Justin Christianson is the Co-founder and President of Conversion Fanatics, a customer-centric CRO agency. His team helps e-commerce and SaaS companies better understand their visitors’ on-site behavior, likes, and dislikes to increase conversion results and get a better return on advertising. The agency’s clients, including Burt’s Bees, Renew Life, Paleovalley, and more, have increased conversions and marketing performance by 30% to 1850% due to their services.
Justin is a digital marketing veteran with a strong emphasis on implementation and optimization. His book, Conversion Fanatic: How To Double Your Customers, Sales and Profits with A/B Testing, is a #1 best-seller on Amazon. Justin is also an Official Member of the Forbes Agency Council.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Justin Christianson shares the backstory of Conversion Fanatics
- The typical services that Conversion Fanatics provides for clients
- What does the agency’s discovery and onboarding process look like?
- Why Justin doesn’t say yes to working with every business
- Justin describes his experience writing the book, Conversion Fanatic
- The key tactics Justin uses to increase conversion rates on the Conversion Fanatics website
- Justin’s process for identifying and hiring high-quality employees
In this episode…
Many businesses are so focused on driving traffic to their website that they forget one key element: how to actually make the sale. Once someone is on your webpage, how do you get them to buy your product?
That’s Justin Christianson’s sweet spot. His agency, Conversion Fanatics, focuses on improving conversion rates for businesses by understanding what makes consumers tick. Justin and his team recognize that changing even just one button can increase website leads by 15% or more. So, how does Conversion Fanatics’ CRO magic work?
In this episode of Agency Journey, Gray MacKenzie is joined by Justin Christianson, the Co-founder and President of Conversion Fanatics, to discuss how to improve your website’s CRO. Justin explains the services that Conversion Fanatics offers, the process he uses to onboard new clients, and how his agency’s website utilizes key CRO strategies.
And be sure to check out ZenPilot, where we help agencies optimize their operations using our proven systems and processes.
ZenPilot knows that you are tired of wasting time on trial-and-error — that’s why we provide tried-and-true solutions that will help you grow and scale quickly and sustainably.
So, what are you waiting for?
Go to zenpilot.com to learn more.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Justin Christianson on LinkedIn
- Justin Christianson on One Spot Social
- Conversion Fanatics
- Conversion Fanatic: How To Double Your Customers, Sales and Profits With A/B Testing by Justin Christianson
- Gray MacKenzie on LinkedIn
- Johnathan Dane on Agency Journey
Welcome to the Agency Journey podcast where we connect with agency leaders to uncover the hidden systems and processes that drive their success. Now let’s dive into today’s show.
Gray MacKenzie 0:17
All right, welcome back to another episode of Agency Journey. This is Gray MacKenzie. This week, I’ve got the pleasure of bringing on Justin Christianson, who’s a Co-founder. He’s the president at Conversion Fanatics, which I think Justin, you guys are the first 100% CRM and I feel bad if I messed this up 220 episodes in. But I think you’re the first crmo with kind of exclusive OR primarily focused agency that we’ve had on the podcast. So welcome. Welcome aboard. Very, very cool. I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me. How to when you started Conversion Fanatics, which well, maybe we should, we should probably get a little bit of backstory here. You said you’ve been in marketing for quite a while. This is your 21. So 21 years ago, CRM wasn’t? I’m sure that stood for something else. But it wasn’t either conversion rate optimization or chief Revenue Officer at that point. No,they there was no, there was very few acronyms. There was a nobody knew what a conversion rate was at that point.
Justin Christianson 1:14
We did. So it was straight out of a page of I started digital, I basically started in network marketing, so bumping into people and trying to get by my potions and lotions. And I quickly figured out that I wasn’t very good at that. And found internet marketing and lead gen lead, like what is this lead gen stuff. So I figured out how to generate leads online, it was before AdWords was even a thing. You know, way back when so we just, you know, creating basic landing pages, kind of went the info affiliate route became the number one affiliate for a company that I eventually became partners on, we grew it like 500%, the first year, you know, topped out at close to 10 million in revenue, I sold it back to them, my partner’s like 11 years ago, now kind of went into private consultancy. From there and then just spiraled into let’s, you know, partner up with my longtime friend and spiraled into what’s now Conversion Fanatics, but I’ve been doing optimization for myself forever, like just, you know, literally splitting the the AdWords campaign into two separate landing pages, because there’s no software to do it, or creating two different pages. And then, you know, running separate campaigns to it. And you know, there was just all sorts of things. But I quickly got fascinated with what makes people tick and the psychology of conversion or, you know, psychology of a desire to action that you want taken. And really, you know, what do you mean, I can change a button, and I can get 15% more people to do what it is that I want them to do on the page. And that’s kind of what evolved into, you know, Conversion Fanatics. And really, everybody was preaching traffic, and you just need more eyeballs on it, when the other side of it is conversions. And it’s not the sexy, fun topic that, you know, the latest Facebook ads hack is but you know, it’s necessary, you can’t have one without the other. And so many people weren’t talking about it, at least at the level that needed to be talked about it. So I’ve been preaching the same thing for a lot of years. Were you so at that point
Gray MacKenzie 3:20
after making the sale? And then starting this out? Were you trying to build an agency? No.
Justin Christianson 3:28
So I basically went into private consultant consulting, I just I was lost, essentially, it’s like, I’m good at stuff I got out of that relationship, things weren’t going well, at that time. You know, I got out of there, at a few kind of ideas fall flat, you know, failures in business, who would have thought, but then I, a friend of mine just kind of really revived my confidence. And I started a private consultancy, basically setting up sales promotion campaigns and building landing pages, doing some basic split testing, running email, just kind of being a jack of all trades cmo kind of executer that I was really good at. And I took on nine or 10 clients at a time, at that time with just me and an outsourced designer is essentially what had happened and I I have no intentions of starting an agency. And in fact, Conversion Fanatics didn’t even start it’s that it was my longtime friend me she was my now business partner. He had a team and was kind of doing the same things we were like we were talking off off air is he’s just an absolute just wizard when it comes up like systems and processes. So he’s all about let’s just offload that to somebody that can focus on it and not be the jack of all trades. And I’m the opposite. I’m like if it’s going to be done right. It’s going to be done by me. Um, so we kind of partnered up and said, well, nobody’s teaching this stuff. So let’s use our info backgrounds and let’s teach optimization. And we literally started something thing called ROI society and ROI, like boot camp type thing. And we did a webinar and did the whole funnel and did all of those things that we were good at. But we figured out that nobody wanted to buy it and learn it. So they everybody was like, Can you just do this for me. And then we started, you know, as kind of a JV partnership. And then we formalized it and, and then called it Conversion Fanatics, because he had, literally, we didn’t even he already had the name. And he didn’t even know it, he actually sponsored an event, built a one page website, had his designer at the time, mock up a logo, which is our, our logo, still to this day. And we just ran with it. And, you know, we just threw 750 bucks into a bank account, and just kind of shook hands and said, Let’s go at this, no ego, just do what it takes to make it happen. And we figured we would be 10 times further than where we are even today, four years ago, given the scalability of b2c markets and direct to consumer markets, but agency life is not the same.
Gray MacKenzie 6:11
Very true. What so if we zoom forward to today, you guys are positioned in CRO. But there’s a lot of services that tie into that are you doing, maybe just walk us through average, or typical services that you provide to a client, we are
Justin Christianson 6:30
almost exclusively user experience optimization. So on site, what happens after they click on that ad, through checkout? That’s our domain. That’s it. Like literally, that’s it. We don’t do traffic anymore. We don’t do email marketing. We don’t do web dev, we don’t do any of that stuff. Even though we do design and development and strategy and all of those things. It’s all coupled into how can we split test. And that’s really it. We’re just we’re split test company. And we provide the muscle, as if it’s an extension of the marketing, not just some third party, and I’ve kind of done myself, sorry, other agency owners on here. But I’ve dubbed myself the anti agency agency. And it’s starting to stick a little bit more, because I honestly think the agency model is inherently broken. And it’s served us well, so that scientists can keep doing what’s working for us and just keep evolving that.
Gray MacKenzie 7:35
There’s a lot of things to pull on there. But let me ask you this, are most of these relationships, retainer relationships? They are?
Justin Christianson 7:41
Yeah, it’s just as if so we work on a flat retainer model, we don’t do a percentage of upside, we don’t do any of that craziness, because we’re in it for the greater good and scalability and growth of the business. Not that a, we need a quick gimmick or trick or tactic I want long term partners is if you’re going to hire somebody in house to do it, you’re gonna hire us to do it. But we become an extension instead. And just like if we don’t perform like an internal employee, would we get fired? So we just do on a flat retainer model? No, no long term contracts either. We do a minimum, I think our standard is a rolling three month agreement,
Gray MacKenzie 8:17
tense. It does your sales process start? Are you bringing someone in directly to a retainer? And does that mean hey, we will do a quick look at your site with you or we’ll do a run through is that a new call? Three call process? Or do you start with a discovery project?
Justin Christianson 8:34
No. So we don’t do the foot in the door thing. We don’t do what we kind of do, but we don’t charge for it? Yep. Again, I’m kind of going against everything that anybody’s ever taught in the agency world. But we do. We used to have the big sales team, we used to have the strict outbound campaigns and direct mail and cold calls and social touches and you name it, I probably mailed seven, I’ve got I don’t even know at this point. 150,000 plus contacts in terms of our outbound, probably more than that, it’s probably a quarter a million now. You know, and SEO and all of those things. But our strategy and our process is pretty simple. It’s most of it is referrals slash inbound at this point, right. Um, but we also sponsor some podcasts and we do some kind of non orthodox and now we just started a YouTube campaign again, just to bring awareness and just kind of be top of mind constantly. But other than that, that just comes in be like, hey, you reached out great. Let’s chat. We have a you know, 1520 minute discovery conversation. Like because my biggest thing is I gotta find out if I can help. If I can’t, I will be the first to tell him I told somebody No, this morning, just because you’re just not a fit and I’m not going to be able to produce the results that you’re expecting me to Then we get access to analytics. And we take a deeper look. And that’s really just me or somebody on the team doing a video, it’s going through what we see from the data, firsthand, glimpse, unbiased, raw, uncut. And then we jump over to their website, and we do their user experience walkthrough, but a 1520 minute video. And then from there, it’s just answering preliminary questions and additional details, signed contract and setup period there. And we don’t even charge for setup, like we just want to get up and testing as quickly as possible. And if that gets delayed from some technical issue, then we’re not charging them to be testing. So the first test live basically triggers the contract. Alright, to get started. So yeah, we keep it very, very simple. And one thing it’s Believe it or not, I found is. And I laughed with a company this morning, actually, literally, before we started recording this. And I said, I could I could create you a fancy polished presentation. But I said, You’re not going to read it anyway. And that’s typically the case is no, I found that we would come up with this 15 page kind of document that glanced at it and be like, and then have 40 questions related to what you told them. Right. So instead, I just said, let’s just skip this, it’s easy for me to flip on the camera and 10 minutes, I can give you everything that you’ll need to know. And they will actually watch it, they consume it. They’d be like, Oh my god, this is the greatest video ever. So I found that the simpler I make it, the easier it becomes on us. Right?
Gray MacKenzie 11:37
I would assume when you’re saying no to people, obviously, if people who? Look, I don’t like what you’re doing, I don’t want to work together. We’ve all got those folks that we bail on, I would assume most people who you’re saying no to or who aren’t a fit for your services have too low of a traffic volume out is it more frequently you’re running into too little traffic maybe then do well optimized. Currently,
Justin Christianson 11:58
there’s never the ladder of that is rarely happens. There’s never a perfectly optimized site. It’s constantly going but yeah, usually they’re smaller companies or they’re just not the right fit. Like, it’s even funny, I’ve got a strict no assholes policy, it’s on our website, I get called on it a lot, is we just got to have fun doing this. And we got to be able to, if somebody’s not gonna go with what they hired us to go with, then we’re not going to do it. And I’ll tell them firsthand, like this just to sit and work. You know, I’ve got another company that that would be a good fit, but the red flags are starting to pop for me. They keep asking the same questions over and over again. And they keep asking for more information. They keep asking for, you know, references and case studies. And I mean, it’s gone, this gone on for weeks now, right? And it’s like, I, I’m not going to help you because you’re going to fight me at every step of the way. And I just I don’t have time for you to hate me at the end of three months. So we just, we’ve gotten really good at being like, Hey, we can help or, hey, this isn’t our alley, or we’d be doing something seriously wrong if we couldn’t help this company. And if we don’t have those, and we just don’t work with them. Because as you know, in the agency world, I mean, you can’t, you can’t please everybody. And you know, you have to my reputation after doing this for so long, is I just don’t have any time to force a relationship. And luckily, luckily, I’m at a place in the business where I don’t have to force relationships and be the money grab and be like, oh, it should be nice if I have that that next retainer, right. Yeah, yeah, it’s still in the back of your mind and be like the money’s there. Let’s just go get it. But yeah, there’s something liberating about that, too. And then your team doesn’t resent you for, you know, working with her not perfect fit, right? You said
Gray MacKenzie 13:55
something that I thought was interesting. Most of your business is coming through referral, and through inbound, but you didn’t specifically call out partners, but I would imagine being solely focused on CRL. And being less of a, that’s one of the nice things about being more niche is you’re less of a threat to any potential partner agencies. There’s all kinds of reasons partnerships don’t work. You guys charge more than someone else who’s doing what a client might see is more new. There’s a million reasons that partnerships don’t work. But our partnerships with other agencies a significant piece of deal flow, or is that actually pretty minor?
Justin Christianson 14:29
When suddenly it’s not that big of a piece? We’ve tried it like you said, we like Hey, your influencer agency or Hey, you’re a Facebook ad agency or an SEO agency or whatever. And they talk a good game. But when it comes down to brass tacks, it just doesn’t doesn’t happen. And it’s it’s kind of weird because it’s kind of like you scratch my back. I scratch yours. But I know 700 Facebook ad agencies and it’s like All just send us send us your leads and stuff. And it’s like, I’ve only got a few that I trust, but at the same time, it’s not always the right fit. And whereas we’re pretty siloed again, so it’s hard to scratch the other person’s back. So for me, it doesn’t really work. But we do get kickback from like consulting agencies, we do get kicked over from, you know, Facebook and email agencies from time to time. But for the most part, it’s mostly chatter, like in the Shopify forums, and, you know, in the other ecommerce worlds, and all of these other things, our name gets brought up a lot. You know, even in like, different mastermind groups or different crews, our name gets brought up a lot. And and that’s from years of building up to where we are now to where we are, you know, in mailing all of those people and doing all of that outbound and sponsoring the dozens and dozens of events that we had been to, right, you know, and had a booth that in the 1000s of copies of my book that I’ve given away, you know, all of these things just kind of built up to what they are now. So it’s definitely not been easy by any stretch. But I like where we’re at and where we’re going. Currently.
Gray MacKenzie 16:14
You mentioned the book Conversion Fanatic. You wrote it in 15.
Justin Christianson 16:19
It was published late 2015. So yeah, September or October, I think 2015.
Gray MacKenzie 16:25
Can you tell me a little bit about the experience of writing it kind of what you’re hoping for and what the results of that have been? terrible experience, consistent with what everyone says,
Justin Christianson 16:36
it took me over a year to write it. It’s only 150 pages. But I wanted to write a book. That wasn’t fluff. That wasn’t just because you I mean, you read any personal development or any other type of book. And it’s three golden nuggets and 600 pages, you know, it’s just fluff. So I wrote it with everybody in mind. And I wanted to write it. So it was timeless, in that I didn’t need to do a revised version, that you could still go even some insights from it. Years later, just like I had pulled ideas and strategies and concepts from 10 years prior to me writing it. They’re, they’re timeless, you know, marketing hasn’t changed in my headline lifetime. It’s just the mediums change, and the methods and the technology changes. So it’s still people it’s still psychology. So I wrote it in that sense, but it was painful. It was absolutely painful, like vomited, probably 250 pages onto a sheet. And luckily for editors to make it readable. I still find a couple of typos here and there. And it once I flip it open, but in terms of the benefit of it, greatest business card on ever, I was lucky that it became a best seller at the time. It still sells to this day. I’ve given away more copies than I’ve sold. Just because it’s great business card. It’s literally two little over two bucks to print one. Yeah, I mean, I’ve I’ve gotten speaking engagements from it, where I’ve flown out to speak to entire executive boards for a four hour training on a paid paid deal. Just because my book was sitting on the CEO shelf. It’s been passed around fortune 500 company marketing departments. It’s been you know, it’s gotten me other speaking and trainings and, you know, countless countless clients. And I can’t even think about whatever right another one no way in hell.
Gray MacKenzie 18:44
That’s, that’s awesome. I love that you got to build out I think I’d be in so where’s the best place to get Conversion Fanatic? The book is just Amazon Amazon.
Justin Christianson 18:55
Yeah, it’s I think it’s free on Kindle if you’re a Prime member. And then I don’t know there’s even us copies floating around. But I don’t even know what it’s priced at 10 bucks, maybe?
Gray MacKenzie 19:04
Yep. Makes sense. I would be remiss if I had Mr. CRL, on the Conversion fanatic himself. And I didn’t ask about a Conversion Fanatics site. So I go to the homepage, scroll down. You’ve got a consistent single call to action proposal. I’m sure you’ve tested this. This reminds me a little bit of think Jonathan dean at client boosts was once Yep. So so where we stole the idea from? Okay, awesome. We talked a little bit about it when he was on the podcast, but but then your proposal page, you’re digging into what are people actually looking for? And you’ve got some some questions to qualify. And maybe so I’d love to hear anything that you’re willing to share around the thinking behind it results from that and in the workflow and that is that lead to I’m assuming if I finish this up This would lead me to a 1520 minute discovery call,
Justin Christianson 20:03
it actually doesn’t even have a, I don’t even think we have a calendar on the back end of that, okay? It literally kicks them out an email, like a welcome thing, canned thank you email, and then it kicks over to us to then kick it into the sales process or our team. But But in terms of the website, that’s about our seventh or eighth website, in eight years, I used to revise that website about every other day, like, it seemed like I was creating something different, constantly. And then a couple years ago, we haven’t touched it in a couple of years other than team and maybe adding a couple logos here and there. We tested, we still we still passed and manipulate stuff. And we got some secondary landing pages and such. But if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it on this particular site on our main site. But we did that whole we had the free analysis, free audit, we had the free book, we had a bunch of different bribes and different things. But free proposal actually doubled our conversion rate by people reaching out and we just use lead formerly the app to do that, that actual proposal page. And we’ve tested a bunch of stuff on those actual action pages, and very simple the number of questions we ask and, and we’re constantly kind of tweaking that. But for the most part, the website in and of itself was, instead of me changing it, we actually went the route of we went through 99 designs and paid a whole bunch of money to have a bunch of concepts and brand created and, and went the, you know, the proper route to build a website. And that’s what we ended up with was what’s there now, and but yeah, we’ve tested pretty much everything in between all around there. But again, it comes down to being very, very simple. As I wanted it to be kind of tongue in cheek, I wanted to express our brand and our personality. We’re very fun, we’re very sarcastic. We’re very all of that. So we kind of wanted that to convey but at the same time, we deliver serious results. And we work with some serious players. So we wanted to be very heavy on that. Education is a small piece of it, because crmo it’s kind of a boring topic, and most people don’t truly understand it at this point. So it’s educating them on some of the key benefits of it and being very benefit focused. And then again, that singular call to action. We don’t have anything outside of get your proposal. It’s not opt in for free ebook. It’s not. It’s like you’re here to do this or not. And, and we got a lot of lurkers, but it is what it is,
Gray MacKenzie 22:46
right? make sense. And now I’m assuming off the proposals that obviously you can retarget people who don’t mind up,
Justin Christianson 22:53
converted, we do. Um, and we don’t at the same time, because I’m, I’m so simple. And like, literally, I’ve gotten, I don’t know, call me the grumpy old man in the industry. For having done this so long, and so much automation, and so much junk that I see, as people just try so hard to over automate and add all these complexities to it, we use a very simple CRM, we use a very simple autoresponder leads are kicked over into Slack, then they’re you know, they’re manually added into the CRM, it’s not even anything crazy, because the more stuff and I see it too often with clients is the more stuff they try to add an app for, or do something, the more stuff breaks. So I just keep it as simple as possible. Like, here’s what we’re gonna do, here’s who we are, take it or leave it. And I think that attitude has served us well. In that movie, hey, we’re no fluff. We’re just, this is a, I’m not going to try to sugarcoat any of it. And I’ve taken that stance that I’ve gone, I’d lean more into it, I guess probably in the last year or so. And it’s it’s proved as well. I mean, we see triple digit growth pretty much every year.
Gray MacKenzie 24:11
That’s awesome. Thank you mentioned to me was the anti agency but you love agency life so much ease can get away from it. Do you want to experiment with? Well, you mentioned you’ve had a lot of success on the recruiting side and are building out a service, a service based business around that side? What is that what prompted you to say we’re gonna take the leap from here we’ve gone through the bumps and bruises and figured all this stuff out.
Justin Christianson 24:41
That was still still bumps and bruises. But we’ve basically realized that our market is unlimited. In Conversion Fanatics world, it’s hard to scale, an agency of this stature. Not everybody needs it, or not everybody wants it, but everybody needs it. type situation. So it limits, we’re not going to be the 500 client agency, we’re not going to grow to the big enterprise level. We’ve got a lot of clients, and I’m very fortunate for that. But that next year is just, it’s going to be a lot, it’s going to be a lot of work. So we just during that, because agencies are very people heavy. We’ve gotten really good at hiring people, particularly entry level, people that have the gut, that can be trained and, and molded into what you need them to be to be an A player. We use top grading as our kind of philosophy to hiring and finding the right fit for roles and responsibilities. But we figured out we’re really good at because we tested it, it’s really just comes down to we tested, what ads worked, what headlines work, what you call a position and how it works in the ads, and basically doing it better. And then we figured out how to do test tasks. And certain level and right ask the right questions to get to basically disqualify themselves from a situation and find really good quality candidates that are a good culture fit that are, you know, fit that in our interview, processing questions, they’re kind of prelim stuff really helps that too. So we’re dabbling with actually launching it as a service, we’re in beta kind of solution. Right now, we’re in the process of placing a creative head of UX for one agency, one large agency off the east coast, and then going to get them a developer after that. And then I think they got six or seven more positions that they want to fill, but we just got them two interviews scheduled for next week. Out of 120, some odd candidates, I think we narrowed it down. But we’ve got really good about focusing on that we don’t want to be, you know, sea level, we don’t want to be, you know, the headhunter that’s going out and finding it, it’s, it’s just helping somebody streamline their placing a job ad, you know, and streamlining their hiring process and working with our HR director that might be slammed, or in that that’s the case we’re working with right now. Right, um, to just build up that case study, example. But it’s everybody needs hiring. You know, as you said, even offline, when before we started recording, it’s like, you get hit up a lot about all of that. And it just, that’s it, nobody is immune to needing to hire people in any business, particularly in creative and tech. So we’re just getting we’ve gotten really good at that. And we got a great system and process behind that. So we’re dabbling with the idea and kind of make it a different, a different type of solution. That’s what what’s out there right now.
Gray MacKenzie 27:48
So I think, I mean, this comes up all the time, I always joke with my business partner, Andrew, that whenever we get bored of doing what we’re doing currently, and I’ve got bandwidth, which there’s, there’s a lot of room to just keep doing what we’re doing better. Right now, that a recruiting firm makes a ton of sense. And I know, not that much about what it looks like to run that type of business. I’m not the right person to do it at this point in time. But it, it makes a ton of sense. In every agency, there’s never been a better time to grow. And then the past year we’ve had for agents, right? There’s a client acquisition. But we’ve also seen unprecedented employee team turnover, though. Those Yeah, harder to hire for most folks than it’s been previously.
Justin Christianson 28:30
It is. And the thing is, I don’t know all the answers to start in it either. And we just have a process that we can adapt. Yeah. And we’re dumb enough to try it. It’s pretty much what it comes down to. He’s like, Sure, yeah. And that’s how we built our until that’s how we’ve grown Conversion Fanatics, to guys, I mean, literally from 1500 bucks in an idea to, you know, a multi million dollar company. Yeah. And it’s, it’s just because we haven’t been able to afraid to try stuff. I mean, I’ve been dumb enough to, to mail Chris $100 bills to CMOS, like, on a test campaign when I didn’t have the 1000 bucks to try it. You know, it’s just we’ve taken that risk and that gamble. I don’t call it a gamble, really. But that calculated risk, I guess, or that measured and weighed in risk, to really grow. And that’s what’s proved us, you know, well, every single year and why we keep getting the referrals. And why we keep doing that is because really, at the end of the day, Conversion Fanatics is grown on just trying to beat our high score from yesterday. Yep. Like, that’s it. It’s just how can we be a little bit better and I put my feet on the floor every morning? How can we better communicate and deliver our product to our clients? That’s it. Yeah. And the rest of it just seems to take care of itself. Right.
Gray MacKenzie 29:54
I should never say the number out loud, but I’ve got three quick questions
Justin Christianson 29:57
to ask you as well. So it’s never three that you’re saying? Well,
Gray MacKenzie 30:00
the challenge is you say three, and then your mind is working in the background and trying to remember all three at the same time, which which distracts you? So, first first one is you mentioned a test project, being part of your approach. So you’re figuring out how to optimize job titles, how to post posting on zip, recruiter, whatever the whatever the platforms are. Are you giving people that test project? Like, does it go Connect Quick Connect call and a discovery call initially, and then to a test project? Does it go directly to some type of small test first?
Justin Christianson 30:33
Well, directly a small test? Yeah, I don’t have time to do an interview on somebody that’s not going to one be willing to do it. And I know, you look at any of the job boards on Facebook, or any of the baton people are just passed, because they have to do a two hour test task. It’s like, I’m not going to hire you if you can’t do the work, or at least show the initiative to do the work, or the capability to do it. And it’s not necessarily that you have to complete it. Did you seek the answer? Did you show me your methodology on how you saw that? That it’s the process of it? And I’ve had people that have spent 15 plus hours working on it. And I that shows a lot of initiative one, how fast can you complete it? Because I know how fast everybody else has been able to complete it? And can you do the job? That’s really it’s a good measure. It’s a good test. And we have several different benchmarks within there to like, you know, the is the cliche one where you ask that question or reply back with this in the subject line? Yeah, include your you don’t include your resume. I don’t care about their resume. But you know, typically, most people don’t. But can you follow the directions? And if they don’t respond with a resume and don’t respond to the subject line? Okay, you’re done max. Right. You know, it’s it’s easy to sort them that way?
Gray MacKenzie 31:55
Or is it a two step process for you? where they’d go application like an easier application and enter the test assignment that comes automated email or whatever? Or is it a one step? Here’s the application. And oh, by the way, here’s the test is not me. It’s two step. Yep. Smart.
Justin Christianson 32:09
Yep. So it’s coming in, apply? Can you follow directions, you’re disqualified, we’ll weed them down, say pick 100, down to 50. Out of those 50, we’ll send a test task. Half of those won’t respond. And full, we’ll actually do it from there, we’ll ask some prelim follow up questions, like how long did it take you to do it? You know, where did you find and then we’ll actually review the test task. And then we’ll interview them. And then we’ll pass them over to the final interview. So internally, how it works, is that and then we’ll do a team. Now I’d like a team, interview out them with a top level, and then they come to us, usually myself or my business partner for the final interview. To make sure so we can kind of get the sense of what the team does. And we do. Yeah, we’re crazy when we come to our interviews. So it’s, it’s weird how we used to do it, I used to intimidate the shit out of people. With I would sit in the corner, when we were doing in person interviews, I’d sit in the corner on my phone, literally wouldn’t make eye contact, and literally sit there while my business partner grilling them. And then I would say the different thing, and I would literally judge their outcome and their response. And then we would do simple things like drop the F bomb, or things like that to gauge their reaction to certain situations. And we do that now. But on virtual, where we’ll literally have somebody jumped on the conference call and dropped the F bomb, and then we gauge gauge there. I know that sounds really weird. But that’s our internal hiring process like that, because we have to gauge how well they’re going to be a culture fit here. Not to say that we’re running around dropping f bombs, but it’s how do you how do you play in that environment and that a stressful situation and still see the light on it and have fun and Joe can play around because we’re very sarcastic at our company. But it’s that’s what’s hard. And the hardest is to adapt it to try and to fit those pieces in because not everybody’s going to want to have somebody hopped on a conference call and drop the F bomb, right? It’s just not the way it works. But that’s how we do it to kind of define the culture fit. So we don’t have that right toxic and we can adapt that obviously, the effort the it’s it’s more so the disruption and keeping them on task. So that’s kind of where it where it flows from there. And I don’t know if that answered your question or not. I tend to ramble.
Gray MacKenzie 34:37
Yeah, no, I was curious about the whole process. I appreciate you breaking that down. I think there is that element of trying to figure out especially for someone if if they’re in a count manager in any world, you’re gonna be interfacing with clients most of the time so figuring out what does it look like to handle real world situations where someone is trying to get you off task, someone’s trying to knock you off your Be a little bit and take you back with something or unintentionally or intentionally.
Justin Christianson 35:04
It is and we you know, we’ve we’ve had the journey where we’ve had the toxic employees that make everybody else that rubbed wrong. I had one employee one time, I answered a client question once and she was the account manager, she literally stormed into my office, you’re like, you’re undermining my authority. I’m like, hold on, check yourself. Cuz, like, your name is not on the company. Like she like that we’ve had that kind of toxicity and it’s getting rid of that makes everybody else happier. And I even set the stage when they come because I’m not the funnest to work for I’m pretty intense. That’s really it. I’m fun. But I’m very short to the point I’m very intense when it comes to the work because I just got so much to do. And I preface that with everybody I’m like don’t take it personally I’m not after you just an I make sure everybody knows that coming in. So when I am short with them, they’re not like oh my god Justin hates me and you know the world’s crashing down and you know, they get so stressed out but they quit but it’s not in a high stress situation. You got to find a light in it. For sure.
Gray MacKenzie 36:09
It sounds awesome. Just I appreciate being willing to come on and share walk us through your story study learned hiring process obviously the website we mentioned a couple times here ConversionFanatics.com when we should it’s in the show notes. Is there anywhere else do you point people to the recruiting site is there anywhere else you’d want to point people here
Justin Christianson 36:32
yeah we don’t even have a recruiting site up yet. That’s how new it is but um you can I’m pretty available I’m pretty out there so you can go to onespotsocial.com/JustinChristianson all one word. And that will give you a YouTube channel that will give you all my social channels and PAL I think my phone numbers up there. Awesome. If you really want but my email everything if you have questions, anybody needs anything wants clarification on something, just email me. I’m pretty responsive there and I’m happy to help in any way that I can.
Gray MacKenzie 37:04
Amazing. Justin, thanks for coming on and be willing to share man, I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
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