Oct 21st, 2021
The Mass Business Podcast
Season 2, Episode 20 – Knowing Your Ideal Client So You Know Your Ideal Referral Sources, with Ryan Gates
Our final guest of season two is Ryan gates. He started Freestyle Consulting in 2018 to help business owners reach more customers through text message marketing. I met Ryan through networking, and we built a relationship since then. I’m so happy to have him on the show. He’s a father of two boys, a husband, and a soccer coach for almost 20 years. The other thing you might not know, he’s a huge Disney fan. Ryan and I talk about unique tactics for marketing and business growth and Ryan tells us why he thinks it’s so important to educate your referral partners. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Resources mentioned in this episode –
Contact Ryan –
Text GetSeen to 57838
If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on our show please visit us on Facebook or at our Website –
Matt Ward 00:01
Welcome back to this episode of the Mass Business Podcast. My name is Matt Ward, and I am your esteemed host. I’m so excited to have you here for the final episode of season two. Before we get to that, don’t forget that this week I released my brand new book, The High Five effect, how to do business with people who bring you joy. And that’s what we’re talking about all the time on this podcast. Hopefully, you’re listening to business owners that bring you joy, and you’re getting tidbits and nuggets of that. And so I am excited to bring you our next guest, our final guest of season two. His name is Ryan gates, he started freestyle consulting in 2018 to help business owners reach more customers through text message marketing. I met Ryan through networking, and we built a relationship since then, and I’m so happy to have him on the show. He’s a father of two boys, a husband, and a soccer coach for almost 20 years. The other thing you might not know, he’s a huge Disney fan. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Matt Ward 01:13
Welcome to the Mass Business Podcast where small business owners, also known as risk takers share their stories about the growth of their business and themselves. Our interviews and our content is focused on growing a small business in understanding networking, and referrals. I say it all the time. And I’ll say it again today. You never know where your next referral will come from.
Matt Ward 01:46
Hey, Ryan gates, how are you?
Ryan Gates 01:50
Doing? Good, man. How you doing?
Matt Ward 01:51
Yeah, thanks for coming on the show. Appreciate it.
Ryan Gates 01:54
Thanks for having me.
Matt Ward 01:55
Um, so just real briefly, in under 30 Seconds or Less tell the listening audience on their favorite podcast, application or even watching on YouTube what it is you do and freestyle consulting.
Ryan Gates 02:07
So we help business owners, we set up a direct relationship between them and their customer. All through text message marketing.
Matt Ward 02:18
Okay. Yeah. So it’s a fairly new, you know, I say new I mean, texting is new in the last, what, 15, 20 years, so to speak. And from a marketing standpoint, it’s a new medium, and I say new compared to what came after digital marketing. Right. And so I think a lot of people aren’t necessarily familiar with that yet. And a customized to it. Are you growing your business through text message marketing yourself?
Ryan Gates 02:47
Yes, absolutely. I mean, not only am I the president, but I’m also a customer.
Matt Ward 02:53
Yeah, it’s like, Hair Club for Men, which apparently I’m not either. So you started in 2018, your company, and now it’s 2021. And in there, you’ve had almost two years of a pandemic. Who’d have thunk it. How have you managed to grow your business during during the pandemic?
Ryan Gates 03:17
Yeah, texting has certainly helped. Because as so many business owners, we’ve gone to the whole I mean, I work in sales. So before it was a lot of in person, knocking on doors where that with the pandemic, doors were shut, difficult to get in touch with people. The texting is very easy. I mean, kinda like you said, it’s been around for years, but not at the business level. So it certainly helped my own business. Because I have my own customers that opt into my databases, my keywords that I have for some of the things I do. And so it’s been a great way to communicate with them, to let people know that they can reach me and we can do do things through social media, or push them to zoom links. to still get that as much as it’s not in person. Yeah, still allows me to have that face to face.
Matt Ward 04:33
So you’re talking tactics there, which I love because I want to dig into it a little bit. What type of tactics are you are you employing that are even not text message marketing related? And then that might just be marketing related? What tactics are you using to grow your business nowadays?
Ryan Gates 04:54
Right now, I mean, it’s a lot of networking. There’s just so many opportunities out there. There’s different groups. I mean, you could breakfast clubs, lunch,
Matt Ward 05:07
chamber stuff, Amspirit, BNI yeah, there’s a whole bunch of stuff,
Ryan Gates 05:11
you have all that stuff. And it’s like I mean, every single time you go to different events. And there’s business owners all over the place that you know what, some people, they have the eight to five jobs. So you might see them at a chamber event at nighttime. You might have someone that might work in an industry where their ideal client is after hours, so you’re going to catch them at a breakfast meeting or a lunch meeting. So the more you can do, the more events that you’re doing it. I mean, for me trying to hit the morning, the lunch, the evening, every time you show up to those, you’re you’re meeting new and different people.
Ryan Gates 05:26
Now you’re meeting new and different people. But as a referral coach, I hear this all the time for my clients that they feel like they wasted time at an event or they wasted time doing a one to one with somebody. How do you deal with that you personally, when you go to an event, and you leave, and sort of the first thing you think about is well, that was a bust.
Ryan Gates 06:15
I think we all have said this numerous times. I mean, certainly because because of the pandemic, it’s a very fast paced world that we live in. So you never know where the people that you’re talking to what happened to him in their day. And so that could certainly impact and cause different reactions at any sort of meeting. So I mean, for me, it’s like, I love the interaction, being able to meet people, it’s even better, the more you do, hopefully, it’s repeat, you run into the same people at the same time. And then with the texting, the texting, it’s a follow up for me, because the more people that I can get to kind of opt in to my own stuff. I’m using that to follow up with people to kind of remind them of some of the stuff that we talked about, and to kind of help with creating more one to ones that come out of those.
Matt Ward 07:30
And I mean to that, you know, so I think so many people leave a networking meeting. And they’re thinking to themselves, well, gee, that was a bust. And I’m thinking, Well, how do you know it was a bust? Like referrals don’t happen immediately referrals happen after you build relationships and trust and business happens after you build relationships and trust. And I tell people all the time, the work you do now pays off in six months. So what I always see with folks is we judge a book by its cover, we judge it too soon, we haven’t even invested like you say even the text message marketing follow up hasn’t even been done yet. We’re sitting in our car driving home. And we’re like, oh, that was a bust. And we haven’t even tried yet. You know,
Ryan Gates 08:11
when it comes to the networking events, and one of the things that I love hearing that so many coaches will ask the questions. Like if you’re gonna ask the room at a chamber event, hey, who’s here to buy? Raise your hand No one’s gonna buy, everyone’s there to sell. And I mean, how do you sell it? If no one’s buying,
Matt Ward 08:47
because here’s the thing, here’s what I say all the time about that. When people are talking to a networking group, they use the word you all the time, if you want to do more marketing, if you want to get a better website, if you want financial planning. We have to remove the word you from our language, because what happens is the people in the room feel like we’re selling to them. And nobody wants to be sold to but everybody wants to buy. Nobody wants to be sold to but everybody wants to buy. That’s why no one likes car sales guys, because they try to sell you stuff that you don’t want. Right? And so, when you go to that room, you’re exactly right about that dude. Like, you go to that room and it’s like, Hey, who’s here to buy? No one raises their hands, like, who’s here to sell? Everybody raises their hands. Like, that’s the wrong. That’s why it drives me crazy when people go to networking groups and they’re asking for referrals versus introductions to their centers of influence. Because I’ve always believed that that’s more effective across the board. Now, how do you grow out your centers of influence and get more referrals in your business are you working with different ancillary types of partners that can send referrals to you for text message marketing.
Ryan Gates 10:09
So when it comes to text message marketing, and I know that you and I have had numerous conversations, and you absolutely hate this answer. that it’s like, I mean, who’s your ideal client? And I’m like, someone who wants customers.
Matt Ward 10:24
I mean, yeah, that’s like the answer. Is anybody.
Ryan Gates 10:27
if anyone, which is we all know that that’s not specific enough. Right. And it’s not true, because it’s not. I mean, I can say everyone, but it doesn’t mean that that’s really the case. And I’ve tried to narrow. I mean, can I say that almost every business out there, can I come up with a way that texting could could work for him? Absolutely. But it doesn’t mean that that works in the real world,
Matt Ward 10:55
it doesn’t mean it works in the real world, it doesn’t mean that they have the money, it doesn’t mean that they have the pain point, it doesn’t mean that they have the time to execute on it, even though you and I know it does take a lot of time, or a lot of money. But in their head, they’re not ready for it. Right? And so they’re not a good client, right?
Ryan Gates 11:14
And there’s a huge education side to it. Because it’s, I mean, everyone texts, we do it all day long. But then to take it and put it in the other side for how does a business do that? A lot of people just, they can’t wrap their head around how would that work in my business? So there’s a lot of education part to it. And to kind of get to your question. An industry that we focus on is the hospitality industry. So I like to meet people that also work in hospitality. So I want to talk with people that are also going in and meeting with restaurant owners,
Matt Ward 11:58
commercial knife sharpening companies, commercial cleaning companies, things like that. So you’re building out your relationships with those folks over time.
Ryan Gates 12:07
Yeah, I mean, that the guy who’s selling napkins, I want to talk to that guy. The guy who’s selling the umbrellas to the Chinese restaurant.
Matt Ward 12:17
Yeah, that drink umbrellas, right?
Ryan Gates 12:19
The drink umbrella. Yeah, I want to sit down and talk to that guy. And see how we can build upon our relationship so that when they’re in with their customers, and he hears, a it could be a bartender, the owner, just just say, You know what, weekends are great. But what are we going to do more to get people in during the week? Yeah. And so those people that hear those kind of stuff can say, hey, have you ever looked in into text message marketing?
Matt Ward 12:54
Mm hmm. So tell me a little bit about the strategy and growth of your business. What’s the trajectory look like? And where have you come from? And what are the things that you’re doing to grow your business?
Ryan Gates 13:10
We’re texting, I mean, we keep on coming back, like the uniqueness of it. When I started in 2018. For me, I was like, you know, everyone’s tetxing. And so it’s like, every business should be tetxing. And so when I looked out, like two years, I’m like, alright, you know what, maybe businesses aren’t just quite ready for this. And so I thought, like two year 2020 is going to kind of take off and maybe the pandemic coming in certainly slowed us down. But I mean, it’s still it’s like 90% of businesses out there aren’t aren’t using texting. So I’m still on like that uphill, going up there. Which with the pandemic and the way stuff is going, it’s been a perfect opportunity to, you know, take a step back, and just work on those relationships and meet the people that are going into restaurants and bars and breweries, those type of places to certainly help with the education part to let people know, because there’s certainly, you hear texting, and so many people start to think a lot of stuff that just might not be what it really looks like.
Matt Ward 14:37
Yeah. Well, you mentioned education, what are you doing for self education as a business owner, like how are you learning to run a better business? What are the tactics you’re using to grow yourself?
Ryan Gates 14:51
One of the biggest things that I’m trying to do is patience, right? For me, when you go into business that’s like, all of a sudden, the first couple months, it’s not going the way you want and you try to rush and you’re like, Is this really going to work and you just go down this rabbit hole that just kind of makes it worse for you. So for me, it’s and certainly conversations with you and other business owners have kind of helped that and made me realize that I don’t need that 100 sales in the next month. You know, if I wait a few months, and kind of make myself better. You know, if 100 sales is my goal, that’s gonna come a lot quicker. And if I said, Hey, I want to get 100 sales in the next six months. Well, you know, what, if I took the first three months to work on patience and some of the other stuff, I might still get 100 sales in six months, I just might do it in the second half of the six months,
Matt Ward 16:08
right? Yeah I think patience is such an interesting component and something to sort of dig into in small business ownership, right? We are in a fast food society. Even your product is instantaneous, right? text message marketing, right? It comes out and people are paying attention to texts and all that stuff. But patience is not something that business owners traditionally have. They hang up their shingle, and they want sales right away. And even in the world of networking and referrals. They go to networking, and they want sales right away. I recently had a client say to me, Well, yeah, you know, I met somebody, we had a great conversation, we did a one to one on Zoom, and then I did a follow up a month later. And yeah, I haven’t gotten any referrals, I’m like, you talked to the person three times, three times, like over the course of three months, you talk to the person three times. And that was all the touchpoints that they had, that is not going to produce referrals. Right. I mean, even in the marketing game, you know, and I know, having come from the agency world that I came from, that it can be 10, 15 20, 50 touches, before somebody is actually buying our product and service. And I think too often we’re just not patient enough when it comes to that. I think we just have to kind of sit in that and think kind of like you’re saying, work on our own patience right to so that we can get more results from that and be okay with it. I think to your point, if you have a goal, you don’t have to hit it in the first month, you can hit it at the end of the 12 months. Right. And do that type of thing. I’m always I’m always constantly reading. I love reading business books. I also love reading fiction books, you know, sort of like war type, you know, John Grisham books as well, and James Patterson books and stuff like that. Because I want to keep my brain working from a business perspective. I want to be constantly learning. I listen to podcasts, listen to audio books, things like that. What types of things are you doing? Are you reading blogs? Are you reading specific? And yeah, I mean, I get one email newsletter every day. And it’s called The Morning Joe. And it just is a recap of the stock market and news and stuff that’s going on, and I can read it super, super quick. Are you doing anything like that, that maybe some of the listeners could take an idea from and help grow their business?
Ryan Gates 18:46
So a couple things I do. I studied my competition all the time. So I’m going out and I’m looking at their websites. I’m trying to find as many case studies of texting in certain industries and what other businesses are doing with texting. Recently, I was introduced to Seth Godin who’s turned into maybe my favorite author right now in the business world. And so I’ve been going through and sometimes I read pages and chapters over and over again. He just wrote a book called permission marketing. And that’s what texting is. So it’s like the perfect book for me to review and see someone that’s just been in the business for years and has seen every evolution of marketing from where it started and where we are today. And I think there’s a book called The High Five effect that’s in the mail. Coming to my house soon, that’ll be the next one.
Matt Ward 20:17
A little self promotion. That’s what it looks like. Yeah, there you go. Yeah, that’s funny. Yeah. And actually, you know, that brings up another another point. I might as well just ask you now, but I normally ask it at the end of the podcast, but I can ask now is what business book would you recommend that other business owners read that value?
Ryan Gates 20:44
It To be honest with you, I’m probably the, the worst person to ask this question. I am one that I can’t read books. I usually get three pages in and even if I’m standing up, I’m probably sleeping. Reading puts me puts me to sleep. But but certainly. And I mean, the other I mean, for me, saying Seth Godin, and reading permission marketing. I mean, for me, that’s a book that just resonates with me because I mean, that’s what I do. So I can kind of get excited when I’m when I’m reading different passages in the book. But I’m also I’m more of a going onto YouTube and kind of finding, I mean, stuff podcasts like this.
Matt Ward 21:35
Alright, let’s talk about that real quick. Let me get let me stop you right there. YouTube. Okay, so, so what exactly how are you using YouTube to grow your business? Because I want to think about that. from an education standpoint, I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t do. So I know it can be a great resource, because I’ve used it a lot. But how are you using it?
Ryan Gates 21:57
I don’t use it at all. And I know that I should.
Matt Ward 22:04
didn’t you just say you go on YouTube.
Ryan Gates 22:06
I go on YouTube to listen to podcasts
Matt Ward 22:10
I mean, that’s what I mean. What are you searching for on YouTube to listen to? And so you’re using it from an education, are you listening to these podcasts throughout your workday?
Ryan Gates 22:20
Yes. Yeah. So I mean, I’m looking for I mean, I’ll go in and just put in marketing, and to see what comes up. And I mean, I’m certainly a big fan of Tony Robbins. So I’ll go up and just put in Tony Robbins, podcasts. I could listen to Tony all the time. And I mean, that guy’s just real. And I mean, he’s done so well for himself that he can say whatever he wants. And you just you have to listen. So when he speaks to the people that he’s trying to help, but he’s real with them. Yeah. And he’s just blunt, honest, just coming out with stuff. So it’s educational, but it’s also funny at the same time. So yeah, it keeps you engaged. Or Gary Vee is a big one, because he’s one that’s out there that younger, loud, outspoken, so it’s fun to listen to. But he’s one that I mean, he comes from, his family was in the hospitality business. So he speaks, he goes back to a lot of what his family is done in the hospitality business. But he also is trying every single thing that’s out there. So you learn of all of the, every single marketing piece that’s there. He’s done it. Yeah. And he talks about it.
Matt Ward 23:52
One, what one, one thing I always like to ask people, I don’t always do it, because I’ll forget. But what other Massachusetts based business person would you like to give a shout out to? We’ll put their LinkedIn URL in the notes. And then people who are watching this on YouTube, or on our website, or the shownotes can click on that and then connect with that person. who would you recommend that somebody reached out to?
Ryan Gates 24:19
So right now, with the way that businesses are going with the pandemic, expenses are rising. Sean Halloran from Complete Payroll. I spent a lot of time with recently we’re in some of the same groups. Complete Payroll is going above and beyond right now. It’s to save businesses a ton of money and the product and the technology that they have is cutting edge. And I think I mean, every single business that’s out there that has employees, is looking To get employees, reach out to a one to one with Sean.
Matt Ward 25:05
Cool. Yeah, we’ll make sure we put that in the notes. So, you know, at the end, what if people want to learn more about text message marketing? If they just want to network with you, if they want to show up to your Amspirit based a chapter on Fridays? How can they get a hold of you and reach out to you and connect with you?
Ryan Gates 25:25
The best and easiest way, come out to the Baystate tap room on Fridays, from 12 to 1:15. Come out for lunch. If your boss allows it, have a beer with us. Share what you do in your business, we’d love to have you come out and network with us. If you want more information about that or more information about texting, grab your cell phone and text the word getseen all one word to the number 57838 and opt in to one of my business databases to get tips on how to better communicate with your customers. And I’ll follow up with everyone that opts in and we can do one to ones.
Matt Ward 26:24
There it is. That’s how you’re going to network with Ryan. Ryan, thanks so much for sharing your business strategy, success story and your tips and we didn’t even get into Disney. We ran out of time. I’m sure it would be fun for you to sit here and talk about all the Disney parks and maybe we’ll have you back on some time to do that if we ever decided to do a Disney special.
Ryan Gates 26:46
If someone wants information on Disney, they should listen to your October I forget the date but it was a couple days ago I think you did a podcast with a bigger Disney lover.
Matt Ward 26:56
Amy, with Amy Flores young Yeah, she’s she was great. Yeah, so just a reminder to everybody out there if you want to pick up the book The High Five effect, go to high five effect dot com all spelled out. You can get your hardcover copy along with bonuses right there on the website. And don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app to the Mass Business Podcast and smash the subscribe button and the notification button bell on YouTube so that you get notified when we put up all the new episodes. And we are looking for guests for season three and beyond. So if you know somebody who’s a Massachusetts based business owner would like to be a guest on the show. Have them reach out to us. Matt at Breakthrough dash champion dot com. we’d love to have him on the show. And we’ll get them in the process and in the queue. Until next time, don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot. And high five everyone around you.
Matt Ward 28:05
Thank you for listening to the Mass Business Podcast where we focus on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. Don’t forget to like on your favorite platform and share out this podcast. This show has been produced by Heather Grant. Music by Cailte Kelley. All rights reserved. I’m your host, professional speaker, author, and word of mouth referral consultant Matt ward. Don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot, and high five everyone around you.