Richard Woods, is an award-winning entrepreneur, BBC's The Apprentice finalist, professional keynote speaker, radio presenter, investor & bestselling author.
He was a finalist on BBC’s The Apprentice, Series 11 (2015) – Where he was the top seller across all tasks during the competition and broke two Apprentice records one for most sales in one day (£4.3 million) and secondly “The best Advertising Task ever seen on The Apprentice” – Lord Sugar.
He runs the award-winning Lead Gen Academy which shows entrepreneurs and marketers how to unleash the power of digital on their business.
Episode 54 of the Fearless Business podcast features a very special guest, Richard Wood, 2015’s The Apprentice runner up. Richard is now a professional keynote speaker, radio presenter, investor, bestselling author, and also the founder of the Lead Gen Academy. This episode features an insight into Richard’s entrepreneurial journey and focuses on how to generate leads online.
Richard’s entrepreneurship journey started with a company called Two UK. When Richard finished university, he travelled out to India and China with a sketchbook full of ideas. He would visit trade shows and discover products that he could bring his ideas to life and import back to the UK. The experience gave him a positive graduation of converting entrepreneurship to something physical.
As they started to bring things to the UK, the company began to develop their own websites, which garnered interest. Needing to sell the products on their website though, the company would offer free website designs in exchange for buying X amounts of products.
However, when service-based industries such as plumbers wanted a website, they weren’t interested in gifts or homeware products, so payment for websites was introduced. This led to a full business transition.
They knew their craft and how SEO, marketing, and pay-per-click worked through doing those things for themselves. After implementing those ideas for clients, this led to people wanting more of their time, and a realisation that people wanted to pay them to teach marketing.
Being a practical person, Richard approached his work using a “here’s A and here’s B” strategy, simplifying marketing and providing a refreshing take on consulting.
Implementing this approach, Richard’s digital marketing journey led him to create Yomp digital marketing agency, and then what is now the Lead Gen Academy.
Moving from an agency to consultancy services was based on that fact that Richard believes that if you do all the work for someone, such as in an agency, they will never know how to do the work for themselves or how they received their results. If you teach someone how to do something though, they are getting the knowledge and actually implementing strategies into their own business, and getting the results.
Richard’s entrepreneurship journey involved setting up multiple businesses along the way, selling businesses over the past few years. Every business would receive many enquiries, thanks to Richard’s talent for lead generation.
The negative side to running multiple companies soon became clear though. Even with a team to help, your attention is split between several avenues. Using an inch analogy, Richard sees that you can go five inches forward in a day, but if you are running five businesses, then you can only go one inch forward. Focusing on one business allows you to scale a proper business and that’s the best way to do it. Richard realised this at the right time, being able to sell his business and receive extra income from the sales.
It may seem tough to let go of something you have been working on, but at the end of the day it’s a business, not a child, describes Richard, and once that sale goes through, it’s easier than you would think to move on. The emotional aspect is in the journey, but a business itself is an asset.
When it comes to selling businesses and securing wealth, Richard considers it as investing. The businesses that you are currently running should be siphoned off into investment accounts, securing sustainable wealth in a format that is safe such as ISAs or property investments. The forms of wealth are passive and don’t require constant attention.
When you have that long-term wealth secured, this enables you to take risks and try out more things in your business.
A book recommendation that comes high on Richard’s list is Profit First, which says to have multiple bank accounts.
When you become emotionally attached to your business, you feel like you should reinvest in your business. Rather than constantly trying to find the money to pay for things in your business, profit first is all about paying yourself before paying for everything else.
You can make thousands and thousands of pounds, yet suddenly find yourself with barely anything, because you’ve seen the money is there and decided to spend it on your business.
Having multiple bank accounts though allows you to get clear on your money. You can have an account for your own payment, your profit, company expenses, tax payments, and so on. This gives you a way to secure your personal income, while allowing for other costs. Often it’s not a problem with turnover, but rather how the money is managed.
Cashflow problems are not necessarily the issue. If money is going in and out, then there’s cashflow. The challenge is about making more money and making sure you keep money for you to create a profit.
Starling bank is a good bank to try when it comes to managing your money because you can create spaces and saving pots to siphon off your money into.
From a marketing perspective, coaches, consultants, and freelancers are often concerned about constantly bringing in new clients. Is that the best approach though? How many clients is enough? Is there an end in sight?
Discussing Richard’s Lead Gen Academy, the question should really be what type of work do you want more of and does it link to an enjoyment factor?
When you get to a place where you have an income flowing in, especially through those passive investment accounts, then you can have more time for you and spend time with your family and doing more leisure activities.
To be able to make these things happen, then take it back to a marketing perspective. If you need X amount more income, then work out how many more clients are needed to make it happen. You then need to introduce a lead generation system, targeted at giving opportunities to the right type of clients into a funnel.
For Richard, his 5 day Facebook ads challenge proves effective for his target audience.
It appeals to people who are constantly boosting posts on Facebook, but missing lots of opportunities. The free challenge enables you to discover the system to generate more enquiries for the same amount of money.At the end of the challenge, there is a bonus call, which can result in booking onto the course from the call, and also lets you have that sales conversation and challenge feedback.
With any form of sales or challenge, there’s going to be a question of why that platform? Every expert is going to say their platform is the best. At the end of the day, marketing is an experiment, and you have to trial different platforms to find the right ones for you.
It’s not simply a case of saying ‘I want to use this platform’, sending out an ad, and getting loads of clients and money straight away.
It’s about the strength of what you are using to convert that client,what are you going to give them for free to get their details and show your credibility. You need to have a strong piece of marketing that will really impress someone. You need to show your value and also give an insight into what working with you is like. A potential client won’t suddenly go from stranger to paying thousands of pounds for your service.
Just like your business being an asset, so are your marketing tools. If you have the product that can continually bring in traffic and clients on a passive basis, then it’s with the time and energy to create it. You can’t rush these things.
Another key aspect of running any sort of sales funnel is to not prematurely elaborate. Go back to the beginning of your funnel and analyse. When you are talking to new prospects, only focus on your free offering. When you start to receive a bit of interest, then add in a teaser such as a free one-on-one call. When you have those calls, which maybe half an hour, you need to show your value in 15 minutes, which is an important skill and lets you shine. You’ve supported all that value shown in the free content. You then move onto the pitch for the other 15 minutes.
It’s ok if some of those calls get a no at the end as well. Depending on your conversion rate, if you have already had X amount of no calls, then you know you are closing in on the yes call.
So much comes back to that emotional attachment. When you are starting out, you may feel like every no answer is soul-destroying. Over time though, you get to a place where you have an abundance of enquiries coming in, and you have the ability to open up your diary to only a select few who you know will be right for you.
To have that constant stream of enquiries coming in requires a strong funnel. That’s where you need to put your energy. You then have less emotional attachment to each individual enquiry coming in.
It’s important to remember that growing a business is a journey. At the start, you will want to secure each of those enquiries. As you grow and learn though, the funnels and lead magnets will get better. It takes time.
You may have to try out several funnels and keep improving them before you find the right one for your business.
Whatever your funnel is, it also needs to align with your main product or service. If it’s the right funnel and people are interested in what you do, that could also lead to them sharing your work and giving your reviews. If it’s not right though, this is when you can start a new funnel. If the new one starts to take off, this is the time to close the doors on the previous one.
Never stop a funnel to start another one though. You want to test the waters first. Funnels are separate advertising campaigns, rather than a case of choosing one or the other.
Rather than advertising to your existing audience, you want to make sure you are targeting new people, otherwise you will hit all your existing audience, and then have no other leads coming in. Facebook proposes a 10, 30, 60 approach when it comes to spending and ads. 10% is for initial awareness and getting your content seen by as much of your target demographic as possible. 30% is for consideration, when you start putting out ads to get traffic. 60% then goes onto the main conversion and retargeting. Processes like this ensure you are on top of your funnel and the awareness side is always bringing new people back in.
A way to reach even more people in your target demographic is through lookalike audiences. If you have people who are your existing clients, or perfect ideal clients, you can combine those lists and put those into Facebook, which will generate a list of ‘lookalikes’ to target when you run your campaign. This process can be useful for developing your audience, as well as running mini-campaigns too.
Once you’ve built that audience, you can then introduce retargeting technology. If you’re retargeting ads to existing clients, you may get engagement such as likes and comments, but nothing new. Tools such as Zapier can update your Facebook ad audience so that your existing clients are excluded and you continue to target new people.
Richard Woods provided so much insight into lead generation and life as an entrepreneur during this interview episode. From the financial side of running a business, to lead generation, to The Apprentice, it is worth a listen.
5-day Facebook ads challenge, Get more leads group
Richard’s Book ‘Digital Trailblazer’
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