How to Hire Freelancers and Agencies (E114)

  • Chris Brewer
  • Co-Founder of OMG Commerce


Chris Brewer is the co-founder of OMG Commerce, a digital eCommerce agency based in Springfield, MO. OMG Commerce is a Google Premier Partner that places them in the top 2-3% of all Google Partner agencies worldwide. Chris is a frequent speaker and guest at industry events and digital marketing podcasts. He currently manages inbound inquiries and acts as a strategist for OMG Commerce clients. In addition to the incredible growth and success with “OMG,” his entrepreneurial accomplishments have included building and selling an outdoor advertising company and direct mail publishing company. He is the author of the book, Does Your Marketing Make You Money: 7 Quick & Easy Secrets to Create A Booming Business Now and resides just outside Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 24 years.




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of the business e-commerce. I talked with crisper about the best practices when working with a marketing agency. This is a Busby commerce episode one 14

Charles (00:16):

Welcome to the business of eCommerce, the show that helps eCommerce retailers start launch and grow their eCommerce business. I’m your host, Charles Polaski. I’m here today with Chris brewer. Chris is a cofounder of OMG commerce, a digital e-commerce agency. OMG commerce is a Google premier partner that places them in the top two to 3% of all Google partner agencies worldwide. I asked Chris to the show today to chat about what are the some of the best practices when working with an agency. So, Hey Chris, how are you doing today? And I’m fantastic. I am enjoying the winter weather where I’m located, which right now is Missouri, but soon we’ll be back in sunny Florida. So enjoying both places. Yes, Florida traveling down there actually next week for a [inaudible] to see some family and it is fantastic getting out of the Northeast. Same thing with the winter weather.

Charles (01:13):

So this, this timing is very good for that. So great to, great to have you on the show though. It’s super interesting talking about kind of the whole agency side. Right on. So this is episode one 14. It was one 11. I talked to John from credo all about hiring SEO agencies, kind of the initial how to find the agency, how to hire. And it’s a super interesting show. So sticking, you know, there’s a lot, you guys do it with agency work on how to actually the work with the agency and also kind of were talking before the show, how to fire the agency is also kind of another thing and just how to and your relationship, let’s say with an agency, it’s laid a different way. So I guess first, you know, tell me a little bit of your experience kind of as you are.

Charles (02:01):

You’re on the agency side, right? So you guys absolutely. Yup. Yup. We’re on the agency side. So we’ve been hired and we’ve also been fired. So I got, we got both ends of the spectrum covered, but you know, seriously for about 10 years, my business partner, Brett Curry and I was pretty well-spoken on around the circuits and events and has his own podcast as well. He and I have grown this agency mainly focusing on Google services, search shopping, YouTube and display. And then also in the last couple of years, Amazon as well and have a team. It’s getting close to 40 people, which is just mind boggling to me. But you know, I’m, I’m fielding personally two to three leads a day. And on the hiring side, I’m on the other side of that. Right. Like your other podcast that talking about how to hire, I’m on the other side of that because people are hopefully have done their homework before they’ve called us and then we’re engaging with those brands.

Charles (03:02):

But I’m pretty passionate about quality in terms of the agency and the client relationships and keeping our industry kind of clean as clean as we can and not getting into some of those bad experiences that are out there that, you know, a lot of people have bad experiences when working with an agency. It’s not unusual for me to be the second, third, or even fourth stop, you know, that they’ve, they’ve kinda been through several and I frankly try to slow that down if I can. And so that’s why it’s important to know how to hire as you’ve had on your previous podcasts, but it’s also important to know how do you get rid of your agency? Like, what’s the best way to do it? Can you hurt yourself by actually find your agency for the right reasons? And some folks fire for the wrong reasons. And then I think another topic maybe we could talk about would be just the working relationship when you are working with an agency or freelancer, how do we make the most of that? Right? So that’s kinda my take on those, those two topics.

Chris (04:12):

Yeah, I think the working relationship is something that a lot of folks first get wrong in second a lot. Often people let the agency kind of dictate the working relationship. And I think some agencies have a good way of doing it. And other ones they kind of want you as the as a hire to kind of guide them things like weekly check in. Should it be every week, should it be every day, should they be a standup, all these different things. What are kind of the right ways to do this? Like how often should you be talking to them? Who should you be talking to? Cause in some cases also I’ve seen folks they kind of just hire the agency and it’s almost like they just like throw the problem over a wall and then hope that like in three weeks it just comes back done. And then they see how the people that want to kind of sit with them every single day and like be involved and like what do you kind of see that as? Like, where would you draw the line and say is like the right and wouldn’t, when is it the right to do that?

Charles (05:09):

Well I think, you know what I’ve seen over the years is it depends on the size of the business and the sophistication of the business and what they bring to the table. And and so when we’ve worked years ago with franchises and small businesses, there was a lot of that, here, let me give this to you, please help me. And then you know, they don’t look at their reports and you know, essentially if they really can’t see that the phone is ringing often enough, that’s when you’re going to get a phone call and have to defend all the work that you’ve done. Even though they probably haven’t read all the reports for the last four or five months. And small businesses are kind of just throw it over the wall and say, yeah, I typically, yeah, I typically that occasionally in e-commerce we get people that frankly have built multimillion dollar businesses or at least a seven figure e-commerce business.

Charles (06:10):

Yet they really haven’t taken the time to educate themselves. And because they’ve heard good things about us that tends to lead some time to them just abdicating and say, same kind of thing here. Help help me out. And we frankly are very cautious about getting involved in relationships like that. And because that’s kinda how you get hurt sometimes from both sides. One, you hurt yourself when you’re not educated enough about what your agency or freelancer is going to be doing for you. And, and second, if you’re if you’re not educated enough, then you’re, you’re just not going to be able to call somebody out when a strategy is being recommended. That could be two years old, you know? So I think to make the most of these relationships, I, I have a little acronym that I use and it’s called time because it’s all about time, right?

Charles (07:11):

I mean, we, we, we are going to put the time in to hire this agency, but while we’re working with them, how are we gonna make the most of that? And so the first is transparency. So being open. I’m often surprised sometimes when people just don’t want to share their numbers at all because we haven’t gone down enough the road in terms of their mind to be, to be trustworthy. And that’s where we’ve introduced NDAs and things like that to make people feel comfortable. But more than just numbers, it’s just simply transparency on how you’re feeling about the relationship. If, if it’s not working or you don’t think it’s working, you’ve got to be transparent with that and, and have a discussion out in the open about what’s going on. Because many times if people will do that, they’ll, they’ll find that it’s not at all what it seems.

Charles (08:05):

And that’s when you’re, you’re quiet. To me, entrepreneurs are great at, at conspiracy theories because in the absence of communication and transparency, there’s all kinds of conspiracy theories based on your old war rooms, from dealing with old freelancers or agencies or employees that you think someone’s may be taking advantage of you. So transparency is incredibly important. And then kind of piggybacking on that, the I and time is, is to implement proactively. So when those course adjustments are needed, it’s kinda like what they say in schools. You know? Right now if you see something, say something. I would say if you, if you feel something, say something. So it’s the agency’s job to be proactive when it comes to your account and driving strategy. However, just like an inhouse persons, if you’re working with people in house, they can’t read your mind. So you’ve got to communicate where you’re frustrated or if you’ve got a sneaking suspicion and so the right agency are going to receive those questions gratefully and respond.

Charles (09:12):

So implement proactively when you got to make those things. Then I like to meet in person, that’s the M there’s so much virtual that’s happening and it doesn’t mean you got to hop on a plane and go, go fly to see all your clients or you’ve got to go fly and see your agency. But Hey, I would say you probably should go fly out and visit your agency at their location at least once. Have a, have a meal, see what their facility is like a is did you think it was a big organization? And you went up to the third floor of an office center and it’s one guy in a room, you know, so what, what is that? You know, go into interest industry events and, and having some FaceTime there. That to me does not happen enough. And what we’ve found with our rain agency is if we make an effort to try and meet people at least once a year, face to face and those relationships are the one that typically stick around cause it’s just more of a, of a solid relationship built there.

Charles (10:12):

And then the final one is just expectations, which you know is probably big and in your business as well, you’ve got to have clear expectations and your KPIs and writing. And the final thing I’ll say about that, that’s so important. We can have expectations at first when we engage with a client and we think everything is golden, all of a sudden somebody wakes up four or five months into the relationship and everything’s off track. And it’s because the expectations of one or the other have shifted. And we’ve never gotten back in alignment. So I always tell folks every 90 days or so, make sure you’re revisiting those expectations. So those are four kind of quick tips on how to make the most of those engagements. Yeah, it’s always surprising the expectation setting ahead of time. I’ve worked with a number of agencies where they don’t do that and it’s almost like they rely on you as the hire to kind of give them the expectations.

Charles (11:14):

But sometimes you don’t really know what KPIs Steven put in place. So it’s kinda, you get into the situation where you know, X amount of hours that, and you start looking at the report and say like, what are we even, what have you been doing? And then you kind of look backwards and then just trying to actually compet expectations later on. And like you said, it’s totally off track at that point. So would you normally say it’s the agency’s kind of responsibility to like whose responsibility is to come with those expectations and kind of decide and then you both sign on the dotted line? Like how does that work? I think that’s where the transparency comes. Transparency comes in is that it’s on the, the store side or the e-commerce owners side. You’ve got to bring all your expectations out into the light on that discovery call or that first call you’re having with the company that you’re thinking about hiring.

Charles (12:02):

And then you’ve got to allow the agency to let you know how many of those expectations are attainable within the scope that they’re qualified to deliver and how many are there any of those expectations that are just way off the ranch that are pie in the sky kinds of things. So, and I would encourage people that, that do that to not get defensive and and not drag their heels, put their heels in the ground on expectations that they think they have to have. I really believe that people miss out on great agency partnerships because they’re unwilling to modify their expectations based on an expert’s experience in the industry. On the agency side, it’s equally important that they lay out their expectations for the, the campaigns or whatever you’re going to be doing. And actually Charles, it’s kind of interesting because you know, we’ve done service agreements for years.

Charles (13:09):

You, you have the discovery call, everything’s good. You may do an audit of the account, checking out how the quality of the Google ads or how they Amazon is, is running. You have that call now, your, your two or three calls in, everybody’s feeling good and, and then you, you send the agreement out there. So in honeymoon mode that they’re just looking for the signature line, they sign off and then surprise, surprise, two or three months down the road when we’ve been able to scale their campaigns to another tier and their bill comes in higher because they broke through to another spin tier all of a sudden we’re getting a phone call. Like, how come I’m getting a bill for four grand or whatever it is. I thought I was only supposed to be paying 2,500. Well, we’ve scaled your account up and we’re meeting all of your return on ad spend goals.

Charles (14:02):

And this was in the agreement. Well, I never saw that. So that’s another thing. We actually just implemented this and I pushed back against my COO, you know, typical owner pushing back against the COO, but I pushed back. I was like, ah, I don’t know. I don’t think these, I don’t think new clients, I mean we just had three or four calls. They’re not going to want another call to review their agreement. Let’s not slow this down. But I was wrong because actually the clients really appreciate it. It takes like 10 minutes tops. And what we do is we expel out on our service agreements. Here are our expectations of you as a client. Return our calls, get back to us soon. You may hold us up, you know, if you’re, if you’re not, that’s just an example. And then client, here are your expectation.

Charles (14:51):

You know, expectations of us. We’re going to be a partner. We’re not going to increase billing over the first 30 days unless we’re discussing that. And it’s an alignment with strategy, all of those kinds of things. And so that way we’ve had that one-on-one to clarify the expectations and it’s really been amazing how smooth things have gone over the first several months of our engagements after doing that. How do you find that? I see what happens a lot of times with expectation setting and it’s usually, and I’ve seen both sides of this though, this is the tie doing the hiring in the agency. The business is coming up with unreal expectations, but because it’s kind of early on in the process, kind of during the sales process, the agency might not want to necessarily push back on them too hard. So they kind of say yes to some things that big mistake.

Charles (15:41):

Yeah. Like how do you first as a business, how do you know you’re not doing this? Cause sometimes you’re hiring someone. Mmm. You know, you give a return on ad spend that’s just off the wall and like no one could ever meet it. So then as a business owner, you’re doing that. But then how do you know the agency’s just not saying yes to you and just to win your business, like from both sides. How do you know, notice this happening? Yeah, I don’t, I can’t recall if on the previous podcast if, if the SEO guy kind of mentioned this in terms of the hiring process, but part of that is, you know, at least asking for a reference. Somebody you could talk to that’s done business with that firm before. But I think the other thing is just those red flags can be on both sides.

Charles (16:24):

So we’ll get, we may get red flags from an expectation or, or even something that said, like when we get on a call and someone says, I just have to get this done now that’s a red flag for us. It could be completely legitimate, but what I just have to get this done right now usually means is they haven’t planned or prepared and they’re looking to get bailed out. The other things that we kind of look for is from the agency side or from the client side or prospect, you know, calling in. If you’re hearing that immediate results are going to be delivered and promised. To me that should be a red flag expectation because let’s face it, you know, competition is getting a lot more difficult. Cpas on Facebook are higher. Ad costs on Google are higher. It takes longer to get things done.

Charles (17:24):

So immediate results would be a red flag for me also. If you’re not getting written plans, if you’re not if you’re wanting to get locked in for long periods of time, that’s a red flag for me because it should be more performance based. And I think if you’re getting evasive or defensive answers to things, that’s another red flag that if they can’t answer, at least say though we’re going to research it and get back to you, then that’s something that you know, you need to be really wary of. So I would just say that on the, to answer the first part of your question, if the agency is sensing that there’s expectations they can’t fulfill, but yet they want to go ahead and move the campaign forward, I would just say to any agencies listening for that, you got to stop that activity because that’s only going to result in a short term engagement.

Charles (18:22):

And you getting thrown to the trash heap of potential agencies. Cause there’s so many mastermind groups out there on Facebook and people talk, these eCommerce entrepreneurs, they talk to each other. I’m not gonna say it on this podcast, but I, there are two agencies, well, three agencies that get mentioned to me consistently that, you know, for various reasons. And you know, I, I’d love to be able to say, Hey guys, did you know that for the last week I’ve had five people say your agency really sucked it up for them. You know? So at any rate, I don’t want to keep going along on that tangent, but the expectations is just huge. And I think the biggest way that you can do it is revisiting and not just letting it go and letting it go further down. Because that’s how we hear clients and we’re at like a IRC or a big trade show, event, trade show.

Charles (19:24):

And we have companies coming up and talking to us and we ask them, why are you looking for another agency? The number one answer I hear is when we started, they were the ones initially driving strategy and then they seem to kind of cool their heels and then we had to push, we had to drive the strategy. Well, if you’re communicating at least every two or three months on expectations, the agency should be hearing, you guys aren’t driving the strategy anymore. Oh well we didn’t realize that. Let’s, let’s reassess. What do we need to do? You know, how can we communicate better? So it all comes down to communication.

Chris (20:02):

So in the topic of communication, what sort of cadence should you expect as a business owner with the agency and who should define that cadence on when should you be talking? How much, how long, what sort of reports? Like, where is that? Is is there a set number for that or is that something that you negotiate or what do you, what are your thoughts on that?

Charles (20:23):

That’s a great point. Great question. Charles. The what, what we do kind of our standard is the first 90 days we are having biweekly calls. And that way there’s enough consistency to make sure there’s nothing being dropped, that we’re making sure that they’re seeing the results. And if there’s PR, we’re to know each other. So I suggest in the early goings that you’re having more frequent communication. I don’t think there’s a perfect number. We have had prospects come in that said, well, I was having weekly calls with my last agency, but maybe they’re only spending 15 or $20,000 a month on Google ads. I would argue in most cases, there’s not enough data happening in the last seven days with that amount of spin for us to even take our specialist off your account and put them on a phone call. And, and so whereas other clients that maybe, you know, we’ve got YouTube clients that are spending $250,000 a month on YouTube or more, and we better be having weekly conversations with those accounts because there’s a lot of moving pieces and new content and things like that that are, that are coming on board.

Charles (21:48):

So there’s no perfect answer Charles. But I would say that from fro the eCommerce store owners that are listening be reasonable with your agency in terms of communication. If they have a proven process and you’ve heard from others that they do a really good job, then then work within their system first rather than trying to have them change their system that has proven results to fit the way you would like to communicate as far as the cadence goes. And I also think sometimes email is used too much in the absence of phone calls. And so I, I’m sure you’ve had this situation before, you get this email in it, your ears start getting hot and you’re like, Oh man, so you, you type, you fire off another email. And then here comes the other one back and nobody stops to pick up the phone and go, Hey Joe, I got your email. Did you really mean what you said and that second sentence and Oh no, no, no. Here’s what I meant folks all the time. You know, if you’ve gone back and forth more than than three times, two to three times on an email exchange stop, you know, that’s when you want to have those foes phone calls. So I really, it depends on the client relationship level of spend and, and what the typical process is for that agency.

Chris (23:19):

I see, okay. Yeah, I’m a big fan of the phone. I think a lot of people go too deep and email and I think we’ve all received those emails before. That’s like the, the wall of text where you open the email, I think immediately, just like, I can’t do this right now. And you just like close it. Mark doesn’t read it. Yeah. They’re like, I’ll deal with that later and later turns into like three days from now. And you’re like [inaudible] I still can’t even, I can’t even process this email. Like reading it little less responding to us. Yeah. Yeah. I think we’ve one of my little

Charles (23:46):

Little secrets that yeah, I’m happy to share it. I don’t know how many agencies will be listening, but there is such a dependence. Even addiction with email these days that it’s a, it’s a great edge for me because if I want to call on a particular Shopify store, I’ve got a tool I can probably find their phone number and who owns it. I may just cold call and, and it’s not going to be a pitch. It’s going to be an offer for assistance or a resource or something I noticed but many times those people answer the phone and they don’t get prospected a lot. The flip side, if we get an inbound lead, sure I’ve got an assistant that reviews the leads and qualifies them and make sure they should get on a phone call with me. But if I see a lead come in that looks substantial, guess what?

Charles (24:40):

Within minutes of it arriving, I am going to be on the phone and dialing that phone number. They put in the phone form and nine times out of 10 the person goes, wow, you’re like, they’re so surprised. I’m even calling and, and it’s a short call, but I have an edge there I believe because people just don’t use the phone like they should. Yeah, I mean, and if people are spending that much per month at that point and kind of jumping into some sort of contract for, you know, three, six, nine, 12 months, whatever it is, you kind of want to get that failing first on like, all right, is this, is this really a real person at the other end? Like who are they? What’s their experience? How, you know, just a lot of things about that person. You can kind of pull over the phone verse, everyone kind of hides behind email and so web form type of thing.

Charles (25:29):

And yeah, it definitely, there’s a lot lost in that and I think people underestimate that. Yeah. You know, do you want to talk a little bit about like firing the agency? That’s the fun stuff. That’s exactly what I was just going to ask actually. Cause I’m very curious on, so once it kind of runs its course, right? So first what is, is there a natural kind of like running of, okay, we’ve kind of reached the end of our relationship and then at that point, what do you do that to kind of say, all right, I think it’s, I think it’s over between us. Yeah, I think it’s, you know, I think it’d be a cool video to make some time, Charles, where you kinda got this split screen and over here it’s the agency going like, man, I, I don’t know, I think Charles is going to cancel.

Charles (26:13):

You know, I just, that last call I just kinda feel it. And then you split over here and the, they find the clients like, man, those guys, I’m just not sure. You know, they, that last call, I, it, they just didn’t have a good answer for my question. You know, maybe we should start looking around. So it’s kind of almost like a marriage relationship where you know, you’re, you’re in the same bed, but no, nobody’s talking. And so it’s really vitally important when you begin to feel any level of discomfort with any interaction you’re having with your agency or freelancer that you bring it out into the light because you might be perceiving something incorrectly or you might be perceiving something correctly, but it’s a result of a miscommunication. And we have been fired before. We’re after the client apologize, but they’d already signed on with someone else because they realized when they had the other agency start working that what we were telling them was completely accurate.

Charles (27:16):

And and so, you know, you gotta think about, you know, the average COO tenure these days is 44 months. But, but if, you know, any idea what the average tenure with an agency is, it’s, it’s, it’s like five or six months to say about the contract length. And then I feel like when they’re done with that contract, it’s kind of a lot of people. Yeah, it runs its course. So you’ve got nearly four years for an in house person versus typical agency. What, what, what’s, what’s the difference there? And I would argue that the differences that when that person is in house, they’re in the meetings, they’re hearing the communication. There are, there’s also just visibility. I can see you. And so it’s really important that when you get those vibes that something’s off track. You don’t just let it go. You don’t continue to have calls and be like, well, you know, we’ll just continue to watch it.

Charles (28:12):

And, and so that, that increase in turnover usually is a lot of times is the time spent in the hiring process. They, they shortcutted the hiring process and then you know, to, to actually move forward. Let’s, let’s say that, well, how will you just before you know it actually, how would you push back and kind of respectful but direct way. Cause I feel like that’s, that’s that awkwardness there where you kind of want to push back, but you don’t, you don’t even know what to say. And this kind of this like, so I think a lot of people just don’t do it because they don’t know how to do it. So what will be the right way to actually question now question I’ll push back, but just kind of let’s let the agency know that you’re not feeling it right now. Well, I think it’s something that actually has happened a few times with us at the very beginnings is like, we almost lost an account one time because we said we would send the agreement over and like a week went by, we had sent an email over to say, Hey, we’re just checking on your agreement.

Charles (29:21):

And they basically said, we already chose this other agency because we never got your agreement. Well I actually got on the phone and said, can you do me just a quick favor? Well, sure. Can you check your spam folder? They check their spam folder. There was our agreement sent on the day that we said we would. And so, you know, we learn from that. We learned to make sure they tell them to check their spam folder. But those are those things that some people move ahead before actually investigating what happened. And, and so usually it’s always about, it’s a performance or communication. And so with us, sometimes we’ve had situations where let’s say black Friday, which you know back in, in November or coming up February, let’s say it’s, it’s Valentine’s day, and so they’re going to have a Valentine’s day promotion and the agency has been asking for a couple of weeks for the promotional materials.

Charles (30:24):

And we ask and we ask and we ask and we’re told, Oh, it’s coming, it’s coming. It’s coming. Well then three days before Valentine’s day, the last day, we can really get any kind of effective campaign going. We get all the materials. Now, the owner of the eCommerce store may not even know this ever happened because he’s got a team that’s handling creative. We do our best to put everything together. The Google’s trying to figure out those campaigns with all the smart bidding options and things like that. So Chan, let’s just say that at campaign flops, well, the e-commerce owner is ticked because he’s looking at, or she’s looking at the results year over year. They way under performed. His first thought is it’s the agency, but if, if that person stops to call the agency and say, tell me, tell me a little bit about what happened. Well, you know how we’ve asked for two week lead time on promotions, right?

Charles (31:21):

We got your materials three days ahead. We never really had time to get those campaigns, any kind of speed and as a result, this is what happened. Oh, okay, well let me go back and talk to my team. It’s just those, those still small voices need to be voiced is the deal because chances are if you voice it and it’s off base, it’s not a big deal because the air is cleared. But if there’s a serious issue sometimes by the client bringing up something that’s a sneaking suspicion because let’s face it, they still know their business better than the agency does. They may sometimes voice something that we can investigate and we find something out that really helps with the campaign. Otherwise maybe we’re continuing down a track that we thought was a best practice.

Chris (32:11):

Yeah. So it sounds like over-communication is kind of the best thing at that point. So if you have any kind of communication on both sides, right, so even as the business owner, if you have any kind of hesitation questions, just kind of that little, you know that itch sand is something 100% right here. Talk about it as soon as possible on at least because you had, you know, I think we’ve all had that experience for it too, where you do talk about it and then you stop you like, and then you kind of push that back a couple of times. Like the answer

Charles (32:40):

Fail not right. Yeah. You, you just said something very important there. If you don’t like the answer, acknowledge it and talk about it. Because one of the frustrating things, I’ve talked with a lot of agency owners and this is something that that comes out a lot. Client puts some kind of push back in place, like I don’t think our conversion tracking is working or we think we’re double counting or whatever it may be. The agency gives a very thoughtful answer that’s spelled out and submitted back to the client. What happens a lot of times is if the client didn’t like that answer, we just get ghosted [inaudible] so we don’t, and then we’re, we’re on the next call that’s not even mentioned. They’ve moved on to other things. And so we’ve seen this sometimes stack up that we’re challenged on something. We give a perfectly reasonable answer and it’s never addressed.

Charles (33:38):

And so that’s both sides responsibility to keep pushing back because there are things that are always going to be outside of each other’s control, which is one is CRO, you know, conversion rate optimization. The agency could be killing it in terms of campaign structure and the way that they’re bidding. But they’ve got, you know, we just had a client that had red buttons on their site for conversion actions, which is usually not a really good practice at all. They changed that. All of a sudden we look like heroes because they changed the color on a button. Whereas before, guys, I don’t know what’s going on, but these campaigns aren’t working. So there’s always outside influences that have to be taken into account and brought into the, into the light. Okay. I like that. We definitely communication key with us. So what happens though, you do reach a point where it’s over, you’ve kind of gone through everything and you’re ready to kind of cut the ties.

Charles (34:40):

What do you do there? What’s kind of the right way of ending that relationship? You beat your, you’re very direct about it. Okay. And, and so I’ve got an acronym for that one too. I got two acronyms for your audience today. So being direct. So discuss and reconfirm expectations. Now notice that that doesn’t mean you call them up and fire him. So you just gotta make sure you check that off your list. You’ve discussed and reconfirmed expectation. Second, you inform them precisely of your concerns with evidence and focus then on systemic issues rather than one offs. Because everybody has one offs. You know, everybody makes mistakes. Then review those issues with an audit from another agency or an expert and ask if this is malpractice a matter of opinion or just minor and and then ask this important question. If I was your client, should I fire you for this campaign, account structure and way of op optimizing that asset to the agency asset to the agency based on my findings.

Charles (35:47):

Should I fire you for this? Okay. Then encourage the current agency to defend or speak to the findings and speak to the number of times that you know, that maybe, maybe for us it’s been, the plug has been pulled when we were well on our way. Like if that had just been brought to light, we would have been able to completely solve the issue but it was never brought to light. Then you got to count the cost before making that final decision. And that’s, that’s a big one because sometimes people make knee jerk reactions. Maybe, maybe they completely dropped the ball on your promo, but they’ve done six months of amazing work and you make a knee jerk reaction to fire them because they cost you 10 or 15 grand, but yet they’ve made you $250,000 over the last six, six months. So count the cost before making that final decision.

Charles (36:46):

And then the T is terminate, terminate verbally, not an email. You know, don’t be that guy. Everybody likes to do that. It’s a very common but terminate verbally and follow up in writing because if you react quickly without respecting maybe the notice that you’re supposed to give an advance to the agency and you know, you should be expected outside of just overt malpractice to honor the time. And that’s in your agreement. So, so, you know, once you, once you make that decision to disengage, read your original agreement so you know what you’re supposed to do, make sure you give the notice required. Because also we’ve seen folks come to us, they’ve already fired their agency and they’re desperate because no one’s managing their account. That doesn’t make me too excited about getting involved because you, you cut loose someone before finding someone else. And, and it’s not uncommon for us to actually get on calls with other agencies and help them with the transition because most of our departures are, nobody’s mad.

Charles (38:01):

It’s, we’d be there like finish the project or they’re taking it in house or we just weren’t, we all thought it could scale but it’s just not happening. You know, maybe or, or maybe they slashed their Facebook spend and it kills our Google campaigns because we’re losing that organic traffic. So there’s a lot of different things. And then after, this is important too, after you fired the agency, and I encourage both sides to do this, schedule an autopsy with your team, ask, you know, what did we like about working with this company? What should we do differently next time? And what was within our control, what was outside our control? So hopefully those tips can kinda help folks slow down a little bit. That’s the biggest thing I can say is you shouldn’t keep your agency for months and months and months when you continue to have performance issues.

Charles (38:56):

But you should definitely take your time before you know, cutting loose. Yeah. I think that’s the I think people do that quickly because it’s an agency, right? Where if you had someone working with you every day and they were kind of sitting right next to you at a desk and you knew they were doing great for a long time and they had just this off day, they got whatever something happened in their personal life and they kind of screwed up. You kind of forgive him for that. But with an agency, I feel like people just, the first time they screw up, you’re just like done, let’s move on. Like they just move very quickly. It, and that happens a lot faster if there’s been no FaceTime, if there’s been no meal shared, no drinks, had no discussion at the office because then if you have more of that human connection, it will, you will be more respectful. [inaudible]

Charles (39:44):

Take your time. Yeah. I feel like the more you’re, you know, each other you treat same thing on the other side, right. As a business owner, the agency kind of sees you as a person, as a business owner. If someone that, you know, they’re really kind of helping if you’ve had that FaceTime. So I think on both sides is actually a great thing. Whereas when it’s just a random voice on a phone, Mmm. You just don’t have that same level of connection for each other. So right thing like that termination email, just like you’re fired period. Things like that. I’ll tell you this, those e-commerce is a small community. Yeah. It is a small community and agencies for the most part, we’re pretty cool with one another. We’ll meet at conferences, we’ll tell war stories. E-Commerce owners do the same thing. I’m an, I’m in her mastermind as a rep, as her Firestone’s blue ribbon group and with 200 other eCommerce store owners.

Charles (40:40):

So, yeah, we all communicate and many of us know the companies that to stay away from like we just had an account that we decided not to move forward with them because we did our due diligence and I actually ended up calling the agency that they’d worked with before and they essentially told me, run for the Hills, do not engage with this guy. So we very nicely told the guy that we weren’t going to do business together and he quickly wrote us a one star review on Google. Well, thank goodness we made the right decision and cause he was just frustrated that we wouldn’t take his business and he had to be on three phone calls to figure that out. And the interesting thing was when we responded on his review very about what we went through, he immediately removed his review because he knew, he knew that you know, he kinda been called out in a, in a professional way. And so I would just caution, you know if you’re firing agencies multiple times, like if you had more than three agency relationships, at least one of those agencies was a great fit for you. There’s usually things that are on your side or your expectations that you kind of need to check at the door. And same thing for an agency. If you’re losing accounts right and left, you better start looking in the mirror.

Chris (42:12):

Yeah, I think that’s, I think we’ve all, if you’ve been around for a while, I think we’ve all done this kinda, I had started the agency relationship and it’s gone South and if you really are honest with yourself and kind of look at it, you could have done better as the business owner. You could have communicated more or you could have this so many, you could have kind of set them up for success from the beginning instead of just, Hey, you know, go on your way. Like do your thing and then find out, you know, couple months into it like, Hey, this isn’t working guys and use cancel it. So I’ve done that. I think everyone has, it has been kind of, if you’ve been around for a while, you’ve done that. In working with [inaudible] an agency or a freelancer, I think it’s a skill in itself and that’s kind of all the stuff we’re talking about here where, you know, it just doesn’t come natural hiring an agency. It just, there it’s just a different thing than having an employee or somebody just a contractor in your office. Just an external agency. It’s a whole different set of skills of working with them. And that’s why these tips are great. Right? Cause it’s something you, people have to learn over time to build that muscle and get used to that. So I think that’s super helpful. I appreciate that.

Charles (43:17):

Yeah. Yeah. I’m happy to help. But like I said, I think the, I’m really passionate about making the most of both relationships because, you know, let’s face it, we are here to grow one another’s business. Yeah,

Chris (43:31):

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I like that. So people want to find you, learn more about you. And I think before the show you were saying you had a ebook or something to link to, what could they do that?

Charles (43:40):

Oh yeah. I’ve got the official guide to how shall hire yes official and I had to send it in to a whole group. They had to verify enough. But it’s the guide on how to hire fire and make the most of your agency relationships and we can make that available in the show notes. I’ve got a place on my site people can download that. Our company’s called OMG commerce, OMG And you know, you Google me, you’re going to find me pretty, pretty easily. My hashtag is Mo marketer.

Chris (44:14):

I like that. Yeah. All right. Oh yeah. Well we talk about in the show notes and definitely we’ll add the guide. So shoot that over to me and yeah, people should check it out.

Charles (44:23):

Sounds good. It’s been great spending time with you.

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