Brian J. Greenberg, aka The Salesman Who Doesn't Sell, has founded businesses in e-commerce, marketing, and financial services. He has generated over 50 million in revenue from his businesses and collected over 10,000 reviews and testimonials from customers. Brian is the founder and president of True Blue Life Insurance, whose mission is to be transparent, honest and helpful to their customers without ever bugging or pushing them.
Welcome to the podcast Brian. Hey, thanks for having me. Let's not a problem really super excited to talk to you. I know your background is really diverse and you've really done quite a lot.
So before we get into the topic today, which is talking about remote teams and using that for SEO and site development as well as online reviews. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into what you're doing today. Sure, you know I started back in 2002. All right, so I was one of the early guys kind of when the internet was kind of like the wild west right.
I took a job working for internet marketing company here in Arizona called submit our website back in the day. They were some of the big guys and I learned how to do SEO. I started multiple eCommerce sites back in about 2010. I was overwhelmed I own about eight different e-commerce websites or eight different companies, maybe like maybe more than eight websites that I had them all rolling.
I still run a couple e-commerce websites. I let my father run them wholesale janitorial supply and touch-free Concepts and right now I'm focusing on True Blue life insurance. Mainly for the reason is I can rank for in Ireland and. The profitability on it is so high. Cost per click on life insurance keywords is like 30 40 bucks so I can rank organically.
It's a great thing and I love the business. Okay? Okay great. Great. That's that's awesome yet. I don't know a whole lot about marketing and advertising for life insurance. But yeah, I can imagine when they are organic route. Yeah. This is definitely a better way to go definitely are, you know more affordable because like you said 30 or $40 per click is.
They can add up pretty quickly. Oh, yeah, we get about $500,000 worth of organic traffic every month. Okay. Wow. Yeah, that's you you really you can't beat that for sure. You know for sure. I'm really excited to talk to you about a few things because these are things that are kind of. Dear to me and here at Omni star, we've used remote teams quite a bit and I'm very familiar with it and had other guests on that have talked about utilizing remote teams, and I know you've done well with them.
So what I want to specifically start off is asking you how you know e-commerce company today. Can effectively utilize and build a remote team to improve SEO maybe even help out with website development and design and which what's your experience with that? I've been running remote teams since 2003.
So I have a lot of experience on it for a long time. I worked from home and that was the way to do it and really the I have an office now, but I got the office primarily because I had a kid and I had to get out of the house. Right. Now I run about 17 remote workers. Now, you know how to utilize them correctly.
I like to have video meetings every week. Now this is super important and have only hire people that are comfortable getting on camera and looking you in the eye that seems to build the trust and I like to get the whole team on the video together and we strategize and go over kind of like the scrum.
Theoria potted how things are done. You know, what you accomplished last week. What has you blocked and what you're scheduled to do for this following week. It's a great way. Another way is if you're paying some people hourly use a Time tracking software one of those things that actually takes a screenshot every five minutes or so right now we use up work for most of our stuff.
It does take out some percent for the freelancer not us. And it pays them automatic me. I don't have to ever worry about making deposits which is very nice. And and again a project management software is wonderful and I tried them all and currently we use Meister task, which is kind of like Trello except better.
Yeah, that's um, that's awesome. Yeah with remote teams. Like you said one of the things that I you're actually one of the second people that I've talked to that that is mentioned they do this is have the one-on-one or at least on a weekly or. Even you know bi-weekly basis the. Video meetings because I guess they're like you said there's something to be said about you know, seeing somebody face to face looking them in the eye and you know, just connecting because it does of course there's all of these chat tools out here these days we got Skype we've got slack we've got instant messenger.
We've got WhatsApp, you know, the list goes on and on and you can chat with people back and forth. But yeah when you're talking to them face-to-face, it does really kind of open up a whole different connection that you have with. And yeah, you can establish a different report. So that makes sense and these days it's it's a lot easier to do that than kind of back in the day.
You know, you said you kind of got things going in 2003 and I'm I'm familiar with days those days because that was close time to when we started and found it Omni star, which is actually about 2,000 and so back then if you wanted to do a video. Call with somebody. I think it would be a little challenging especially especially because I think we were probably at that time just coming off of dial-up internet access or Internet service.
And so, you know, I couldn't imagine trying to do a video call with dial-up speed internet speed at that time. I mean, I think that would just probably just wouldn't work. So these days yeah, there's really it is super easy to do it in so there's really. No, excuse with that as far as the time tracking tools are concerned definitely makes sense because I know with three Commerce business is one of the things that is always a concern is with the remote team and you kind of nailed it right there is what are these people doing?
Are they actually doing the work for the hours that they're committed to so time tracking works great for hourly. In my experience a lot of are a lot of times that I've dealt with remote employee. They've been on a more of a project basis. So if you do go that route, I think the main thing with that is established their clear tasks and you know even have some type of checklist so you can see, you know, kind of alive checklist whether it's a shared Google Document or something like that where you can kind of see in real time as they're completing different tasks.
So I think that's something for those employees that are are those remote employees that. Are not hourly been moving a project basis now I wanted to ask you because what I read in the in the bayou at the beginning. The next question is that you said you have collected over. Ten thousand reviews and testimonials for cut from customers now that's that's not anything to sneeze at that's a that's a huge amount of reviews and then in as most people know especially in the world of e-commerce reviews are everything these days.
How did you actually get to that on that number and was that specifically for your insurance business or was that across several businesses that you've had its across several businesses, you know when I started off. I love the reduce and the more reviews. I got the higher conversion rates. I would get I did find look emails by far the best way to get reviews.
I found and I do it all the time without exception as I put the stars in the email and I make it so, you know when you click on it it highlights and it'll go to my review page. All right out of something about people seeing the stars in the email make some. Now we said it we asking uh similar to how the other guys do we were doing it before then but asking, you know, as soon as they deliver the product or complete the service and then a couple of other emails maybe on day three and a seven now, I do want to stress this you can get all the reviews you want on your own website.
I do I do believe people, you know. They don't value them as high anymore because they know they can be manipulated. Even if you're using a service. So what I do is I always first have them review my website. All right, always if they give me a five star review at that point, I'll send them another request.
I'll include exactly what they wrote in the originally now, so it's very easy and I'll ask them to leave a review on a third party website. I asked for the Better Business Bureau. Google business. And those links I don't make them click around I bring them right to the page where they can enter the star reviews.
So what I have now is I have no reviews on my site and I collect site reviews and product reviews our Lanai that that's huge as well. I also have links on third-party websites that I put on every page of my website. My competitors don't have in that. I believe puts me over the top as far as building.
Okay, great. Great. Yeah, so, you know as far as the reviews are concerned it was interesting that you mentioned putting this this stars in the actual email and I can definitely understand where you're coming from with that. You said something about those Stars makes it clickable because I've had that experience myself.
It's something about the the Stars when you go when you Mouse over it and you highlighted it kind of pulls you to it. I don't know what it is, and I don't know how to describe it but. Yeah, it's just something aesthetic about it that drives drives people to it. So that's a great tip because I've over the years of course expect we experimented with different types of methods of getting reviews.
And I know a lot of the listeners out there have done the same way down the same thing and so it's definitely something that will take note of for sure now getting these reviews I know. Is great and what I want to ask you as far as reviews because of course there's a good side of the reviews and there's a there's a doubt that it's of course.
There's a downside there's always a good and a bad good side is of course you want to push and try to get as many good reviews as possible. But when you open up your company to getting reviews, of course, you have the you're opening it up different channels for people to give you the bad reviews, you know, no matter what.
The best service that you're offering, you know is there's always going to be somebody that's not happy that's on you know, it's not satisfied. How do you you know, how do you go about combating? Those those poor reviews? First of all, don't open the channel right away. That's one of the main reasons why I want them to review my own internal system first.
They give me a bad review fine. I don't have I don't have to display it. It also gives me the opportunity to fix. Before they start going off and putting reviews on third-party websites. I my insurance website, you know, they're rating who they talk to the service person the life insurance agent.
So the agents are kind of very accountable and I bonus them on how many reduce they get. So when they're talking to a client though plant the seed especially after they get approved or after you deliver the service. Thank you so much. If you can please leave a review lot of who say they're in a contest or they get a bonus.
That helps we've done something very nice for them. And it invokes the theory of reciprocity. One more thing. I want to say our linen put a monetary value on reviews, please I put a value of every review I get on my own website of $100 every review I get on a third party website of $250 if I get a bad review and I'll tell you I've only gotten just a handful of bad reviews that people left.
Most often when they leave a bad review they want something they it's like saying hey, I got bad service. I want you to fix it. So if we get a bad review no one else in my company calls them I call the owner of the company. They're impressed right off the bat and I fix it I sympathize. Fix it and then ask him to take it down and that is overwhelmed and I'm willing to take a loss.
So I'm willing to take a loss of $500 in a second for them to take down a bad review, especially if it's not a third party website, so don't be afraid of look a bad review. I know people say oh, you know bad review can help and that's true. You don't want too many and I always try my best to get them to take it down.
Obviously if you don't take it down, you reply and say hey, look I did this for this customer. I refunded in this for money. This is not how we do business and we'll fix it. So they do help although try to get him down. All right try and get them to take it down. And then there's so many different ways to doing people are willing to do it if you do right by them, right, right.
Yeah, that makes sense and I think a lot of businesses and those that are probably listening to this podcast are wondering yeah. You know, how do you go about managing that and you're totally right? The main thing is not being afraid of dealing with it. But just it's really just kind of a cry for help when people put a bad review.
They had a bad experience. Something went wrong or they start something went wrong and you just have to address it. You have to figure out where they're coming from and just have to be all ears. And you know, if you if you're the business owner, they definitely will be impressive if you're able to call them directly in just try to resolve it.
And then like you said just get them to take it down if they can and do anything you can to resolve it. The other thing that the reviews can do also is kind of help point out weak spots in your business because of note. Of course, there's no perfect business and any bad review can can kind of shine a light on, you know, maybe a hole that you have that you can definitely resolve so.
Definitely one thing to take note of yeah. I just wanted to bring up the reviews because yeah, I saw that the 10,000 reviews and that really stood out and so yeah, it's really impressive to be able to have that in to continue to grow that but yeah now back to the actual remote teams because like I said, I have a lot of experience with it and I know you do have a lot of experience with remote teams.
What I wanted to ask is. When you're getting and looking to hire these employees, let's say for doing SEO for your business. Is there a specific criteria that you're looking for or how do you go about trying to find people that they to do SEO? Because you know, there's there's so many people out there on all of these platforms like the up work.
What's your typical method of finding the best person? Let's say for a remote SEO person. Great question. Look, I've hired a mall. All right from all over the world my requirement now and look I put them on a project base out there doing a page of content out pay him for the page at a certain amount the doing technical SEO again project my requirement now, which is serve me incredibly if you can't get him on video at least get them on the phone.
All right. That's my first filter. I don't ask them to get on video right away, but phone I need to be able to know that I can talk to them. Then they're actually like a real employee of the company, right you kind of build that Rapport and that's a huge red flag to our lid if they're not willing to get on the phone with you.
They don't feel accountable. It's at least so get em on the phone make sure you can communicate with them properly if they keep doing a solid work for you get them on video and what I also like to do with team members at stick around as I do quarterly reviews, I go over, you know is come really great questions about you know, what they like about the job what they think that we could improve and we set goals for the next quarter.
So the video meetings team we use slack of course, which is a wonderful way. We use a project management software and the quarterly reviews but hire the right people and don't make the mistake of hiring the wrong people. So get them on the phone. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. The communication is definitely key.
And if they shy away from wanting to talk to you upfront then you obviously you know that there's a problem and you mentioned Skype is not give Skype as well as slack as far as collaboration tools there any other tools that you use to effectively communicate share information and collaborate with your team?
Slack is great. When use Meister task as far as videos, we don't use Skype. We actually use zoom dot U s-- I have a free version of it on RingCentral. Although that seems to be the best video app to get all the people on it because I could actually share my screen and I can have the all the other people share their screen.
Those seem to be the main tools. Okay, great. Great. Yeah. Those are those are great in those these days slack is huge and it as a company I from. Just being with slide from such a long time. I've seen that slack is really exploded these days and one of the things that I see a lot more of especially with slack is you're seeing a lot of I've gone and done some different online training courses and I've seen a lot of online training courses now are using Slack.
As a kind of a supplementation to the course because it's perfect for online training where you can collaborate with people in a particular course provide them with information. You can break them off in a different groups. It's it's really perfect for that. So it's yeah, I think slack is just for definitely here to stay it can do so much more than Skype alone.
So it's a I say, yeah, that's if you don't have slack and you're thinking about putting together a remote team. Yeah. It's. I would say definitely look into getting it in the bottom line is it's free. At least you don't need me version of it. He can't beat that for sure. Now as far as you know, e-commerce businesses are concerned.
Are there any tasks that you think? Because you said you have you managed a team of a body 18. Are there any task that you think really just have to be done by an in-house person that no matter what, you know, it's just better suited for somebody right there in House. Is there is there such a task that would require that over the years.
Well, first of all shipping right, it's good to have somebody who actually runs ship you could Outsource the shipping but have someone local. Be in charge of it also kind of the head of customer service. It's very good to have them local take it also be remote arlynn and I have a lot of remote people in my city.
All right. I just don't I don't really see him that'll make him come into the office having them, you know localism is, you know, kind of an accountability. They always know you can go knock on their door, which I think is a big thing but those positions things that are most directly. To the owner and those people that run the other Freelancers are important although not necessary.
All right, because I have a lot of Freelancers that run multiple other Freelancers. They just have to build up that trust with you over the long term to be able to do that. Yeah, ultimately, Ireland very few people have to be local in my opinion. Yeah. Yeah. That's that's what I thought. I was trying to Rack my brain to think of anything that I thought of that.
You know where you just had to be in-house and I think these days technology has just opened up the whole world where there I mean, there's so much you can do today without. Really physically having to be there because I think these tools really just almost make it seem like you're the person is right there anyway, so it's like what's the difference unless like you said shipping?
You know, maybe if you wanted a local person to help coordinate local shipping efforts. Yes, that could be the case, but you that can't even be outsourced to as well. So I mean, there's really, you know, not much of a need to really have somebody totally a now. Train is a little bit easier if their in-house, all right, so that that's kind of why you want to get to the service customer service the managers although again soon as they're trained.
I generally, you know, let them work for home that from home if it makes sense, but the main people closest to you that are running everybody else. Hi. I have a few people in the office and I love that. They're here. Gotcha. Gotcha. All right. That sounds awesome. So over the years that you've used the remote employees is there.
What would you say? I guess you could say would be any the downsize if any to doing it hundred percent that you can see that you've experienced. If you do it, right our Lanai. I don't see any more downside than having an in-house. Here's another thing, you know, if you're hiring a remote worker and let's say you do put them on our.
You know, they're recording the time on a third party platforms taking screenshots now. Nobody could really work eight nine hours a day. It's just you Millie. It's not possible. So, you know when they're logging hours. What I find is the maximum they could really Bill me is I don't know maybe maybe six hours maximum because they burn out and they're not even able to work that much the next day.
So you're going to save a lot of money. Ten nights 1099 you want to deal with payroll a lot of the benefits you pay through a third party. There's no 1099 Harland. I love it. I can't think of a negative. If you have the capacity to manage them by all means. Yes, it's a better way. Yep, definitely and you kind of nailed it right there that if you have the ability and the capacity to manage it then definitely go go right ahead with it.
And that's that's the thing that you do have to keep in mind. There's a level of management, especially, you know, if you if you have people all over the place you need to make sure. You properly delegate the tasks and you kind of have a whole plan for for the activities because the main thing is you don't want to you don't want to have people sitting around kind of guessing and wondering what they need to do next.
So that's that's kind of the key is a it's definitely a level of management that has to be in place to make sure they're they're doing the best they can with it with the tasks that you've outlined for sure. I was going to say, you know when you're managing, you know what you'll find on a remote teams.
Please they'll come to you for everything and eventually you're going to be overwhelmed and become the bottleneck very important to have them solve the problems on their own and you think it's not possible but it is make sure that their job is to reduce your stress. I call it RMS reduce my stress.
Right, right. By all means try to remove yourself from you know, the small stuff, you know, you know, one of the models here is figure it out. I feel like all right, so get these guys running and. It's a wonderful thing. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I like that reduce my stress. That's the thing.
And yeah, that's what you want to do. You want to delegate as much as possible and then Empower people to be able to just you know, go on their own and figure figure stuff out. They don't have to actually come and ping you every time they have a question that's part of their job and that's all they'll be successful as they can and Conquer these tasks on their own.
Well Brian, I definitely appreciate you coming on the e-commerce marketing podcast. You've definitely both a brought a wealth of information about remote teams that reviews and how you've utilized them over the years for sure. But what I've always like to end the conversation with his just kind of Switching gears here and just wanted to ask you what's what's one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you.
I think you know so many people say, oh I'll get up at 5:00 in the morning right work all day. I'm a night owl. Okay. Okay. I don't get up till 9:00. I usually don't get to the office till 11:00. Okay. Alright. Okay. I think people are very surprised about men. Okay, you know when I get to the office usually a skip lunch and I work hard although I don't know it's possible and I've been able to do it over the years and successfully by getting a good amount of sleep and not getting up at 5:00.
Getting up around 9:00. Okay. Okay. Great. Yeah, like you said That's you always hear these days about people getting up early, you know getting up at four or five in the morning. You know, they have a whole routine. But yeah, you know, it's like whatever works for you. That's the main thing but like that you said that at the end the key thing is getting if you're properly.
No matter what so mean if you get up early. Yeah, if you get up at five songs, you're going to bed at like 9:00. That's good. But that's the main. Yeah, if you can do it if you're built like this fine, you know, yeah, if you're not it you can take and cause just supper now. Yeah, it definitely can you have to be mindful of that for sure.
All right. Great. Brian will appreciate you sharing that and you of course you coming on here as well. Now if any of our listeners want to get ahold of you. What is the best way for them to contact you? They can see my website true blue life insurance. What I'll also do is I wrote a book called the salesman doesn't sell it has all this content in it and I'd like to give all your listeners free audio copy of the book.
They can just go to Brian J. Greenberg.com Ecommerce. Okay, great. Great. I appreciate that. Thank you for that for that gift will be able to definitely be sure to check that out. I'm going to check that out myself and thanks again for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing. Thanks for having me.
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Founder and President of True Blue Life Insurance