This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Anthony Sarandea. Anthony is an interesting Misfit Entrepreneur. Not only is he known as one of the top customer generators in the world with a business that drives over 1 million new customers a year for clients, but he’s been featured alongside Snapchat Founder, Evan Spiegel as one of the entrepreneurs changing the world.
He’s one of the top Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneurs, philanthropist, and is even getting into acting. But, the thing that impresses me most is how methodically, consistently, and quietly, Anthony built a powerhouse that works behind the scenes driving the business and customer acquisition of some of the largest companies in the world. They rely on him and his businesses to make them go.
And today, I not only want to talk about the secrets Anthony has learned on how to find and get customers, but also the lessons he learned in building businesses doing 10’s of millions of dollars that not many know about.
Anthony Sarandrea on Instagram
Anthony grew up in a lower middle class family. His dad was a police officer and his mom was nurse. He was taught to work hard and had talent in sports, specifically basketball. His dream was to play pro-basketball and went on that path. Halfway through college, he found the internet. He saw a guy in a fancy car running around on a Tuesday and asked him what he did. The guy told he worked on the internet.
Anthony convinced the guy to let him learn from him and started essentially shadowing him working 18 hour days learning everything he could from all sources he could get information.
His knowledge turned into skill and his first business where people hired him for online/internet projects running ads. He grew and hired his brother, then another and then other employees, etc. and kept growing it. He built it out to where today, Anthony’s business is basically a Lending Tree for services needed by distressed Americans – basically a lead generation powerhouse for products and services for people that have challenges like too much debt or low credit scores, etc. The market had been ignored and underserved and Anthony stepped in to help people get the services to help them.
What does it mean to “Own the Customer and Not the Offer?”
- You want to be in the business of owning the customer
- It is a lot more scalable as one customer is a good fit for multiple offers.
- The key is to position yourself as the go to place for businesses with offers to get customers.
- You want to be in a position to build an ongoing relationship with the customer, so you can work with them over and over again in different ways.
- This way, you don’t shove a square peg into a round hole and best help the customer, but also monetize them in multiple ways for your business.
At the 9:52 mark, Anthony breaks down his business and how it operates….
- Anthony gets an ad for a specific type of product such as health insurance.
- They spend 6 -figures a day on paid ads on everything from Facebook to Direct Mail.
- All of the different platforms are just channels to get in front of a consumer.
- When a customer clicks on the ad, they go to a landing page with more detail and criteria.
- The goal is to get them to take an action. For example, for health insurance, it is to make a call to discuss their needs.
- Anthony has a whole call center setup on the back end with his business clients in which calls are routed to their call centers and sales teams.
- Anthony gets paid every time the phone rings, every time a customer signs up, even based on how long a call lasts.
- There are differences for each business customer that Anthony’s business customizes to maximize success.
- There is whole routing system behind the scenes that slices and dices customer information to determine who a client is sent to.
How did you figure all of this out?
- It started when built his first ad business. He got to with a bunch of different segments, which gave a diverse view of needs.
- Eventually, he productized the service
- His job was just then to sell it businesses. And he had a win-win.
- He would deliver a customer at a great price agreed upon with a customer and he didn’t get paid unless he delivered the customers.
How do you get your business customers?
- It’s much easier now that he has a track record.
- But, it is also easier because Anthony takes on the risk and only get’s paid when he delivers.
- He would also pay to speak at conferences and gain credibility.
- He found a niche in large, but still up and coming players in different markets.
Since you are dependent on a clients success, how do you impact that?
- It’s how you structure a deal
- More importantly it’s how you align to the interests and what a client is really looking for and then speaking in those terms and structuring things.
- One of the greatest skill sets to have is to look at a deal from a different perspective.
- Flip the script – if you are taking on the risk, you need to vet them more than they do you.
- In Anthony’s case, he’s doing the hardest work in getting people to be interested in a product and make a decision to learn more.
- He even tests out a client’s process and give feedback and recommendations to improve their process before sending a lead to make sure it can be successful.
Tell us about your customer acquisition strategies…
- Focus on a specific niche within a niche. For example, don’t just focus on moms, focus on divorced moms just on the east coast, etc.
- Demographically niching down is what wins over time.
- Tactics will change by platform in how you make an ad look or the content.
- You job is to be more interesting than someone’s mom, dad, sister, brother, friends, etc. on their newsfeed to spur them to act and learn more.
- To do this, you need to be highly specific and talk in terms of deep down psychological benefit.
- Anthony literally becomes a “method actor” when focusing on niche and actually gets himself into the same situation he is focused on serving.
- For example, he purposely defaulted on his medical bills so he could feel what people go through. The collections calls, letters, anxiety, etc.
- He then uses these experiences to write his ad copy.
- Too many companies spend their time on talking about their product, service, offer, or benefits, when their only focus should be on connecting with a customer in terms of the real-life reality of the situation they are in – their deepest psychological pain points.
What works and what doesn’t when it comes to driving traffic?
- Use all mediums – things like direct mail aren’t dead.
- Start on a Facebook or Instagram and go from there.
- Right now, a lot of brands have pulled back budget, but there are more people on the platforms, so it is a great time to advertise.
- Every platform works, but the tactics for each one vary widely. Start and get good at one and then go from there.
Any resources to help people get started in the basics of doing ads?
- Yes, there is a Facebook Ad Buyer Group you can join and learn from
- Things move so fast and literally, what works today can change tomorrow, so it is a constant learning curve.
- Just start. The best way is to start paying some money and start learning. And as you lose your initial money, it will push you to focus and learn how to make it work for you to stop the bleeding.
What are the best lessons you have learned in entrepreneurship that you apply every day?
- Find the most world class people. Hire the best. Hire the A players today, because you will always come back to them.
- Fail fast
- Don’t fall prey to mommy effect, where you only listen to people telling you things are great. Seek out the naysayers and get the critical feedback. Listen to them.
How do you find the best? The A-players?
- Look at who is working in highest levels of your competition and doing well or who is closest to your business or industry.
- If you find someone who is really successful in an area you want to learn in, go above and beyond to get their attention and curiosity to speak with you. Anthony will Venmo a payment for an hour of their time without even speaking with them to show he’s serious.
- Find people who are where you want to be and ask them how to get there. Connect with them in multiple ways.
- Make sure you are up front and make sure they know that speaking to you or meeting you will not be a waste of time.
Best Quote: "Too many companies spend their time on talking about their product, service, offer, or benefits, when their only focus should be on connecting with a customer in terms of the real-life reality of the situation they are in – their deepest psychological pain points."
Anthony's Misfit 3:
- Fail Fast. Fail and find that one win every day.
- Surround yourself with the best of the best, the A-Players.
- Purposely make time every week to help others and give of yourself. It give perspective and perspective is the key to happiness.
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