This episode will be especially helpful if you are a business or marketing consultant or agency because Luke will show you how to keep from leaving potentially millions of dollars on the table over the course of your career, and his advice will potentially change the way you do business.
Most business consultants simply charge fees for services. Yet many clients would happily trade equity and lucrative profit share in their business if you know how to position your value and structure your offer correctly.
In this episode, you will learn Luke's innovative model of creating a win/win for his clients and himself by structuring a deal where he not only has a bigger incentive to work with this clients, but also the advantages his clients get by using one of his equity-based consulting frameworks.
Some Topics We Discussed Include:
To learn more about Luke and If you help business owners in any way, shape, or form grow their business or service them, then what you're going to learn about is equity-based consulting, visit https://www.f6s.com/disentisgroup/.
Luke has developed a unique and proprietary method for sourcing deals that meet very specific criteria. This allows us to offer a buyer representation service that is unmatched if not nonexistent anywhere else in the industry.
Over the past five years Luke has been involved in dozens of buyer rep deals ranging from $500,000 to over $20 million.
I am bringing back a former guest, and a very good friend of mine named Luke Havard. Ever since our very first podcast together, we have remained very close. We've done business together and we talk probably every single week.
Luke has always impressed me, but what's really impressed me is some of the things that he's been doing as a consultant.
I’ve seen some tremendous changes take place in his business and some tremendous leverage. We wanted to get on the podcast to share some of the strategies. This is going to be particularly fascinating for you if you are currently a marketing consultant or service provider.
If you help business owners in any way, shape, or form grow their business or service them, then what you're going to learn about is equity-based consulting, and Luke will go into this even more.
The topic has got the ability to completely change the way you do business and put another zero or two into your bank account if you pay close attention. The primary thing I want you to understand is what's possible in this world when you think a little bit differently.
Luke and I both think differently so you're going to hear us chat about some of the real deals that he has been doing and I want you to put yourself in his position and think, “I wonder if I can do that.”
If you think so, then we're going to provide you some information. That's one reason you should stay around. Without further ado, Luke.
It’s good to be here again.
For those of you who don't know, Luke is over in England. Where exactly are you again? I can't remember. You're not in London, are you?
I’m not. I’m in a small little place that’s about 90 minutes south of Birmingham which is the center of England onto the West Midlands.
It's famous for two things: cider apple, so they make cider here, and one of the most elite armies in the world, the SAS. It's a brutal combination if you put those two together on a Friday or Saturday night.
It can get pretty hairy. They could take out a whole division, those guys. I'm over here in UK. It's a small little place where I come from. London is obviously The Big Smoke. Whenever I speak to someone from overseas, it's the first thing they ask me, “Are you from London?” It’s like, “No, there are other places.”
What's interesting is, in this day and age, right now, we're talking from our laptops. I'm in my home office and you're in yours. We're talking over Skype of all things with the recorder, and you can be anywhere in the world doing business globally.
That's exactly what I do every day, so no one knows where I’m from. No one even knows where it is, but it doesn't matter, as long as the internet works and I've got something interesting to say. I have lots of very fun and interesting conversations and do lots of deals from my laptop in a place called Hereford.
For anybody who wants the backstory on you, I want you to go check the previous episode because we could talk all day about where you came from and whatnot, but that's already out there.
I want to treat this as letting the audience be a fly on the wall on some of the conversations. I want to further a lot of the conversations you and I have been having privately.
I want you to share, first of all, what this whole concept of equity consulting is and the way that you do it, the big difference, and I want to go over first the broad overview so that people get it.
I want to dive into some very real-life examples of what's possible, of what you've been doing and why you think that a lot of people are missing the boat, if they don't understand how to do this and they're simply selling services for dollars.
Give us a broad overview, give us the difference between what most people do and what you used to do, and what you're doing now.
You get your regular coaching/consulting or service provider, they're the low end, so low fees, they're just the commodity at the end of the day. The big sexy thing is high ticket fees, high ticket offers, and that's good.
People should charge an awful lot more and when you understand that if your positioning is right and you're good at what you do, then it's a massive shift in order to get paid a lot more.
There's a whole other level, because at the end of the day, even if you have a leverage model of coaching/consulting, and that's the big sexy thing right now as well. Group coaching, masterminds, leverage consulting, etc., there's a limit to that too.
At the end of the day, you only get paid the fee that you asked for. Even if you're getting paid on a perpetuity basis or continuity, then at the end of the day, you're only getting paid that initial fee.
Here's the thing, the next level up from that for me would be profit share or revenue share and that's awesome. That’s another level of game.
If you’re getting paid your fee and it's a one-time lump sum fee or a monthly fee, then ideally you could be making your client at least three to ten times X what they're paying you, if not a lot more. It depends on the business model.If your positioning is right and you are good at what you do, then you can surely be paid a lot more. Click To Tweet
You could be making an awful or more 50 to 100 times more, but you only ever see in that fee that you've asked for, that they've agreed to give you.
If you do profit or revenue share, then you get a percentage of the upside that you create them, but that will only be typically on the work that you do for them.
If that campaign or that product or whatever it is that you help them to grow or to leverage or increase, if obviously that stops for some reason, they discontinue it, they stop selling it, then your profit or revenue share stops.
For me, our a-ha moment, the eureka moment was like, “What if I could get a piece of the whole business?” Not just the work, the project, the campaign I'm working on, but what if I could get a piece of the value that they created but also the upside that I create?
By getting a piece of the whole business, there are a couple of different things that you get in this scenario. Firstly, you get the whole value creation, not just the value that you add. Secondly, the way I look at it is a big problem with the whole coaching/consulting industry is turnover, attrition, clients leaving.
They get what they want and they say, “Thanks very much for putting that campaign. Mr. Marketing Consultant or Business Growth Expert, I'll see you later. I'm going to take your work that you've put in, that I’ve paid you for and that you asked for. I'm going because I don't need you anymore.”
That’s the problem a lot of people face. The other issue is, what if you need to scale. You also need more clients. You need to keep on marketing and keep on adding more clients. There is an issue with capacity.
There is an issue with while the more you have to put in, as in clients or client turnover, then you need other elements like you need more team. You need more systems processes to deal with that. I thought, “What if you could scale your company, your consulting business with less?”
What if you could have maybe anything from three to ten clients that you have a piece of equity in their company, and the more that they scale, the more that your fee, your piece of the pie, scales with it?
I looked at the model and it made more and more sense. When you look at who the wealthiest people on the planet are, the Forbes Billionaire List, etc., almost all of them are investors in some shape or form.
Even Mark Zuckerberg and some of the big tech startups, they all go on to invest. They all go on to acquire. They all go on to buy competitors or to buy other people. Typically, that's where they make their most money. That's where they create more wealth.
That's what happens with public and private companies. To keep growing, their fastest way to scale is through acquisition, to buy another company. You can double, triple 10x in size in an afternoon by buying your competitor.
I looked at it. I thought that's the way forward. When you have the equity consulting model, I suppose I've coined it, then essentially you become an investor.
Here's the cool part, whereas the typical investor, most people look at them and say, “They've got money or surplus manual. They've got access to funds or capital to invest. I don't.” With equity consulting, you don't need that surplus cash.
You're investing with your expertise, your knowledge and your experience. Here's the alternative and I'm not knocking any other investment strategy, but I'm trying to present a different alternative option and my perspective.
If you're already a consultant or service provider, it's one safer option, an alternative. It's far more lucrative to begin with if you're trying to get your foot on the ladder of investing.
Look at the other alternative which could be real estate. With real estate, you have to have either borrowing debt or you have to have capital from someone else or yourself.
Here's the problem with that, that's risk. It's either you're borrowing from a bank and institution or high net worth, or you're taking it out of your own bank and you could lose it all. There's risk involved in that and there's a lot of pressure and a lot of uncertainty.
Here's the other alternative, if you're doing equity consulting, you haven't put any money yourself. There's no debt, no borrowing and no risk of losing your own capital and pure upside.
Let me recap a couple of the big ideas here that you've talked about so far and I want to dive into some real-world examples. The bottom line, as a consultant or service provider, you can go in and do fee-for-service. Pay me a flat fee or pay me a percentage ad spend or whatever.
You're just a contractor at that point. You can give me some profit share. I've done a lot more of the profit share in the past which is, “Here's the baseline. I come in and in my marketing campaigns, etc., I'm able to add an extra million dollars to your revenue. Pay me 20% above the baseline, etc.”
I've made a lot of money doing that. I do know that one of the big issues is tracking the things that I do in one area affect the entire business positively and it’s hard to track that revenue that's attributed to what I did.
For instance, if I went in and I created a marketing funnel for a client and that marketing funnel does a million dollars in sales by itself, in the cart.
However, that company has a sales team and then those leads that came in maybe didn't buy or whatever got upsold to $20,000 programs and something much bigger. I never got a piece of that action because that wasn't directly attributed to me, even though they knew it was.
It was like, “We've got to keep this separate because we have to track what you're doing.” That was hard to do and that's one of the things I don't like about, doing a profit share or a percentage of baseline increase in profit.
It's the trackability and I know that I'm losing out on a lot more money that could have been happening, plus it keeps my brain thinking about this one little compartment of their business.
Truthfully, as a business and marketing strategist, I have a lot more to give to businesses than simply this one little sliver of a department. I'm not serving the client at my best use by not thinking about the entire business in general.
The only way to get me to think about somebody's entire business truthfully, as exactly what you were saying, is if I have a real, vested interest in the overall growth of that business.
If I have equity in that and it can be a small portion of equity, it can be a large portion of equity. I want you to go into a couple of big examples here. I want you to razzle-dazzle some of these people.
I always thought that I was a pretty creative dealmaker, but you've come up with some interesting ways to do this.
I know for a fact that the two big things that are weighing on people's minds when they think about this, and I want to address this is that sounds awesome, but I have no idea where to start or who would give me equity.
How do I ask a company for a piece of their business? They don't know me from Adam and how I’m supposed to come in and say, “I want a percentage of your baby.”
That is a big mental hurdle and limiting belief that a lot of people have. Even myself, I know it’s possible, but I know that there are companies out there who would be like, “I will give you a percentage of my business if you are able to help me do that.”
Before we address the little limiting beliefs and the frequently asked questions, let's have some fun. Let's talk about some real-world scenarios. Tell me about some of the deals that you've done that were the most fun, the easiest and most astounding to even yourself.
There's one that I can think about. A guy approached me from the recruitment industry, a brilliant recruiter, but not so good at running a recruitment business.
A business obviously is not just what you do. It's all the other elements. We were talking and I was advising him. He wanted to raise capital and all this stuff.
I always say, “Raising capital sometimes is almost the easy option.” People think they need money to fix problems. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it, you'll burn money.
That was the scenario. He said, “If we raise a couple of million here,” and I'm like, “We could do that but what can you use the money for?”
It kept on coming around to the fact that he's trying to solve the problem and he's trying to plug a hole. I said, “Don't plug that hole because that's not the issue. The hole is the issue. You need to figure out how to plug the hole, not with the money though because you're going to burn it.”
We looked at the scenario and I knew that I could help him plug the hole and so essentially what happened was, I kept on telling him, “Here's what you need to do on the call.” I knew from talking to him that he couldn't do it himself, even if I told him what to do.
He understands intellectually what I'm saying but he doesn't have the experience and the confidence to implement.
I said to him, “Here's the deal. I've told you my opinion. You're more than welcome to go against that and go and try to raise the capital. However, it's not going to solve the problem. I promise you.”
He said, “What do you think should we do then?” I said, “I told you the different steps we need to do to fix the problem and to scale the business.” He's like, “Yeah.” I said, “I can help you or you can go it alone. You're free to make that choice.”
Here's the real difference between what a lot of people will be used to in terms of the coaching or consulting model, where if I get on a call and make them feel the pain and close them as quickly as possible but that doesn't work in this scenario.
We're not talking about a little fee here. We're talking about taking equity in your company. You have to build rapport. This was two or three conversations in.
He said, “I am certain I need you involved. You've given so much value. I get the sense that I need you on board and it's going to go a lot better from here for me.” I said, “What do you think then? Why don't you make me an offer?”
This is a strategy I like to use. Anyone who speaks first is a danger, an undervaluing, or giving away too much.
I said, “Why don't you tell me what you'd be comfortable giving me?” I'm thinking in my head I'm going for 30% because I knew the value and I mapped it out. I've done it before. I've got evidence to prove it.
It's like, “If you like what you see, you can call those people that I've worked with before and they'll tell you the same.”
I want to leave the audience hanging before you tell what he said. Some of the advice you were giving him wasn't just about marketing funnels. It wasn't about one thing. Was it about what topics in general?Structure everything and agree on a deal multiple times before signing on the dotted line. Click To Tweet
It’s about the whole business, teams and scalability. It was about systems, processes and operations. How do you work yourself out of a job? How do you ensure that you’re not the job? How do you ensure you're not the team, the HR and the secretary?
How do you ensure that this is a business and not something that you have to be in 24/7 for it to work and make you money? How will the whole process be put in place? A whole processed map if you like.
Here's the product, service, marketing strategy and the plan, the vision, KPIs. Here are the monthly, quarterly, yearly milestones we need to hit.
We went through everything. That's the whole structure. He was blown away because he had no structure, no strategy or no plan whatsoever.
Everything that you gave back to him in value, was it verbal or did you present to him any written frameworks of what you would do if you were working with him or was it just all through conversation?
I gave him some rough emails, but I was careful. There's a balance. You need someone to show the hand before you start spending too much time and then I go, “I wouldn't give you equity.” I gave enough to keep him hanging on.
Here's another thing before I tell you how much he offered me. Sometimes someone who wants that deal and they need to close that fee, is they come across pushy and then you try and close the deal. I do the opposite. I try and hold at arm's length.
I did the exact same thing. I'm going to slow play it and I'm not going to slow play it because it's a hyper-effective way to actually get a client.
I'm going to slow play it, especially when you're going for a very big deal like that. You've got to make sure that you want to deal with that client because he becomes a partner at that point.
You want to know who you’re jumping into bed before you go that far. Essentially, I said, “I need to know that you're brought into this. I'm not here to play games. I'm not here to mess around.” I need to be upfront and honest and lay the expectations and the foundation.
“The bottom line is this. I'm not here to work in this business. I'm here to be a strategic asset, so that means I'm not in here as an employee every day making phone calls or doing this and that. We need to do this as the next step. Let me illuminate your path to X, Y and Zed to acquire that person.”
We were hiring recruitment consultants. We were doing this, we were doing that, and it was like, “I would oversee.” I'd say, “Here's the script of what they're going to read out when they’re doing their recruitment thing.”
I didn't go into that DP, though. I had other people bringing that content for me. Anyway, I had all this stuff and I stacked the value in terms of, “Here's all the stuff I can bring to the party.” I said, “You better decide what you feel comfortable giving me.”
We're on a call. We've never met in person at this point and this is another thing I can tell you about. I do deals with people all around the world and I've got equity in companies I've never met in person.
It’s Skype, right?
Yeah, Skype. It does not matter. Some of them I’ve never even seen, but I know everything about their company because we do a full due diligence process and fully Legal Eagle documentation, so everything's done right.
I'm not going to go into too much detail right now but we can find out anything we need to know on someone. We can make sure they're not full of crap. We’ve gone through this little process here and then it's a decision moment.
“I like you my friend, but I don't want to talk to you all day long about this. If we're going to do something together, then let's move forward and let's make it happen. If not, then that's fine, but it's crunch time.” He said, “I've made my decision.”
I said, “Cool,” and he said, “I'll give you 50%.” I said, “You understand that I do not promise to raise any capital for you for that money. I'm not putting any of my own capital in.” I had basic expectations of what I will do and what we will achieve. Anything above and beyond that is the icing on the cake.
You have to structure everything because that's another thing. Once you verbally explain it, then you put into an agreement and then you sign on the dotted line.
There's been a buildup before you sign anything and have an agreement in place so they know there's no misunderstanding. You agree to these multiple times before we came to the signing on the dotted line.
Let's go into a little more detail here so that people can understand the way this looks because they think you talked to some guy and you impressed him. By the way, how did you come across this person? Is he your uncle?
This is random. I was on Twitter. If people have tuned in to the previous interview, they will remember that we were talking about taking companies public and stuff like that. I was looking at that point to be involved in amalgamates and recruitment companies.
I was talking to a bunch of recruiters about doing it for them and randomly, one of these recruiters said hey to another recruiter who had been asking, “I'm looking for investment for my company. Do you know anyone?” He said, “I know the perfect guy,” so he referred me.
With the referral in, you spoke with him and he was very impressed by the fact that you did all this strategic advising before you ever asked for anything. You didn't actually ask for anything. I'm sure you set it up the way you work.
Did you already say this, “How did you frame up that I want a piece of your business?” How did you say that? Did you say, “I don't work for fees. I work for equity?” Specifically, how did you bring that up the first time?
Here's the thing and I said this to you when we were looking at a potential deal. I said, “I've learned to weave everything into any conversation in a very natural, normal way,” but I'm always asking the right questions upfront so I don't waste time with people who've got no money, no assets, no nothing.
I had already found out what his turnover was, what the profit was, what the EBITDA potential was, etc. I had all the information that I needed upfront so I knew what he was playing with. I knew that he would probably be better suited to equity than fee.
By the way, I will do whatever is best in this situation. If someone's got tons of surplus cash to pay me, very high fees, I'll take the money. Here's the thing. I will play the situation off. It's a counteractive situation.
For example, I can present a fee and it's high or I can present the equity option or a combination of fee and equity or revenue share, whatever I want. I can say, “You've got this option,” and when people have got options, they will choose one.
Rather than say, “No, I'm out because it's too expensive.” That's exactly what nearly all consultants or coaches will come across at some point or are struggling with right now.
They'll get beaten to the post by someone who’s cheaper or someone who presents the offer better or whatever because they haven't got enough creativity to offer something different.
I always do that. I always say, “We've got this option, this option or this option.” We talked about it and we came upon this, “I don't care what it takes. I'll find a way to have you work with me.”
We’re listening for the right cues. He said, “If I could get the money right now for your fee, I'll pay you tomorrow.” It came out that obviously, he was looking for an investment to fix the problem with cashflow. I said, “No problem, I've got another alternative.”
That's when I started to seed the idea of equity or revenue share or what have you, and he was comfortable with it from the get-go and then you keep seeding the idea every time you talk. You drop more value every time you talk so the desire is increased, etc. Sales 101.
By the time it comes to the final conversation and I will seed in every email and say, “It's time that we talk about putting the deal together if this is something you want to do. No pressure if it's not, but if it is, we should put our cards on the table and make something happen.”
He already was prepared for that and I let him. I have plenty of time to know that this was what we were going to do. When we talked on that call, it was maybe fifteen minutes and by the end of it, I've got 50% of the company. I said, “Here's the agreement,” we signed it and it was done.
Those are perfect examples of the way you frame that up and the way you go about it. Hopefully, it's dispelling some of the questions that people are probably having already. I want you to now explain real world.
He says, “I'll give you 50%,” but you've got a cool unique way of structuring it, so he's not giving you 50% equity and then no fee. How do you start to protect yourself? How do you start to create cashflow?
Tell me now the structure of the way that something like this might work. Keep in mind for the audience, that what he's about to say, and he had said this several times, there is no one way to do this.
The beautiful part about this business is it's creative. I can give you multiple options and I'll take a little more equity a little less cash, a little less cash a little more equity. Tell us some of the structure the way this works.
I liken it to a sliding scale or a pendulum. On one side, you've got a pure fee. On the other side, you've got pure equity. In the middle of that scale or that pendulum is multiple different points where you can have, “My high fee is this,” and they're like, “Whoa.”
You say, “We've got another option here. What if I were to take a smidgen of equity plus this fee?” They say, “That fee is still a little high.” “What if we take a bit more equity plus this fee?” “That feels right, but is there anything else we can do?”
“We can take more equity plus this fee or we can do revenue share.” You find a middle ground until everyone is happy. For me, they may be thinking in their mind, “I've got the better deal here,” but trust me, I've always got the better deal in terms of I'm not losing out.
I'm not compromising on what I want or need. If I know that I can achieve this much upside and I can see the potential and I've evaluated the situation, the deal, the opportunity, then I'm not losing out in any way or form so I will do well out of that.
Essentially, a very basic deal structure could be, and this is basic, you've heard me say, “I can get a lot more.” Let's say I go for 10% or 5% equity plus a monthly management fee and that could be anything from $8,000, $10,000, $15,000 a month.
That's the structure and that fee would be set for example or it could be a dividend fee. What that means is it's a percentage that comes out of the profit. If we make so much profit that month, if I've got 10% for example of equity, then I would get 10% out of the dividend of the profit.
That’s profit draw. We would do 80% of the profit, we would dividend out 80%, leaving 20% of the profit in the company that month and we would distribute it out to the shareholders. I would get my 10% out of the 80% dividend as my fee.
If one month it was less than the set fee for example of say $10,000 or $15,000, then that's what it is, but if for another month it's way above that, then that's great. Obviously, the more that you grow the company, then it could be an awful lot more than $10,000 or $15,000.
It's flexible. It depends on how they want to play this. I don't mind. Either way, whatever they feel comfortable, we’d all figure out a way that it works for me and we'll all be very happy.When helping a broke person, figuring out a way of creating cash rather than spending is the best move. Click To Tweet
You'll come in and you'll get that. Do you get any pushback if you come in now you've got equity and you're getting your fee as well, etc.? You say, “We're going to have to bring in this service,” and all of a sudden now you're creating a bunch of potential expenses.
It's things that need to be done. Have you gotten any blowback on that? If they're like, “We didn't budget for this. We thought you were going to come in and do it.” I know that managing expectations for what you're doing is a very big thing.
It depends on the person and that's another thing, finding out the information ahead of time, how much money did they have in the bank and if they're broke, then you're going to have to allow for that. You have to be smart and factoring all these different things.
If they're broke, then I'm turning them around because they've got cashflow problems. I'm going to have to figure out a way of creating cash rather than spending it. If they've got plenty of surplus cash, then that's a different story altogether.
For example, a deal I've done which if you would like me to, I can talk after I explain this concept. For your audience’s knowledge, we have Probability Consulting Group, Luminous Group that does business growth and that's my kind of bag.
I have primarily myself for that role and then on the other side, I have a digital marketing team who run Facebook Ads, Google Ads, YouTube, Bing, etc. For this particular company, I've acquired equity. They need some Google Ads so my team will deliver that.
We're not in this particular scenario. We're not taking a fee. We're taking a revenue share. We have equity. We have 50% equity in the company plus a revenue share.
They have to supply the ad spend, but it's very minimal. We're working creative again with that ad spend, dial it in the ads, and being very conservative and efficient with our spending.
I'm also on my end doing lots of things like you and I typically discuss, low-hanging fruit, leveraging the assets that you already have, customer database, monetizing that, etc. You have to be smart. You have to know what you're working with upfront.
If they've got plenty of surplus cash, then I don't think it matters, as long as you get the job done and as long as you produce, then they don't care. I hope that answers your question on that.
It does. The ideal criteria for somebody or at least even the minimal criteria for somebody that you personally would be like, “This is a good candidate for somebody that I would want to do equity consulting with.” The thing is this is one of those tools that any consultant should have.
It's not like you're only going to do this because there's a time and a place for fee. There are some women or men, depending on who you are, that you don't want to date and have as a boyfriend, a girlfriend or a husband, that you want to go out with and have fun.
There are some businesses you want to take fee. What are the ideal client types who would make a good equity partner, etc.?
Let's say it's a company doing $500,000 in revenue. They're keeping $50,000 net and they're selling products online. Is that somebody like, “You're not worth my time on this?” Give me your minimal.
Profit margin would be too low on that. For me, I’m looking scalability. I'm looking for asset. If they've got nothing to begin with, then it's not a business.
It’s a digital product company, maybe they're an eCommerce company, maybe they're an information product company or something like that. Those aren't ideal.
What I mean by that is if they've got asset in terms of, “Do they have a large customer database?” Yes, cool, then I'm interested. “Does it have a high-profit margin?” A company we acquired has 50% profit margin. I'm definitely interested.
Does it have other products that they can sell to the customers? Are their products useful for other synergistic businesses? The criteria are, does it or can it have good cashflow? Does it have scalability? Does it have the ability that I'm not going to be in it all the time having to do lots of stuff?
Does it provide me with leverage? Does it provide the owner with the leverage? Is it a sellable asset? What makes it a sellable asset? Here's the other thing that we haven't gone into and again, we can touch more on this.
The other side of doing all this is that not only do you get the fee and all that other cool stuff and not only do they not leave as a client and a normal client who's not tied to you. You also get paid a gain when you exit the company. You get paid significantly more than you would from any fees.
Can I sell that thing? Is there any exit strategy? If I cannot see any way possible for it to sell, then it's not a business I want to be involved in. There's no reason to improve it that much or it can't be improved that much. I'm always looking at the future upside or the future potential.
For me, there are warning lights as well. There are warning signs. Sometimes you're looking in this marketing world, this business consultant world is small.
There are millions of people out there claiming to be business consultants, etc., but actually the ones who are worth their salt, we know who they are.
Let's say, somewhat has one of those been involved out? They have. Why haven’t they stuck around? That’s a red light for me. It's a red flag. I'm wondering what's going on there. You have to keep your eyes open.
You have to assess, “It's a tradeoff.” If a client wants to pay you high fees, but you see no potential in that business, I personally wouldn’t even take that job and if it were just for fees because I’ve got ethics.
I don’t want to work with someone knowing that I don’t think they’ve much potential to scale, even if they’ve got the money to pay me. That’s not ethical from my standard.
Let’s say, for example, you got a client who wants to pay high fees and they’ve got the money, we will have him scale. If they’ve got scalability but they don’t have the cashflow right now to pay the high fees, then that’s a perfect example of taking equity.
It will be even more attractive to them, because they haven't got as much bargaining power, as much leverage. You wouldn't go to a massive company and say, “Mr. Fortune 500 company, give me equity.” They'd say, “Why do we need to do that?” There's no logic in it.
It's a nebulous target. It’s not, “I need a company who's doing X in this industry. Do they have the ingredients that I can work with?” This takes some very fluid thinking. This is not a business in a box type of a thing. It's an advanced strategy.
Somebody who's not a business or a marketing consultant right now, this is not the best thing to do, because you can't fake this. You can’t fake selling fees and stuff. You can't fake being good at this.
That said, there are a lot of ways to find companies like this, but how do you start if you are good and you have this understanding, like what are you doing right now besides talking to people? Is it the same way that you would typically look for consulting clients now?
Is it that when you talk to them, you start to bring this up? How do you go about finding ideal targets for this?
I'm going to try and make this concise. For me, it's an all-encompassing practice. What I mean by that is there's not one strategy. There's not one thing I do.
Everything I do is positioning me for someone to find me, to hear about me or to even look for me and say, “This guy is not just a consultant, he's an investor.”
Give me some examples of things you’re doing.
If I'm at a networking event, they'll say, “What do you do?” and I say, “I'm a business investor.” “What does that entail?” “I look to buy businesses for my portfolio or I look to invest in businesses and help them scale.”
“That sounds interesting. I've got a business.” Either they’ll be interested or they'll tell their friends. That's the first thing whether good news spreads, bad news spreads, etc. Another thing is like this, doing podcast and people hear me talking about it.
I also have a bunch of introducers, so they're my networkers and they’re global. I have strategic people who are based in the major cities and countries around the world and their role is they’re a connector.
They’re someone who has influence who knows the right people, who people go to, who you recommend, etc. They will be in the right place at the right time and some will say, “Jim, I'm looking for X, Y and Zed people to help me grow the business,” and he’ll say, “I know the right person.”
Who are some of these types of people around the world that have been good connecting resources for you? Do they share certain types of professions or anything?
They'll be in the marketing or business space, but they will have a different complementary role to mine, so they don't do what I do, but they understand what I do. They can speak to it, but I've also trained people without training them officially.
I've groomed them so they know how to present me and pitch me and I'm not paying anything upfront for that. They'll go and then say, “I know I'm getting a percentage of the deal that Luke does.” What I mean by percentage is a royalty or profit share or whatever.
It's not too much skin in the game, but it can be very lucrative for them. I'm more than happy to pay you that because I'm not going out there doing any of that work. They're doing it on my behalf. I have a whole process to qualify to position who I am.
By the time a prospect or a lead will get on a call with me, they've typically been referred or they've seen a video, a webinar, a podcast or what have you. They've gone down as unconventional marketing funnel.
It's not a funnel as such. It's a process that I've created that will position me strongly but also prequalify them and make sure that they're the right caliber of person.
They're already confident in who I am. They've seen case studies. They know the type of things I do, the people I work with. They've been recommended personally by someone they trust and 90% of the sales process for me is done before I even speak to them.
That's all very purposeful and strategic because I want them to almost on the call sell themselves for the deal rather than me. I'm not trying to sell any of the deal here. I'm very carefully saying, “If this works, then cool. Let's look at how we can put this together, but I'm not attached to it particularly.”
You know what I'm talking about here, Brad. The more you are like that, the more people want it. It took a long time to get to this because I had to figure out, and this is all genuine. It's not me acting or trying to be something I'm not.
When you become an investor in your mind and this is the way you’ve got to look at this, for everyone reading. Imagine you've got $10 million in a fund and you're looking to invest in people. How would you behave when you spoke to potential investment targets?
You're not going to give away millions willy-nilly because it's going to be gone and you're going to lose your investment, but it's the same when you invest your expertise, your time and your energy. It's the same capital but actually, it's making more valuable.We can always make more money, but we cannot get more time. Click To Tweet
We can always make more money but we can't get more time. You've got to be very shrewd and be very unattached. It’s hard because you get emotional. You think, “What a great deal. I want it. I want to close this deal.” The more I've done that, the more deals have gone south.
I've learned to be unattached. If I see something good, then I'm going to be calculated by that and I'm going to position and evaluate strongly. I'm going to make a very shrewd offer and I'm going to get that deal.
When you become like that, people take you more seriously because you are an investor then. You're not someone who's a consultant trying his hand or trying his luck.
You're someone who can add real value. You've got a real investment strategy now where you’re like, “I'm looking for these types of people, these types of businesses, these types of potential and upside and when I see it, I know what I can do to help them.
I know I've got a plan and a strategy already that I can share with them that will fit their criteria to my criteria. By the time it comes to making an offer, I'm very confident that we'll get what we need on both sides.”
It is a long-term thinking and a big-game approach to the entire thing. A lot of marketing consultants and professionals are looking for a unique selling proposition. What makes me different than the guy down the street? This makes you different.
This makes you absolutely different. This has been a smaller part then it will be going forward of my business practices, but it's something that I'm constantly trying to do more of because it is where I personally want to go and I also know this.
Some of the stuff that you have in your brain that we're not talking about right now are some of the microscopic details that make or break a deal, that secure your position, that keep you out of risk and harm's way.
At the same time, you have a lot of interesting things you do to reverse the risk and position it so that the equity partner that you're working with also feels extreme amounts of comfort so that they're not worried.
I know that's still this nagging thing in the back of people's mind like, “This sounds so complex,” and I don't think people will go for it. It's a huge limiting belief.
I know from talking to you that you've got a lot of strategies and tactics that allow you to overcome almost any situation.
We're coming to the end of the show here and I can't imagine we're losing anybody because this has been amazing and fascinating. I appreciate you sharing all this.
If they feel like, “I like this. I don't know if it's right for me or not, but I need to get this into my brain. I need to have these tools so that it's an option for me.” Do you have any resources or anything they can do if they want more, Luke? There's got to be some curious people out there.
I wasn't interested in teaching this stuff because I'm not the guru, I'm the guy who does it. I don't teach it. I do it. When a bunch of people found out what I was doing and I've talked a lot about it with you.
Some other people were like, “I want to do that,” and I looked at their business model and this can be people working one-on-one or even one-to-many. Even people doing leverage coaching, masterminds, or group coaching can actually do this too.
I had a bunch of people asking me, “Could it work my business model?” I looked at it and I said, “You could.” You’re leaving millions on the table by not doing this and so some people say, “What will it take for you to help me do this to implement in my business?”
I took on a few people one-on-one. For example, one person I took on one-on-one, a great guy, skilled at what he does and valuable service and he's not a coach or consultant even. He's a service provider.
He provides a marketing service like funnels and things like that so that the marketing flows and you get leads, and you capture them and nurture them. You sell products.
You can consider doing this. I didn't even know you could do this like most people probably reading. I thought, “I don't know if this is going to be possible for him to do because I don't think that I'm particularly special but I am very different.”
Maybe not everyone could do this. I thought, “Why not try and experiment with him and see if it works?” Three weeks into working together, he had four equity deals on the table and I had to tell him to slow down. He had too much deal flow.
I absolutely know that it can work for anyone who fits a certain criterion and the criteria would be business consultants, coaches or service providers who serve businesses.
You yourself if you're reading and you fit that criteria, you will be at least earning six figures plus doing what you do. You're highly skilled at what you do, so you get tangible results for your clients.
If you're on that stage already, then there isn't much that can stop you not doing deals like this. What you need though is a process and a framework to do it. I suppose, boil down my process into eight chunks, eight modules if you like.
That goes from your positioning, so your mindset and your positioning. I'm not into all this mind stuff, but it is true, we discuss this a lot. If you don't believe you can do something, you won't do it.
I've boiled it down into the mindset and the positioning. You believe it and now they believe that you're an investor then you go from your deal criteria. What do I do to have a criterion for the deals I'm looking for? You go through all these steps all the way to how do you attract and qualify the prospects.
How do you do the consultation and negotiation stages? How many consultations should you have and what should you say like scripts and everything, through to the final thing where you actually do the deal?
One thing you mentioned, I have a process which I develop which when you do hit objections from prospects or they're almost afraid to do this because they're not sure how it will work.
You can completely overcome those objections, fears and concerns with this strategy that I use which pretty much removes the risk for them.
By the end, I've got the process and I've also got the legal documentation, the due diligence process that you need to go through. I've got the whole process that anybody who is a skilled business consultant or service provider can use in their business.
I'm not interested in having a big coaching program or seminars about this, but I am open to talking to a few selective high-caliber individuals who want to implement this in their business.
You have to be somebody who understands the concept and I've coined this phrase that, “Consulting fees will pay your bills, but consulting for equity will make you rich,” literally.
Think Warren Buffett and all these people out there, what do they do? They acquire equity. They acquire the asset. They buy it. They have skin in the game. They don't charge fees. You don't see any big consultants on the Forbes Billionaire List. You see investors.
The bottom line is you charge fees for something and they will walk away with millions in upside. You will walk away maybe $100,000 per client if you're lucky.
If you get equity, whatever upside you create, you own that as well. Not only do you get your fee, you also get whatever the company is worth when it exits.
That's what I want to help other people to do is create more than just a consulting business. To round up, think of it this way. I was talking to one guy and this individual literally charges a fortune. He makes a very good living doing this.
I went to ask him, “What's going to happen when you stop consulting?” He said, “The business will stop and the money will dry up.” He said that exactly. What we said was, “You’ve got a whole portfolio of clients.”
I said, “What if you had a piece of equity, 5%, 2% in each of these businesses? These businesses keep working for ten, fifteen, twenty years longer.
What happens when they all start to sell? You get a big lump sum here and a big lump sum there. That's your retirement and you're going to retire very well.” That's what I want people to grasp. This is a wealth creation strategy. This is not just paying bills.
This is such an important concept to grasp to be able to do that. Did you say that, how they can get in contact with you, to get motivation on this?
If people want to find out more and they want to talk to me about this, I'm not interested in selling you on some big training package.
I'm not interested in some $9.99 info product. If there's a fit, I can help you and I believe in what you do, we can discuss how I might be able to help you and mentor you one-on-one to do it. It’s simple.
If people want to reach out, you can reach out to me by my email, at Coaching@LukeHavard.com or you can reach me on Facebook, Luke Havard. It’s fairly easy to find. Also, LinkedIn or various other platforms you might find me on social media.
Reach out and tell me that you're on Brad’s show and you learned from me talking about equity consulting model and I'll be happy to see if I can help you.
Thanks again, Luke. I appreciate you taking the time and opening the kimono and sharing some of the details and the strategies on this. If you were intrigued by it, I'm suggesting that you get a hold of Luke and you find out if this is something for you or not.
Luke and I literally talk every week. We talk about a lot of things, ten times deeper than this, and very real. There are a lot of deals we're personally working on together. That’s a solution that you need to have at your fingertips if you're a business owner.
You're not a consultant but you're like, “This guy could help me grow my business as well. I don't mind giving up some equity if he's able to perform.” You can see, Luke is not in here all about a cash grab and can I get the money.
He is here to make a huge difference for some business owners and obviously attach himself to the performance and everybody makes more money together. I encourage you to check Luke out. Also, check out his previous episode on the show.
If you are enjoying this, the best thing in the world that you could do is share this episode on Facebook or Twitter. Tag me in it. Tag Luke in it. Let us know that you're loving it.
As always, you can email me with any questions at AskBrad@BaconWrappedBusiness.com. Luke, thanks again. I appreciate your time and look forward to talking to you here soon.
Talk to you guys soon and stay tuned. See you next time.
Luke has developed a unique and proprietary method for sourcing deals that meet very specific criteria. This allows us to offer a buyer representation service that is unmatched if not nonexistent anywhere else in the industry.
Over the past five years Luke has been involved in dozens of buyer rep deals ranging from $500,000 to over $20 million.