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Episode 210: Getting Into The Client’s Perspective with Joanna Swash


Starting her career in sales, Joanna Swash became CEO of Moneypenny to bring its growth on its full potential. Joanna knows what needs to be done and that is getting into the perspective of their clients and giving service that’s unique to each of their clients. In this episode, Adam Stott has Joanna Swash talk about her journey into becoming Moneypenny’s CEO as well as tips on small business owners.

Moneypenny, a company that started with only one desk and sending direct mails, now boasts 1200 employees and giving service to different countries through handling the customer service of their clients such as phone and messaging operators. Their promise is to stay true to their clients by providing transparent and custom service to each of them.

Show Highlights:

  • Moneypenny’s expansion to the US with a big million dollar deal before the lockdown
  • How Moneypenny expanded from 1 person desk to a multinational operation with 1200 employees
  • Importance of outsourcing
  • The story behind Moneypenny’s brand name
  • How sales and understanding your market and products became one of Moneypenny’s core values
  • The story of Joanna Swash becoming the CEO and taking Moneypenny forward
  • Walking into the client’s shoes and understanding their perspective
  • Trusting the people around you that they can do their jobs
  • Moneypenny’s secret behind their successful branding and marketing
  • What the risky national marketing campaign before the pandemic has taught Joanna Swash
  • On hiring the right person and avoiding micromanaging

Links Mentioned:

You can find out more about Moneypenny at moneypenny.com

Transcript:

Please note this is a verbatim transcription from the original audio and therefore may include some minor grammatical errors.

Adam Stott:

Hello everybody and good evening and welcome. I’ve got a brilliant guest tonight. I’m actually going to be super relevant and really exciting for many of you to hear from Joanna tonight. Now, Joanna is the CEO of the company Moneypenny. This has 21,000 business clients in the United Kingdom, 5,000 clients overseas. Built a brilliant business that turns over in the region of about 50 million pounds a year. Serving businesses and showing them how to run the front end of their business, we’ll come back to that in just a second. I’ll tell you why I feel that’s so one of why you’re gonna want to really be listening carefully and asking questions tonight because I think you can really benefit in a big way. 

Now, across the journey of building this business, Joanna didn’t actually start the business. She started working within the business, and has worked out the ladder, and took over as CEO. Since she took over as CEO, in the last four years has doubled the size of the business. She has doubled it! So I really want to ask her a bit more about that and find out what that was like how she was able to do that. 

Now, Moneypenny as a company, what is that they do, they deal with the front-end communication of businesses. (02:13) So, they deal with live chat, telephone answering services, and keeping in touch with your clients. Actually making sure that inquiries are coming in they’re being dealt with in the right way. This is something that I absolutely 100% feel that some businesses don’t get right. In fact, I know many businesses, and you can tell me in the comments if you could be a little bit guilty of this yourself at times. As the businesses that actually get inquiries and don’t go back to him or they’ve got too many or they’ve got an inbox full of inquiries and they’re “Oh, how do I handle these?” and they don’t quite get it dealt with. 

So I think it’s really important I think it’s going to be a good chat tonight. Without any further ado, I’m going to bring in, Joanna, and we’re going to hear from Joanna all about business. Welcome, Joanna! Thanks for coming on and joining us this evening. How are you doing?

Joanna Swash:
It’s a pleasure! Thanks for letting me be in the chair tonight.

Adam Stott:
In the chair? That’s right. Well, thanks for coming on. And I think, you know, one of the reasons I really wanted you on as a guest is because of that aspect that you deal with the front end of the business. How important that is to make sure we get that right in terms of how we deal with clients.

(03:17) I’ve got to learn a bit more about yourself and a bit more about your story. I think it’s really interesting that you started working within this business in a sales role, and have elevated your way all the way to the top. I want to hear a bit more about that if that’s okay with you? I’m sure our viewers would like to hear about that too as well. Why don’t you give just a short introduction? Tell us about you may be about the company and then we can kick off and tell us a little bit about your journey. Being that you started as a salesperson, I’d love to hear about the importance of sales for you and how that plays a key role in people’s success.

Joanna Swash:
(03:47) There’s a lot to tick off there! So let’s go through the list, shall we? Let’s starts off with who’s Moneypenny? So we’re looking after like you said before; 25-26,000 clients across the US and in the UK. From very small one-person bands, right through to multinational switchboards, big legal firms, and everything in the middle. It’s very simple, everyone has one person I know and trust so it’s your own PA, just to look after causes as if they were sat with you in your office. This, given the environment that we’re all in now, and how everyone’s embraced outsourcing is a very different environment for us. 

So, we expanded into the States, about four years ago with a significant acquisition in February. Just before lockdown, we literally signed the paperwork on a multimillion-dollar deal. It was a really great answering service in Atlanta. We got back on the plane at the end of February, expecting to be back there in March. Low and behold we got there in November, but the team did a great job, transition, bringing it all together. So a little bit about the states there. We also had an acquisition of an online company formation MadeSimple Group so if you wanted a limited company, you could go there.

We have about 1200 people. Was Sunday Times Best 100 company to work for, so let’s talk about culture later as well. Like you say, I started right in sales in the first place, I was one of those people who was missing phone calls. My mom said to me when I have my own business and it was failing. She said for goodness sake, go get a proper job for a bit. I found this telephone answering company. If I’d been able to use that for my business you know maybe I wouldn’t have failed. So I totally got it, I was able to walk in the shoes of a very small business at that time.

Adam Stott:

(05:40) Yeah, absolutely. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about outsourcing and how outsourcing becomes so important. Having a very large business myself, we didn’t outsource anything we did everything in-house. With the business I run now, we certainly look to outsource because if you get a job done more efficiently, more cost-effectively. You certainly save you some time, it is definitely very valuable.

I think some of the business owners, and certainly the ones watching tonight. You can tell us, a lot of people have this transition especially really early. When they go and get their first employee, and they get very nervous, or they get their first few employees. They don’t really know how to build the business, and they’re really doing everything themselves. They’re wearing 20 hats and are finding it really difficult to run their businesses. Very simply bringing someone in, I’ve seen success with like with my clients.

I have so many clients in my Gold Circle group, they’ve gotten outsourced as their first step as well and it’s really successful for them, just being able to get things a bit more managed. They can focus on the stuff that’s important for them. So I’m definitely a big believer in it. I think the fact is that’s a massive journey, isn’t it? Going from a one-person army to having 26,000 clients and 1200 employees. Have you been a part of that? You’ve been there…How long have you been in this business now?

Joanna Swash:

(07:00) I’ve been there for 16 years. So when I joined there was Adam and Rachel, brother and sister with an absolutely cracking idea and about 20…

Adam Stott:

I love the brand name.

Joanna Swash:
Isn’t just the perfect name? 

Adam Stott:
I mean if you want to talk branding, what a brilliant brand name. Hats off to them on that. That’s something you can really recognize as very clever.

Joanna Swash:
I was really lucky that throughout my entire career at Moneypenny, I’ve been able to build on those solid foundations that Ad and Rachel put down right from the beginning. I was really lucky that it was coming from a very small business, and then 16 years just in different positions and I said to you earlier, it feels like my jobs changed every six months.

For all of the people out there that are in growing businesses, particularly when you draw the Org (Organisational) chart from the start. It’s got your name on every single job, hasn’t it? Now as you scale and grow, you’re giving those jobs to other people. Number one, you’ve got to find the right people and trust them. Secondly, there are lots of different ways now to actually make that happen. You don’t have to employ them all yourself.

Adam Stott:

(08:05) Yeah, absolutely. You started in sales. When we were talking behind the scenes a minute ago. You just said, whether I’m meant to say that or not, that’s what I love doing. I think the people that are clients of mine, and we’ve got quite a few people on that are, would have heard me talk many times about the importance of sales. I think for a business owner that loves sales, you’re gonna have a much easier ride than a business owner that is terrified of sales. So sales is a problem for you, if you’re listening, that’s something you got to get dealt with, right? As soon as you do deal with it, you’re going to get yourself in a much better place. What’s your take on it, Joanna? What would you say?

Joanna Swash:

(08:44) There’s a couple of things I would say first and foremost; if you passionately believe that you’ve got the best product for those customers and that you only sell to people that need your service and would benefit from your service, you actually don’t have to sell it at all. 

If you’re passionate, you’re evangelizing about it, aren’t you? You’re connecting the people who would benefit from using you and then it’s not really sales. To me, that just makes so much sense. If you can look people in the eye and say, I know exactly that we will deliver what it says on the tin. That’s half your job. The most difficult sales job is when you don’t believe in the product and you’re just trying to sell it to make numbers. That must be soul-destroying to have to be doing that.

For non-sales people, I would say go and understand your product, understand your market. Do your traditional risk analysis, the benefits and the positives and everything. Then just go and evangelize about it and just be yourself.

Adam Stott:

I love the language! Go evangelize about it, nice.

Joanna Swash:

Go and sell it if you understand your market, and understand your product.

Adam Stott:

(09:51) Another thing that I often say; is that conversations grow businesses, right? The more conversations that you have, the more opportunities you’re going to get. That’s exactly what you’re saying there, isn’t it? The more you go and talk about your business, the more you go and promote it, the more that you embrace it. The more that you’re going to be able to draw those clients. You’ve obviously worked in the business now and you’ve been building. You took over a CEO four years ago, right? Why is it that they picked you, Joanna? What did they see in you as the CEO? Why were they so confident that you were gonna be the person to take it forward as you have?

Joanna Swash:

Oh now then, it’s like my own CV here, isn’t it? I would hope that what they saw in me was somebody that the founders can trust to take the business forward. They’ve always been very good at stepping back and thinking “What am I good at?”, “What are the skill sets that we need as our team?” and “Where are the gaps?” and hire people that are better than them to go and do that job. 

So I hope that they saw me, the skill set to go, and actually take the business to the next level. I think probably the relationships that I built with lots of our corporate clients, and understanding of smaller businesses that I had from the past really helped to do that. 

You’ve got to be careful haven’t you? How you scale a business that you don’t ruin its DNA. We’ve scaled fast, and we’ve been particularly busy over the past 12-18 months. Clients are so precious aren’t they? That you can’t do the right thing all the time. We just believe that you’ve got to walk in the clients shoes and understand things from their perspective. 

So hopefully it’s that deep understanding of the business and what our clients actually want and what it takes to trust us as well. Do you know what Gavin said? Used to give us telephone calls, but would you give me your mobile phone to answer mow? Probably not likely. That’s the level of trust that we’re having. And I think that Ad Rachel saw that in me. That I understood what it was to be a customer.

Adam Stott:

Yeah, absolutely. So in terms of you building the business, we’ve got a lot of people on that are all different sized businesses. Some that are growing businesses, they’re early businesses. Like you said this business was very small at the start. What do you think? for a business owner having seen that transition of going from a small business into a big business. What would you say some of the lessons for you have been? What were some of the key lessons that you’ve learned along the way?

Joanna Swash:

I would say it’s always, what’s your magic sauce. Do you know what its ingredients are? Because as you scale and you employ more people, and you trust other people to represent you. Go back to that Org chart that’s got your name on everything. It’s all 100% Isn’t it because you haven’t had to dilute it by telling anybody else. 

So when you can and this is a, it’s a big learning for us, and bottle your secret sauce. Write it down. Write down all those little nuances that make you an unusual, unique business. So that when you are hiring, you can pass that DNA on to others. I think that helps you scale without making mistakes. You have to trust the people around you. 

Adam Stott:

That’s a really good tip. The reason I say it’s a really good tip is that I haven’t been in the business and it’s growing very fast. Like Fast Track, Sunday Times businesses have grown massively. When you do bring in, and you start to bring lots and lots of people on. If you don’t set the culture, the people that you bring in will set the culture. Believe me, you don’t want them to set the culture, without a shadow of a doubt. You want to be setting the culture yourself. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a culture you don’t like.

I think that’s a really good tip. That especially for a small business owner, anyone you bring into your team. You got to sell them the business. You got to get them believing in the business, haven’t you? When they believe in the business they’re gonna go and sell it more effectively.

Joanna Swash:


(13:22) That’s right, yeah. To go back to that point as well, it’s businesses that have been operating remotely. We’ve still got most of our people remote now. We’ve got about 350 in the office because we’ve recruited so many since lockdown started. If you think, as a business we’ve grown and changed in a period of time where actually most people aren’t in the office.

For all of us going back into our offices or whatever your model looks like. We all have to go through this pain, to say what was my DNA and what was I? You know, February 2020? How far away have we shifted? What am I going to do to go and get this back in the right lane? Because there’s absolutely no doubt, things will have happened to all our businesses and our people that just takes us off track ever so slightly. I think it’s about having a very clear vision about how you’re going to get back in your lane.

Adam Stott:

Absolutely. From a business of scale from, as you say to 26,000 clients. It sounds as if you’ve used business acquisitions very cleverly, in a clever way to grow that business. But let’s talk a bit about marketing. The branding, obviously as we spoke about it certainly being on point. Marketing for you, Joanna, do you oversee that? Have you got a great marketing team you get involved with? As the CEO, do you contribute to the marketing ideas? I’d love to see you’re taking on that.

Joanna Swash:

(14:41) Yes, the team would absolutely agree I contribute to the marketing ideas. Less so over time, they’ll be pleased to hear. The branding, the way that Moneypenny’s portrayed, has always been a big passion of anybody in the leadership teams because what we want is transparency. We only want to market what we actually are. People could say there all sorts, couldn’t they? You could come up with a list of benefits and USPS about your business, but are they actually true? Do you live and breathe them as your values?

So for me, marketing has to be a reflection of the service that you offer. We build our business on direct mail, actually. How many could we afford to send out that week and just plow money back into direct mail? Now you know you’ve received back. We’ve done radio campaigns, right in the middle lockdown. We took a huge risk and did a £120,000 national media campaign when nobody else was booking advertising. 

And we’ve just had the courage and the confidence to do that. Our marketing director, she’s fantastic. We’ve got a great marketing team, many of them that have been in for a very long time. And I think now we’re braver about going to try new messaging, going down different channels. Partly because I back off and people have been there a long time back off, and when I’m going to try different ways to market. 

For me the best moment, it’s like the comments that come up here. The best moment is talking to a roomful of lawyers or talking to a roomful of small businesses and people put their hands up and say, I’m a client and I think you’re brilliant. That is the best marketing you couldn’t possibly have because it’s true and honest, isn’t it?

Adam Stott:

Yeah, absolutely, yeah. Without the shadow of a doubt. I think it’s really interesting; you built off of direct mail. I think in today’s world, and don’t get me wrong, we train social media, we’ve used social media. I’ve used social media to grow quite a few businesses very effectively. But one thing that people won’t realize is that we’ve used all different types of marketing. I’m a big believer in testing. So I want to test everything because you know it’s something that sometimes is that marketing method that you haven’t used. Especially, you know, one of the things I’ve said is like that cross-pollination if you. 

One of the benefits I get from working with a lot of businesses is seeing what all different businesses use. Sometimes you can take an idea in one industry, you put it into another industry and it can be explosive! They’ve never done it before it’s never been done like that. Direct mail is something that we use that a tremendous amount. Is it something you still do to this day?

Joanna Swash:

(17:08) Yeah, we do! How much post lands on your desk, now? How much business mail? Hardly anything. So actually you can stand out. When it comes down to it, you’ve got to make sure it’s relevant. That people are in the market and that you’re doing your lists properly. Particularly as we sell into sectors as well so I’ve always said be a participant. Be an active participant in a sector rather than a supplier. Be a player, understand the market. Know who’s who. Who are the advocates? Who do we need to talk to? What are their paying points? So we do a lot of sector-based marketing, which is some really good stuff. Yeah, we still carry on with those now.

Adam Stott:

Do you analyze the business and look at who your best clients are? What sectors look good and replicate those sectors and get more people on. Lovely, lovely, love it! Because this is the sort of thing that I’ll try and talk to people about doing. It’s exactly what I’ll tell people to do. It’s really interesting here, to see a CEO of a great business going b2b (back to basics), getting new clients using those methodologies is amazing.

Joanna Swash:

Back to the basics. There’s no magic button is there? There’s no magic button that gets you from 20 employees to 1200, to get you 50/60 million turnovers. It’s doing the basics, doing them well. Not thinking that there’s one big clever magic fix out there because there isn’t. It’s all in the 1%. I’m a real believer, it’s in the 1% marginal gains, and just keep going.

Adam Stott:

(18:30) I love that! Brilliant, brilliant guidance for the people listening today. A few people actually saying that. For a small business, they’ve actually asked would you recommend that for a small business, Joanne I’ll be interested to hear your take. To use that direct mail for small business. Is it right now, would you say is a good opportunity for small business?

Joanna Swash:

I would say, first of all, who’s your target market? Is mail, the way to reach your target market. If you think that they are sitting at their desks now, in the office, ready to receive the mail, absolutely. How many people are doing that? I don’t know you know that’s the data at the moment. You need to make sure that we’ve done them, directors, at home mail, as well in some instances, which has worked to a degree.

Everybody’s different, aren’t they? There’s no one size fits all approach to any of our sectors or any of our businesses. But yes, certainly, it feels… It’s about gut feel, isn’t it? Don’t you think sometimes people go “well, the book says not to do that”? Does your gut feel tell you that actually it might be good to test and try? Well go and do it. Nobody knows your business like the business owner.

Adam Stott:

(19:37) No, absolutely. I think testing is massive. Absolutely testing and testing new methods is huge for any business, and it sounds like you certainly embrace that. So when you did the national media campaign, you took that big risk, you know? How did that turn out for you? Was it good?

Joanna Swash:

It was really good. We have a positive ROI (return on investment) from it within a three-month period. We also went and did radio campaigns as well at the same time. At this particular moment, business leaders are taking a step back, aren’t they? They’re saying “okay, I managed to create this remote working model in what three weeks? What my business look likes going forward?”. I think any kind of marketing or pertinent messaging right now that can hit the minds of different businesses, doing things in different ways, was always going to hit the mark. It was about being brave enough to try it.

Adam Stott:

Going into a different subject slightly, but who does money as a business suit? What type of business owners do you think benefits? Like we talked about knowing your proposition and understanding your business model. For you, who would you say is a really good candidate for using that service? It would be really interesting to hear, you know, where it fits.

Joanna Swash:

It’s really funny because it could be anybody with a telephone or anybody with a website that wants to do live chat. Anybody for whom new customers are important to them. Or anybody that wants to walk the dog at three o’clock on Tuesday or pick the kids up and they just want some support.

What I would say is that there are other alternatives, you know? You could go put an answering machine on, you could close the front door and not let anybody in. So for me, it’s a mindset that actually, it’s the people for whom the brand is important to them. For whom there are might be a high cost of a lost call. You know, if you’re an estate agent or you’re selling a car or something, and you miss that phone call. It could be thousands that you’ve lost. For me it’s not just about the call, it’s about the value of the call that’s coming in. Why your brand is important to you if you’re going to go and spend money on advertising somewhere, and then not bother to either look after your web visitors. Because it’s your shop at the end of the day, isn’t it?

Welcome them in, take their name and address, make sure you’ve got that data captured. If you’re not gonna bother doing that, we’re not gonna bother answering the phone and don’t want to spend your marketing money. It’s this whole circle, isn’t it? It’s a flywheel. What’s the point in spending it here and it’s just gonna fall down here. So it is making sure that your processes are right. I’m so sorry there’s no big answer to that question.

Adam Stott:

(22:01)No as an objection, which I’m trying to really educate your audience to why this kind of thing really is important right? I know from objection there is a feeling for some business owners that nobody quite answers the inquiry, the way they would. However, my argument would always be, if you want to take five hours to answer it and somebody is going to do it instantly. Then there’s a lot more value in the instant than a slightly different type of text, right? Because business is about speed.

In the consumer market today this is my opinion and I would imagine that you’re probably aligned with that. You know, it’s all about speed. If you’ve got an inquiry, somebody at the moment is looking to buy that, while they’re in the moment and if you give them four hours, they’re going to be on to the next website. They’re going to be on to the next business making an inquiry. The person that’s the fastest doesn’t mean they’re the best, might walk away with the business.

Joanna Swash:

I think we can really see a shift in consumer behavior as well. Particularly the times a day that phones are answered. We’re 24/7. You can see the behaviors now in lockdown, for example, these websites are so much busier in the evenings. Our business is really staffing their websites in the evenings. So they’re sitting there, having a glass of wine or whatever and they’re doing something else instead.

It’s about being present with your customers. So I say to the people that say I can do better myself; that’s fantastic. You go and try and get it. Try to answer the phone, try and do the live chat. If you can’t get to it, it comes over to us automatically anyway. So it’s almost like this insurance policy in the back. The 100 calls a month and you can answer 95 of them by yourself that’s absolutely brilliant. So let’s do the other five.

Adam Stott:

(23:52) Good, that’s a brilliant way of describing it, which is really good. Okay, so in terms of small business owners, growing their business, you were talking about culture, I think that’s really important. How does a small business owner from your perspective, Joanna, build a culture of their business? No matter what size they are. How do they start that process? And how did you sort of start that process over the course of the 16 years within this business?

Joanna Swash:

(24:16) Our ethos has always been, as I mentioned earlier, to put yourself in the shoes of the customer to deal with this business. You know, what kind of supplier do I want to have? And if I work for this business, how do I want to feel? And f you really take a step back and be quite emotional about it and connect with that question and think “Okay, I want to feel cared for, I want to feel special. I don’t want to feel like a number, I want people to care about my mental health and how my family is, and whether or not you know I need extra days to do X, Y and Z because I’m struggling in the world and I want to go to and do better in my job, I want training, etc.”

So put yourself in the shoes of that person and think “What do I want?”. You can’t fake the culture, can you? It’s either there or its not. I need to start to be nice to everybody. There are so many businesses, that there’s this tiered approach and there’s you know? You’ve got us and them. You’ve got special car parking spaces, special laptops for management. Come on, you know?

I think that the whole world’s gone now. All we are is one jigsaw piece in our business. Recognize that without you, it could still operate actually, and just have this respect for people. If you can just get respect kindness, safety, stability, I think you’ll start a really good culture without trying to be too clever about it., but be consistent about it as well. Therefore, there’s no point being kind on a Monday and then an idiot on a Thursday. 

Adam Stott:

(25:45) Nice! As a CEO, I would love to get a few timely tips, time management tips, you know? How you manage your time if you’d like to share those? Because I just feel a lot of business owners, especially small business owners all the time so you’re too busy. Either they’re too busy for this, too busy for that. But they’re not allocating or managing their time in the right way. That’s a really common problem, and obviously being a somebody that was really successful in sales, within the business and then move up to CEO. What’s the transition been like and how do you manage and organize yourself differently now?

Joanna Swash:

(26:17) One thing I’ve always been really good at is finding people around me, who are better than me at doing a task. So if I’m overall, I don’t know, I can have a good overview, then find somebody who’s really brilliant at this and brilliant at that, and then leave them be. 

I’ve always said, hire the right person and take your time over it. When we talk about failures, it’s when you hire too quickly, isn’t it? A repentant measure. To find the right person, and give them the skillset, and the resources, and the confidence of the safety blanket. Put them into a vacuum and say, “I’m off doing this over here. Good luck, I’m here if you need me I will catch you if you fall, but I trust you to go make mistakes.”.

And so, as a leader then, you are freeing up your time, all the time. A very good friend asked me when I first got my CEO role and said “What are you going to do differently in this job?” and I said “I’m going to do nothing. I’m going to come out with a meeting with no action.” Because if I have taken action, it means that I have not trusted my team to go and do it. My best day is coming into the office and thinking “What will I do today?” because it means I can focus on the future. I can go and still do some business development, which I love. 

It means that the people know exactly what their jobs are and I’m here to help them when they need me. Rather than micromanage and get involved when they just, they just don’t need that level of support. So, I do find, says no CEO ever, but I do have time to be proactive. I do have time to work on the business, I do have time to talk to customers. That’s because I trust everybody around me because there’s so much better than if I did that job myself.

Adam Stott:

(27:58) Absolutely. I think one of the things, what you said not leaving a meeting with action, is a really important thing for a CEO because it’s very easy to take everything on. I’ll get that done or we’ll get that down or whatever. The reality is, you know, you want to be making sure those jobs go to other people so we’ve got the freedom and they’ve got to do it. Yeah, absolutely.

Anthony’s asked, we’ve going through a couple of questions that he’s asked. What is the best tip for any business owner you think they must do? It’s a generalised one, but we’ll but you can try and answer that.

Joanna Swash:

Be close to your customers because they are the ones that tell you the truth. Don’t do surveys. Don’t take somebody else’s word for it. Phone your customer and ask them how you’re doing, and give them the opportunity to tell you one thing that you could do better. If you say how can I help you anymore, a customer might say; “Oh no we’re fine, thank you.”. But if you say; “Tell me one thing that I can do to make life better for you and be the best supplier.”, everybody will always come up with one thing. So that’s really worked for us in the past. !t’s a brilliant question, and it always gets a good answer.

Adam Stott:

(29:00) That’s a brilliant business growth tip there everybody! You want to note that one down because I think it was Bill Gates that said “The greatest source of learning is in your complaints department”. That’s not a complaint, that’s actually really getting deep and understanding how you can improve the business. Anthony who asked the question, I know for a fact that he has got literally 1000s of clients. Because he has a personalised business, he sends out personalised items. He is one of our clients, he has got 1000s of clients. I’ll ask you; have you done that Anthony? Have you spoken to your clients and have you had that touchpoint with them?

We’ve gone funnily enough got another question coming in, and this is from a fellow CEO. Another one of our clients, Mark, and a good friend of mine. He said, “How do you tailor services to each client? I run a bespoke business and our clients expect a tailored service.” Which probably fits with what you do Joanna, to a degree, doesn’t it? You know, because you’ve got quite a tailored model, I believe.

Joanna Swash:

(29:57) Absolutely, it’s about taking the time to understand what the customer needs is an outcome. What’s the purpose of the call, and what are the key things that we need to get from it? Every business is unique, but what we’re in always be is what… we treat ourselves as a new starter, you know? With our learning curve as steep as possible because we’re used to asking the questions that mean that we get under the skin of the business. But to me, it all starts with giving that business the right PA. The right Moneypenny, who has got a personality, who would be employed if they went along for a job interview. 

So if you start by matching the right customer to the right PA, and they’ve got this level of understanding about the business. Then actually the PA gets their head around “Ok this is what the client’s expectations are out of this conversation. I know how to structure this conversation in order to get the right outcomes”

It’s all down to industry knowledge as well, so different clients go into different sectors. You’ve got healthcare, legal, property, finance, and it’s about giving the client the best team who do the best job for them. 

Adam Stott:

Awesome, a great answer there. Really get under the skin of the client. We’ve got a random one here, from Mr. Jones; “Joanna, do you own any cryptocurrencies?” It’s a random question, but we can answer. 

Joanna Swash:

No, I don’t but I have a 17-year-old son, and he announced to me yesterday, he said: “I’ve invested 50 pounds in Bitcoin” or something. That’s the closest I’ve got. 

Adam Stott:

That’s the closest you’ve got? 

Adam Stott:

(31:38) There you go Mr. Jones, so that’s an interesting one. No doubt I’m sure he’ll recommend that something’s telling me. I’m getting that feeling there.

So we’ve got a question from Gavin. I don’t know if there’s something you do within your business Joanna, but I imagine there would have been something across the 16 years that you would have done, especially having a sales background. He’s asked “Any tips on cold calling for new business? I procrastinate too much and get major anxiety.” and Mark Hughes has said he’s signing up for Moneypenny, you’ve convinced him to give it a go, so that’s awesome.

Joanna Swash:

Tips for cold calling. Don’t cold call. Warm it up first. Why does it need to be off a list? If you’ve done the right homework, and you say “Here’s my subset of very engaged people”, send them a letter. With your Moneypenny socks, by the way. So we just send people socks, and they put pictures on Instagram, etc. It just grabs people’s attention. We’ve done, I don’t know if you know, we’re in Wrexham, and we’ve been Wrexham Football Club we’ve been invested in by Ryan Reynolds and  Rob McElhenney or whatever. We did some socks for them as well. 

So I’d say warm up the lead and then call them. Then don’t be anxious about it because you’ve sent them a present or you something actually that’s going to benefit their business. So be loud and proud about what you’ve got to say to them.

Adam Stott:

I love that. warm it up, and there are so many ways, not just direct mail, you can use LinkedIn as well. Yeah, get it nice and warmed up.

Brilliant, well, Joanna, you’ve been a wonderful guest, I think, and I’ve really enjoyed it. If you’re listening to the podcast tonight and you haven’t already subscribed. If you’re on listening to iTunes or Spotify, go and give us a nice five-star review, so we get even more great guests like Joanna, who has been wonderful. She gave some great advice.

For everyone listening, where can they check out the business Joanna? Is it moneypenny.com?

Joanna Swash:

moneypenny.com absolutely. If you want a live chat, telephone calls, whatever your business needs… 

Adam Stott:

I put that in the chat. Go and check out moneypenny.com, a brilliant, brilliant answering service, live chat answering, telephone answering service that’s helping 26,000 small businesses. Joanna, thank you very much for joining us tonight. You’ve been wonderful.

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