Kenny Lange is a business coach for agency owners. He joins the show to discuss how he’s using Nearbound marketing to generate leads and how he approaches relationships in his business.
Logan and Kenny discuss what’s worked for him, his mindset when it comes to partnerships, and prioritizing your clients’ needs. He shares how his mission of bringing value to his clients is his top priority, whether by doing it himself or connecting them to partners.
Highlights from the show:
- Introduction to Kenny Lange. 0:00
- The power of podcasting and podcasting. 1:37
- Living in market instead of thinking about markets. 5:22
- How to respond to pushback from listeners? 8:31
- How do you identify and select partners? 12:13
- Transitioning from scarcity to abundance. 18:37
- Flipping the mindset of identifying who you want to partner with. 22:16
- The importance of having unique travelers for the journey. 25:52
- The importance of leaning into the relationship. 29:54
Logan Lyles 0:00
Way too often we're stopping at the first date, even when it's a good one. That's what today's guest Kenny Lang calls out and gives us some advice on how to knock that stuff off for much better results. Actually, Ken, he runs a coaching business that helps agencies optimize their systems and processes. And he's realized, in part by listening to this show that a near bound marketing approach can generate some results pretty darn quickly. Before we get into his dating analogy. He shared three specific ways he's been executing near bound marketing and how they've generated new leads and a new client for his business. He's been using some tried and true marketing tactics like guesting on other podcasts which he continues today, obviously, but he's been applying a near bound approach to those same tactics. And he's using that as a starting point for deeper relationships with new near bound partners who served the same audience that he does. In this episode, he unpacks what that looks like how it's helped him avoid a scarcity mentality with his own marketing efforts, and how marketing together has helped him leverage the trust of others, but also build greater trust with his existing clients by adding value to them with timely intros and referrals. If you stick around to the end, Kenny drops another great analogy about a coupon book that you won't want to miss as it's a really good caution for how we can get a near bound marketing approach wrong if we aren't careful. Alright, let's hear from Kenny on where he's actively experimenting with his own near bound efforts over the past few months. I'm
Kenny Lange 1:37
a relative newbie to the to the near bound party. But a couple of things I've done one has been, I was a podcast guest much like now, but on podcast for agency owners. So one of them was the agency life pot or not agency life this years. Sorry, you planted the seeds in my head, but the agency Journey podcast, you know, with Greg McKenzie, and we had a great conversation and when it came out, you know, seemed well received. But a couple weeks after it was live, I got booked for an appointment. Because the one of the last lines I said at the end of the whole conversation resonated with this agency owner, where I said, you know, it's building an agency, you get into business, because you think it's a path to freedom, you end up feeling like you build your own prison and you don't know how to get out. And he he said that's exactly how he had been feeling. He booked a call for the following day after he listened and 45 minutes later, we were signing on to work together. And he's been a fantastic client. And that really opened my eyes I was the first one that went out asset okay, there's, there's something to this because I knew being a guest or doing something else like that was helpful brand awareness, blah, blah, blah. But I didn't really think about it in terms of how could I use this for more lead generation might this be some to really steer towards instead of occasionally something I do if someone invited. Another one was the creative outcomes podcast with the Upsource accounting. And I've also written a blog post for them. And when I wrote that two days later, it was actually one as somebody that subscribes to their email newsletter, booked a call with me because he said, Hey, we're facing all these things in our agency. And we'd love to talk with you. Another one was as Pete competa. From data box, he and I, he put out a post just saying, Hey, I have this group of marketing agency owners, we get together every so often, and we're looking for some different topics, you know, who's interested in I messaged them and gave them a few ideas of things I could talk about. And that went really well. It was great to be in the room with with all of them. Some of them when I started my agency were the example websites I was told to go look at. So it was it really felt full circle. It also my talk happened on what would have been the eighth anniversary of my agency. So it just felt like the circle of life was happening right there. But it just it kept pointing out that I got these follow ups. That seemed better. I don't want to cheapen it by just saying they were warmer leads, right. But I really felt like I got the chance to develop some relationships and have more meaningful conversations. From those few experiences than a lot of the networking events. I may go to where there may not be the right fit the best fit, I'm having to generate it and of course when you're in that environment. I think everybody's shields are a little bit up, because it, it is maybe intentionally supposed to feel a little transactional. And then let's see if we can steer towards relational. But it doesn't start from that place. And so in my experience, and for what I do, it doesn't get me as much traction as I would like. And so I'm enjoying the fewer, but higher quality interactions I'm getting from this near bound approach.
Logan Lyles 5:22
Yeah, I love that man, newbie, but I think you're executing it really, really well. So it'll help me understand where you're at right now. Kenny, so you mentioned you started with identifying some podcasts, some folks who have existing shows that are targeted at the same audience you're trying to reach, which are agency owners, and you were on to podcasts? And then with Pete, was it a mastermind group? Was it a webinar? Or was it a live stream? What was that situation?
Kenny Lange 5:49
I would say it was more of a like a mastermind group that they Pete apparently has had for for some time. He was joking about everybody thinks it's this like secret cabal of of agency owners, that suddenly he shot shone a light on but that, yeah, it's just a mastermind just go in and I got to present. And I got to answer a bunch of questions, which I always love is the the engagement of those settings, a prefer more workshop q&a to just let me speak at you, you know. So that's how that one came about. And some that just remembered is, I'm pretty sure my appearance on the agency journey is what got me the outreach for Upsource accounting and what they were doing. So it's sort of like, one created the opportunity and the visibility to get another. So there is a small snowball rolling in that regard, which that was fascinating to me as well. I thought you could use it to say, I've been on other podcasts as you're pitching yourself to be on podcast, but not necessarily for outreach for people to want you to be a guest. So it just lets you know, you never know who's watching, listening and paying attention.
Logan Lyles 7:09
That's the benefits right there. I think what we've talked about on this show is living in market as opposed to thinking about the markets out there. How do I send a message out there, what you're doing is you're stepping out into the market, you're you're living there, I want to ask a follow up question about this snowball effect. But before we do that, one thing I wanted to point out, is that the example that you shared on being on Zen pilot show agency journey, you had a very succinct line that didn't just come out of nowhere, right? You've developed a little bit of a point of view, maybe not a fully fleshed out strategic narrative. But you have, you have a take on the market that isn't just hey, I serve agency owners, and this is what I do for them, right, you know, about their life, because you came out of that role. You've been working with them. And you've used that to inform what are your points of view? What are those mantras that you're saying to the market. And so then when you go live in the market, and you go market with other folks who are serving the same audience, you have something to say that does resonate. So I think that that actually does play into what we've been talking about, are these five phases of near bound marketing. And earlier before you're activating your evangelists and your marketing with them, you are determining your points of view and your strategic narrative. So I just wanted to highlight that because that's a really good example. You know, some people can you might say, Well, hey, Kenny, Logan, you guys, were just talking about being guests on podcast, that's just a tactical good thing to do in marketing, it's not necessarily a new, a new thing. It's not necessarily, you know, near bound. But I think what you just said, there is the difference. A lot of people guest on podcast, and they view it as transactional, I'm gonna go load up as many podcast guest appearances I can, I'm gonna, I'm gonna circulate. But as you just mentioned, there was a little bit of a snowball effect when you had your eyes and ears open for it. One, it led to another podcast appearance, but then it's led to leaning into the relationships with the folks who host these podcasts. So tell me a little bit about, you know, respond to maybe that pushback that someone in the audience might be thinking of, you're just talking about a tactic. How is it really different with a near bound approach? And I think it has to do with the mindset of, hey, there's something here that can snowball if I lean into these relationships, right.
Kenny Lange 9:31
Yeah, so that's that's the part that as I'm digging into it, the learning more about the strategy approach of near bound but is something in terms of having a point of view like you were saying, it's it's not just a point of view to my my intended audience, so he didn't see founders, owners, leaders, what have you, but sharing a point of view and an approach with those people that I see Oh, Do you cover things I don't, nor do I even want to, like, I have no desire to cover accounting information, right? Like, nobody should come to me for accounting advice. But I see it as, oh, we're all serving the same people, right? Like they're, they're gonna need us at different times in different ways and different frequencies and things like that. We're all working together to serve this common group to see them succeed and reach their goals. And I happen to have as Liam Neeson so wonderfully said, a particular set of skills. But it, it was great, because now I can look around and say, okay, when I hear something in a session with a client, and go, Oh, hey, this is great. And if this is your quarterly objective, or what have you to say, revamp your operational processes, or your your accounting structure or something like that, or you need to play somebody in a leadership advisory see? Would you like an introduction? I have somebody who thinks a lot like I do, that is far more relational, has that sort of like servant mindset, not just trying to get money from from the market is they're really trying to do good, and the world. And so I figured that that's part of what I do. And what I've discovered. And coaching, as opposed to what I did in the agency world is this is very, very personal, like, people aren't just buying my services, my services and approach may change. But they're really the buying me and sort of my approach. And if they like that, I want to make sure I have other people who approach them in the same way. Right? So if I can't introduce them to somebody who's just going to grab the money and go, because not only is that a disservice to them, but it also tarnishes my reputation with my client who liked me. But now suddenly, there's something that creates a little dissonance of well, we know Kenny's this way, but this person wasn't a Kenny referred them. So what is it Kenny see? Right? So you see the complexity, the deck and negative effect that that can have. And so that's why I'm I'm looking for a few partners, that it can really flow by directionally. But I know that there's going to be a shared approach to some extent, and a sheer heart around how do we serve?
Logan Lyles 12:35
We've talked a lot about the reason in your bound approach is needed for marketing is that we're in this economy where trust is paramount, it's driving, why people make decisions, more than the information because there's so much information, there's so much data we have accessible trust is really the premium. And we talk about partnering with others in your marketing, because they have the trust of of that audience. But what you just called out there is by partnering with these other folks in having an abundance mindset that says, hey, there are other ways that my clients need to be served. And if I have a trusted partner, I can introduce them to guess what I'm establishing even greater trust with the people who are already my customers. And so I just wanted to call that out, because we've been talking about leveraging the trust that others have with the market. But this approach, as you just called out there helps you establish even more trust with your segment of the market. Maybe you could speak a little bit more Kenny to this, how you're going about identifying partners. So you mentioned it's not just people who are trying to reach those same people, there needs to be values in envision alignment, we talk about that a little bit in the five phases of near bound marketing, as you evaluate potential partners, it's just not about their reach. But you need to have a similar vision, how have you kind of bucketed things or at least started to approach this idea of identifying your different potential partners without getting overwhelmed looking at here's the target market, I could partner with the everybody and you want to find a few. How are you kind of dividing that up to make it approachable so that you can find those few where there is a shared vision with?
Kenny Lange 14:24
Yeah, that is a great question. And the again, newbie to the party. So these may be some some rough thoughts, but it is a little bit if you think about it, like, like marketing itself or hiring which you know, obviously has sort of a marketing feel to hiring. And that's where I look at, functionally. What are things that don't necessarily that complement what I do, or I've heard my clients struggle with that they may need a resource so so Sometimes that can trigger me to go. I've heard this a couple of times in session or the CEO has texted me asking me questions about this, I need to find a resource for them, and one that will complement and work together with me to serve them. So I don't just want to introduce a resource and be hands off, but create a relationship with them. So it's actually like a triangle here between me the client and the other advisor. So once I figure out the function and see, hey, do they do these things with excellence? Right? Like they got to, you know, walk the talk, then it is almost a little like a hiring process. And you know, I'm not exactly sitting there going like, Well, how would I score them on on my core values, it's really about the I go off of gut quite a bit, maybe this entrepreneurial side of me could be the Enneagram, eight in me, whatever you want to go with. But I go with my gut knows things before my brain does, which can get me in trouble. Because my mouth will speak before it's fully rationalized. But I can start to sense like, oh, there's, there's a shared sort of spirit as a shared way of thinking a sheer mindset, and approach. And these are probably people that I can work with. And then I start exploring, like, what are you working on? How can I help and contribute? You know, do you have gaps and, you know, creating content on a regular basis? You know, and I know we've gone with the podcasts, there can be other things. But if creating content on a regular basis is difficult, well, what if I helped fill in the gap and took some pressure off of you. So now I'm helping you and your job, I can contribute meaningfully to the company, but also, I can contribute to helping this people group, and maybe a section of it I don't normally have access to. And vice versa, as I'm working on things, I now have this talented bunch of people who can speak with a level of expertise that I don't have. And again, it provides more value, right? So we just get to benefit each other because you get the association it, it can have the downside, it's a mixed match. But it can have a huge upside. One of the things that's been huge for me is it's let the pressure off of myself to be all things to all people. I don't have to pretend to be an expert in everything. But and I know some people will say, Well, we know that by now. But sometimes even when you're trying to find your your lane, you can still feel a sense of duty and responsibility to help them even if you don't have the capacity or skill set to and you'll feel bad for saying well, that's just not what I do. You know, you know, most employers hate the the line, that's not my job. Well, clients don't necessarily like to hear that, either. Even though they may understand you can't help them there. And for me, it just lets me know, like, okay, when I get hit with these questions, even if I just need a quick answer, I can say, Hey, what are your thoughts on this, I get hit with this. I'm thinking this way, but you have more experience. And that helps. Sometimes it is an introduction, just a conversation, or you know, there's something else there. But it took it allowed me to be more fully who I am, and how I want to have a presence and have a unique point of view in the marketplace. Because now suddenly, I'm not trying to be, you know, an inch deep and a mile wide.
Logan Lyles 18:37
Yeah. And I think that it can help make that transition from a scarcity mindset that can creep into an abundance mindset. Similar to what you were saying there, because we see other people that are trying to reach our same audience, even if they're not directly competitive with us, it's like, we can feel this sense of competition, instead of hey, there's an opportunity for us both to serve here and surrounded this market. And that shift from scarcity to abundance is kind of what I hear in what you're saying there. Right. Can he is that fair?
Kenny Lange 19:09
Yeah, absolutely. And I'll be honest, there are times when I have viewed somebody else, they come in and I'm like, man, they're wicked smart, I'm gonna seem like an idiot to my client now. But I see them as a collaborator and see, hey, actually, what I do, and what I've done, helps my client with the work with them, and the work they're doing over there is actually going to help this one part they were struggling on. And suddenly now, I mean, the clients accelerating both of mine and the other advisors work is accelerating, you know, because we're always looking at what's that time to value? Right? What's the speed we can create value and when you're an expert advisor, right, like if you read David C Baker's books and a lot of those things, which are really and I highly recommend it I'm, you're looking at how fast can they experiences but advising somebody isn't like just Well, let me just do something for you in the next 10 days, it's usually steering them. And that's a longer game. But when you have multiple advisors eating and play off of each other, that cycle speeds up. And that only benefits everyone.
Logan Lyles 20:21
That's such a good shout, man. Because I think for anyone who's selling and marketing in a service based business, they can completely identify with what you're saying there, because there's nuances to the advising and the consulting that you're doing. And sometimes, if you can help someone get an unlock with something that you can help with, it actually speeds up the progress and like you said, the time to value of your consulting and your services. I think the application for anyone who's selling or marketing a product, maybe someone in SAS right now, they're like, Oh, well, I'm not in a service based business. Well, you know, we're told all the time that we need to be advisors to our customers in in b2b sales, we need to take a consultative approach. So I think that there are still some parallels, even if they aren't one to one, if you're selling and marketing a product versus a service. The other thing that was interesting to me you call down a few minutes ago, Kenny was looking out at the market, and thinking about potential partners and evangelists to connect your magnets and put them together. Oftentimes, we look out and we say, who has the most reach? And who has the biggest audience and that sort of stuff? You actually started with your customers? So you were basically advocating for as you're talking to your customers and your prospects, hearing from them, or maybe even asking some questions like, what are some other areas in your business that you are struggling with right now. Now, you can't just ask that right out of the gate, you have to have some rapport built up. But if you can ask those questions that can help you identify what are the other areas where I should find people who fit that need, right, as opposed to I'm gonna go out into the audience into the market, and I'm going to find people who have a big audience. And now I'm going to start referring them Well, I haven't talked to my customers to see is that a regular need that they need a referral for? Right, it's almost like we do it backwards, we try and, you know, grab the peg and then go find the hole for it. As opposed to having the customer say I have this shape hole, you don't have this shape hole in my heart, right? And I need, I need you to help me fill it, you can then go out and say, Oh, actually, I do have that round peg because I was just talking to the guys that said pilot or Pete and the team at data box. So I think flipping the typical mindset there of identifying who you want to partner with is really, really good. And you've just naturally done it. So even though you say newbie to nearby marketing, I think you're executing it. Well, my friend.
Kenny Lange 22:55
I appreciate that. Yeah, I think the one thing there too, is, is you don't want to turn into the proverbial like, coupon book. Right? Like, you've got you paid 15 bucks. You've got like, 10,000 pages for all these restaurants and everything else. You don't exactly want to turn into the the advisor service provider. What have you. Oh, I have something for that. Here's 10% off like, okay, great, dude. Like, have you ever worked with them? No. You ever spoken with them? No. But they are fantastic. Like, what? Right? Like you can be an affiliate with with dang near anyone. You can't be a partner with anyone. And I do think with with near bound, where that's actually, you know, a way of thinking of methodology. Instead of just tactics of be a guest guest blog post. I'm not putting those things down. But it can't just be that it's got to be attached to something. Right.
Logan Lyles 23:55
Yeah. I mean, going back to your original story, you were a guest on agency life. You didn't just say hey, great. Thanks for having me. Got a lead. Got a deal. Real cool. Talk to us a little bit about like, what did you do from there? You talk to their head of marketing, you asked some questions, what did the follow up kind of look like? Even though you're still kind of in the midst of it? I think that would be good to unpack.
Kenny Lange 24:16
Yeah, so seeing how it's worked over the last couple of months, you know, like now I've after the initial gasp because the first one starts off it's it's an I know, this gets to be a tired trope and marketing but it's a lot like a first date. And and if that first date that first post that first episode or whatever, if it goes well, then it was like, hey, there might be something here. There might be something more could we actually dream a little together? Could we ideate could we could we brainstorm some things that maybe neither one of us has ever thought of but we will if we get in the same room virtually or physically together and and go, You know what, I've always wanted to do something like this, I actually have something for that. But I wanted to do it this way, we have something for that. And it just starts to come together. So now I'm inviting those people back on, say, my podcast. So, you know, I have guest spots lined up for, you know, agency journey. So their head of marketing is going to come on to the podcast, I've had co founder of sources is coming on the podcast to talk about some that is really exciting for agencies that they're releasing. And now it feels more like, hey, oh, I have something neat that I'm working on, I want to share about let's dig into it, because I think it could be helpful. And now it just feels like, you know, good good friends and colleagues, like, oh, yeah, I got a project, I could use your help on this, Could you could you chip in, and yeah, we're gonna benefit from it. But we also get to just help each other. So we're, also we're growing, you know, I don't want to like, you know, steal hotspot stuff, but we're gonna grow together, we're gonna grow better together hashtag. But really, in some cases, where I've reached out to even some some smaller entities, you know, they're, they're a one person shop, kind of like I'm running, you know, my practice. But we can grow each other's businesses together. I mean, it's tough to be a business owner and to be an entrepreneur and to do those things. And if you think you're going to do that, by yourself, you're sorely mistaken. And you're just going to become another statistic. So this actually is really helpful for you to have what I heard somebody call a unique travelers for the journey. Because it can be really difficult, it can be really isolating, it can be really lonely. And if you start clicking in with some other people, because ever, they're just trying to do their best job that they can, whether they're the owner, or they're the head of content, or marketing, they're trying to do the best job that they know how to do. But unless you're, you know, huge and fortune 500, you don't have millions of dollars to just throw at this thing, right? You don't have 100 people content team that can crank out 1500 blog posts a month, right, like some companies, and that's great that those people can do it, but they're in the minority. Right. So when it comes to small businesses and smaller firms, if we band together, it's a rising tide that lifts all ships. And I've always been a huge fan of.
Logan Lyles 27:34
Man that was so well said. And I love the analogy about the first date. I can think about that. You know, you mentioned little Freudian slip there. You mentioned the other podcast that I host agency life. And one of the things I'm doing there is we have a podcast. And then we also have a monthly livestream series, Marcel Pedic. Pa with pure Aikido, he was a guest on one of our live streams. And one of the attendees said, this is the best session in the series that we've had, so far as Marcel was actually sharing something, and they and he shared his iPad and was kind of doing a visual and that sort of stuff. And I saw that as an opportunity, we're going to have him back on in August on our next live stream on that series. Because so often we find someone to partner with, we find someone to market with. And then we just, we even if we have a great first date, it's like, boom, we got to get that next first date. And that's how we're thinking about it, as opposed to, hey, if we have a good first date, maybe we should go on another, maybe there's something here, maybe we should have a DTR define the relationship conversation here. And we should, once we define it, then, you know, continue to develop this relationship. And that's basically what I hear you saying. And back to the original story and question of, we're not just talking about a tactic of going out in appearing on podcasts, we're trying to get your way into other people's content series. But do that and look at it as an inroad to kind of test out the relationship and see if there's something here. Is there a shared vision? Is there complimentary ways that you, your services and your products can serve the same audience? Is there complementary ways that your content can serve the same audience? Right? Hey, we've been trying to pull this together. Oh, actually, we just did a survey on this right. I'm gonna have Pete kupuna and Carl sake is on that show. We were talking about agency life. They just did a benchmarking report for agencies on marketing themselves. And I said, Hey, over email@example.com, we are doing a benchmarking report for agencies on the operational side. Maybe we could both try and help collect responses to get more data into these surveys, and then we can talk about them both. We wouldn't have uncovered that if I just said, Hey, you guys come on this podcast. Can I come on your podcast, and that's it. leaning into the relationship is what has led to a few of those Different examples in both of the way you, and I'm trying to execute near bound marketing. So I think that is is a great place to round it out, Kenny, anything else that you're thinking about that you've learned from some of your testing the waters of a near bound marketing approach, or what you're looking at next that you think might be interesting, as we round out in the conversation today,
Kenny Lange 30:21
the more I learned, the more I realize how much I don't know. And one would think that being married and having as many kids as I do, would have taught me that as well. But the more I get to talk to people, the more I just have an appreciation for the specialized level of knowledge in these different areas that I don't have an I don't have to have, but can greatly help me learn and help this group. Because if you really feel passionate about the group, you're you're filled called to serve, or you're just, you know, that's what sets your head and your heart on fire. If that's the outcome you're focused on, you're going to find ways to bring value to that group, no matter what if it's from you, or from somebody else, because it's not about you. And that's been a huge learning is it's not about shining the light on me, it's about bringing the greatest amount of value and help I can to a group of people that I feel passionately about. And, you know, I think anybody could and should apply that to the group they feel passionate about as well.
Logan Lyles 31:34
I love it, man. Well, just to call out a few things for folks who have been listening to give you some, some actionable things. I think one of my favorite parts you touched on Kenny was not looking out into the market trying to identify partners. And then where can I shove those into refer and talk about those with my customers, but use what your customers are telling you to say I have needs in these other areas that can make it less overwhelming to go out and identify and activate your evangelists. As we're talking about as you execute near about marketing. Make sure that the partners that you're working with that you align on approach and envision, make it easy to collaborate with yourself as you approach those other partners. I think one of the things you said either in this episode, or as we were chatting offline was asking your partners, what's your content? roadmap? Right, right now, right? Yeah, I think that was from the example within pilot you were talking about. And then at the end of the day, I think you just hit on the heartbeat of the show that it is relational, not transactional. You could try to take a near bound approach, and execute it very transactionally. And I think the coupon book example, was the thing that drove it home for me. So those were the highlights for me. And I think for the audience, as well. For anybody who's listening to this Kenny, who's not yet connected with you, maybe they want to check out your podcast, if they're an agency who's leaning into marketing together with their partners on the south side, or whoever it might be? What's the best way to stay in touch with you?
Kenny Lange 33:04
I mean, my website, Kenny Lang, La n g e.com. Houses sort of everything, the podcasts how leaders think we release something every other Wednesday, and then I'm on LinkedIn. So I was lucky enough to get my actual name on that Ford slash Kenny Lang altogether. We'd love to chat answer questions and help however I can.
Logan Lyles 33:29
Awesome, man. Well, I'm gonna put you on the spot. We never ended an episode this way. But you and I are both purveyors of dad jokes. So give us your best one as we finish up this episode today. My wife
Kenny Lange 33:40
asked if I had seen the dog bowl. And I said I didn't know that he could
Logan Lyles 33:45
have been. That was my favorite one. I'm glad you went with that one. We found out before we hit record that we both absolutely love dad jokes. And I didn't know you. Were an aspiring stand up comedian before going into agency life. And now you're a consulting practice. So if that's not enough reason to follow Kenny, I don't know what is. Kenny, thank you for being my guest today on marketing together and as always, thank you so much for listening. And then Kenny's examples today our shining lights to show us that it is true. We do go further faster when we're marketing together.