Lead generation expert Mike Killen’s Sell Your Service is a top ranker on Google for “how to sell a marketing funnel”, as well as “sell a marketing funnel for five figures”. His sales training, models and techniques have been featured by WPElevation, Agency Highway, and Entrepreneurs HQ among others. Clearly the top guy to talk to about marketing funnels, Mike is also the author of the bestselling Five Figure Funnels, where he dispenses extremely practical advice on selling marketing funnel services for five figures in any market.
On this installment of Agency Gurus, Cloudways dug into the opportunity to talk with Mike about his background, what agencies get wrong about selling funnels, his recent book, and more.
Cloudways: You have quite a storied background. From training to be a chef to doing door-to-door sales, to getting into digital marketing, to starting your own WordPress agency, and finally to becoming the number one sales coach for funnel builders, as attested by Google search results. How did you manage to find your way to where you are now?
Mike: I trained as a chef from a young age and continued cooking through college and uni. I got a degree in marketing but couldn’t find a chef job in my part of the world so started door to door selling. Anything to pay the bills! I landed a chef job in France and trained all over France before drugs and alcohol caught up with me and forced me to come home. I couldn’t hack the lifestyle and work hours. I decided to go back to selling and eventually worked my way towards a corporate job as Head of Digital Marketing for UK and Nordics. I was fired from that job because I “didn’t get marketing” so I figured I’d start an agency.
Cloudways: As someone without a background in development, how did you end up building a WordPress agency? What has your WordPress journey been like?
Mike: I was introduced to WordPress by a friend and colleague of mine called Michael Mertens and I couldn’t believe the power and ease of it. I also found thousands of developers, designers and builders who were way better at it than me. I focused on the sales side and let other people build and design. It worked very well.
Cloudways: You’re the top guy when it comes to building and creating high-converting marketing funnels. In your expert opinion, what do you think agencies get wrong the most about this process?
Mike: Not sure I’d call myself the top guy but I’ll take it! I think the #1 thing many agencies get wrong is “over-designing” the pages and systems. The reason my systems work is because they are bare minimum and very stripped back. Many designers think that my pages could be “improved” but every version we’ve tested has lower conversion rates than mine. I’ll GLADLY take a design that does better than my 38% – 45% conversions for squeeze pages but so far I haven’t found a design that’s better. Keep it simple!
Cloudways: Your recent book, Five Figure Funnels has turned into a runaway bestseller on Amazon – congratulations! Billed as the ultimate step-by-step guide to selling funnels for no less than five figures, it encourages the use of what you call the 6A framework. Can you give us a little taste of what that’s about?
Mike: Every funnel builder on the planet has the capability and right to charge healthy, profitable prices for their marketing funnels which they build for customers, no matter their experience or time on the market.
The 6A framework is the core 6 components that a business needs to address in order to justify that price. It starts with your Audience, looking at a specific niche. Set the price with the chosen Amount. THEN look at your Assets and build a repeatable process before building your Authority. Then get Attention in the marketplace from leads and close customers with Action.
In my research and experience, I found that businesses who could sell funnels for five figures easily could do so because they were strong in these areas rather than relying on portfolios, referrals, or experience.
Cloudways: The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted customer buying patterns and behaviors. How can agencies shift their digital marketing approach and techniques to adapt accordingly?
Mike: Stop just selling services. Agencies need to define their business by the customers and markets they serve, rather than the services they provide. Rather than just being an agency that does everything, or even just specifically funnels – they need to be specific about the audience they serve and look to other products and services which they can provide from training to content, books, courses, software, templates, worksheets, plugins and more.
Cloudways: You’re known for being a proponent of pricing services high, and then justifying the price tag. Would you say that is a viable strategy for small agencies? What factors should agencies consider when they’re developing their pricing?
Mike: I do believe in pricing high but that’s only because I see most people charging $3000 for a $25,000 project.
If your customers only have $3000 there’s nothing wrong with selling a $3000 product, just make sure it’s profitable.
You need a range of products at different price points. As for setting your price, your price is your price. It’s got nothing to do with the competition or market or what previous customers have said. If you need to earn $250,000 a year and you can only work with 1 customer a month, start charging $25,000 and working out how to justify that price rather than writing a shopping list of things you’ll do and guessing the price on your proposal.
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Cloudways: After all your years of experience in sales and digital marketing, what is your go-to strategy when it comes to lead generation? Also, what worked for you to get clients for your WordPress agency?
Mike: Be hyper-specific about the customer you’re looking to get. It’s no use spending thousands of pounds on ads and lead generation if you’re going to be generic or try to attract “everyone”. You can help anyone, you just can’t help everyone. That’s why a niche is so important because it’s easier to look for customers when you know exactly who they are and then create a hyper-specific offer.
In my agency, we decided we were only going to work with businesses who coached live and in person, but wanted to move to an online scalable course. So we created a free offer to show them how to get 1000 people on their email list to buy.
Before that, we worked with insurance agencies who had a blog and needed more leads. Our initial offer was a free calculator that told them how many visitors could turn into leads for free.
Cloudways: You’ve built a sizable stack of informative videos on YouTube. What are your goals for this video content?
Mike: Audience acquisition. Revenue and leads are of course important, but the single priority for YouTube was audience acquisition. It’s a 3rd party platform so in theory, it could disappear tomorrow, therefore I didn’t want to completely base my revenue and leads on someone else’s platform.
Source: Sell Your Service YouTube Channel
Cloudways: What do ethical marketing practices look like in 2020? Why should brands be motivated to incorporate ethical marketing strategies at all?
Mike: Ethical marketing is an interesting one because it’s a bit vague and weak. I believe that most customers are bad with money and I have a moral obligation to get them to spend money on things that are sensible, such as me, rather than wasting it on a low-value product or course, for example.
However many people would say that’s unethical in itself. Personally I don’t believe that ethics and marketing can ever fully belong together because “ethics” is so personal and subjective.
It’s like dealing with humor or offense. What is fine for one person is offensive to another.
I think that going forward, smart businesses will lean into their own values and beliefs and attract more people who also believe the same. Weak businesses will worry about what other people think is right and try to base their choices around that. To many people, I would be seen as ethical but to many emails, commenters, and other people I am the paradigm of unethical practices. It needs to boil down to the founder or entrepreneur being sure of their version of “good” and ignoring everyone else.
However, I also feel that more people will bend to the whim of outcry and “offense” of a small minority of people and tell themselves they’re being ethical when really they’re just trying not to upset or offend anyone.
Cloudways: You’re slated for an appearance on our webinar (super excited about that!), where you’ll be discussing how marketing agencies can get high-ticket and high-value clients. A sneak peek at what you’ll be getting into?
Mike: Absolutely! I’m very excited. I want to share how no matter your experience, time on the market or past feedback from customers, you deserve to find $10,000+ customers and charge profitably for those services. I’ll show you how to deal with “that’s too expensive” as well as what to put into a five-figure project.
Cloudways: And lastly, who would you like to see us interview next for this series?
Mike: Kristina Romero, she would be the best fit for the Agency Guru interview.
Our props to Mike for his thoughtful answers! Catch Mike on the 15th of September on the Cloudways webinar. And stay tuned for the next installment of Agency Gurus as we continue to bring you top influencers in the game.
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Arsalan, a Digital Marketer by profession, works as a Startups and Digital Agencies Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves all things entrepreneurial and wakes up every day with the desire to enable the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs through his work!