John Danes is the Co-founder and CEO of LeadJolt, an automated tool that sets qualified leads for real estate professionals. LeadJolt’s mission is to help clients close an extra three to five deals every month with consistency and reliability.
John started his first agency, 99MEDIA, in 2018, which served clients in the health and wellness, insurance, and financial services. After becoming a real estate assistant, he quickly realized that many agents were struggling to find clients. He set out to solve this problem for good—and thus, LeadJolt was born.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- John Danes talks about his entrepreneurial journey and the social media marketing agency he started in high school
- Why John decided to start a business helping real estate agents find more clients
- John explains how his business, LeadJolt, works and his process for validating the product offering
- LeadJolt’s effective feedback loop
- How to generate more leads for your B2B business
- John’s tips for LinkedIn marketing and communicating with leads
- How John avoided distractions when starting and scaling his business
- What entrepreneurs can do to increase their luck and find professional success
- Where to learn more about John Danes and LeadJolt
In this episode…
While growing his first marketing agency, John Danes discovered a niche gap in the market: real estate agents who were struggling to find quality leads. In an effort to find a solution, John created LeadJolt, which now helps agents generate more leads and sales every month.
With the help of LeadJolt, real estate businesses and agents can avoid inefficient cold calling, create a consistent flow of leads, and achieve a predictable income. It involves a 3-step process: finding and vetting leads, taking them through an automated follow-up and nurturing process, and booking them appointments with an agent. So, what are John’s secrets for creating and scaling a business to success?
John Danes, the Co-founder and CEO of LeadJolt, joins host Eric Stopper in this week’s episode of the Buy Box Experts podcast. Together, they talk about John’s automated tool for real estate agents, including how it works, its product development and vetting process, and it’s effective feedback loop. John also shares his tips for successfully generating leads for a B2B business. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Buy Box Experts
- John Danes on LinkedIn
- John Danes on Instagram
- Adam Artemis on LinkedIn
- Nathan Barry on LinkedIn
- Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Alex Hormozi on LinkedIn
- Gym Launch Secrets
Sponsor for this episode…
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com.
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast where we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world.
Eric Stopper 0:18
Hey, welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast. This is Eric Stopper. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. We’ve got a team of consultants, I’m one of them. I’ve got three other colleagues that are absolutely incredible. You’ve probably got all kinds of questions for your business. Amazon is changing stuff all the time, please go to buyboxexperts.com, click on the free analysis button at the top of the page and you’ll be connected with me or a member of my team. You can ask us anything, we offer a lot of free consulting and auditing. Just come and check it out. Today, I am so pleased to have John Danes on the show. He is the CEO and Co-founder of LeadJolt, which is an automated tool that sets qualified leads for real estate professionals, which is a little bit outside of what we normally do on this show. But I have had a couple of conversations with John now. And I think that you will be delighted to hear his story and understand the entrepreneurial journey that he’s been in over the last couple of years. And just the expertise that this guy brings to the table. So John, welcome to the show, my friend.
John Danes 1:29
Eric, thanks so much for having me, man. I’m excited to be here. I know, like you said, normally out of the realm of what you normally do on the show, but I’m excited to chat and see where the conversation takes us.
Eric Stopper 1:40
Right on. So I’m, like you’ve had since 18. Right? You spin up a social media agency. And maybe it didn’t go super well at first and then you were able to scale it out. Tell me. Tell me about that first thing that you had going on?
John Danes 1:59
Yeah, hundred percent. So even before that I did like some retail cutting e-commerce stuff. So I actually sold rare sneakers and clothing. So I kind of carved out this market. For rare sneakers and clothing I sold on eBay. I sold on a website called grailed and a bunch of different other platforms. And that was kind of the first online business that I had spun up. I was probably making a couple grand a month as like a high schooler doing that profit, which was pretty fun. So that was kind of the first taste that I had on one business. I ended up getting expelled from high school and it’s kind of like I’ve, I feel like I’ve almost lived like 10 or 15 different lives at this point. It’s funny because we’ve done so many things. And I’m only 21 it has been awesome. So yeah, so I ended up working at an e commerce company, run by one of my family friends, somebody that I’ve known, he’s like my godfather basically ended up realizing that I wanted to start a business and be an entrepreneur. None of my parents were entrepreneurs. And I decided I wanted to start a Social Media Marketing Agency. So ended up senior year of high school, I was homeschooled, but I still finished school. Senior year of homeschool, I worked at a grocery store and there was a dude there that was wanting to spin up a Social Media Marketing Agency. And I had seen you know, all kinds of Guru ads online and stuff about hey, you can start this business and make you know, 10 grand a month or whatever the case may be. I always just kind of thought it was a sham. Um, and then basically met this dude who was trying to spin up his own, get a couple clients who weren’t making big money, but he you know, he had a kind of proof of concept. And I was like, Okay, I think this is something that I want to do. So deciding to start a Social Media Marketing Agency was kind of just helping, or trying to help anybody with a credit card, no niche, no one service just kind of like, you pay me all, you’re basically gonna pay me to figure it out. I was kind of the business model. obviously didn’t do super well, that got a couple clients, right, I scaled up to making, you know, on a decent month, six grand a month on a great month, 10 grand a month. And then we decided to go solely into real estate agents. Because I actually took a little stint and wanted to get my license for some of the time that I was running my agency and ended up not doing that, you know, you can kind of hear definitely some shiny object syndrome was going on. But we brought on a real estate agent and got him really good results. I helped him sell four or five houses in the span of like three months. And we were like, Okay, this is the niche that we know this initially we have results in. And I think this is something that we can scale. And now we exclusively work with real estate agents who want more buyers and sellers. That’s the scope of clients that we help. And, you know, we’ve been able to scale it up pretty quickly. In the last, you know, since February really going at the real estate niche super, super aggressively. And it’s been fun and super fun.
Eric Stopper 4:45
I don’t know, so that’s a cool journey. If you sold any houses
John Danes 4:50
yourself, no, no, no, I never got licensed. So I was gonna get licensed I wanted to but I actually kind of ended up not doing it because I saw how many agents were struggling to get results. So like, I was just like, Okay, wow, this, it seems like something that a lot of people aren’t very good at. And like I was seeing what people were kind of doing on the ground ground floor and like selling real estate and doing a lot of stuff and not really seeing much success with it. So then that’s another reason that we wanted to start working with real estate agents is because like, I kind of saw the problem. And I had a really good understanding of what these people were struggling with, and why they weren’t getting the results that they wanted to. So Nope, never ended up getting licensed. And never ended up obviously selling any houses. Because
Eric Stopper 5:32
But you vicariously live through a bunch of real estate agents to now sell houses. You guys work with 180 agents, right in all 50 states.
John Danes 5:40
Yeah, we’ve served about 180 agents across the all 50 states, we’ve done stuff internationally, we normally just stick in the US. Because honestly, the conversion rates are way better. And we understand the US system of selling real estate. I’ve done stuff in Italy, we’ve done stuff in Montreal, Quebec, we’ve done stuff outside of the states, but we really just tend to serve the United States market. That’s the one that we’re most familiar with. Because there’s legalities and different, you know, hoops, you gotta jump through in every different market you’re
Eric Stopper 6:14
- So as far as legal as a product goes, tell me tell me what it is tell me like when somebody signs up with you guys, what ends up happening to their world,
John Danes 6:25
Yeah. So it’s basically, we take them through a three step process. So the first thing we build out for a client as what’s called a local authority campaign. So a local authority campaign is basically a battle tested ad campaign, that is going out to the local market to pick up leads, basically picking up people who are interested in buying or selling a home, they’re giving my client their information through Facebook and saying, please reach out to me, I’m in need of doing something, or buying a home or selling a home or whatever the case may be. So this is kind of like typical lead generation. So there’s a lot of platforms where real estate agents will get names, phone numbers, emails, some companies raise billions of dollars, like Zillow, for example. That’s what they do. That’s how they get real estate agents’ leads. And that’s basically the end of their process, where we are super different, as we actually deploy what’s called a concierge, I tell my clients to look at it like an assistant, this assistant is going to call on all of their leads for them. And when a lead has been vetted, meaning we know their criteria, we know their bathroom, bedroom, square footage, exactly what they’re looking for, then we put that across the, you know, a prospect or potential client in a meeting with my client. And if we can’t reach them through the phone, we’re gonna text them email, and voicemail. And that’s all built out through a SaaS platform. So we’re kind of like an agency Saas hybrid, with also like a call center, basically, in house call center. So it’s pretty cool how we built it out, it’s kind of like almost three different things. But the truth of the matter is like, I don’t feel like at this point, our clients’ problems could be solved just by one of these things, right? Like, I don’t feel like they just need the ads, I don’t feel like they just need the call center, I don’t feel like they just need the marketing automation. But when we put them all three together, it really holistically solves their problem. And that’s kind of why we’re pulling out a few different directions. And this has been an offer that we’ve kind of built out really methodically, because it used to just be the lead generation. And then it was just the lead generation plus the marketing automation. And then we tied in the call center. And that’s when we really started to get fantastic results. So yeah, that’s kind of the process in the cliff notes, you know, 92nd version. But yeah, that’s basically what it is in three steps. How it works.
Eric Stopper 8:38
So you’ve got a couple of partners on lead gen. Right, that kind of helped just one, just one partner. Okay. Yeah. So I think this is the portion that’s going to be really interesting for the people who are running agencies right now. I know you’re listening. And I know that some of you compete with me, which is cool. Welcome. So as far as product development goes, in determining what customers want, how did you guys figure that out? What was the process that you went through to validate your product offering that you gave to people? And how long did it take you to validate before you felt really comfortable? Actually, you know, putting all your chips on these three things?
John Danes 9:17
Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I don’t think enough people ask that question in the agency space. Like most people are just like, Oh, this person needs more leads than any more sales on an album do that, and they don’t really know exactly what the customer is looking for. It’s a really good question. So number one, we worked inside the industry. So I saw what so many agents were doing. And it seemed like the biggest bottleneck was they didn’t have leverage in their business, meaning they were every single frickin hack. They took the client to the properties. They did the lead generation, found the clients, they did the cold calling, they knocked on the doors, they hand out flyers, they did all this stuff. And they couldn’t scale past a certain point because they’re wearing so many frickin hats. You’re either gonna scale their people or systems that’s like the way you scale and most real estate agents don’t look at their business. Like an entrepreneur, they just kind of look at it like I’m just kind of fluttering around. And you know what happens happens. And when I get a referral, it is what it is, which is a flawed way of thinking and the real estate agents that are really solid. Don’t think that way, they think of completely different ways where I need people or I need systems in place to actually scale. So that’s kind of the first way was working inside the industry, but then just talking to them. So you might be familiar with a dude named Nathan Barry, he owns a SaaS company called ConvertKit. They make like two or 3 million bucks a month. It’s an email marketing system. And when he was first getting started, he talked about and I want to credit him on this, because it’s really good. If the next business, I started this exact thing I’m going to do, he basically was just going around to his niche and being like, Hey, I don’t have any intention of selling you anything. I was wondering if we could just kind of get on the phone and I can see what you’re struggling with what you feel like would be things that could add value to your business or like what would make you more money. And we did that essentially, we talked to a lot of real estate agents, I met a lot of real estate agents, I befriended real estate agents. And I just kind of understood like, what do you guys and gals struggling with? What are the problems that you’re facing day to day? Where do you feel like the bottlenecks are in your business? And now after serving about 180 agents, I’ve personally taken probably 1500 consults, meaning like demo calls with agents in the last year. So I, I know pretty freaky, like what most real estate agents are struggling with, they either don’t have enough leads, or they don’t have quality enough leads. And they’re most likely spending a lot of time trying to figure things out or trying to build these systems on their own. So it was a mix of talking to a lot of potential customers, talking to a lot of people in the niche and working inside the niche, which I don’t think you have to work inside the niche. But it definitely helped us and gave us an advantage.
Eric Stopper 11:44
Yeah, totally. I, you know, I found myself when I started a company out of college, I’m leveraging nanotechnology that had been developed at the University with a mechanical engineering professor, and we hit the streets like it was for pregnant women. So I went around to all of the like, OBS and hospitals and stuff. And I just was looking for big, big bellies, you know, just looking for pregnant women I just talked to a mood probably sent out 2000 surveys and talked individually to about 1000 women. Yeah, and I and I think that that’s something that ends up being lost, there’s a book called Nail It and Scale It that talks about validation. In your business, whenever you’re going to make a decision on a product, just like making sure that you ask the customers and having a team that’s like, well, I guess I’d be interested to get your thoughts on that. Right. Like, you’ve got a team now you’ve got people on the team, you got a partner? whose responsibility is it to go out and seek this validation? in an organization? You know, how do you keep innovating? Who’s who’s responsible for getting that customer feedback?
John Danes 12:54
It’s a really good question. And it’s something that we look at every day and evaluate on a daily basis. One thing that we’ve given our clients, and this is not a technical thing, it’s more of just an amazing thing that we give, and it’s really beneficial for our clients. And it’s beneficial for us. It’s a, it’s a two way street, it’s a double win. We have a client success coach. So what this guy does is his name’s Yonko, he might be listening right now he’s an absolute stud. He sets up calls with clients, gives clients support, and basically answers questions and says, How the heck can we optimize this thing?” So when I’m talking to a client, we’re big on like alignment in the process, the more aligned the client is with our process, the better results they’re gonna get. And then the more feedback they’re gonna give us. So when a client is on board, the last question is, hey, why did you choose us over competitors? I’m in a crowded niche, you are, too. So I want to know, like, why are people working with us? Not like not only on the sales side, but then when we get them in, we ask even more questions. What can we fix here? What do you think could be better? How can this be improved? And it’s like constantly improving for clients. But I mean, we basically got a guy who does it full time. I mean, he gives support, he’s there to answer questions. But the other end of that coin is, he’s there to improve our product, improve our offering, and improve the results that we get. And he does it just by talking to customers, like, you know, and if he wasn’t doing it all day, I would be doing it all day. And Adam, my partner, he was, he used to do it all day. So it was kind of something that like, we built the offer, we built the MVP. We know it’s something that we need to do. So we brought on somebody that can kind of kill two birds, one stone, get this import to the clients that need help, and then understand what we can improve and make better and kind of align with clients and figure out what more problems we can solve.
Eric Stopper 14:39
So yeah, I’m, I’m a salesman, right, like a trencher. That’s what I do. Um, and I would be, I would be scared to death. If a customer success coach or person and organization, went to the client, asked them why did you choose this over our competitors and they told them something that was just absolutely incorrect. About our process, right? That would be, oh, that would be awful. So I think, what did you say to Yonko? His name? Yeah, yeah. Does he talk to the salespeople? And like, give them feedback on this on the sale of the platform to them? Does he mostly talk with the actual team that you and your partner like? How’s the feedback loop typically work?
John Danes 15:22
Yeah. So right now, one thing, probably one of the biggest bottlenecks we have is I love doing the sales side. And I just like taking calls. So I do all of our sales right now. He actually likes to evaluate my calls and see what certain clients are looking for and different things that we can plug in and improve the process for them. I’m more handle like, hey, why did you choose us over our competitors, so I can continue to further the marketing and sales because like, the more feedback I get, it’s like one of the best marketing hacks ever ask your customers why they bought from you, and then try to go do more of that. And then Yonko is more after they’re already in the funnel after they’re already a client. Hey, what more can we give you? What else is going to help improve the process? What, you know, other things are you struggling with? Or what other bottlenecks are you running into that we can maybe try and help you with as well?
Eric Stopper 16:11
I think that’s beautiful. I think everybody needs a young player on their team. What’s up y’all go Hope you’re listening. So I want I want you to talk to our listeners about like, so most of the people that listen to this show are either agency folks, or they are brand executives of consumer packaged goods, products, consumer products, things that sell on Amazon. All of them have multiple aspects and channels that they sell on. So they sell on Amazon, but they have like Shopify, or big commerce or a WordPress site. Maybe they sell it at Walmart. And eBay does. You know, there’s a bunch of like niche ones as well. Newegg, so they’ve got their online properties, but then some of the older ones, and then hopefully some of the newer ones as well, they have brick and mortar, they’ve got big, like wholesale accounts that they sell products to, which for them would be a lead generation, right? Like they want to get a big lead to a b2b type of customer. And I’m wondering, like, if I am a consumer packaged goods company, and I want to figure out how to generate more leads for myself for the wholesale side of my business? What would you encourage me to do? And who would you encourage me to like to hire on my team? Like, what’s, what’s the first thing that I need to make sure that I do have solid lead flow that allows me to build that side of my business?
John Danes 17:33
So you’re trying to get like, basically b2b leads? You want b2b leads? Yeah. Okay, I got you. Um, you know, man, it’s like, if I was in that sort of niche, I think my first thing would be LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I mean, like, get on LinkedIn, pay the 80, 90 bucks a month, or whatever it is, I think that’s like a real tactic. Instead of rah rah like, Oh, go do prospecting. Everybody knows, go do prospecting, like the most typical thing I would say is get on LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and find executives at these wholesale companies, they’re out there, they’re on LinkedIn, that’s probably where they hang out, my target audience hangs out on Facebook, that’s kind of where we’re at, we get stuff off LinkedIn. But if you’re looking for a big exact set up, you know, wholesale company, I would think pay the 90 bucks a month for a LinkedIn Sales Navigator and find those people. And then just reach out to them not like some canned bs message, but like, trying to cut through the noise. explain to them why your stuff is better. Assets are always big. So like, however, you can position assets, I think it’s big, like, even you know what you guys do with a free evaluation or whatever. It’s something that gives value because it’s just like, we’re no longer in the age of like, Hey, man, you should do a sales call with me, it’s like, that’s not really how it works. You want to position it at some sort of value. So think, find a way that you can position your product as value and cut through the noise and what everybody else is doing. And then I would say if I’m trying to get wholesale, b2b leads like that, with big execs, I’d go LinkedIn Sales Navigator all day.
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