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Technology as a Differentiator For Your Agency with Matt Inglot (Part 1 of 2)

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How is your agency different? Using special or even proprietary technology can help you stand out, which is exactly what Matt Inglot did with his agency, Tilted Pixel.

Mentioned in this episode:

Apply for a Strategy Call with Liston
Matt’s Agency, Tilted Pixel
Freelance Transformation

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


Technology as a Differentiator For Your Agency with Matt Inglot (Part 1 of 2):

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:
Now as usual on Thursday, I have a guest with me today. His name is Matt Inglot. He’s going to clarify how to pronounce it because I’m sure I got it wrong.

Matt Inglot:
It’s Inglot.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. great. And so we’re going to get to Matt in a second, and today I think it’s going to be really interesting because Matt’s going to talk about how he built his own custom technology as a layer to help him separate himself and advance his business, his web development business. But before we get to that, I want to ask you, if you’re getting something out of this show, would you tell someone? Don’t keep it your little secret. Don’t keep it in your back pocket, your little boutique thing that and no one else knows. Share it if someone who had benefit from this.

Liston Witherill:
And also I want to invite you, if you want some help figuring out your sales, your marketing, your growth strategies, I’d love to talk to you. Go to liston.io/strategy where you can apply for a free strategy session with me. I have some time booked out over the next couple of weeks, and I would love to hear from you if that’s something I might be able to help with. Enough about me, I want to talk about Matt. Matt, how are you today?

Matt Inglot:
I’m awesome, Liston. How are you?

Liston Witherill:
I’m doing well, man. Tell me again the correct pronunciation of your last name.

Matt Inglot:
Inglot, so it’s Matt Inglot.

Liston Witherill:
Matt Inglot. Okay. So I actually got it right the first time and then ruined it.

Matt Inglot:
You corrected downwards. I was like no.

Liston Witherill:
Minus five points. Okay. Well, hopefully I can make my way up from a C minus up to an A at some point. So, Matt, you and I have known each other. We were chatting before this interview about how we met at World Domination Summit, sort of a free spirited kind of conference here in Portland, Oregon. This was a few years ago. And one of the things that fascinated me about you, Matt, is first of all, you look extremely young. I haven’t asked you how old you are, but you’ve been building your business for many, many years, long before you and I met. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and about your business?

Matt Inglot:
Absolutely. So I run a web agency that’s I started while I was still in school in university, and it just kind of progressed from there. It started because I had this amazing job at a startup and then the startup ran out of money. So suddenly I had to pay my rent, my groceries, my tuition, and I had no money coming in. So I started building websites for people, and that evolved for me basically freelancing to building up an agency called Tilted Pixel. And then 13 years later, here I am, and that’s still what I do. And you mentioned that I looked quite young, and I think I’ll be like 50 and people will still say I look quite young. I don’t know what it is, but I’m 33 now, and there’s still times that I get carded. So I think I’ve just drank from the fountain of youth at some point.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. Okay. And so Tilted Pixel, you do web development projects, and one of the things that you did in your business early on was you built your own CMS. And so for those of you who don’t know what a CMS is, it’s WordPress, it’s Squarespace, it’s Magento, it’s Shopify. It’s the thing that allows you to manage your content. CMS stands for content management system. And so a lot of web developers, Matt, they’re a WordPress shop or they’re a Squarespace shop. And you decided not to do that. You decided to build your own, which I think may have been insane, but I’m guessing that this is something that allows you to differentiate. So why did you make that decision in the first place?

Matt Inglot:
That’s an interesting question and an interesting conversation, something that I don’t think I’ve ever really publicly talked about. Part of it was a product of its time. So if we rewind 13 years ago, there weren’t really many options out there. WordPress was out there, and it was a great blogging platform and terrible at everything else. And then you didn’t really have anything else. There was really old school things like PHP-Nuke and all of these other systems. So I was looking at this landscape of content management systems, and first of all, there was no clear winner. WordPress was not powering most of the internet like it does today. And none of these systems seem like they would really stick around. So the problem with building my business on WordPress or PHP-Nuke or Drupal or Joomla, and I mean Joomla’s basically almost dead right now, for example, is I’d be building my business hoping that this platform that I’m using is going to, first of all, stick around for the long haul. And second of all, it’s actually going to function for the long haul.

Matt Inglot:
So when I started my agency, one of the big things that I was thinking about was the longevity of a projects that we’d be building. I didn’t want to be a agency where you’d be doing this constant stream of new websites all the time and then basically, as soon as you built a website for a client, you’d kind of kick them out the door, right? The website’s built, we’re finished with you. I was thinking about longterm relationships. And if I’m going to have a longterm relationship with a client, I need their stuff to keep working. And being that I have a very technical background, I was thinking ahead. I was thinking, “Well, if this client’s website is now three years old or five years old, are these million open source plugins still going to be functioning? Is WordPress going to come up with a new version of itself that breaks everything? What happens if we have a hundred clients’ sites and WordPress makes such a release and then we have to fix a hundred clients’ sites?” Right?

Matt Inglot:
And sure enough, a lot of this stuff did materialize. WordPress today has a lot of really awesome functionality, especially through third-party systems that allow you to manage multiple WordPress installations. But that’s very much a fairly new thing. For most of its life it didn’t have that, and it was basically constantly breaking. And having one site break isn’t a huge deal. Having all of your clients’ sites break and on the same day is a very big deal. So a lot of it was just thinking about like, is this stuff going to still be a alive and around? And then the other problem was none of it really gave us the features and functionality that we really wanted in terms of being able to manage client websites at scale, but also to be able to build the kind of things that clients wanted built.

Matt Inglot:
WordPress, even today, mostly operates through plugins, for example. The good news is there’s a ton of plugins out there. The bad news is, if you can’t find a plugin that does what you want, then you’re kind of in a world of hurt because it’s a huge pain to write a plugin. Whereas the way our system was architected was to basically make building new types of content, new types of functionality very easily. So it became this whole Lego block system. Now flip side to that, of course, is a lot of web companies back then built their own CMSs. We actually weren’t that unique in that, but I think most of these systems just fell by the wayside over time.

Matt Inglot:
And we’re like now part of a very small group of people that built a system that actually continued to maintain it and that it’s actually survived and works well. It’s gone through a number of iterations, and it’s got a lot of really good functionality. And as the agency evolved, so has it. So now it’s become less of a generic content management system and it’s now actually a very specialized piece of software that works primarily on membership sites and being able to process memberships through Stripe and be able to build a lot of really custom functionality for really custom membership sites. And that’s kind of now become our strengths. That’s a really long answer to say, “Yeah, it was a product of its time.”

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, and certainly along the way somewhere, let’s say even before you decided to focus on membership sites, certainly 13 years ago, WordPress for a professional web developer, I’m sure seemed like a piece of crap in terms of powering an entire website and giving you options, flexibility. But along the way, it’s gotten a lot better. So I use a great product. This is an unpaid plug, but it’s called Beaver Builder, which is amazing. And I personally highly recommend, maybe you wouldn’t, Matt, but I do. And you could have switched to WordPress or something else that’s become very mature. Like Squarespace is like a very mature platform with a huge team behind it, constantly developing and adding and improving. What made you decide not to do that?

Matt Inglot:
That was a continuous decision, to be honest, because as things did improve, that was a constant consideration. I mean, my company started in 2005. It’s now 2018. Again, just to place things in time. So it was a constant evaluation, but it came down to a few things. I mean, one, the system that we build, it works well. It works a little too well. Clients love it. It makes it really easy to manage lots of client websites, all of the automatic updating functionality and everything in it works well.

Matt Inglot:
But that said, if we are just continuing to build like basically generic marketing sites, for lack of a better word, I think at some point we would’ve switched because, like you said, there’s other platforms out there. And quite frankly, with something like WordPress, there’s a lot of people building this stuff and they’re building it for free or they’re building and very cheap. So the economics of it is wonderful because you have all these people doing free work for you. Why not take advantage of that, quite frankly? But the agency evolved as well. And especially over the last three, four years, we went more and more into eCommerce. And not eCommerce as in being able to buy products online and have them shipped to you because, I mean, Shopify owns that space now, but …

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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.

And check out the SDS method if you want to improve your sales process.

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