Marcus Sheridan, Roofing Insights Interview
Welcome back to roofing insights today we are exploring Marcus Sheridan. We are going to ask Marcus some tough questions about his business history, what he has accomplished, how did he get to become a speaker, and what is he doing today.
Marcus is known for his inbound and content marketing brilliance. He is an international keynote speaker with a distinctive ability to motivate, engage, and inspire audiences. He also works with hundreds of businesses, helping them to become the most important voice in their industry.
Marcus is also the author of the best-seller, “They Ask, You Answer,” the groundbreaking guide that confronted businesses around the world to stop selling to their buyers and start answering their questions to get results. His book addresses important topics in new technology trends, the continuous evolution of the digital consumer, and much more.
Who is Marcus Sheridan?
Marcus says that his favorite title is Pool Guy because he still owns a swimming pool company in Virginia. He enjoys speaking full time around the world on digital sales, marketing, and leadership and he loves his job. He says that he gets to meet amazing people and visit great businesses that are hungry. Marcus wants to change their lives and so that’s a lot of fun for him. He also owns an agency that has about 75 employees and loves helping companies go digital.
As founder and president of The Sales Lion, which recently merged with IMPACT in 2018, Marcus has established one of the most successful digital sales and marketing agencies in the country. Within his speaking company, Marcus Sheridan International, Inc., he gives over 70 global keynotes annually.
What’s bigger, your pool company or agency/marketing company?
Marcus says in terms of revenue his swing pool company is probably bigger at around eighteen million and then his agency is about nine million. His say that his speaking company is its own sperate entity. But out of all of them, he still considers himself a pool guy.
Sometimes people ask him if he gets tired of being labeled a pool guy. Marcus always says he thinks it’s awesome. The story of his swimming pool company has been taught all over the world, it’s being taught in business schools right now all-over North America. Even professors in Europe have contacted him saying hey we’re teaching the principles of what you did with River Pools to our business schools this year.
Even though that might not be a title some people like, Marcus still claims that it is awesome. He goes on to explain that it isn’t so much the occupation as it is in terms of your ability to influence. Which goes way beyond what your title is.
When Marcus just got out of college and started his swimming pool company with a couple of buddies, a family member came up to him and told him you’re going to be a pool guy what a waste of talent.
Marcus said he’ll never forget that because now, of course, hundreds of thousands of people have read his book and now it’s being taught to so many. He gets emails every single day and it resonates with him because it’s so utterly simple and it’s a company and concept that anybody can put their arms around.
Marcus says that if he were some SAS company that’s online not too many people could understand and appreciate that as well. But everybody can understand a swimming pool company, that makes sense to people.
What are your weaknesses in business?
Marcus says that in business you have business partners that you must watch. He says that one of his weaknesses is that he is not naturally great with accounting. It is hard to watch over the accounting department when that is your weakness.
Marcus Sheridan on getting embezzled, and the IRS
Marcus went through an embezzlement fiasco. When he had five years of business on the records that he had been aloof on the books about turns out he was being embezzled. He says it’s one of those things this is not spoken about in most industries and that it is prolific in the blue-collar space.
What happens is business owners tend to not be great with accounting. When they start a business, they lean on somebody to do the books for them and that’s when it happens, you get taken advantage of.
Marcus gave check-writing authority to his accountant, which he didn’t realize was a bad thing. The accountant would go to the bank every Friday to pay the taxes. Turns out the accountant wasn’t paying the taxes for a whole year. So, he had a lien on his company for three years by the IRS.
Marcus says it was for about three hundred thousand dollars and the IRS showed him no mercy and zero compassion. He said that if you get in a tax situation, the IRS doesn’t care how it happened because ultimately, they say it is your ship and you’re responsible for your taxes. It wasn’t until 2008 that Marcus was able to recover from those debts.
It happened Marcus says because he was aloof and too trusting. He says that is one of the good and bad things about being a business owner. Experiences like that he says Jade you because you want to trust people. Whether its employees or whether its customers and you can do everything right and you can still get burned.
Marcus says that it is also your job as a business owner to have systems in place where you’re not aloof that you’re paying attention and that if it does happen at least you can catch it.
In Marcus’s case, it took a year to discover the fraud. But he says that’s on him and that is the point to have systems in place that catch fraud right away. If it happens you can’t stop it, he says but you must be able to react to it. Marcus says the bigger problem is if you can’t trust people.
How do you learn to trust your accountant?
Now Marcus says that he looks at the numbers all the time. He has meetings weekly to check that the accountant is not hiding anything and shows him the numbers. He says that in hindsight he has come to realize that the bookkeeper that embezzled money from him knew that he was ignorant.
Marcus says that when whenever you hire somebody to do something that you cannot do it if they’re not willing to show you how to also do it then it’s probably not a good relationship.
What will it take for a new company to start dominating the industry within the first year?
Marcus says that it depends on defining how you get onto the first page of Google. Can you get onto the first page of Google in the first year, probably not because it is so outrageously competitive. But you can get on the first page of a search by using extremely specific keywords about your company. So, specificity is the key today in marketing when it comes to ranking on Google searches.
Dmitry & Marcus share thoughts on making videos
Practice makes perfect, the more you do the better you become, the nature of the business. Marcus say don’t label yourself. Don’t tell yourself a false story because it is amazing how good you can be.
Do you agree with the idea that sales fix everything?
Marcus does not believe that revenue and profit fix everything. Sales he says can be a mask for a lot of bad things that are happening. He says that there are a lot of companies that are leading in sales, but they have no money in the bank.
Marcus says that it is frustrating because we have a problem with our margins. So, he believes that profit and margin is everything. He agrees that yes that must come from sales but the way that sales have evolved is changing so much.
Marcus says that we are going towards a time where many of us are going to be able to reach full-fledged agreements with homeowners without setting foot on their property.
The question Marcus says is what we can do to make somebody feel so much trust towards us that they give us money on the first phone call before we’ve set foot in the home. He believes that it is possible.
What’s your biggest business accomplishment?
Marcus said that his biggest professional accomplishment was being rated with the top 20 speakers in the world by Forbes. Also, he said that his book “They Ask, You Answer,” was rated by Mashable the number one marketing book in 2017 that was versus thousands of other books.
Have you ever done door knocking?
Marcus says that he has done door hangers and is a fan of door knocking. He was a missionary for two years in Chile where he knocked on doors for two years. He says that he has had so many doors slammed in his face, been cussed out, spat upon, and had rocks thrown him. He says it’s amazing how you can win somebody over at the door if you really understand great principles of communication which foremost is the smile.
What’s your advice for someone just starting in the construction business or business in general?
Marcus said that just starting in the construction business the riches are in the niches. He said that he didn’t become outrageously successful as a swimming pool company until he did two things. He read Jim Collins’s book, “Good to Great” about this thing called the hedgehog concept. Hedgehog concept comes from the animal Hedgehog which doesn’t do anything very well, but it does one thing extremely well which is when it gets attacked it rolls up into a spiky ball and so, therefore, it protects itself extremely well.
He said that you find that thing that you feel like you can be the best at instead of being a jack of all trades at and a master of none at. He says you’re dramatically better off being a master of one. Because every time he had multiple retail stores where he was selling hot tubs, selling above-ground pools, selling tanning beds, selling pool table billiards he was doing all that stuff, he realized that wasn’t going to take him to the promised land.
So, Marcus decided what can he be the best at, fiberglass pools. So, he got rid of all the retail, got rid of two stores, got out of his leases early, and he just leaned into fiberglass swimming pools. The most important business decision he said he ever made. Number two, he also told himself that he was going to become the Wikipedia of swimming pools and that’s what happened.