The Engine Builder and The Pit Crew

Are you familiar with Nascar?

You know, the cars that race around the track like 500 times?

If you’re like me you’ve at least seen it on TV.

The car races around and every few laps they need to pull into the “Pit”.

Tires changed.
Oil (I don’t know, do they do that?)
Give the driver water
And probably a bunch of other little things

...and then the car peels out and is back on the track.

There is a lot that has to happen for that driver to win each race.

Two key roles are the Engine Builder and the Pit Crew (the guys you see jumping over the wall to change the tires etc)/

What’s interesting is you don’t see the guy that built the engine jumping over the wall to change the tires.

He’s up in some booth or something monitoring the diagnostics of the car and then after the races optimizes it to be ready for the next race.

As an agency owner, you’re likely stuck because you’re your client “Pit Crew”.

Yeah... I said it.

I get it though, cuz when we started our agency, we started as the “Engine Builder”.

We were building sales funnels.

We were building a sales process.

We were building our onboarding automation.

These were the things that made the big bucks.

And so, we became obsessed with building these engines.

BUT, eventually, we started getting pulled into the day-to-day operations for our clients.

We no longer built engines...

But instead, we became the Pit Crew.

We woke up to fire drills.

Got pulled into day-to-day tasks like sending and scheduling email broadcasts.

Pit Crew stuff.

And that wasn’t something we wanted.

That wasn’t something we were passionate about...

Maybe you’ve felt the same?

In today’s episode, I break down how being the “Pit Crew” is killing your agency if it hasn’t already.

Here we go.

​Transcript / MP3

Today's topic is the engine builder and the pit crew. Let's get it going.

For three years, my agency built funnels and automation systems for the biggest names in marketing today since then have transformed that agency into a hyper-profitable training and consulting business. While everyone is out there and talking about scale like it's some sort of destination, we'll be asking the real question, how do you transform your business into a more scalable model using the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you already have? This podcast is here to give you the answer. Join me and to follow along as I learn, apply and share the strategies I'm using to build my multimillion-dollar business. My name is Greg Hickman and welcome to scalable. All right guys.

... So Like I said, I want to talk about this notion of the engine builder and the pit crew. And, um, I've used this analogy a lot both with our clients, uh, and also with potential clients, uh, specifically when we were doing a lot of done for you work, right? So, um, those that have followed, you know, we were a funnels and automation agency doing primarily infusionsoft funnels back when I'm, you know, when this, this reference came in, um, now we use multiple tools, but the, um, the conversation we'd have as, you know, people didn't like using the tool and we would come in and we'd help them get the most out of their marketing automation and their funnels and we build them a, and as we started evolving how we work, what we found was that it was really important to have someone on the client side that was also more of our direct point of contact versus the actual owner of the business, right?

Someone who is familiar with say infusionsoft or the marketing automation or funnel building tool we were using and had the ability to move and get pieces and assets that we would need from the client in order to design and build and deploy the funnel and automation that they came to us for. Right. And so we would talk to them. And a lot of times, um, I'd use the analogy of this engine builder versus the pit crew. And so we fell in love with building engines, right? Building your sales funnel, your sales process, your new client onboarding. How do you use automation to streamline your back office operations? Like we were building engines and machines that helped our clients. Businesses run more smoothly, right? And after a certain amount of time working with any particular client, it felt like more and more we were getting pulled into their day to day usage of the machine, right.

Of the engine. And it felt like we went from engine builder to pit crew and, and that's, that's where a lot of the, the pains in our own business came out of. Well, I kind of feel like I'm just an employee of this person's business or like our team is just like our team might as well be internal to, to our client because of how much stuff we were getting pulled into that was really outside of the engine that was being built. Right. And driving the engine day to day. And so I started sharing with prospects that when we would talk to them, I'd kind of explained this analogy and I said, okay, well who is on who on your team is the pit crew, right? Like come race day, who's going to jump over the wall and change the tires because we're not picked crew. Like I'm building you the engine that's going to get your car around the track and to your goals as fast and efficiently and as streamlined as possible.

Right? But you're going to pull into the pit from time to time. Like you're going to have to send emails from your, from this engine, you're going to have to be able to process refunds or you know, go look up client information like within the day to day that you need someone on your team to be able to do. And oftentimes we'd find that there were people that didn't have that person and we're unwilling to go get them. And they were hoping that we would be that person as well. And because we had done that and we realized that that's not, that wasn't what we enjoy doing. Actually a lot of the the pain and struggle and kind of our like lack of excitement in our own business came from when we were getting pulled into doing these pit crew activities, right? We got, we get fired up and stoked to design and build and you know, launched these, these engines and systems for people but for them to have a successful business, we knew that if we were pit crew we would essentially be handcuffing them and in many ways this is probably something that happens to you in your clients, right?

You are hired for your expertise and this thing that you can build is going to help their business achieve a certain goal. But if the relationship goes on, maybe it's a retainer based relationship, slowly but surely you could be getting pulled into doing pit crew type activities and that might drain you. Maybe you like doing it if that's you, great. For us it wasn't and okay, they kind of created this like predicament in our business of well, okay, here's who we need to actually go after. Like, here's who an ideal client is for us because we need them to have someone in place that will be pit crew because we're not. So when we didn't understand the difference between engine builder and pit crew and even have the analogy and the story of having someone you know who builds the NASCAR, you know, the car race engine and the pit crew that's jumping over to change the tires, right?

Like before I ever had that analogy, we would take on a lot of the wrong clients and we'd run into these issues and we didn't really understand why, uh, we, we need something from our client. And because we were operating directly with the owner, cause he was the only person that was in the business, or at least on this initiative, we couldn't do our job. And then the work got prolonged, which leads to scope creep and all of that stuff. So once we realized that, hey, we're the engine builders, you need to be pit crew or have someone. And if you don't, then we're not a good fit. It made saying yes and no to the right and wrong clients. A whole lot easier and for uh, for us in our own unique situations. So one, I think first the first lesson here is, are you, did you start your business as the engine builder and get pulled into being the pit crew and just didn't realize it and that's maybe why you're feeling some of this friction.

If so, now you know, and as you have the conversation with potential new clients, bring them through this story of engine builder pit crew and the difference and why they need someone on their team. And then you need to make a decision in your own business. Do you want to work with people that don't have that pit crew? Are you willing to be the pit crew? Are you willing to train the pit crew if they are, if they're willing to go get someone and that's going to help you make better decisions on who you should be working with and who you shouldn't. What also kind of the, the aftermath of, of learning this for us, we realize that a lot of the stuff that was pit crew, right, that we needed from our clients would prolong projects right where they would prolong. And so we would have like four or five active clients, but they weren't, they were, they were sort of like in the waiting phase and we'd take on new clients and they'd be really active, but then those inactive all of a sudden would get what we needed and they'd come out of nowhere.

And now we'd be super overwhelmed again. And this was for us when we realized we could start transitioning from doing this work one-on-one into a one to many fashion. And this is where, again, we saw the 80 20 of what we were building and what clients came to us for and the engines that they needed. And we started to package up our expertise, package up these systems in a way that we could easily transfer them to our clients in a quick and efficient way while working with a lot of clients at the same time. And that was the kind of next phase and an evolution of us productizing our own business. And um, that has now led us on a, you know, this journey of building out, you know, online programs, coaching and consulting and workshops, right? Because we've learned how to package up our expertise and the results that we were getting the clients without necessarily having to be the pit crew, right?

Like I can literally give people the engine 85% done and then I get to work with our clients on making the engine unique to their business and run smoothly in their own business. And that's where we get to spend our time versus on a lot of the back and forth. Um, I don't need to build the engine and from scratch. And once we have the engine, since we already have the engine prebuilt the, the tasks and types of things that our clients would ever need from us, from a pit crew perspective, we can easily show them how their team can do it internally. And it's made a world of a difference in how one we communicate what we can and cannot do for our clients. It's made a world of a difference in knowing who to say yes to as a client who is an ideal client, who is not.

And now also the story this, this, um, this tool have engine builder versus pit crew is it is a narrative that we've been able to give to our own clients who are currently stuck in pit crew and trying to make the transition, right? All of our clients are agency owners trying to transform into these leveraged programs and workshops and services and they got into it to be engine builders and they don't want to be pit crew, right? So, um, if that's you and you just haven't had a way to articulate it, well, you know, take it. I'm going to give you the story of engine builder and pit crew and now you can go use this in your own conversations to start understanding who is a good fit for you and who isn't. Now, if you want our hand holding, you know, attention to move through this transformational process from, you know, done for you service provider into selling, you know, High Ticket Consulting, coaching and leveraged programs and workshops.

Uh, we have a program called foundations. We work with you through this process. Hold your hand, taking you through our methodology, showing you step by step how to do what we were able to do for ourselves and many of our clients. Because if you like building engines, no matter what that means to you and your service based business or your agency style business, you can package that up and move yourself out of the position of being pit crew and only be selling engines. So if that sounds like something that you would like to do, um, visit scale, and you can schedule a call with uh, myself and or a member of our team. We'll have a, you know, a brief conversation to see how we might be able to help you, uh, make this transformation. So scale you can check that link out in the show notes and hope you guys really lean into knowing that in many ways you are the engine builder and you don't have to be the pig.

If you've been looking to grow and scale your agency, but you're tired of trading time for money, custom projects, and relying on referrals alone, it can be hard. That's probably why. If I gave you five, 10 or 20 new clients right now, you or your business would break. I struggle with the same thing for a while until I figured out a better way. So I created a special experience called foundations to help you package up your knowledge and experience into a profitable online program, launch your automated sales system and systemize your fulfillment. You'll work directly with me, my team, and a group of entrepreneurs just like you to implement the systems and get the help you need to learn more and see if it's a fit. Just hop on over to my scalable and schedule a call with us today.

AA Concierge

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