lot of agencies, you know, there's a mean acronym in our industry. I think it's Peta or Peta. and the reality is, is that we're often the pain in the butt. Right? And because it's like you're getting irritated at your customer, it's like you didn't even describe what you were doing. There's a there's a saying if there's a I cannot figure out who said this, but I use it all the time. but if there's a fog or if there's a mist in the pulpit, there's a fog in the congregation. And the point there is stop assuming you're freaking customers know your world like you do. And if you don't know what you're offering, they have no stinking clue. Right? And so when it comes to scope creep, like, for instance, I like, you know, you know, spelling this out with an example, let's say you offer Facebook, social media management.

Joe (00:19:30) - Okay. One way you can sell that is you can say we'll manage your social media for $1,500 a month, and I will take care of everything for you. You're basically courting disaster and practicing, not making friends with some kind of setup like that. But imagine instead on that line item for Facebook social media management, you said will manage Facebook page for customer work includes. And then I like to break it down into a bolted list, ten, ten posts per month. Okay,t wo hour, 24 hour turnaround time needed for post approval. we're going to do two, two sets of them. Right? So you're spelling everything out. and then, does not include, images, or at least does not include stock images, like maybe we'll do some free ones or something like that. Okay. So, what you've done there is you've built a fence around your work and you have handles you can grab on to.

Joe (00:20:36) - And then what I like doing and this is where smart pricing table is just so different in the market. but I like doing things like okay, do you want additional posts. That's a configuration inside the line item. So, you can turn that on and you can specify a quantity. And the agency owner can say it's $150 per additional posts. Okay. Would you like, stock images. That's an additional, you know, $500 a month. Like, maybe like I stock high quality images. Well, what you've done there is you've provided clarity on the base offering and the configurations make it clear when that something's not included if you didn't check it right. And that's all part of the sign contract. So that goes the scope of work, goes with the terms, goes with everything else. And so they come to you and they say, actually another one. I'd have an upsell on there for comment interactions.

Joe (00:21:29) - Okay. A lot of people who would engage in a service like that, they're not thinking about that.

Joe (00:21:35) - And, little did you know, they would have paid for that. Right. So put that as an upsell. but you know, if, if, they're frustrated because they have all this work, you can point back to it, you say, I understand that, and we're happy to help with content or comment interactions, but it's just not included in our base costs. And you can see we offered you that and you didn't select it. Right. And you simply, you diffuse it simply. But if you didn't talk about it at all, now all of a sudden you have a challenge.

Joey (00:22:05) - So, Joe, the thing I like about that the most is you remind me a little bit of our SEO Adam Hale, where he's, he's told me on multiple occasions where he's like, yeah, everything we've done, we've made all, all the mistakes before, and we're going to learn from them. And when you were saying that about the common interaction, I was like, man, I, I would have never thought to put that in SW. I could think of was you. You had to learn that lesson the hard way at some point, either through a lost opportunity or someone assuming that and you eat in the cost. And that just was horrible for you. And yeah, I really just wanted to admire that piece of the puzzle because that is a skill is learning how to learn from that mistake and build it into the, you know, turn a negative into a positive.

Joe (00:22:50) - Yeah, yeah. And that's exactly. So, this is the full thought, right? So that happens. Life sucks. you do the comments anyways because you didn't communicate and you want to keep the customer. Right? Right. So you do the comments but then you go, you go to your template, you go to that line item and you add an upsell for it. Okay. You're happy. You're happy to do it. You, you, you're having conversations with yourself and you're like, I hate responding in comments.

Joe (00:23:15) - No you don't, you hate responding to comments without getting paid. But if the number was right, you might actually love it. Maybe it's your highest margin thing in the future because you can outsource it to a low paid person, right? Like an entry level person. And so you take that pain, that frustration, and you go back and you say, I'm not going to do this again. There are lots of pitfalls and no agency is perfect. But if I keep doing that, I will, you're gonna have smooth, so much smooth sailing. And it really for us what that equated to. We were number two on, Klitschko for web design companies, for multiple years. In fact, we were number one for like three months. and it wasn't just paying for it. We had the reviews to vouch for it as well.

Jamie (00:24:05) - So I'm curious with your company, since you're having these conversations with multiple different agencies and so like one agency may say, you know what our biggest pain point is, is the comments.

Jamie (00:24:15) - Another agency might say our biggest pain point is, is whatever. Do you how often do you take that information and build it into your next conversation with your future clients? And so that like when companies are working with you, they not only have your knowledge, but they have the knowledge of all the clients you've worked with so they can actually build efficiencies in their pricing.

Joe (00:24:34) - Yeah, I think I'm in a unique position. I no longer have an agency myself, but I get to talk to a lot of agency owners. And obviously I there's strict confidentiality on, you know, who it is and all that kind of stuff. But I'm able to see a very high level how people do things and, and, and high-level paradigms, that I think can be, can be really helpful. agencies are so different that oftentimes it's hard to find the common threads, but I certainly, I see a lot of those, and it's, it's fun to, you know, help people, avoid, you know, take some shortcuts with this kind of stuff.

Jamie (00:25:13) - Yeah for sure.

Jamie (00:25:14) - All right. So, with that question, we've hit the fun part of the show. So not that what you said before wasn't fun. I was I'm really enjoying this. And I think we could go on for forever because I know this is a hot topic among our listeners, but unfortunately we have to keep these podcasts short. So, I have I have the fun question. So, you I keep thinking about your Halloween story. So, I'm going to ask you something similar because I think it's a fun story. And the question is going to be is what is what was your guilty pleasure as a kid that you wouldn't want any of your buddies to know you were doing? And so I, I will start just to give you guys an example. So, as everybody knows, I'm kind of obsessed with basketball, and I was as a kid as well. And my dad always had like the stat book that was his job. So, he wasn't like yelling at the refs too much.

Jamie (00:25:51) - He was always keeping the stats during our youth basketball games. And so, what I would like to do as a kid is I'd like to sneak down at night, take that stat book, go up into my room and make Excel spreadsheets where I could, like, learn how to like, calculate average and all that stuff as like a little kid. And so that was always kind of my guilty pleasure as a kid was playing in Excel with basketball stats. And so again, something I would never tell my buddies I did, and I wasn't like printing out these statues and bringing them to games, but it was always kind of like I loved Excel even before I was like working in it every day. So that was kind of my guilty pleasure as a kid. So, let's start with you, Joe. What was yours?

Joe (00:26:23) - Yeah. That's a fun that's definitely a fun question. And, I think I would probably reserve this from saying this to my friends, but maybe I would, maybe I tell them anyways, I had, I was believing I was a foster kid growing up and my grandparents took me in when I was six, had a relationship with my mother, but I just didn't have a lot of direction.

Joe (00:26:43) - And I was the strangest kid. I got obsessed with building my pain tolerance. Okay. And so I kid you not, one of my activities, I was probably a 10 or 11. I have young boys. I tell them you will not do this. I told them the story. I would hang upside down on a branch with, this string with some handles on it. And I was probably I'd go upside down and I was probably about three feet up from the air, maybe two. And I would just drop.

Joe (00:27:13) - On my head.

Joe (00:27:14) - That is classic 100%. Boy, I don't know why I did that. I also had other things where I would, you know, I, I'd, practice martial arts in the backyard. And by martial arts, I mean just being a boy.

Jamie (00:27:27) - Kicking, kicking fences.

Joe (00:27:28) - or hurting myself.

Joe (00:27:30) - So yeah, that was. I don't know how that's contributed to me as an adult, but it was definitely there as a kid.

Jamie (00:27:36) - So how is your pain tolerance now? It has to be like extreme.

Joe (00:27:39) - I, you know.

Joe (00:27:42) - Management has made me a weak man. I still like to, I have nine-year-old twin boys and I lift them above my head and I weight train. So, I feel like pain tolerance is doing okay.

Jamie (00:27:54) - It's funny because.

Jamie (00:27:54) - I just listened to, David Goggins was on a podcast, and it's a very scientific podcast. And one of the things they talked about was how there's a part of your brain that gets bigger as you push yourself to do things you don't like. And so that's why I had to ask that follow up questions, because it's like no one likes to be hurt. Like it has to be like the more you do it, the easier it gets. And that's part of that, that part of the brain. Like, I'm not even going to try to pronounce it. And I suddenly remember what it was, but it was the fascinating part of that podcast to me.

Jamie (00:28:18) - It's like, you know, the more you do the things you hate, the stronger your willpower and your tolerance gets.

Joe (00:28:24) - Thanks for connecting the dots for me, Jamie, I appreciate that.

Jamie (00:28:26) - There you go.

Jamie (00:28:27) - All right, Joey, I gave you plenty of time to think. 

Joey (00:28:30) - Oh, I've got the answer for sure. So, before I, before I do that, I, I wanted to share something with the audience. So, when I heard the comment. About the Halloween candy. Knowing how much you love Halloween. Jamie, I wrote down what I thought the topic was going to be. It's on this pad right here. I thought you were going to ask favorite Halloween costume? And I was wrong, but that's a great that's a great segue into your actual question. What I love more than anything in the world that I've never told anybody, I don't even think my wife knows this, and she's probably listening in the other room. She's going to hear this. I love watching YouTube videos of magicians.

Joey (00:29:07) - I love card magic, and I was really hoping that I would be able to sit there and say, I wrote this down before Jamie said it, and here it is. Favorite Halloween costume. But it didn't. It didn't work out. But I like to watch, like if you've ever watched a really good card magician, right? Like how they handle the cards like it is like it's actually even better when you know how the trick is done. Like when you watch someone, like, effortlessly pull off a double lift and you're like, I had no idea this guy was lifting up four cards at once, and he just did it, and I had no idea. So, I like to, when I'm stressed out at night or just need to stop thinking about accounting for a few hours, I'll just throw on some card magic on YouTube and watch dudes do magic tricks. It's a lot of fun.

Jamie (00:29:50) - I put it down to like 0.2 speed to try to figure out exactly how they're doing it. Is that is that the same?

Joey (00:29:54) - No.

Joey (00:29:55) - I've picked up a few things. I also like to play a lot of solitaire. There's a conversation for Vegas, Jamie, about how I used to count cards in my head. so, like, I can pick up on the patterns and start to see things moving around. But, you know, some of the things, there are some magicians where they will kind of teach you how to do some of those, some of those tricks and stuff online to show kind of how it's done. And there's about 10 or 15 basic techniques that, you know, I can't master. But like if you can do those 10 to 15 basic techniques, you can do 95% of all magic tricks, even the ones that David Blaine does. They're just a variation of one of those basic techniques. And, you know, there's some really, really interesting stuff about like false shuffles and how to do those types of things. And just a full disclosure to anybody who happens to go to Vegas or any other place.

Joey (00:30:46) - If you see a guy or girl, shuffle their cards with their hands and not actually use the table where they just like, do a shuffle in midair, don't play poker with that person because that person's going to take all your money.

Jamie (00:30:57) - There you go. 

Joe (00:30:58) - Yeah. Good tip.

Jamie (00:30:59) - All right. So now to the final session section here. So let's talk through our final thoughts. Again, I know I definitely have one based on this podcast. And like I said I think we could have gone forever. But Joe, why don't you give us your final thoughts then also let people know how they can get hold of you.

Joe (00:31:16) - Yeah, well, you know, I like that we focus on one big idea. I'm a simple guy. That helps me a lot of times, but I just say I don't underestimate how much building a catalog can benefit your digital agency. And then continuing to make improvements to that. I lived that dream. My agency was a lot of fun, and I talked to a lot of agencies who hated it.

Joe (00:31:39) - And I think that was our secret sauce. If you want to learn more about us, smartpricingtable.com is our website. smartpricingtable.com. If any of these things seem interesting, especially with a catalog or just efficiencies with your process, I'd encourage listeners to schedule a demo. I also have a free guide, marketing agencies. You can't afford to overlook these ten proposal rules. It's a ten-video series, their five-minute video each day. And I just go over some of the principles. That was, you know, my secret sauce when I had my agency. So, all free. And I'd love to talk to anyone who wants to.

Jamie (00:32:19) - Great.

Jamie (00:32:20) - All right, Joey, what's your final thought for our listeners?

Joey (00:32:23) - I would piggyback on Joe's comment there and say, I think for a lot of agency owners, just getting started is the hardest step in that thing. Like that's the biggest hurdle that you're going to have to face is moving from not having a system to having a system.

Joey (00:32:41) - So that's my encouragement for our agency owners, is create a system. And if you're unfamiliar or don't feel comfortable creating a system, go to smartpricingtable.com and have someone help you with that. Because that, getting over that hurdle is the hardest piece. And then from there you're just tweaking and refining as you learn. But getting that system set up is the hurdle that you've got to overcome.

Joe (00:33:05) - Right?

Jamie (00:33:05) - Yeah, definitely. Yeah, mine's more similar to that as well, but more in a broader terms. I what I always tell people when I talk to them at different events or when I'm working with clients or prospective clients, is how you have to look at your business is what is your biggest pain point? What is the thing that is causing you the most stress right now? And then solve it. And oftentimes the solve needs to be outside your organization. And that that's here. How many times have I talked to companies. They're like, gosh, I just can't get proposals out fast enough, or I can't really figure out how we should be doing our pricing and how we should be doing our proposals and how we should really make sure that everything sinks.

Jamie (00:33:38) - And so if that is one of your biggest pain points, I would definitely reach out to Joe here. I think he's going to be a big help for you. And I'm definitely going to watch that, that series that you, plugged earlier because I'm definitely have me watch it and have all our CFOs watch it because I this is it's crazy. As a CFO, how many times these questions come up and how much people are looking for our help in this area. So, I think that, we definitely have a strong partnership here. And hopefully our listeners, look you up if this is one of their pain points. Awesome. Great. Well, thanks for coming, both of you guys.

Joe (00:34:08) - Thank you as well. Thanks for having me, guys.

Joey (00:34:10) - Thanks, Jamie. 

Joey (00:34:10) - Thanks, Joe. 

Jamie (00:34:11) Yep. Awesome!

Streamlining the Proposal Process and Managing Scope for Creative Agencies

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