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B2C Marketers Guide to Lead Generation Strategies and Techniques That Work

In Conversation with Quique Lopez

Matt Fraser hosted Quique Lopez, Chief Marketing Officer at Panorama Press, for this edition of Ecoffee with Experts. Quique shares his wealth of expertise helping businesses for the last 30 years to improve website traffic, generate more leads, and close more sales by employing the greatest marketing strategies and sales techniques which exemplifies a B2C marketers guide & winning lead generation strategies. Watch now for some valuable insights.

People have this idea of businesses being evil or whatever. I don’t see that businesses are a positive force. We all help each other. You can’t go into business by yourself.

Quique Lopez
Chief Marketing Officer at Panorama Press
Hello everyone, welcome to this episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser and on today's episode, we're going to be talking about the B2C Marketers Guide to Lead Generation Strategies and techniques that work with Quique Lopez. Quique is the Chief Marketing Officer at Panorama Press. A full-service marketing and promotions company based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a bachelor of administration degree from Georgia State University and has been helping businesses for the last 30 years to increase their website traffic, get more leads and close more sales using the latest marketing strategies and sales techniques. When not wearing his marketing hat, he enjoys playing soccer as well as enjoying art, music, and philosophy. Quique welcome to the show. It's a pleasure to have you here.

Happy to be here. Thanks, Matt.

So you've been a hustler. I saw this from my research. What was it like as a child growing up for you?

Well, I was born in Colombia and I came up here and I ended up in New Orleans and came to Atlanta to go to school at Emory. And then I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor, like my parents. Then I went to business school at Georgia State. In those days, it wasn’t the right place for entrepreneurs. They didn’t have entrepreneurial programs. Most of what they taught in school was how to get a job with a big company kind of thing and how to solve a problem by getting together with the focus group and that just did not sit well with me. So, when I got out of school, I didn’t learn anything about what I wanted to learn, which was business. I wanted to start a business, run a business, everything about it. I didn’t get that education. Since Georgia State’s downtown Atlanta go by there and I’d see all these buildings and different parts and stuff and I saw an old abandoned building, I just took a shot and I contacted the owners of the buildings and I told them to let me fix it up, give me a few months free rent and I’ll just try to figure it out and so the first thing I did was, I found the bulletin boards back then, I found that for the colored press. And that’s how Panorama Press came about. I was doing screen printing and things like that and there were artists there and then I found out, these people have interesting art that I can put on a shirt. So anyway, selling those things, I ended up moving into selling band shirts and then I realized, these bands, they may have a nice place, but can we do a show here? I found out people who want to come here and watch these. There’s a lot of just selling beer. Needless to say, in those days, just doing parties and the place that they wanted me, they said, hey, you know what, you’re bringing life to this downtown area. And told me you can do what you can do, but you need to get a license. I ended up figuring out how to get a license, all the certificates of occupancy, and all that. And then I realize I’m downtown and there are all these people I need to sell them food and everybody in downtown liked Cajun food, black people love Cajun food, white people love Cajun food. Everybody loves Cajun everything. So, I figured it out and ended up one day at a time, getting a sink doing that, and over time, I ended up having a successful restaurant and I got into the music business, I ended up having different restaurants and I was promoting bands and music promotion, which was really my entry into understanding marketing. So, I was near Georgia Tech, and so all my workers were Georgia Tech students. And these people are coming up to me and say, “hey, you know, how to promote your stuff. You got to use bulletin boards”. And I was doing that, this is cool and then I went into it. Once websites came in, I was doing band catalogs with sites and things like that. So I was learning, a hybrid of passing fliers and bulletin boards and things like that. And back then you can see who are influencers, people who can get other people too, to do stuff and for them to come to see a show. So that was kind of cool. I’m giving you the short version of the story.

Of course. The Reader's Digest version. That's okay.

Yeah.

So it's interesting though. It's very interesting already.

Yeah. It was a weird situation trying to start out doing guerilla marketing. Talk about guerilla, I was helping the people in the neighborhood, homeless people. I’d put them in an apron to pass out flyers in the corner. They were happy making their money and I was selling food. The police were fine with me because they were my customers. So said, we’ll let this go, you’re just passing out menus, and so we moved on from there, and once the city realized these fliers are such a nuisance. I ended up moving into more digital stuff and that’s how I transitioned slowly into that. And then I started selling, what these other businesses are doing? Everybody started to realize we need websites and that’s how I got into websites then over time my children came and I soon realized, I can’t be in this kind of business with children that I have to raise. I was like, I’m doing well, I can make more money by making a website than I could, hustling a bunch of sandwiches. To me, I would consider this a very fortunate transition to get into. I learned how to again, it all came down to influencers, when the term came influencers, I haven’t had heard that thing before, they were called opinion leaders at some point.

Yeah, absolutely.

So and that worked out in so many different ways. And influencers are gatekeepers of businesses and things like that. So, this is a really interesting thing. Flyers still existed but the interesting part was that the art that came out of these flyers is just incredible and we notice how the better the art, the greater the chances that somebody is going to go see it, even if they never heard the music.

The higher the quality of the art. Here's a question though, do you think that relates to the web as well, for instance, the quality of the website in regards to the professionalism of the graphics, the colors, the color theory?

The best hire I did was getting the top-notch graphics guy to add balance, symmetry, and all those things that you mentioned and that went on into the digital world and so, websites were still back in the beginning, were just very basic.

So were you building websites when they were just HTML with tables for instance?

Yeah, I did. These Georgia Tech students were inspired and they were very happy to apply what they learned at school and to real-world applications.

They got the experience so obviously.

Yeah, yeah, it was a definite win-win situation.

So was that instrumental in you being able to grow your business by leveraging their expertise?

100% percent. I would say I was lucky. When I found this building, I didn’t know that I was next to Georgia Tech. I just got lucky, it just happened that way. So, it’s very interesting. You know, I learned a lot. They taught me more than anything.

That's amazing. Students being the right people, at the right place. I think when opportunity meets experience, that's when things happen. I can't remember his name but a famous entrepreneur said that.

So yeah, something like that. But there are times when you’d sit there and say, what do I do? I got to keep myself busy, I’d just take the building for the sake of painting the building because people see painting the building they’re going to stop by and say, what are you doing? So, it was bizarre things like that, it almost seems mindless, but it created some sort of energy. I can’t even explain it to this day. These seem mindless but they brought in good positive stuff.

As a result of you starting this and evolving into it, it's like an evolution. You learn how to do business, you learn how to hustle, you learn how to bring people in and then other people started asking you, hey, you seem to be good at this, and they didn't ask you if you have a diploma in marketing or anything like that. I mean, this guy's good at this already.

Yes, everybody just wants more business. The only they care about is whether you bring me more business or not.

Yeah, exactly. They don't care about if you have a degree or diploma in it or not.

Right. Exactly. For me, web design was just the entry point, until I ended up being more like a business consultant, where I’d sit there and figure out how to incorporate certain employees into your marketing and then use the existing assets that are your people, to promote your business. I applied all the different things that I learned from the restaurant and nightclub business, and the music business, and applied to other businesses as well.

Wow, you were taking lessons from your first-hand knowledge and first-hand experience. This is very interesting because, you know. I myself wish that I had gone the path that you went, where I started my own business instead of trying to be a marketing consultant to people first. I wish that I had started my own business, like as a mortgage broker or a realtor or a financial advisor or something like that along those lines, and then learned those skills and then built up the experience and expertise as you did and then apply that to help other people. Because what I've found is that, if you don't have some experience, like the question that people always ask me sometimes in regards to web design, what have you done? It's like and maybe I haven't back then, I'd go back ten years, by the way, or when I first tried to start selling websites to people. And it's interesting because maybe if I just had become a mortgage broker and built my own mortgage broker website and use these skills to build up a business, then I'll have credibility with people. Because without a portfolio, there was no credibility that's something I learned from BNI, there's visibility, credibility, and profitability. If you don't have the first two, you're not going to have a third. It's very interesting that you did that, and therefore you established yourself as an expert just by your experience of running those different businesses.

Yeah, having to manage like 100 employees in an industry that’s just absolute chaos every single day and night. As soon as the bands are finishing up the breakfast, people are coming and set up and all that stuff, you sit there and you go to your clients and go, I know what you’re going through, whatever it is that you’re dealing with. I really can relate and they know that you can feel their pain so that’s a big thing.

That's a key, that you can relate to them in their pain because I've never run a business with a hundred people.

That’s something that I don’t think I could ever learn from school or any kind of class or anything like that because it’s painful. It is.

Besides the direct experience, did you have anybody who you sought out as a mentor, even indirectly or anything like that?

Oh, yeah. The old businessmen in the neighborhood. They saw this kid there hustling, doing crazy stuff, and they were like “what is he doing”? They’d come in. If it wasn’t for these people, these businessmen. I’ll give you an example. I had no idea how to put together a plan for building a kitchen. I had no idea and these guys that come by and ask, what are you doing? And then they go, come over here, let me show you what we do and that process, they’d give me like bits of wisdom. For example, you better be there at the end of the night, being your guy because somebody else is going to be collecting it if you don’t. Things like that or how to talk to the building inspectors or all those things or telling you not to waste your money on things. For instance, the hardware store down the street, the guy who owned it for 30 years, you sit there and tell me, hey, look at this, this is how you do this, be careful of this, and you better make friends with the neighborhood, you better keep the people in the neighborhood, you’re allies. So that’s why I was hiring people in the neighborhood that they took care of me and that was in their wisdom. Well, don’t just limit yourself to hiring taxes, bring the people in the neighborhood because they’ll take care and sure enough, I got just a whole bunch of things from those people. The police too, the police would tell you what you need to do and what not to do in a way that was very cooperative. You know, they wanted to see us do well.

They want to see you succeed.

Well, they see you working when other people your age are doing other stuff. So, it was an interesting thing. All the different mentors everywhere like back then, for instance, 95, the Braves, Atlanta Braves were there, their warehouse got introduced to vending Braves stuff and that helped me generate enough capital because everything I did was self-funded. I never borrowed money. These people tell you to go to this warehouse, you get this, you get this, you go over here, you don’t do this, you don’t do that, don’t pay them before, they’ll tell you to work out a deal this way. So, all those things I can’t put into words how valuable it was to me and I am thankful for people not hating on me, I always got the opposite. I have a lot of trust in these people. Now that I’m old, I get it now from their standpoint, you know? It’s a good feeling inside when you can help somebody.

Would you say it's important then to have a mentor?

Yes, Mentors, in the plural, because they’re all over the place. You just have to find them. They’re probably right in front of you. You just got to go there and shake their hands and ask them things, not like give me something or anything like that. What do you think about this? What do you think about that, this is the struggle I’m going through and so on.

About like in order to build a relationship with them, provide value to them first before you ask them for any advice. John Maxwell in his books talks about this leadership. He says, you know, you make deposits before you make withdrawals. Like, if you want help from someone, need to make a deposit, a deposit, deposit, deposit, and then withdraw. And the deposit being you do things for them not to manipulate them. Just be a good person and then make a withdrawal.

Well, the simple question is, a real honest, simple question that you as a novice or whatever that they like, that they can tell their story to me. They’re different stories, at least somebody is listening to them. You know, as a businessman, we’re all isolated.

This is so true.

That’s one of the most important parts, probably the most important part that if you say, how was I successful? That was one of the benefits and luck. You make your luck. So, yeah.

I think it's when opportunity meets experience, that's when luck happens.

Yeah, yeah. If you don’t know, just do something and something will happen.

Something will happen. That's interesting, Robert T Kiyosaki in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, whenever he wanted an opportunity to happen, he gave away money and he tells story after story about how things are happening. Make a donation somewhere or give money or whatever. This is simply the price.

I painted the building.

Yes, there you go, you paint the building and look at what happened. That's amazing. Yeah, it's the same principle over and over.

Yes, and it helps their business, too. And I was able to help them, once I got started, then I can say, you know what, I have this restaurant now. I can support your business. I can help your business, I can drive people to your business, and it all works out that way, you know. And they introduce you to somebody, introduce you to somebody, and, you know, it all worked out that way.

Yeah. It's kind of like the rising tides, raises all ships principle. As they helped you, you were raised up, and then you were able to help others.

And that social media is from another era.

Yeah. That was social media, wasn't it?

Yes, it was. The principles of social media, it’s the same thing. So yeah, it’s really weird, but I see so many correlations, back then to now.

So then tell me a little about how your career evolved as you talked about how you started hiring these Georgia Tech students and you started growing and how you got more and more into the marketing side of things.

Yes. So, you know, I sold my businesses in 2004 and decided I’ll just start an agency. But I wasn’t even thinking of it as a marketing agency. It was just more like a consultant and so I wasn’t even thinking like that, I was thinking on the website. It’s just part of being a consultant, not marketing. But then I realized the definition of this is Marketing.

Absolutely.

That’s how it ended up being and at that time Google was just starting, as soon as Google AdWords came out, I got into that right away to start realizing, websites are nice and it’s the other, but if the leads don’t come in, It doesn’t mean anything. So, I really gravitated to Google AdWords and then earlier, I did the early SEO, it did really well with at the very beginning where, you know, an exact match with the main one and things are always easy to rank. I was able to scale a few companies quickly. That well-established me in marketing. I had a local company and appliance at their company here and in Atlanta. They just had a few technicians and stuff like that. Then in about a year, we ended up with 10,000 domains for counties, and cities all through the country. And we helped them, we had steady leads. It was these steady leads that allowed them to grow and they had their way of hiring technicians and things like that. And technicians loved it because, you know, they’re trying to do it themselves. But here are leads. It’s leads and steady money. They don’t have to worry about marketing or the processes that the company provided, like parts and infrastructure, call center, things like that.

Did you own the MDs? Like were you providing the leads through those sites?

Yeah.

So they were your domains that you owned and then you were just launching them in.

Well, we ended up partnering, so.

Oh, partner. Okay. Yeah.

The crazy part is how fast we were able to scale.

Shut the front door for me. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude because you just said something profound, this is unique. Like you partnered with the appliance repair company as a joint venture or as partnership equity in their company?

A joint venture.

Joint venture?

Yeah. I really didn’t want to I didn’t want to be a Partner, Partner. So yeah.

Was it based on their compensation for you? Is it based on a pay-per-lead basis or was it based on revenue?

It was based on revenue. So the per lead basis was still too difficult to put a price tag on a lead. So, you know, it was really hard to define what’s a real lead and things like that.

Yes, back then it was a lot more difficult. Today it's a little bit easier but still difficult.

Yeah. I mean, it still is because today you’re able to have call tracking and forms and all conversion tracking stuff. But in the end, you’re still dealing with the question of, is this a good lead or is this a bad lead? Is this lead from here, is this lead from there? And even with all that stuff, all the tracking stuff, you know, you still have to have the client do work in identifying, this came from here, this came from there. So and that’s a difficult thing.

That's interesting, how do you differentiate then? Working with clients to differentiate between a marketing-qualified lead and a sales-qualified lead?

Today?

Yeah, today or even back then. What's the difference between then and now? I mean, then it was harder, but is there anything to speak to?

Well, you know, like, for instance, in call tracking a lot of these companies, they’ll sit there and say, okay, well, you need to have your client go one by one and say, okay, this is good, this is not. In an effort, if it’s integrated with, let’s say, Google AdWords to teach Google AdWords, you know, what is what? But it’s still difficult because it comes down to the client investing time and in defining these things where they just need, they’ve got so much going on and it’s just hard. Then if you try to delegate that, they’re still having a hard time, whoever they’re delegating to. So, it’s not a big problem as it was before and then it always falls into the idea of the eternal battle between sales and marketing.

Like I said to you off camera, I experienced that first hand when I was the marketing director at a car dealership sales team was saying that what I was doing wasn't working.

Right.

I implemented all of the KPIs and tracking, and at the end of the day, I was able to show, look how much traffic we've increased, look at how many leads we have, and don't tell me that these aren't qualified leads. Look at what the sales team is doing and the activity in the CRM. I see them sitting on their hands with their thumbs up, joking around, throwing stuff at one another. I was like, Why aren't you on the phone? Why aren't you marketing? Why aren't you working? Do you think that someone's just going to hand you something just because that this is a lead, that they're not looking at other dealerships and getting quotes and a person who makes a connection with them first or some kind of emotional connection or physical connection is going to be the one who gets the deal? So it's like, you know, there is work to be done to sell stuff. I've done both things. Yeah, everything I've done marketing and sales, I know I do both.

You know, and it’s funny that it’s like a constant battle, the lead stock. No, they don’t. Are you following up? Or many times you provide too many leads and they just get, you know, okay, they can choose, this one look good, this one doesn’t, I’ll ignore this one. You know the deal.

Oh, I told you that.

That was always the battle and it still goes today to a certain extent. But it’s better. In the clients that I work the best with, for them, it’s now turned into more of a team instead of, there a salesperson and there’s a marketing team now it’s us actually having a discussion and respect going both ways. You know.

It's important, isn't it?

Yeah, it is. It’s huge. You know, they got to respect you and you got to respect them, because it’s not easy at the same time chasing leads, at what point do you say lead is dead? You know, all those things.

My Goodness, it's very interesting to say when a lead is dead.

I say it never dies.

Never dies. There's a saying about the grave. The lead you don't follow up and leave until they're in the grave or this is what it is in the car industry until they're either dead or they tell you to piss off or stronger language, you don't stop following up. And it's funny.

I can't remember his name but Joe Polish and his partner listen to the guys on I love marketing dot com. The nine-word email he was a realtor turned marketer and Joe Polish, of course, started out with carpet cleaning. But the nine-word email is all you put in the subject name subject line. Are you still interested in a car? Are you still interested in getting your vehicle fixed or whatever the case may be? Interested in buying a house, are you? So, it's just a nine-word email and I use that. I sold three cars, three cars using the nine-word email that otherwise there was no opportunity.

Yeah, and you know what, you can drive somebody away with too many words for sure, you know, you end up helping the salespeople in those ways, they learn from you and vice versa. So yeah.

So back check, what happened with the appliance repair venture? because I know these PMDs and I know what happened.

Okay. Well, you know exactly what happened.

So what then? What did you do to recover?

Well, here’s the question that was there. Okay. So, do we ride this out? Because, you know, you know, you’re doing stuff with duplicate content penalties, you’re dealing with a whole bunch of other stuff. And they say, do we write it out because it is expensive just to have, you know, a bunch of websites, it’s just horribly expensive.

Oh, it is very expensive.

Or do you go and make one website with a whole bunch of pages?

Different pages?

Yeah. So, needless to say, it was almost an overnight collapse of that. The owners are not well, we just want one website and stuff like that. And I’ll say, you know what, let’s keep these other websites. But still, leads dropped. Now, years later, these same websites now are selling for a lot of money because now for some reason they became valuable again. So, in retrospect, you know, would have been good to hold on to them, and because you have this suburban town, The exact match domain is still important. It became important and so it was just here you the strange thing in 2008, you were trying to make think okay, is it the economy. Is it a Google penalty or is it people changing their habits? So, it was all really interesting stuff looking in retrospect now of how these things progress or whatever you want to say.

You talked about the value of having a mentor. What about having a protege? Do you think you are doing it now?

Yeah. Well, that’s a tough one. I’ve done it several times. And I find gratification in it. Obviously, you know, you’re going to lose them if you mentor them too. I like helping young people trying to get their agencies. I do like doing that and that pays off in the end as well because good karma comes back. Now I understand the guys who mentored me. I find satisfaction in that I’m actually able to deliver something to somebody which really makes an impact on their life. I’m still in touch with people that I’ve helped out. It turns into a quality-of-life thing, that’s how I feel. It makes everything worthwhile and it comes back multiplied to you in many ways, directly or indirectly that’s what I think.

No, absolutely. It's true. There are even books written about it. I can't remember what his name is. There's a guy who just wrote a book. I read it. It's a book about giving in business, it's a phenomenal book. I wish that I could remember it right now, but the guy's a very popular author. He's written several other books. And it's a psychologist and maybe someone will figure it out or maybe I'll put it in the show notes.

We don’t have much time on this earth. Is it all about business? No. It’s about people and things like that because we don’t have much time.

When you think about how long this earth has been around and just how short of time we have on this earth. 82 years or something. You're right.

You start asking the question about what’s the meaning of life then? Are you going to find meaning in your life and why you do things? Take care of your family but there are other people that may need your help.

The book, it’s called Give and Take, Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant. It's a phenomenal book.

And business is good when people put down business, but it’s good when it’s personal. I don’t know about big giant corporations and I don’t like dealing with them myself. It’s very personal and when we have these discussions that there is a difference in business between, small, medium businesses and big impersonal giant corporations that, you know, we can’t put everything in one pile. I’m sure that the inner workings and stuff within these I don’t know but I’m just on the idea of businesses being evil or whatever. I don’t see business as a positive thing. We all help each other. You can’t go into business by yourself. No, you can’t. You think you’re by yourself but you’re not. So that’s a very important principle.

Well, Quique, thank you so much for coming on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure having you here. If our audience wants to connect with you online, how can they do so?

Well, I mean, our website, Panoramapress.net. That would be the easiest.

And are you personally on LinkedIn or anything like that?

Yeah. Yeah, I’m on LinkedIn as Quique Lopez.

Sure. We’ll make sure to put it in the show notes, that's for sure.

Well, thanks. It’s been nice talking to you, Matt.

You as well. Thank you so much again.

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