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Grow Your Business Through Referral Marketing with Dan Golden of Be Found Online

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Increasing your agency’s reach and exposure can be accomplished in many different styles and methods, like SEO, social media marketing, content sharing, and more. Referral programs, though, can add a little sweetness (literally) to your outreach process.

Up next…

Check out the four sales fundamentals every top performer masters, how to use value-based selling to increase your leverage, and how to improve your remote selling skills as the world becomes more virtual. 

Dan Golden, President and Chief Search Artist of Be Found Online, shares how a “happy accident” set his business apart from others through a unique referral program. Recognizing that there was a need for referrals, Dan and his team were able to build the trust and credibility BFO needed to drive new business.

In this episode, we’ll talk about:

  1. The importance of referrals and how your business can grow from them

  2. How to gain trust and credibility—fast

  3. Saving money through referrals

  4. Testing new methods to remain relevant through the changes of digital marketing

Why are referrals necessary? For one, they add a personalized touch to your method of reaching new customers. Dan’s experience teaches us that word of mouth goes a long way. While many agencies focus on blogging, SEO, and content, Dan highlights the power of trust and recommendations.

One of the fastest ways to gain trust and credibility as a business is through, you guessed it, referrals. Through personalized emails and phone calls, you’ll have customers coming back for more, bringing their friends with them.

If you’re advertising online, there can be a steep price tag attached. Fortunately, you can save on marketing and advertising expenses through word of mouth marketing. For one client you reach out to, for example, they can refer you to five more potential customers.

Any marketer knows that digital marketing methods do not follow a linear model. It’s a rather ambiguous and evolving world that requires you to be ready for any sort of change. Testing new outreach methods every so often will help you face the shift with ease.

Mentioned in this episode:

Be Found Online
Dan Golden, President & Chief Search Artist

For more information on remote selling and a complete list of links mentioned in this podcast, visit this remote selling article on our website.


Grow Your Business Through Referral Marketing with Dan Golden of Be Found Online:

Full Transcript

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners, and salespeople looking to have more and better conversations with your perfect clients. You’ll get a healthy scoop of psychology, behavioral economics and sales studies to help you create win-win relationships. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, and I’m pleased to welcome you to Modern Sales.

Liston Witherill:
Today, I’m excited to have on Dan Golden. Did I say that right, Dan?

Dan Golden:
You did.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. Dan is from Be Found Online. You can find that website with the amazing URL, I must say, befoundonline.com. Dan runs a digital agency. They do everything from PPC to inbound to analytics. Certainly lots of other things that I’m not mentioning, but I am excited to talk to Dan about several things today, but namely some of his war stories and how he’s using a referral program to help build his business. Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan Golden:
Thanks for having me. Look forward to talking about shop.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. Well, we’ll see what you say at the end of it. Huh? So Dan, tell us a little bit about you and how you came to create Be Found Online.

Dan Golden:
Be Found Online started kind of as a happy accident like many good things. I had a day job doing search engine marketing. That was actually the side gig while I was trying to tour with a rock band for a couple of years. My brother was launching a new company and I explained to him what I was doing and he told me he needed all this stuff. So, I sort of built a business around helping his company and this was the side gig or as I would call it, the 6 to 10 and not the nine to five. That kind of started things off. We grew the business through networking, through referrals. The digital marketing we did sort of launched his company and everybody was asking how you could get found on Google. That was back in the early days where merely turning on a program that wasn’t running, you could look like a hero. That kind of gave us the kickstart. It’s obviously a lot harder to do that nowadays.

Liston Witherill:
I don’t know if you know Dan Shure, but he’ll be on the podcast someday very soon and he’s an SEO expert. My guess is the name of the company Be Found Online implies search engine marketing. My guess is that was kind of your focus initially. How have you found it challenging to move with the market given that before you just flipped a switch and you look like a superhero as you said, but now there’s much more technical detail and strategy that goes into it.

Dan Golden:
Absolutely. So actually, the original name of the company was Be Found Local. The original intent was to go after SMBs and some local channel partners. I learned very quickly at how challenging that is to build a sales force and a service offering around best MBs. It takes as much to close a deal with someone spending 500 bucks a month as someone spending 500,000 bucks a month. We made the pivot to be found online about 10 years ago, this January to be a little bit more universal and less focused on the local market. In terms of breaking and moving beyond capturing demand through search engine marketing, I questioned how much a name really matters this day in age more so than your reputation. It’s a very literal name. It works. People get it in general.

Dan Golden:
I occasionally get those are you a dating site questions about people wanted to be found online, but in general, there’s not a whole lot of a name brings other if it doesn’t come with a a reputation. Early on, before we had built up more demand and more brand recognition, it didn’t work. We had to explain everything that we did and frankly a lot of the services that we offered weren’t mainstream in the beginning. This day and age, people understand about SEO and paid search and analytics, Facebook, all the different stuff that we do. I think the market that we service today is certainly much more educated than we were 10 years ago when we were getting started.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. So, I agree with you that the name isn’t everything. I was just citing the name as kind of a clue as to how you guys got started, but you did mention the reputation and what have you done for clients. It sounds like is behind that. So, how did you think about building your reputation and what are some of the steps you’ve taken in order to do that so that you can go into a new market or to a new client and really have a steam going into those conversations?

Dan Golden:
This goes for any business. Referrals mean everything. So, I think the reputation now, there’s certainly more about us online and I’m getting quoted in writing for Forbes. There’s all the typical reputation stuff. That is all valid and important. Blogging, sharing content, being active. Every agency owners love to win awards. We were the number one best place to work on Ad Age a couple of years back. So, all that stuff matters. I think the trusts and really what comes from an individual recommendation or someone advocating for you trumps all of that. Right? You could have the … Our first seven years, we had an awful website, with barely paying attention to SEO because we didn’t need to.

Dan Golden:
So, I think it’s all about producing good work and finding advocates and staying in touch with them. In this business, no matter how much I want to sell a specific brand or person or CMO, we have to be there to fulfill a need. I could call and chase as aggressively as I want to, but until their agency screws up or until they get more budget or until they have staff turnover or any one of those kind of catalysts, we’re not going to get the call. Right? So, it’s been a lot of staying in touch and staying top of mind. So that we’re the go to when they have a need.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. I know referrals are important and of course I totally agree with you. Those are definitely the fastest ways to build trust and credibility is you can sort of leverage someone else’s word, objective third party, relatively objective at least. Are there proactive things that you have done or is this just sort of your gut feeling? You’re staying in touch with people, you’re checking in with them and that keeps you more top of mind or do you have a formal program that you use for yourself and for your other people who work for you?

Dan Golden:
It’s not as formal as I’d like it to be and we’re working on changing and improving that, but there’s certainly some tactical things or some quick tips that could be implemented by anybody. I mean custom audiences is one place to start, so leveraging Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, uploading all the email lists, both from your website, newsletter, and also individual contacts. You can also export your LinkedIn connections and import that audience. That’s been a part of it is just performance marketers were always very focused on lead gen, right?

Dan Golden:
What did we spend on advertising? How many people filled out the forms and turned into a marketing qualified lead and then moved down the funnel? There’s value to staying top of mind and sharing good news. That’s one of it is just targeted marketing. Again, drinking the Kool-Aid and staying top of mind with a small group of people as a marketing services firm and we serve mid size to enterprise companies nowadays. We’ve got some verticals that we focus in, so it’s needles in a haystack. So, focusing on the targeting and doing the things to be a big brand to a small group of individuals is where we found success. That’s on the marketing side.

Dan Golden:
On the sales side or the personal reach outside, I mean we use HubSpot, I’ve used Contactually, which is another program that adds a layer of accountability for staying in touch with folks. What I would say, you have to have some measurement and accountability to keep you on top of it, because I’ve far eclipse the days of being able to remember everybody that I should reach out to on a Friday afternoon. So, finding whatever system works for you. I’m big on leveraging different tools and anything that I can do to automate and stay in touch with folks at scale. At the same time, we’ve all been on the other side of those generic mail merge emails that you can tell doesn’t have an authentic human on the other side. So, it’s balancing those things, right? Balancing automation, scale, sequences, all those tools that can be extremely powerful if they’re not used responsibly. If it doesn’t pass the smell test, you could do a lot more damage than good.

Liston Witherill:
Yes, and I agree. I think the big thing is for me at least automation with people who you already have a strong relationship with often fails, unless it’s clearly the point of it was to be automated. So, like a newsletter, right, is a great way to just be on someone’s radar every week or every month. If it’s purporting to be a one-to-one contact, but it’s automated, we can all tell that that’s not a real thing. One thing you mentioned was accountability, and so you talked about tools, you talked about all the different ways and some of the specific tools that you’ve used, but how do you stay accountable essentially to yourself? You’re the business owner and you’re the one who’s responsible for reaching out to these contacts. What is your mechanism for accountability?

Dan Golden:
My team kicks my ass, so that’s part of it. So, we’ve focused each of our … I measure everything so we count in terms of projecting our pipeline, we keep on going further and further up the food chain in terms of finding those leading indicators that tell us we’re doing the right things to fill and nurture the pipeline. So, I have to report back to my team. I’m sort of in a … it’s not my official title, but every agency owner is an SDR. Whether you want to be or not, whether you like doing it or not, agency owners, especially early on, your job is biz dev. Early on you might also be doing the work. As an agency owner, that is a core accountability.

Dan Golden:
I have to report back to the team. We look at my activity, the number of calls, number of leads and sales that have been driven from everything from speaking engagements to networking events. So yeah, I guess just being very open with your team and the more you share, the more you become accountable to it. I think that’s really … that’s helped at least in terms of keeping me to task, knowing that you need to speak up in front of a room full of your employees, you best be walking the walk.

Liston Witherill:
So, I know you also have on the subject of referrals, you have two separate referral programs on your website. You have one for agencies, but you also have one for individuals. I was just curious like, what is the strategy for those? Why don’t we focus on the one for individuals? What is the strategy behind them and how do you incent people to give you referrals?

Dan Golden:
The strategy behind it was I guess a happy accident, like many great things. We realized word of mouth was driving a ton of our new business and there were a handful of advocates, a couple of former clients that had moved on to new roles, and we would give the thank you or a little gift card, any sort of gesture was so well received and almost always led to more business in additional referrals. So, it only made sense to share the love. When someone brings over a client or recommends a client and gives us that warm introduction, that saves us a lot of money on marketing.

Dan Golden:
Frankly, the 10 times you would typically ask to chase a cold prospect versus a warm phone call that starts with trust, that there’s a financial benefit for us and why not share the love? Same with referrals that we send out, right? So, there’s a lot of stuff that we do at BFO and when someone comes asking for … and it has to be developed, which is not one of our core services and we farm that work out or send that over to a partner of ours. I’ve been building this brand for a decade, building trust and spending a lot of time, effort, energy, money. There’s certainly the what goes around comes around and I’m a believer in that, but I also believe in shared prosperity. So yeah, we just decided to make it a formal program and actually give a cut of the deal when someone in our network send a prospect our way and it turns into a contract.

Liston Witherill:
My feeling is you probably have the same problem with the referral program that you have with maybe existing clients and hoping to get referrals from them, which is, you can mention it to them, but if the moment isn’t right when you bring it up, then it may be forgotten a month later, three months later, six months later when the moment is right and they could be in a position to refer you, but they may not remember. What are you doing to address that? How can you stay top of mind with this referral program, if anything?

Dan Golden:
Yeah. So, well I’ll give you a very specific example. So, we put this video together. There was a partner of ours. We actually screwed up. We had owed this guy a referral fee and switched accounting companies and he got lost in the shuffle. So, I felt very bad about that and invited him out for a drink and surprised him with a plate full of cash that we owed him for about a year. So, that video is live on YouTube and it is showing to our custom audience. That’s one way is be very intentional about it and force it to be top of mind by advertising that you have it, putting it in your email signature. When we send around a quarterly net promoter score and we find our happiest clients and advocates, tell the account directors and mention it in a call.

Dan Golden:
Like everything, everything is advertising, right? So, saying it once isn’t enough. It’s about consistency and repetition. So, with the email signature, if it’s there always, nobody’s going to look at it, but when you switch it up every month, we typically get a little bit of a boost. It’s the reminder. One of the things I remind my team, especially the sales team that is always very focused on this month in this quarter, is that we’re playing the long game, right? We’re building relationships and nurturing relationships. I got a call this last week from a prospect we were talking to last year and we ended up being not a great fit for what they were looking to do. Budgets didn’t align, but he got a new job last month and we were his first call. So, it’s identifying every individual and treating them like they’re VIPs.

Dan Golden:
Another example, there was a web development intern with one of our partners and he was working with us on an SEO project, implementing some copy, very … I hate to say this word, but low level work or very tactical assignments. Sure enough, he got a job six months later and recommended us to his boss. That turned into one of our biggest SEO engagements ever from partnering up and friending up an intern who we’re working with on a project. So, it’s just a reminder and recognizing, and frankly this is a good advice, not just for agencies, but for humans, that everybody’s important and valuable and treat the secretary and the billing people and the contract manager and the analyst, anybody you’re dealing with, treat everybody like they’re a VIP because they are. Where you get these referrals from, it can come from anywhere.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. I had a professor in grad school who said that one thing he would do whenever vendors would come in to pitch him is after the pitch and they would leave, he would go out to his secretary and ask her, how did he treat you? What did you think of them? Just to see was this all a show or was this person actually genuine and authentic and really trying to be helpful or was it just all BS.

Dan Golden:
Love it.

Liston Witherill:
So, one thing you mentioned to me coming into this is a phrase, and I didn’t even ask you what it meant, but I’m curious now, go where the food is. Tell me about that.

Dan Golden:
Well, we’ve found opportunity. There’s a tendency and frankly I have this tendency to want to build things and come up with products or come up with solutions and then go find the problem. Certainly, if you’re building technology or there’s plenty of ways where that’s unnecessary to build something and I guess I like to get paid to do it or I like to find a man first and then build around it. So, early on, this was the very first big pitch that we won. We were pitching a major automotive retailer or auto parts retailer and we realized they had all sorts of reputation issues in Google and that their local search footprint was a mess. We found a bunch of other things, but we proposed some services that we had never done before and this was 10 years ago, so most hadn’t done. Reputation management and local search are all very established channels now, but it wasn’t 10 to 15 years ago.

Dan Golden:
So, we started with the problem and when the client signed off, we built a process and a service and hired and build solutions around that. If we were to look at our list at the time, we probably would have been running in a bunch of different directions and then trying to sell what it is we built. So, finding clients that are curious, that are willing to test, that’s part of the litmus test when we’re talking to new prospects of what percentage of their budget they spend on testing new things and moving the needle. When you find clients that are willing to experiment, that’s a great way to test your way into new services.

Dan Golden:
Another example of that is sort of the agency partnership model. That was not our initial intent to be a subcontractor, but really the first kind of half of BFO’s life 80 to 90% of the business we were getting was coming from other agencies. So, we really learn how to work with partners, work with other agencies, fill the gaps, and it’s a different type of … at the end of the day, a lot of the work we were doing was still the same as we would do with the direct client, but the needs of an agency partner were very different. So, we focused on that and staff those accounts differently. That was never planned initially. We just found opportunity and went after it.

Liston Witherill:
Go where the food is, it seems to present a tension that is worth noting and I’d love to get your feedback on it. That tension is when you’re building a consulting company, any new service, any new way of doing business, has all these downstream effects. You have to deliver, you have to market it, you have to essentially now make room and bandwidth in order to deliver this new thing that you have. It tends to be easier to market yourself if you’re specialized, but yet that can close off opportunities. So, how do you think about balancing this openness to new ideas and new service lines with sort of making it a lot easier for you to market yourself and become known for something?

Dan Golden:
Yeah, I appreciate you calling that out because you’re right, that it is a tension and it’s something I’m trying to balance every day is we need to focus on the stuff that we’re great at and that we get paid to do. You can’t risk what you’ve built in terms of executing on your core services, but at the same time, and this is a thing that my business partner and I have been repeating a lot over the last several months, is like we need to get back into the garage and test stuff, build new solutions. So, some examples of that are around Amazon and LinkedIn right now. Those are two … between retail and B2C and B2B, those are the two biggies right now. There’s so much opportunity to build stuff around those platforms.

Dan Golden:
One thing that has helped us is part of the EOS process. So, we could have a whole other podcast talking about that, but the entrepreneur’s operating system and there’s what’s known as the 20 ideas lists. It’s a way for, especially for founders that are constantly thinking of new shit, to have some structure around it and have a process to be testing something new every 90 days. That’s a list that’s kind of been living and breathing for the last year. We can vote stuff up and the bad ideas fall off the list, but making sure there’s sort of that culture of innovation. One thing we’ve learned is as much as you … you can’t have sales going off and just selling a bill of goods to then show up to the account team and they have no idea what to actually execute, I think the pendulum had swung with us for several years where our product teams were getting in the way of us moving the needle and we’re doing a lot with programmatic advertising now, but I think we would have been two or three years ahead of where we’re at now if we hadn’t let our product slow us down on what we were selling and building.

Dan Golden:
So, there’s definitely a balance there, but at the end of the day, sales is hard. You need to give some leeway and make sure that, especially if it’s a new product service offering, that you can always build it first. Sometimes you have to sell it and then figure it out and having confidence in your team and your people and your ability to figure new stuff out. Frankly, if we take a few steps back and look at the macro level of what’s happening with agencies and in house teams, I believe that the brands are the big brands that we want to work with. They’re going to be hiring agencies to figure out stuff faster than they can hire internally or figure out how to do internally. What I think that means for our company is five years from now I think half the stuff we’re getting paid to do our services that we aren’t offering yet. Albeit voice search, connected actions, sales enablement, and then augmented reality.

Dan Golden:
There’s so many new things that brands and agencies are going to need to figure out and some of the core services that we built the agency on of SEO consulting and day to day management of paid media campaigns between machine learning and what the tool that Google now offers. I think a lot of the services we’re going to need a focus on different things and recognizing that and forcing yourself into taking some risks and forcing your team to be a little less comfortable is critical to getting there.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, I mean you’re focused on digital marketing and it’s a huge part of my background and obviously a huge part of how I market myself in my business even though it’s not what I’m ultimately delivering. It changes so fast. Do you find that to be a challenge in managing the pace of change and this competing like you’re now thinking about launching new products on a 90 day cycle? What happens when we get to the point where we need to be more nimble than 90 days? Can we do a two day cycle? Are humans capable of that? How do you think about this increasing speed of change for your business, particularly in digital marketing?

Dan Golden:
I’m excited about it because that’s the stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning is one thing I’ve always said there’s never a dull moment in search. When I get asked like is it frustrating working in an industry with so much change and ambiguity, and frankly I think it keeps us in business. If in house teams were staffed enough and had enough resources to focus on what’s next and go to conferences and learn, I think if this stuff was easy, then I wouldn’t be in business. So, I think it’s just personally embracing it, embracing the change and the chaos and the uncertainty. That’s a start, right? If you can embrace that, then you’re going to have the right attitude going in. Not being afraid to fail, but it’s easy to say that. It’s more difficult when you’re in a marketing services industry and you have contracts without clauses.

Dan Golden:
So, part of that is just how you address it with clients and being transparent about what might work and what won’t or when we launch a new test for a client and say like, “Hey, this is … we’re trying something new. I don’t know how this ad format is going to work for you.” It may fail and if something fails and you have some learnings and you can pivot and learn from it and shift, then it’s not a failure. It’s a win. You have to have clients that also agree with that. We have some clients that are so laser focused on hitting monthly and quarterly goals that we really don’t have room to experiment with new stuff and that’s okay.

Dan Golden:
We can execute against that. We also remind them like, “Here’s what you’re missing out on because we’re not willing to take this risk.” You may be a year late into figuring out this channel that your competitors have been testing over the last two to three years. So yeah, I feel like I don’t have any hard answers for you, but hopefully this is helpful to the other agency owners out there and in terms of how they approach the uncertain future we’re all facing.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, I’ve been very interested in voice search in the future. Obviously I love podcasts. That’s one of the reasons I like doing this and showing up. The thing about voice is it’s you’re not so invested in holding an object and staring at a screen and eventually putting on headphones. A lot of us already have that where you can just talk to your phone and it’ll respond. Is voice search something that you think about as kind of a new frontier for you and your business?

Dan Golden:
Absolutely, and I wouldn’t just say voice search. I think voice and sort of the conversational UX is something brands are going to have to embrace because it’s not just about search. I think voice search today is in a lot of cases is not that different from text input search. The query length is a little longer. There’s more questions. Sure. In general, it’s still a similar intent of asking something and looking for an answer. I think voice actions, and I also think visual searches, the stat that all of us in the industry are pointing to is by 2020 half of all searches are either going to be voice or visual input. To me, that’s less scary for agencies and more scary for Google who makes all their money monetizing paid ads on top of the SERPs.

Liston Witherill:
Totally.

Dan Golden:
There’s a lot of uncertainty there. I certainly have my predictions. What we focus on from a service offering is there’s plenty you could be doing to get ready for this next wave of optimizing information for I think a brand could exist today and especially in a couple of years without a website. Of course every brand is still going to need a website. I’m not quite advocating that yet, but if you think of the way consumers interact with brands via chat bots on their Facebook page with apps or with an echo skill where you could book the appointment and don’t even have to pull up a mobile website, I would say consumer behavior is changing rapidly. Anytime that happens, there’s a lot of opportunities for marketers to fill those gaps.

Liston Witherill:
Interesting. A good friend of mine has had that theory for a while. Interestingly, his website has become increasingly important to him, not the other way around, but he does a lot of his business over email. I actually agree. I think it depends. If you’re able to find a funnel that works for you, then you may not need a website at all and especially I could imagine a future of like service based businesses. I could think of like a plumber. If you could outrank everybody in your local area through Alexa search and book appointments through Alexa skills, as you’re saying, that’s probably all you would ever need. So, interesting.

Liston Witherill:
All right, so one thing we haven’t talked about at all, Dan, is the fact that you have a distributed team. Looking at your website, you are based in Chicago, you have people in London and Singapore of all places. How did that come to be and what are some challenges that you find working remotely?

Dan Golden:
There’s a lot of layers to the onion there. So currently right now, we have about 20 to 30% of our US employees are remote. So, Chicago’s headquarters, but we’ve got a bunch of folks in Florida. There are challenges to having remote teams and we have certainly lived through many of them. There’s benefits to having an office and having people, I get both sides of the coin. We’ve had some great employees with us for a long time and that thrive on the flexibility and love working in their pajamas even though they’re dealing with billion dollar companies. That’s becoming more common these days. There’s a lot less taboo. Frankly, some of them are contacts and some of these enterprise level companies are also working in their living room with the dog barking in the background.

Dan Golden:
I feel like the culture around that is changing very rapidly and especially with agencies. I think we’ve found a good balance of having an office and building that office culture and flying the team in when we can while still having the flexibility. Then frankly there are challenges to that. Would I’d rather have everybody in the same office all the time? Sure. Save money on travel costs and I’m sure there would be some other benefits to that. Given how difficult it is to find and retain talent this day and age, I’d rather have a great employee in Timbuktu than settling for someone who just happens to be closer to our office. That’s kind of my take on the remote aspect of things.

Dan Golden:
In terms of London and Singapore, I would harken that back to the go where the food is conversation because we have a joint venture with an agency that is based out of London. That was as I would say, another happy accident. So, my cofounder was speaking at a conference and met a gentleman for drinks who was at that session and turns out a few months later they had a very large client, international client that they needed a US footprint for. After partnering with them for a few years, we decided to join forces and take our brand overseas. So, there’s all sorts of challenges, right, to having a distributed team, but at the end of the day with Slack and with Zoom and video conferencing and we’re all so connected, I think it’s the future. Certainly the future of work is going to look a lot different than it has over the last decade. Like I said, a lot of those taboos I think have gone away, or at least there’s a lot more acceptance both with our clients and certainly with the team members.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, I mean all of my work is done remotely and I’ve been working like that probably for four years. I can tell you for sure some people prefer to do business in person, but I find very little resistance to it now. I don’t have any clients who expect to meet me in person, so I totally agree there and it’s good for the lifestyle. I don’t particularly like traveling. I grew up in LA and commuting is just quite awful. So, I agree. Things are changing. So Dan, I’ve seen plenty of pictures of you online. I found you online on your website and I got asked, what’s up with all the orange?

Dan Golden:
I just like it. I like orange. I’ve got an orange car with orange tinted windows. When there’s something orange, it makes me smile more. I know there’s a lot of other folks like me. It seems like orange is more of a color for that than other colors. Man, I don’t know.

Liston Witherill:
Orange has a cult following you’re saying.

Dan Golden:
It does. So yeah, I just like it. Sure, of course I wear the orange jacket at conferences because it helps you stand out a little bit, but it’s also who I am. Right? As with all these shticks, if it’s genuine, then I think people appreciate it and it has helped. We got a deal earlier this year, it was another referral and someone mentioned, he’s like, “Yeah, I know I couldn’t remember you, but I was like that orange guy.” It helps. So, whether it’s an orange jacket or whatever your shtick is, make sure it’s authentic and there’s a lot of noise out there. So anything you can do to stand out and bring a little personality and goofiness to your professional life, I think it’s a benefit. So yeah, I think … I’ve been to burning man seven times.

Dan Golden:
When I bring that up with a client or a prospect, that breaks down a ton of barriers. I’m sure that has turned people off. Usually engage a conversation when you bring certain things up, but I would say don’t … As we try and balance personal and professional, where appropriate. Blend the two, be yourself, add some personality, tell a joke on a conference call. I swear a lot in front of clients, I feel like again, no one bats a thousand but in general I think people appreciate when you’re being authentic, genuine and real and a little different. We’re a marketing services firms. We’re an ad agency. So, like if I showed up wearing a formal suit to a pitch, I feel like they would get suspicious. What are these guys trying to sell me? They’re an ad agency. They should have tattoos and T-shirts.

Liston Witherill:
If people are to take one thing out of this. If you run a marketing firm or an ad agency, go get tattoos, go wear a T-shirt, get an orange sport coat. Am I getting that right, Dan?

Dan Golden:
I think so. Although to be fully authentic here, I still fear my Jewish mother, so I do not have any tattoos. Certainly T-shirt and the orange jacket. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. Some of my clients are lifelong friends. That’s another thing is be authentic because if you’re not and you have a client who expects you to act a certain way and it’s not in your wheelhouse, they’re not going to get the best out of you and you’ll be miserable in that engagement. That’s what I’ve said all along is like, we got to have fun while we’re doing this. Sure, we’re in business to make money, but you also want to a difference and you want to have fun along the way. So, find your orange jacket and wear it proud.

Liston Witherill:
Oh my God, that’s got to be the headline of this episode. Find your orange jacket featuring Dan Golden.

Dan Golden:
Love it. Love it.

Liston Witherill:
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I’m curious, if people want to connect with you, learn more about you, learn more about Be Found Online, what should they do?

Dan Golden:
Well, we can be found online. It’s not just a clever name, so I’m sure you’ll have our URL listed and always happy to connect, talk shop, other agency owners, or especially early on. I’m happy to give advice. Feel free to reach out. If you’re doing so via LinkedIn, mention the podcast, because as we said before, I get about a dozen automated LinkedIn requests from people trying to sell stuff. So yeah, easy to find and always happy to connect and share the love and help others where I can. So, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Liston Witherill:
If we’re not connected on LinkedIn, I’ll certainly send you a connection request and I’ll reserve any selling for much later. Don’t worry about it. I appreciate your being here. Thank you so much.

Dan Golden:
Thanks for having me.

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