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Are you letting fear stand in the way of success? Have you ever lost a big opportunity because you wanted it too badly? Are you guilty of skipping your own processes only to have it bite you in the ass down the road? Often time entrepreneurs get overly focused on a specific outcome and ignore the bigger picture. Today’s guest has started many businesses with more than half being lessons on what not to do. He shares several of those lessons and the most important, million-dollar lesson that helped him get over his fear, trust the process, and double the agency's MRR.

Derrick Kuhn is the Founder and Managing Director of Brillity Digital, a full-service digital marketing agency. He’s had a total of eleven businesses over the years and considers Brillity to be the culmination of everything he has learned. Now he leverages that experience into an agency that combines business consulting with a true digital marketing strategy.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • The $1 million lesson of not niching down early enough.
  • Losing a big opportunity and respecting the process.
  • Listen more and talk less to increase agency sales tenfold.


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Sponsors and Resources

Dot & Co: Today's episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists that will help digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of their knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out and get 20% off your first month working with them.


Growing Up with a Passion for Business

Derrick always wanted to be an entrepreneur, taking after his dad, who was a mega-success in the corporate world. Growing up seeing his dad’s business success infused a passion for becoming an entrepreneur.

His first opportunity came right before graduating from college. Some of his friends were programming geniuses but had no idea how to run a business. They had around $100,000 in uncollected Accounts Receivables and needed his help. He collected most of it in about a week just by taking action. It didn’t take massive business skill but he knew he had what it took to make it as an entrepreneur.

The Million Dollar Lesson of Not Niching Down Early Enough

Derrick warns us to be careful of getting overly focused on a specific outcome versus the larger picture. Some agency owners put on horse blinders and will step over a $1 Million opportunity while looking for the $100,000 one.

Opportunities in the digital space are infinite. There’s no use in saying only one tool or path will get you to success when that is constantly changing. People who focus on only one way to do things and don’t adapt will not find the success they want. However, on the opposite side are the agency owners chasing 1,000 things at once. This was one of Derrick’s mistakes.

In his last agency, he found great success in the healthcare space. They grew tremendously within that niche accumulating a lot of expertise and a good reputation. However, he didn’t recognize the golden opportunity to stay in a high-demand niche market. On the contrary, after separating from his agency partners and starting his current agency, he decided to cast a wide net to land clients in a variety of industries. Looking back, walking away from the equity he built in an established niche was a wasted opportunity.

Derrick says he abandoned his niche because it was the first time he was a solo agency owner without partners and felt fearless. Being responsible for his team he knew immediate cash flow was super important, but in his haste to grow the new agency, he overlooked the value he'd already built in the healthcare niche. In his mind, once he figured out the new business he’d go back to the idea of specializing. Nonetheless, he did end up losing valuable time establishing his new agency's expertise.

A Lesson on Respecting Your Agency's Sales Processes

After analyzing strategies for engaging new prospects, Derrick decided to put them through what he calls the Apex Strategy Process. Basically, this is a stage to set expectations, do research, map out the ROI, etc. Unfortunately, when the agency had an opportunity to get what would’ve been its biggest client in years, the team got too excited and skipped this step. They went straight for the close on a big contract and wound up losing it.

At that moment, Derrick decided every sales process, marketing, etc. needs to be funneled in through this strategy. Prospects who don’t want to go through the process are not ideal candidates to work with the agency. It soon paid off.

By committing to the strategy, agency sales increased tenfold. The lesson is -- respect your own processes!

Why Asking a Lot of Questions is a Key Part of Sales

Part of Derrick’s strategy to succeed with clients is asking a lot of questions. When it comes to sales, success increases when prospects spend more time talking and you spend more time listening. There’s value in asking questions and actually listening to clients. The more they talk, the greater chance they’re likely to buy.

A lot of agency owners will chat with the prospect and think they immediately know what they need. However, if you jump to tell them what they need to do right away they likely won’t believe it. Instead, ask detailed questions and try to understand their business first. Naturally, the conversation will lead to saying, “Based on what you told me, I believe we should do…” That way, they’ll see you’re coming from a place of authority in the business and follow your lead. In fact, taking the time to listen will lead to more insightful questions.

A correct diagnosis only comes from asking the right questions and really listening to the answers.

Harness the Fear and Trust the Process

Derrick has learned to take his time before making big decisions and letting his panicked mind settle down. Taking the time to consider big moves helps you feel more empowered to hold the course after the decision. After losing that big deal, the pivotal point in Derrick's mental shift was a conversation with Jason that regained his confidence. Derrick realized he had a great process in place but he hadn't fully committed to it. He let his fear of losing the prospect cloud his judgment of how he knew things should be done.

Does this mean he now leads his agency without fear? There will always be moments of self-doubt. However, fear, like stress, can be very powerful when harnessed correctly.

Taking the time to think about your response to a situation and trust your processes is how you can harness the fear.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: How_One_Digital_Agency_Doubled_MRR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am MDT