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How to Build A Superstar Team for Your Marketing Agency So You Can Have A Life

In Conversation with Darrell Evans

In this Ecoffee with experts episode Matt Fraser hosted Darrell Evans, co-founder of Yokel Local Internet. Darrell discusses his winning technique for attracting and retaining top employees in order to maximize productivity. Watch now to learn how to create a productive work environment.

It is okay in our organization to say ‘I don’t know’, can I get some help on this? Can I get another set of eyes on this? So we’ve also created a culture of it. Nobody here is perfect.

Darrell Evans
Co-founder of Yokel Local Internet

Hello everyone. Welcome to E coffee with experts. I’m your host, Matt Fraser. And on today’s show, I have a special guest who will discuss building a superstar team for your marketing agency so you can have a life. His name is Darrell Evans. Darrell is a senior serial entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Yokel Local Internet, a Digital Marketing agency specializing in helping local businesses. He and his team have helped them generate over $300 million in revenue online. He’s started and operated six businesses since the age of 20. In 2019, he launched the MindShift podcast. Daryl is the CEO of MindShift Business Academy and has been teaching his marketing, sales, and business strategy since 2003. Darrell is passionate about entrepreneurship and shares best practices and strategies on podcasts weekly. He loves to help business owners accelerate growth using his proven frameworks that have helped him and hundreds of other businesses scale to seven and eight figures. Darrell, thank you so much. A pleasure to have you on the show.

Matt, I am super excited, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

And it’s awesome. You’ve been at this game for a while, and we talked in the pre-show. You built your agency so that you can take ten days off totally unplugged, without even having to answer the phone unless you want it to, which is what many people aspire to. And even in what’s his name, Robert Kiyosaki, his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the quadrant of entrepreneurs. He says many people think they’re business owners when they’re self-employed because they are the business. They own the business but also work in it. They can’t step away and allow it to run without them. Therefore, they are not business owners. So it’s amazing that you’ve accomplished something that many people aspire to, but no matter what industry I’ve seen, are unable to do. So, what strategies did you come up with or found to be effective for finding staff that can do that in your marketing agency?

The finding of the team members is maybe stepping three or four. So to the point of the decision, and just for reference, I take more than ten days off throughout the year. And I’ve done that since year one of the agency. So, to your point, Robert Kiyosaki, I love the Cashflow Quadrant, the analogy of going from employed to self-employed. I spent many years in that quadrant in the E quadrant. And I decided that Kiyosaki’s definition of big business, which is in the B quadrant, was a company with around 500 or more employees. I said, why must I have 500 employees to be deemed a business owner and get the benefits of that process? Because when you think about a business in the B quadrant, it runs without you or doesn’t require you to push every button, etc. So, when we started this agency early in my days, this was not my first business rodeo. So I had training, teaching, and structure about hiring and building teams from about a decade earlier. So to specifically answer your question, I have found and thought about bringing on great team members by looking at the role and responsibility and, more importantly, the outcome the role needs to produce. And then I specifically look for people who, in their natural DNA or natural gifts and talents. I see that as their superpower, such that it aligns with the vision and goal of my company and my client. And so when I hire someone with a superpower in that craft and skill set in that role, they show up every day and run through a brick wall because it’s effortless for them. After all, it’s already their superpower. So I feel like as an entrepreneur, one of the key jobs and distinctions I’ve learned over the years is to create roles and opportunities where someone else’s superstar power and gift aligns with the vision, role, and outcome of that role for the company and our clients. So the broader way of thinking transitioned in my thinking about a decade and a half ago.

When you mentioned the roles and responsibilities, I’m familiar with Michael Gerber’s book, the E Myth Revisited. I think it’s a phenomenal book that all entrepreneurs should read. And the story of the baker, I’m assuming you’ve read the book. The baker’s story and how he works 14 hours daily in their business. And he talked about creating the duties and responsibilities of the roles in your business and assigning those roles and responsibilities if there are three startup members. There are nine positions, and each of you must do the nine different positions until you can get the cash flow to generate enough revenue to hire those people to fulfill those other roles. But how did you do it? For instance, let’s say you need a Content Manager, an SEO person, or a Content Marketer. Did you look at, like, indeed.com, find those job descriptions and use them as a template for your own business and then go and find that super person? How else did that come about? Because I know a lot of people want to figure that out.

On the marketing agency side of it, we look at a couple of things, is this role part of sales, customer acquisition, or fulfillment? That’s where we need to start. So my business partner and I started, and we needed to get business in the door, selling the work. Marketing and sales are on the same side of the equation. And then we need to fulfill the work. And so the way I think about the agency is that subject matter experts need to fulfill the work. And then, some people need to market and sell the work and keep client relationships. So if we split it as simply as that, we can, at the very basics, decide who will handle sales, marketing, and client relationship and who will handle execution, outcome, and results. So, I think the best thing as an agency or any business, I coach businesses all the time, and that is to simplify what you’re delivering at the beginning. So you don’t have overwhelming, and you’re giving people jobs they’re not good at. So, unfortunately, you can’t ask in a Digital Marketing agency sense. It’s not practical for someone great at SEO to also be great at paid advertising. And the reason is that keyword research lives on both sides of that spectrum. One has to be a copywriter because writing good headlines differs from writing a good blog post. The Blog Post headline doesn’t track well Google Ad awareness, and you must think about the other mechanisms. So you’ve got to be careful. Many companies use personality testing and things of that nature. And I got introduced to the Kolbe-A index, which is Kathy Kolbe’s program. And what it tells you about someone is their natural mode of operation, meaning it gives you who they are by instinct. And the issue with that is you figure out whether someone tends to do certain things related to that role. The best example is sales. There are certain things that people will not do that are required for a sales role. It doesn’t matter how much training you give them; it will not happen. So what I learned in her program and from her work, and why I use it all the time in the hiring process, is if someone’s coming in, they need to be analytical thinkers, critical thinkers, and a lot of what we do in digital is critical thinking. It’s not surgery like in medicine, it is not law. But it is critical thinking because you’re going to give a hypothesis to a marketing strategy. You’re then going to create a plan, execute the plan and evaluate the results. And because nothing happens in a vacuum, you’ll have to iterate on the result, good or bad. And that’s critical thinking, and that’s where many people make mistakes in marketing because it’s not linear. So Colby helps me find critical thinkers who can strategically think, make plans, execute and adapt. Like a scientist would write, did the hypothesis prove or did it not prove? And what can we do to iterate on it next and be able to do that quickly? That’s what we do in digital. And there are many things online today that make Digital Marketing seem like it’s pushing a few buttons and making magic happen. But there’s a lot more critical thinking than most people realize.

Wow, there are so many things you said there that I’m just like. Because yes, there are so many people. I was sharing off camera with you, I was the Marketing Director of a dealership, and that’s all they thought I did, I pushed buttons and made magic. They didn’t understand the hours and hours of research and thinking I had to do to pull off what I pulled off. And interestingly, you are talking about people’s different mindsets and DNA. Some people are of the A philosophy that anybody can learn to sell, and I’m not sure that is the case.

I know it’s not the case. I have been doing it for thirty years, so I know it’s not the case. You can learn the scripts, they can teach you the scripts and the objection handling, but the core ability to invite a conversation is what it is. I teach sales, a program called high ticket conversions, which is a sales program. I’ve sold everything from T-shirts, widgets, and sportswear to 100 plus $1,000 contracts. So the selling process doesn’t change, but I don’t think everybody can sell because it’s all a mindset game. I would say if you’re open to the shift of the mindset, which is why I call my podcast the MindShift project podcast. But I’m with you, I’m not trying to make a salesperson. If I run someone through a DISC profile or Kolbe-A, there are certain characteristics that, if they don’t show up right, they will never get a sales job in my world because there are certain characteristics in their natural DNA that have to be present. So it’s not emotional for me. I need to make sure they fit the culture and happen before the Kolbe-A. Not everybody I interview goes through a Kolbe-A, only the last two or three top candidates. And if they don’t align with what I know a salesperson Kolbe index should look like, they don’t get the offer even if I loved them. And that also Matt helps you in other areas of the business. I remember an individual I interviewed, and I thought the first interview was rocky but that they were talented. I brought him to the second interview. We seem to buttheads ideologically a little bit. But I’m like, they know so much about this. And I’m like, so am I getting personal about this? And so I brought him to the third interview. And I hired that person because of Kolbe A. So I got unemotional about what I perceived to be friction in the first two interviews. But because their talent was immeasurable, I brought them through, scored the best on the Kolbe, and gave them the job. That person was one of the best rock stars I’ve ever worked with. We’re still friends, even though that was some years ago. They have moved on. I hire many people who move on because we don’t stand in the way of what they want to do in their careers. Many of the best people that hire go and do other things because we give them a pathway to excel at their genius. And those people who are good at what they do may decide to start their own company; they may start to hang their shingles on their freelance gig.

You look at it as a mentoring role, coaching and mentoring.

I’m not trying to hold anybody to my company if you don’t want to stay. We just had a young lady who’s been with us for six and a half years. I was surprised because I didn’t imagine she would stay so long when I recruited her. She’s so talented. I was like, there’s no way she’s going to stay with us more than two or three years. So she resigned, and I think she got a gig that was two x the salary we were paying her because she’s that talented, and I was surprised she stayed as long as she did. She had a side business that we referred to because she was a creative designer. So for certain projects that would come to us that didn’t fit our agency, we would refer the work to her.

That’s amazing. So many business owners are micromanaging, controlling freaks that want to ensure that they severely limit what you do for them. And regarding any extra, you have to keep your side gig a secret lest you get quote-unquote fired, let alone get referrals from them. That’s pretty amazing.

Not in my place. So if you look at studies in corporate America, and I haven’t spent any, I haven’t spent any time in corporate America that at length to be able to, to speak from personal experience. But I can tell you from what I hear, and people I interview who worked in corporate started a freelance gig and now want another corporate job. With me, we’re not corporate, we’re a small business, but people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. The vast majority of people who quit jobs don’t quit the job, they quit the boss they work for. And you could look that up that I didn’t make it up. That’s not my personal experience because I haven’t had a job for most of my life. But when I look at that data, my job is to figure out how do I give them an environment where I’m not in their way. But I can align what they do with what we need to do as a vision. So my job is to set a clear vision and hopefully give them a pathway to go down that path because they should know that job better than I do. If I’m doing it right, how can I micromanage them? My head of content, how can I micromanage her? I’m not an editor. How can I micromanage her? My job is to coach and give her a pathway to ensure the guardrails for what we want to accomplish for the client. But if there’s a problem with content, I can’t solve it. My job is to give her a seat at the table. So here’s a perfect example. We talked about pay rates for our freelance writers because we have a team of freelance writers. She says, Darrell, I think we need to evaluate what we’re paying our writers. I ask her, Matt, what should we pay them? Like, what’s the bump? She was one of the writers who wanted to leave, and he was saying that a lot. And I said, Well, what does he want? And she told me what he wanted. And I said, Well, is that what he wants, or should everybody get paid? And she said, I think that’ll help me save him, and the other writers will appreciate the bump. I said, give it to him. I also micromanage, three cents a word.

I’ve heard it said that it costs 40% more to find a new person to replace the existing person and to give the person all the time it takes and all those things, but I won’t go there. But I won’t name agency owners who don’t want to grow because they don’t think somebody else can do web design better than them. And I sit there and shake my head, and I’m like, I don’t know what you’re doing, man. Do you want a business, or do you want a job? Because right now you have a job, like, you’re not going to make enough money. You only have one source of income, even though these are your clients, but if something happens to you, you’re done. And I think that’s the mistake some people make. So it’s very refreshing to hear you talk this way. Because having that mindset is very important to be an effective business person, a business owner, and an entrepreneur. So when you’re looking for these people, you’re not looking for someone new.

Sometimes, we hire Junior and train them. But we are an agency, and people hire us to produce results. So, unfortunately, I can’t hire rookies to practice on a company that gives us revenue to grow revenue. Our job is to multiply the revenue they give us. So I can’t have rookies practicing on my client’s accounts. And so there’s no disrespect to those younger in the business. But my agency is a performance agency, which means if you come into my world, you don’t sign a contract, you sign an agreement. But you can opt-out of the agreement any day you decide we’re not performing at the standard of an agreement to KPI. That means my company has to be sharp all the time. So I can’t have trainees practicing in that environment. So we have an incubation process, but most of our talent is seasoned. Five years, seven years, 12 years, 15 years plus. And that’s kind of how our culture runs because we are more of a boutique shop. So we’re very specific about the types of clients we work with. As you read in the intro, it’s all very flattering. I wouldn’t say I like to reflect on it, but we have to sometimes talk about how much revenue we’ve generated for clients because there are too many people running around saying they can get the job done and have no performance history. Posting a blog post and doing deliverables doesn’t make you a marketer. So posting on Facebook and setting up a blog. And there are so many things you do in marketing that don’t lead to a result, we do the things that lead to results. You and I talked offline about SEO. Today, it’s harder than it ever has been. And so we need to explain to clients that this is our path and our process. By the way, our process hasn’t changed in 12 years. And it doesn’t matter what Google’s done. It doesn’t matter what Facebook’s done, it doesn’t matter. We have a process, it’s six steps, and we apply it to everyone, making it somewhat routine. And again, back to the individuals, the goal is to hire senior individuals in the industry who want to be in a performance environment to do what they do best.

How do you find them? That’s the first question that came to my mind.

Yeah, two places. LinkedIn, we generally post in a couple of places. Nothing super fancy, we are very clear about how we read our job descriptions. And Matt, there’s one thing that people ask me a lot about, and it’s, there’s a piece to the top portion of the job description that has been a key for us. And that describes the day in the life of a person in that role. Or another way of thinking about it is a couple of two or three sentences that say the person who would enjoy this role is this type of person, and we’re describing what type of person would fit well because a lot of people think they can do the technical thing. The responsibilities and deliverable items. The roles and responsibilities. We put this one little paragraph 2, 3, 4 sentences in that says, The person who would be a good fit for this role is this, this, this, and this. If you enjoy this, this, this, this, and this could be a good opportunity for you. Sometimes we also put in there that if this is not how you normally think, this is probably not a good role to apply for. And I don’t know if everybody reads that. Still, I will say in my first interview, one of the first questions we asked; there were five questions in the first interview. And it’s the same five questions for everybody, whether there’s one question very specifically, and that is, what was it about the job description that called out to you and made you feel like this was a good fit?

That is golden.

They get to tell us what they saw and when I get generic answers, I know they didn’t read the job description. Some people will read me, the part where you said the person who does this, this, this, and this. So that’s who I am. That’s what happens. So, therein lies. It’s subtle. It’s super subtle. You got to do things; like in marketing, you and I both know that the wrong prospect coming in through a campaign is the worst thing that can happen than it is a high-cost lead. So we don’t want the wrong person coming through a lead gen funnel. I don’t want the wrong candidate coming through my employment hiring funnel. Because that’s what it is. So the better I can put up a barrier that says the wrong person, meaning if you don’t do this, you’re probably the wrong person, don’t apply. If you’re this person, you’re probably the right person, please apply. It’s just a simple distinction. It doesn’t always work, and I don’t know if it always works well, but it’s been helpful.

It’s sheer genius and easy. In my years of doing this, I’ve read many books on different subjects, including copywriting. And so Dan Kennedy, I’m kind of a huge student of Dan.

Yeah, legendary.

I’ve read many of his books, including Ultimate Sales Letter and Ultimate Marketing Plan, and I have subscribed to his monthly newsletter for four years. But the point I’m trying to make is that in his teaching on copy, he talks about putting copy in that disqualifies people from becoming customers. So it’s just amazing how you’ve taken that and put it into your employment funnel, as you said if they say it is not for you, and even described the potential type of customer prospect employee that you want, in who they are, not what they can do, but who they are. And it’s no wonder you can find and filter out people with talent that are attracted to your agency. It just makes so much sense. So you set up an interview process with multiple steps and touchpoints; I think you mentioned three or four different stages in an interview.

It’s generally three before they get hired.

Are you involved in those steps, or do you have other people involved in steps one and two that don’t get to you until step three?

Actually, it’s the reverse. I’m involved in step one, and our Production Manager and Marketing Operations Manager usually handles two and three. I will sometimes sit in but not very often. My job in step one is those five questions. I have enough experience with our industry and company to filter out culture fit first. I don’t like people who give us standard answers, and I’ve gotten burned. There’s one that comes to my mind right now. But those five questions, if you ask the same five questions to all of those first candidates, you can hear the distinctions. And I am not interested; as I mentioned to you offline, we run a boutique shop, and we always keep somewhere between 20 and 30 high-ticket, highly focused clients. We’re not trying to run a 250-client agency. That’s not who we are. That being said, I don’t want someone who just wants a job where they can just hide in the back and do some things. I am looking for someone that wants to make an impact. And so those five questions in each of their like, for example, one of the questions, Matt is, thank you for you know, is one of the first questions actually, did you get a chance to check us out online? And what do you think about what you saw? So we’ve got five-star reviews all over our platforms. We’ve got HubSpot reviews and case studies on our website. And here’s what’s interesting, Matt, if they do not tell me that they checked us out online, it hurts the chance of getting to interview number two. It tells me they just spit out resumes and answers to interviews. I’m less interested in that person because I need you to be serious about what you’re trying to do. I don’t expect you to tell me you read our website cover to cover. I expect things that, Oh, yeah. So you guys got a great reputation. I saw that you’ve helped this client do this, the other. I saw that you guys were working with HubSpot. I want to hear that you took some time because you’re about to invest your hours. And you’re equally investing here, I expect you to do some due diligence. And so one of the first questions is, Did you do any due diligence? And if you didn’t, it tells me maybe you’re not as far along in my culture. Because whether we agree to work together or not, I want you to be someone who does the due diligence. I expect you to do due diligence and your work with our clients, but you didn’t do due diligence in looking at a company you’re looking to get employed by. So simple stuff. I do the first interview most of the time. I block them, they are time blocks. So I get through them very efficiently, I usually get through them in three days. Because generally, when we put a post up, we still get 100 resumes. It’s crazy. And we may bring 15 to 20 through that first interview, and I’ll block them off in three days. And they’re all 15-minute interviews. So they’re very crisp and concise. And I give them the pass or fail to get to interview two, and then it moves on to our Project Management Team.

So, you say yes or no at the interview’s end.

At the end of the interview, we tell them yes or no, yes or no, right then and there. We’re not playing email, Chase.

Well, they get it. Has anybody ever asked you why? Well, thank you.

Yes, I tell them why. I’m very clear, Matt. I’ll say, hey, I don’t want to waste people’s time. In fact that the young lady that I told you about who resigned after six and a half years. I remember inviting her to interview with us back then, and at the end of that interview, I said, you know, I love you, and I think you would fit well with our company. You are talented, but I don’t think you’re exactly the right fit for this role. However, if I do find that, I ask, is it okay if I keep in touch with you and invite you back for another opportunity in the future? So I love to do that, which is why I like the first interview. Because someone may not be right for the role today, they may be highly talented and may have been more ambitious in wanting. I get a lot of super talented people, and they’re taking an ambitious jump to take a bigger position, and that’s a bad thing for me. I see that they took the ambition to come to that interview, I’m looking for their forward momentum and in a career. So I love to keep in touch with people. I probably have hired four or five people who didn’t get through the first and even the second interview, and I called them back a year later or something, and they’ve joined our team.

For a different role?

A different role or similar role.

So you can ensure you don’t slam the door on them?

It’s a relationship business. And to your earlier point, hiring and replacing someone costs a lot. Trying to find people cost a lot of money. So if I’ve got someone I can keep a relationship with, and maybe it’s not a no, it’s a not now, it saves us a lot of time and energy.

So here’s a question going through my mind right now retention. How do you retain? So I understand you coach people, and they move on. And many people want to hang on, hang on, hang on to people. But what is your methodology or philosophy? How do you retain people? I’m just thinking here. I don’t know if money is the biggest motivator for people. Studies have shown that it’s not; it’s like number six or something on one to 10. But yet, people do like making money, but being a part of something bigger than themselves is a motivator and being appreciated. So, my question is, what have you found to be effective in retaining people like you? You’ve done something because you retain this young lady here. So why don’t you call her younger, whatever, this individual for six and a half years, that’s pretty impressive in my opinion, in the Digital Marketing industry. It is very impressive. So what’s the secret, if any, or what are your thoughts?

In our 12 years, I’m hard pressed to find anyone that left, well, not anyone, very few people have left short of two years, very few. We’ve had a couple of miss hires, where we’ve had to, as the adage says, hire slow, fire fast; we’ve had a couple of miss hits. I don’t know if I have a secret, but I will tell you what I have done or the type of organization they are invited to join. So, we invite them through a day in their life through the interview process. We give them an idea of what life will look like. The last thing we want to do is sell someone on joining our company. A few things that I think are helpful are hiring people who are talented in their skill set, which we’ve already discussed. It means my former business partner and I don’t lean over their shoulder and micromanage their skill set. So we coach them and provide training and resources so they can get better, but we’re not there telling them what to do. We’re hiring people and saying, based on the needs of this client, what do you recommend? And you know how many people work in companies where their bosses don’t ask them for their opinion? So we value their opinion, they always have a voice in the client’s strategy and execution. Another thing is that we provide a rich and robust opportunity for personal development, leadership growth, training, and education. Part of that is money we pay and invest into them. Some of it is through our HubSpot partnership, but we invest in their growth and development. We do not have very strict processes throughout the day. So we’re a virtual company now. There are two meetings to attend every day. One is about 15 minutes, and the other could be 15 to 30 minutes because of how we run our business. We’re an agile sprint agency, which means, every week we come in, we’ve got a set number of clients that we’re sprinting on, and we’re having these very short meetings where we’re not tying their time up all day. And then they get to do what they do best. So I think that level of trust is given to them. And they feel maybe that, hey, these guys respect us enough to not be over our shoulder checking in on the chat system every five minutes; what are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing? So we don’t do that; we’re an outcome-based company. So, what do we need to do to produce the client? And let’s check in a couple of times this week to ensure we’re on track. So I think that’s part of it. And I think the thing that people have told us is that we just treat them like humans. We don’t treat anybody the way we wouldn’t want to be treated. So even if things happen that are negative, we have bad outcomes, or we have some challenging issues, we coach the issue. We don’t critique the person; we coach the issue. You would not be bad if you didn’t get the job done. It would help if you coached through why the job didn’t get done, or the outcome didn’t happen. But we don’t make it personal. We never attack anyone personally. And so I think maybe those are some subtle things. Those are soft skills, but from a leadership standpoint. And if you’re responsible for all of it when you’re the owner, you are, so when the results happen, I’m the one that’s on the hook, and they’re not because they still get paid. If a client cancels a retainer, the employee doesn’t understand the impact on the P&L because they still get paid. So the goal is to explain how that works, such that we can coach through performance. But anyway, I don’t want to belabor that. But it’s just trying to create an environment in a place where they can so they can thrive at what they do.

You focus on outcomes rather than 100% of the process of documenting what they’re doing every 15 minutes or creating a daily plan for them off every 15-minute increments. I’ve talked to some business owners who think the key to creating a role is to, number one, do it and document it. But I don’t see how you could do that. Like Digital Marketers, there are so many things to do in a Digital Marketing agency that require different skill sets; it would be very hard to do that. But the point I’m trying to make is, creating 15-minute increments of okay, do this or processes and write it down. So It’s more about the outcome with your follow-up business philosophy rather than the exact process of how you got there.

100%. So we have SOPs, SOP blueprints, a project management system, and an HR tracking system. And while each has aspects of tracking what we don’t define, when I start the morning, I just finished a call not long before we jumped on your show. The call goes like this- what are you working on today? Their job is to tell me, and they also know that not every button they push has to be tracked and written down. But in general, did you spend 48 minutes on XYZ client and give us a summary of what you did? The bottom line is there is some tracking because we are virtual, and we’ve just maybe found a balance of accountability plus my vision and oversight. My goal was, I need to be able to track my business from the phone. So when things get out of balance, I go back to, can I track the business from the phone? You and I talked offline. I was offline for roughly 9 or 10 days, and when I was offline, there was no email, phone, or internet. If I wanted to open my phone and track it, could I see what was happening in my client care division, lead gen, and execution for clients? The answer today is yes. Is it perfect? No. Could it always be refined? Slightly, but I have a communication process and a project management system for those things. One goal when we started the company was I wanted to understand what my business is doing from a mobile device, and so we’ve worked towards that.

Oh, that’s awesome. I think the thing I was trying to get is if something is allotted 45 minutes and someone is talented and gets it done in 15, are you upset?

I’m not upset. And if something is, on the contrary, I expect them to invest. So that’s where the other problem is, the company says you’ve got 30 minutes to do this thing, but there’s something broken with the client result. So I expect you to spend what it takes to get it done. Because the client will come back and say, why is the result not happening? And if the results are not happening and you tell me, Oh, Darrell, you said I could only work on that for 30 minutes. Well, the result wasn’t there. But you said I only had 30 minutes. So the goal is, what will it take to get the result? So one of the philosophies is, what would I do if I only got paid when the client got the result? If you take that approach, the client pays us up front. So it’s not like we get paid on the back end, we have some arrangements to get paid on the back end. But the point of it is, the marketing philosophy is what would I do if I only got paid if the client got a result, not what should I do because it’s in the checklist?

That’s a different way of thinking.

I have to hire a critical thinker because some people follow checklists. So there’s a place for checklists. There’s a place for things that have checklist items, but their outcome and result are critical thinking. So, why is the Google campaign not performing the way it was last month? And so that’s not a checklist item.

No, not at all. It’s a critical thinking item based on experience. And it’s an example. Yeah, go ahead.

I would say it is also a collaboration item. So that’s the other aspect of our businesses, we have a collaborative process whereby it’s okay to admit you don’t know. You can be an expert at PPC, SEO, email, or content, and something’s not going as you thought it was. And it is okay in our organization to say, I don’t know, can I get some help on this? May I get another set of eyes on this? Because I’m not seeing what I thought bla bla bla bla bla. So we’ve also created a culture of nobody here is perfect, and I’m the first person to say I have no idea.

I worked in the car industry, as I was telling you, as the Marketing Director of a car dealership, and that was an opposite culture. That industry is cutthroat, and I was expected to know everything, and little did they know. Because I did everything I did, Google ads and social media marketing, I won’t get into what I did. I did a lot.

No, I know what happened. Because companies that do what you told me where you have to do everything. They hire one Marketer and expect him to do everything. Those are the types of companies we help with. Those companies come to us because that one Marketer is drowning in the things, and we’re at the access point because I’ve got the leverage team to provide the head of Marketing the resources and bandwidth. And we’re less than the cost of another person who’s the head of Marketing. So that’s how we grow our business.

Yeah, my friend said he came up because I had him come up and do his training for the backend processes. And I didn’t have a lot of experience working with multiple dealerships. And I asked him, do other dealerships have someone like me? And I’m not trying to boast; it’s just to your point, he’s like, Matt, nobody has anybody like you. So it would help if you run your agency not working for these guys. And it was interesting, and I say that because you’re talking about how it’s critical thinking, and you have to know. And I was talking about it because you were talking about how it’s okay not to know the answer. Yeah, with these guys, if I didn’t know the answer, it was like, what good are you, and why are you here? Matt, why are you here if you don’t know all the facets of the six different marketing disciplines? And the pressure of that was incredible. So it’s very refreshing to hear that you don’t expect people to know everything, but they probably have the critical thinking to try and figure it out.

Yeah, there’s something in our world that we call the coachability index. And that’s also something we’re looking at through the hiring process. I’m more interested in someone’s ability to be coached up than someone who comes in and says I’m a know-it-all. But, as we both know, you’ve been in this industry since 2006, and I’ve been around since 2003. The reality is this is an ever-evolving process. It is not Coffee, milk, or orange juice that doesn’t change; not to discredit those products, they are great crops. So it is evolving; there’s always change happening in this business. It’s one of the more taxing businesses I’ve ever had. So yeah, it’s very taxing. I worked for Taco Bell for ten years in my younger days, and it didn’t change much. As a matter of fact, to this day, it hasn’t changed much. I probably could go back to Taco Bell and take over a store and not miss too many beats. It just hasn’t changed. But the Digital Marketing space, because if you think about it, we must get clients results on platforms we don’t own, and they change the rules anytime they deem necessary for the benefit of their company. And then we’re expected to produce the result for our client who wants nothing to do with it.

And that’s so amazing.

Yeah, that’s what we do.

It’s so true. You made a statement about the culture, and I forgot. I apologize for that. I would have to think back.

Cultural coachability.

Yeah, coachability.

So it’s called utility index.

Is there a test?

There’s a question in that first interview. Matt, if you listen to what we’re talking about, that first interview helped me discover all this. So there’s a question in the first interview; remember, there are only five. So one of them was, did you do any due diligence on us? The second one has to do with motivation for looking for a job. We didn’t talk about that. And the one that looks for the coachability index is, what are three things you suck at? Oh, and that usually catches them off guard, and they look at me puzzled. I let them sit there and don’t say a thing. I’ll let it go for five to ten seconds and then repeat the question. They do not have to be related to the job. But what are three things you know you are just horrible at? And I’m looking for self-awareness? If they have no self-awareness of what they are terrible at, they are willing to lie to me about other things. And everyone knows what we’re not good at. So don’t fake the front in the interview to pop off and say that you know something because I will find you out later. I’d rather you tell me upfront, So I often have to give them some help. So I’ll say here are three things: if I’m struggling, I try not to nudge them but try to make it okay. Because I know they’ve been interviewing a lot, and I am breaking the paradigm of if they say something negative, it will downgrade their ability to get a job. On the flip side, with me, it upgrades your ability because I know you’re self-aware, and I know you’re coachable. So I’ll tell them I suck at Photoshop; I cannot stand it. As a Digital Marketer, I suck at Photoshop. I prefer Canva all day, and everybody who loves creative design thinks I’m crazy, but that’s one of the things I suck at. I’ll say to kick it off if they get stuck, and it loosens them up. But for me, that’s where I can see their coachability index. The other way I can look at their coachability indexes before they ever get to the second interview is, do they self-study to get certifications in the industry? If someone comes to my world and they do not have certifications in the areas of, say, Google Analytics, HubSpot has a world for them. If they haven’t self-studied since school, they don’t have to have graduated from college to get a job in my world. But if they don’t have a track of self-study, that tells them they’re not coachable. So those are some of the ways to look at coachability by index, and I’ll take someone who’s got high coachability over low coachability any day of the week. And to the point of the comment, we made earlier about sales. Can anybody learn sales? I think we both agree the answer is not true. But I do believe someone who believes that they have a gift and that craft can even elevate their gift, but they have to be willing to be coached. So that’s how I look at that. And these are the different reasons for those five questions. Do they have the ability to do due diligence?

It’s been very insightful. I know we could keep going on and on. When you asked that question, I started thinking, what am I not good at? And if you’d asked me that question in an interview, I would have been nervous because I would be like, does he wants me to tell him I suck at Digital Marketing? But what things am I not good at regarding Digital Marketing, or what am I not good at, period? So I would be a little off guard too.

May I give you the last question? So without the second context, let me help you out because that’s not the only question. There is another question that goes to the other side of the paradigm. And the question goes like this. On Monday, next week, you’re going to compete, and it could be anything in the world. What competition would you enter on Monday, and would you believe you would be the best in the world? And it doesn’t have anything to do with marketing or anything. And you know, what I’ve heard in some cases is knitting, painting, cooking and all sorts of things. And what am I looking for? I’m looking for whether they have confidence in themselves to brag about their skill. We are a performance agency, so if you’re not willing to take credit for your acceleration of skill, I heard ping pong once and some weird things, but I don’t care what the thing is. So you’re going to enter a contest on Monday, believing you can win. What kind of contest is it? And I’m looking for someone who can be confident in outcomes because we’re an outcome-driven company. So I’m not suggesting everybody uses these questions, but from my seat, it has been helpful to me over the years. And for whatever reason, I forget the fourth question. Oh, the fifth question is; by the way, these aren’t in order. So what have you looked for in a new role today? And I’m trying to determine their motivation to look at our job first.

Those are some very sophisticated and engaging questions. Did you develop this process yourself?

These are 100% my questions. I don’t know how I came up with these, but over the years, they have worked. So as I mentioned, I worked for Taco Bell many, many, many years ago, and I was a General Manager at 20. So I’ve been hiring people since I was 20 years old. So I’m not new at interviewing and hiring people, and through the years of my other businesses, you refined the process of saying, What did I miss on that hire? What did I get right on that hire? Then you try to get it to a sustained process because, as you need, you need a system and a process that’s duplicated. And anybody in my company can ask these five questions if they have the context for why we’re doing interview one this way and why interview two is that way. We also have a set of questions we asked during interview two, contextual to that part of the process. And then part three is that Kolbe index piece, which validates for us. So we don’t Kolbe to get them through the process; it is a valid validator that we didn’t miss.

That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of the Kolbe A index until today. So I’m going to check it out.

It’s not very talked about. It’s like these other ones INIA grams, DISCS, and Myer Briggs, and I have respect for them.

Myers Briggs I’ve heard of.

Yeah, they’re all out there. But those all talk about things I haven’t found helped me to figure out what they would do in the line of fire. Like your personality doesn’t tell me what you’re going to do under pressure. And Kolbe, her program is more; I can’t repeat it all. But I mean, I’ve been around it since 2004, but it’s about your natural mode of operation that she says does not change.

It would be helpful for anybody to take this.

I think so, you’ll learn a lot about yourself.

I’m looking at right now. It’s like 55 bucks to take it. But the investment for me to discover what the outcome would be.

I’m not an affiliate or anything, but she has other assessments in the program. So if you take your own Kolbe A and you’re at a point where you’re not sure what you want to do in your career, she has a career assessment that matches your Kolbe A assessment. And they recommend the career best for your natural mode of operation. But I haven’t used that. But there are things by-the-way format for people that are employers. As employers, we have to set up job descriptions. You can do; I think it’s called the Kolbe C as an employer, and you can set up your job description there, answer a bunch of questions and then match your candidates against the job description based on Kolbe. I don’t go that far unless it’s a high-level role. But yeah, it’s a very useful place. I’ve been talking about it since 2000. Maybe I should be an affiliate. But I learned about it in 2003 or 2004, and I’ve been using it ever since.

I think you should be an affiliate. Most definitely. It’s been so helpful. I’m not trying to cut you short; I just want to respect your time because I could talk to you for another hour. Maybe you can come back, and we can talk again if you’d be so kind.

And it’s been a pleasure. Anytime someone wants to hear me talk about stuff that could help their audience, I hope the listening audience heard something today that may be of help. I’m no expert at this stuff. I only feel like I’ve got enough repetitions, and sharing is cool, but I don’t get to discuss hiring strategies. I’m in a mastermind and some other groups, but this also helps me rethink how I thought about stuff. It’s super refreshing so thank you so much for the opportunity.

No, it’s been an absolute pleasure. I just want to thank you for being here. And it’s been awesome. So if our listeners want to connect with you online, where can they do that?

Yeah, great. Appreciate that. Two ways; yokellocal.com is the Digital Marketing agency I own and run, and that’s where we help companies grow, as Matt mentioned in the earlier interview stage. And my website is darrellevans.net. I have a podcast; since you’re listening to Matt’s podcast, my podcast is The Mind Shift podcast with Darrell Evans. You can listen to it wherever you listen to this one.

I will make sure to check it out. Well, thanks again. And I would love to have you again; it’s been a pleasure.

Thank you so much, Matt, I appreciate it.

All right, you have a great day.

You too.



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