Joe Grushkin, CEO and Founder of the National Association of Local Businesses, Shares How He Started His Business and Now Offers Discount Pricing for Over 100 Business Products and Services

Becky: Hello and welcome! I’m Becky Auer and today I’m so excited to have as my guest Joe Grushkin. Joe is the CEO, President and founder of the National Association of local businesses. Joe welcome to the show, thank you so much for agreeing to be my guest.

Joe:  Well Becky I am not only honored, but very flattered to be here and I am so excited  looking at your background and the groups you work with, I’m honored to be here. You have a wonderful organization and I love how many people you’re helping grow their businesses. 

Becky: Thank you. Well you know what, right back at you, because I know, just in the brief time that we have talked before this interview, that you are just killing it out there working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, kind of like I have over the years, and we’re from the  same mix.  We love helping entrepreneurs, we want to help them reach a higher level of success, income, opportunity, and you have just done all of that throughout your career. So, thank you for that, and thank you on behalf of everyone listening today. 

Joe: Well I’m excited to be here and I can’t wait to share some ideas and thoughts and hopefully we give somebody a nugget that they can take away. And most importantly come back and say ‘hey I heard you and then we did this, and that happened’ and you know everything spun out in the right direction for them. So, it’s very exciting to be here.

Becky: That’s right – the light bulb moment goes off as I like to say, and you’re like ‘ahhhhhhh’.

Joe: When you hear that angelic choir singing on your behalf you know something went right.

Becky: That’s exactly right. That is exactly right. Well give us a little background if you will, on yourself and then what you are working on. And how you came up with what you’re doing right now?

Joe: I would love to, and thank you for asking. Well… If you don’t mind, I’m going to start where it all began for me, and kind of give you a lineage of what I went through and essentially everything I’ve done in my adult career, has prepared me and culminated in what we’re doing currently. So, I don’t want to go way far back, I was born in a log cabin or anything like that. But I started out my career when I was going into my senior year of college and I sold Cutco knives as a summer job. Now are you familiar with Cutco, Becky?

Becky: I am, they’re an unbelievable sales training company and just an all-around great company.

Joe: Yeah, and I was right there in the beginning when they had only 11 sales offices when we got started and when I got started, I was the top rep in New England, and number three in the nation.

Becky: Wow, that’s impressive.

Joe: Yeah, I kind of felt my calling.  My dad was very glad that I found it because he was afraid I was going to graduate and just become a bartender in a casino someplace. So, I ended up doing very well in real dollars back then. I earned about ten thousand dollars at my summer job, which would be the equivalent of about forty or fifty grand today. And I did very well and I really enjoyed it, and I got tagged to go to the manager training program in my senior year. I opened the sales office when I graduated; actually, I had to take a day off from working to go back and get my diploma and graduate. So, it was kind of a wild whirl wind tour, and I became a sales manager in Stanford Connecticut for Cutco, and that summer… well let me digress… the previous summer there was a record breaking year by a summer manager that did a hundred and eighty three thousand dollars. He was the top guy in the company with that performance. And I said I was going to beat that and everybody thought I was just a cocky kid coming in. That year we did over two hundred and ten thousand in sales for the summer, and I earned about forty thousand dollars in income that summer when I graduated from college. To give you an idea – that product today is about 4 times more expensive than it was back then, so the product has increased, the product hasn’t changed and it’s still a great product as it is. But over time the value went up. So, in today’s dollars I would have earned about $120,000 dollars of income that first summer. So, it was a pretty good run. The way I did it though, was through productivity, by training salespeople, and the average sales rep back then did about 800 dollars in sales and that was pretty good because of the way the business was structured. My first summer, my sales people did two thousand dollars per person so we were significantly higher again, 4 times that, that would have been eight thousand dollars per rep in today’s dollars.

Becky: Wow.

Joe: Two years later I moved up to Boston that next summer of that next year,and the following year; two years later my office is doing over $4,000 per sales person. Ironically that would be in the neighborhood of $16,000 today. The average salesperson today, does under five hundred dollars in today’s dollars. So, our productivity has never been challenged and it was the highest it’s ever been in the entire company, in the history of  the 80-year-old company.

Becky: That’s incredible.

Joe: So, we had a really good run. I went up to New England as a Division Manager and started my own office. Three years later we had 18 sales offices throughout New England, all from development from within. And then they asked me to go to Canada as the national sales manager of Canada, and I started out with 5 transplanted managers.  Seven years later we had fifty-five offices and 5550 salespeople in the last year I was up there. We actually trained over 20,000 salespeople in my career, and I was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1991. I retired in 1997, at the age of 37 years old so it was it was a fun ride.

Becky: Were you inherently a good sales person? Or how did you know what to do?

Joe: You know, I didn’t know. I needed a summer job, I was bartending for the summer.  In between semesters and I just needed something to do during the day, because my mom would yell at me even though I made good money bartending.  She’d go “go get a job, go get a job.” So, a friend of mine started working with them so I went to the training and next thing you know, I was running the office my first summer. At the end of the summer I was helping the manager run the office. I really got the bug, you know, was I a good salesperson? I don’t know, it was a great program, it was a great training ground, and there’s a systemic process. When I became a manager myself, I saw areas to make it better and I applied that to what I thought would be beneficial to people who were in my shoes just a year earlier. So, I saw ways to make it better and that’s why the productivity skyrocketed the way it did.

Becky: I think it’s such a key point for our listeners that I don’t want to blow over it.  You really had a process or a system to follow from them.

Joe: Right.

Becky: But then you just put your own spin on it and made it better, and isn’t that just the lifeblood of entrepreneurism?  It’s like you take the exact thing that’s working and you just make it better and you make it your own.

Joe: Well that’s what I did.  But to amplify your point, I want to go back to the fact that that first summer, I did it the way they told me to do it. I just did it with my own personality and style and you know there’s an old story about salespeople. The story goes that there was an insurance company that had a sales guy who was the best sales guy 3 years running. They had hundreds and hundreds of salespeople, but this guy just beat everybody by triple every year. I mean he was 3 times more than everybody else, every year, year in and year out. So, they brought in this consulting company to study this guy, and they watched what he ate, what he drank, and how much he slept, and what his family was like, and then they went all the way into the background, all the way to kindergarten to talk to his teachers. They did a deep dive on him and they put together this huge analysis.  It cost millions of dollars as the story goes. And they did this analysis. And when they boiled it down at the end of the day, he just did what they told them at 3 times more activity. So, when you look at what people do, the person who’s going to go out and work harder and focus on the basics and focus on the skill set that they laid out as a success formula, anybody can be successful. But you know it’s the can-do mindset that gets you there.  It’s the mindset of doubt, apprehension, lethargy and distractions. I always say you know the biggest problem with most independent salespeople is they’re going to get their dogs butt shaved, because that’s more important than going out and making sales calls. So the idea here is that I just went out and blindly did what they told me to do. They said ‘call people this many times a day’ I did. They said ‘go out and see people and prospect’ and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and ‘read the script this way, and put your personality into it’ and that’s what made me successful with that career.

Becky: That’s an amazing story in and of itself. So, congratulations first of all because that’s unbelievable accomplishment.

Joe: Well the story goes on because when I retired, I bought a franchise, and this took me from going out not only in home selling and training people to sell in home and the franchise sold business to business shipping services. Now everybody remembers Airborne Express if you’re old enough, and Airborne had a contract with the franchisor they were a franchisee. And the franchisor got a discount and had a license to resell their services. So, we would go into small businesses, so whether you’re paying FedEx or UPS and it’d be eighteen dollars to send out a letter. We’ll charge you twelve and we got it at six. So, Airborne would pick up the package, we would bill the customer, we collect the money and pay for what they used. I did that for about 15 years. I had 15 sales people in my market and we owned 5 franchises. My dad and I were partners.  I ran it for about 10 years after he retired, and I knew it was time to sell it and we sold it for a nice 7 figure number. And I thought I would retire again. And this retirement thing never seems to work out for me for some reason. So, when I retired, I was relaxing and my phone started ringing and people would say “Can you help me with a business plan?” “Can you help with the training the crew and marketing online activity?” And I ended up a business coach for about 10 years.  As a business coach I was working with small businesses because I just spent 15 years selling to them. I knew what their issues were so now I was able to help them with their mindset, coaching them with ideas, and training and guiding them through that.  I helped them navigate the sales processes to help them grow their businesses. And in 2007 I noticed flat screen T.V.’s getting bigger and cheaper. I also knew that radio, TV, newspapers and magazines were dying and very difficult to work with and very expensive with very low results, especially for small businesses. And the one thing my clients kept saying to me was “How do I get more local business?” So, I noticed the trend of the T.V.’s and I said “I wonder if we can put advertising on the TV at a low price so local businesses can get exposure?” So, this is before Times Square had digital walls everywhere, this was before out of home marketing was really prevalent everywhere with flat screens. So, we hung up the TV in the local deli of my town and between Thanksgiving and New Year’s I sold 30 ads to go on that screen. So, if anybody ever says you can’t sell between Thanksgiving and New Year’s please have them contact me, I’ll talk to them for you.

Becky: Everybody takes a break around that time and you’re out there selling.

Joe:  Exactly, I mean it didn’t matter. I just knew that we had a great concept. And to fast forward from there, 3 years later we had 350 screens around the country, a network of independent sales people selling ads on screens, and we were doing over 2 million in sales in our third year. So, it was really going gangbusters until I noticed 2 things happened. One was I was sitting in the deli looking up at the screen. I looked down and there was a line of people but they weren’t looking at the screen.  They were all looking at this black device in their palm of their hand, it’s 2010 and this interesting thing came out; it was called the smart phone!  Everybody had one all of the sudden and I knew that it took the eyeballs off the screens and on to the palm of their hand. The other thing that I noticed was our customers -and we had thousands of them across the country – started calling us up saying “Love the screens, but what’s a tweet?  And how do I use Facebook?” And we really didn’t have an answer for them at the time. So, I got together with my daughter and her boyfriend. They were graduating from college.  He is now her husband. And I said to them, “I think this face thing is going to be big” They still give me a hard time for calling it a face thing, because I didn’t really know what was.

Becky: Right.

Joe: And nobody did. I mean did any business owner…

Becky: Nobody did.

Joe: Nobody understood in 2010 what this social thing was.  Nobody understood the internet thing.  They just knew that it was out there and they didn’t know how to deal with it. So, I said to the kids “let’s figure out how to do this.” So, to make a long story short, we cobbled together software that didn’t really do what we needed it to do.  We re-purposed it to do what we needed it to do. And we started to expand our network of customers to manage social media. A matter of fact in 2011 the words ‘Social Media Manager’ were not even in Wikipedia, it didn’t exist.

Becky: Wow.

Joe: So, we were really on the front end of this and we started managing social media for small businesses by posting content to Facebook and monitoring and responding to reviews on Yelp. Matter of fact Facebook and Google didn’t even have review sections at that time. And we would build the Google page so they can get found and this is revolutionary. And for a few hundred bucks a month, our customers expanded nationwide, again through a network of independent salespeople. So, over the next 6 years we expanded our product line because Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn all came out with social sites, and review sites came out and we managed all those platforms for our customers in addition to listings services and website design, SEO and Email Marketing and advertising through Google, and Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn. In other words, we became a full-service agency over the next 6 years, with over 80 different products and services available, specifically for small businesses at really discounted pricing. So, we made it so that it was affordable.  It was US based support and then it was easy for small business owners who didn’t have the time, know how, or ability to be consistent. Again I noticed the trends, and as an entrepreneur you’ve got to keep your head on a swivel and notice what’s going on around you. You can’t have blinders on. And I noticed that in 2018 if I walked into a business with a sales person or whatever and talk about social media they’d say “You’re the 5th person in here today” Or I go to a networking event and there were 5 people who stood up and said “I do social media, I do web sites, I do this, I do that” And I said these people were in high school when I got started.

Becky: Right.

Joe: Anybody who couldn’t hold a job became a social media manager all of a sudden, I’m not offending anybody who does it, because there are a lot of good ones out there, but there were a lot of people who were just getting into it, and they were changing the understanding, and the message that was being sent out. So, I realized we needed to differentiate ourselves as a company.  I started to connect with businesses that provided services to small business and local business owners. And then I realized that local businesses and independent businesses weren’t getting discounts.  They weren’t getting volume benefits and they weren’t getting service like big companies were. So, we cobbled together about 45 products and services from different vendors and put them all under one umbrella called the National Association of Local Businesses. The National Association of Local Businesses provides over 100 products and services at discounted pricing, normally reserved for much larger companies. To our collective buying power, we bring together these top-quality products and services so that local independent businesses can be more profitable, productive, and promoted to more customers. Membership in the association is totally free. So, all they do is pay for the services they use and when they do, they’re getting better pricing than they can get if they weren’t part of the membership. So, we’ve expanded this across the country through what we call an Ambassador Network. And our Ambassadors get access to these products and services so they can sell them to local businesses. Or if they’re already selling to local businesses, now they can bring in 100 additional products. So, they become the go to person in that community for everything marketing related. So, now we have…

Becky:  If I’m hearing you correctly it’s almost like that business person who comes into the National Association of Local Businesses with the you, like a partner, almost can become his own agency.

Joe: Correct.

Becky: And the agency offers all of those things because he has people to fulfill.

Joe: Without having to fulfill that themselves. So, for instance, not only the social media products and services that we have under the Max Exposure brand, but they can provide accounting, business, funding. So, let’s say somebody wants to do a ten-thousand-dollar advertising campaign, we have a partner that will provide them a credit line to be able to get that cash to be able to do that advertising. We have credit card processing with an average speed of 2.2 per transaction or 0 per transaction. So, we have some really cool programs to get pricing down to as low as zero for the merchant. We have printing and automobile concierge service, so somebody can get a car for their daughter who’s going to college, or fleet for their sales team. We have all kinds of products and services, a LinkedIn consultant and software that will help a business prospect on LinkedIn through automation. Could you imagine sending out 100 individual messages a day to connect with people in a specific market or group, so that you can target them, connect with them, and then engage with them through messenger, rather than just advertising? And that software cost less than 100 dollars a month. So, we have some really cool stuff on our store where we have over 100 products and services. One of the coolest things we have Becky, is a Tele-medicine program. Have you ever heard of Tele-medicine before? 

Becky: Well, no, but I can only assume it’s a doctor who jump on like a Zoom call, or on the telephone with you, and diagnose. 

Joe: Could you imagine the mom who has 3 kids, it’s 3 in the morning and that’s the only time of the day that your 4-year-old gets the ear infection. So, you have 3 kids, dad is traveling, it’s the middle of the winter, it’s cold and nasty out, and your kid is screaming with an ear infection. So, you’ve got to get them all in snowsuits, load them all into the car, take them to the ER, or urgent care and deal with that. Could you imagine instead of that, logging on, having a video chat with a board certified doctor, in this country, having that conversation, they diagnose it, they call or send the prescription to your local CVS or Walgreens and you can pick up that prescription right in your neighburhood, and have that kid taken care of without having to take them all to the doctor and sit in a waiting room. That program we offer to businesses, so they can offer it to their employees. Now, the real benefit is that a local pizza place that has 4 waitresses and 2 cooks, he can’t afford an 800 dollar a month insurance package to keep his employees as part of this company. But could you imagine if he offered them Tele-medicine for $100 a month, he pays or maybe he splits it with them, whatever he wants to do it’s 99 bucks a month and here’s the punch line, they can use it, unlimited use for their entire family?

Becky: Wow.

Joe: So, services like that that most people don’t even know exist, we have traditional medical insurance that will cut your rates in half and it’s in 42 states. We have all kinds of really cool stuff that most business owners don’t even know exist; IT support and we even have a guy who deliver hot tubs anywhere in the country. So, you know, our range of products and services is really very, very diverse, and we’ve built it with the mindset that its time small business owners get some benefit – that they’re not just a random independent businesses, that we should consolidate them all together, and bring them tremendous services so they, in turn, have the opportunity to not only save money, but level the playing field with the big guys.

Becky: So, it’s for independent business owners of any sort! You do feel like you’re all alone out there, and I think that a service like you’re talking about, that brings businesses under one umbrella to get those discounts, and to get those special deals is freaking amazing.

Joe: Yeah. And you know what the cool thing is? I hope I don’t spawn to many other competitors but there’s nobody doing this. There’s nobody who’s pulled together the range of services that we develop, and even if there was, the real beauty that most people, the entrepreneurs of the world see, is the ambassador opportunity for people to engage with this. Earlier you had mentioned that somebody who becomes a partner with this, they become that ‘go to’ resource. Well that’s the real magic to this because an umbrella with all those products under it is only as good as the number of people who are introduced to it. And our Ambassador Network is the real magic to this. There might be some big company that tries to do this online, but people want to touch, and see, and smell the people that they deal with. I think the pendulum has swung too far to one side, where everything went online, like the Amazons of the world and it’s starting to swing back where they want to do business with people, especially business owners.  They want to take your temperature before they give you their money, they just don’t want to click a button. And if they’re getting as good if not better rates than they could find online, they would rather deal with a person, even if it’s a little bit higher in price, they’d rather deal with a person. 

Becky: Yes.

Joe: You agree with that?

Becky:  I 100% agree with that, and I think you’re right, I think things are switching back over. I mean there’s always convenience, right?  There’s always something that’s hard to find, you check Amazon, it’s here in 2 days, things are good but, if it’s something where you can support a local business or support a local business owner, I do think that that is a priority for some people.

Joe:  I think its priority for a lot of people.  Look I understand a mom who’s in the car and she’s got one going to soccer practice, one going to cello lessons, and one in the bucket in the back seat. I get that it’s hard for her to pull over, take the kid out of the bucket, pick up the other kids, and still go into the hardware store to buy a mop, I get that. While she’s waiting in line, she can hit a button, and it’s going to be delivered by a drone before she even gets home, okay. So, I get that, it’s hard too… but when you need something and you need to talk to somebody and you want to make sure it’s specifically your business there’s nobody better than Ace Hardware. Because they’re there right in your neighborhood, they’re your friends and your neighbors. So, about dealing with those local businesses that’s the beauty in working with people. And I think business to business sales is going to be the same way. Business owners – they don’t trust what they see online any longer, they want to look somebody in the eye and have that person they’re talking to be accountable to them, they want to be able to pick up the phone and say “Hey Charlie, I need some help with this” Or “I want to make sure that I’m getting this from my relationship with your company” And Charlie’s going to take care of that. Sending an e-mail to somebody that you know is offshore is never going to be the same. So, our ambassadors are of that face of the business in that community and our ambassador network is beautiful because it pays commissions for the life of the customer.

And I’ll repeat that, this is the closest thing a sales person can get to long term residual income, because as long as they are connected to that customer, and the customers buying products and services and using them on a monthly or recurring basis, the commissions are paid the Monday after the sale is created. And that becomes a powerful income stream for an independent sales person. So, ambassadors come in two flavors; there’s the B2B salesperson, they’re out selling, you know advertising, or insurance, or consulting services, or they may be selling magazine ads, or radio ads, they’re independent salespeople typically. And consultants are great resources for ambassadors because they’re always talking to people, and they’re always being asked how can I fix this? And when they refer the products and services under the National Association of Local Businesses umbrella, they get a piece of that action for the life of that customer. And that commission can be 30 percent all the way up to 60 percent depending on their level with the company, and if you go to our web site you can hear more about that, but I’m just giving range. But those commissions continue for the life of the customer, and we have customers that go all the way back to 2011 when we started. So, they stick around for a long, long time.

Becky: So, if you are an owner of a business, just so I have this straight; If you’re an owner of a business and you have employees whether it’s 1 or 100, you can become an Ambassador to the National Association of Local Businesses through you, and generate commissions on services that your employees use anyway?

Joe: Well let me clarify that for you. If you’re a sales person and you’re selling to businesses, you can become an ambassador with the National Association of Local Businesses. So, let’s use a business coach named Becky Auer, okay. 

Becky: Okay. 

Joe: You know, just a random name: Becky Auer works with business owners. So, if Becky Auer was an ambassador and those business owners said Becky, you know anybody who does a web site? And you said “yeah, the National Association of Local Business, let me connect you and create an appointment for you with them” That business owner buys a website, Becky Auer, gets the commission on that. And your client, in this case, would get a better deal than if she went out and shopped 10 other companies.

Becky: I see.

Joe: You follow that?

Becky:  Yes.

Joe: So, now the other side of that, is let’s say there’s a company that sells 2 businesses, let’s call them a copy machine sales company, you know they sell Xerox copiers or whatever. And they’re out talking to businesses. So maybe, let me use a better analogy, let’s say they sell magazine advertising, okay?

Becky: Okay.

Joe: And the magazine goes to the community and they sell advertising in the community, well when they walk in the door to a business, it’s either buy an ad, yes; buy an ad, no, it’s a binary sales process.

Becky: Right.

Joe: If they walk in and they say they want to buy an ad, when they come back next month what is there to sell them?

Becky: Nothing.

Joe:  There’s only another ad to sell them, or they buy a year’s worth of advertising. They never see that person again.

Becky: That’s exactly what happens.

Joe: Now if they buy an ad, they can come back next month and say “hey let’s take a look at your credit card rates, or would you like to get a digital ad where everyone who receives the magazine in that town; everyone in that town will also see an ad on Facebook for your business. Now they can sell them a Facebook ad.

Becky: Right, they can literally become the ‘go to’ person for that business owner. They don’t have to go anywhere else other than to call me and say “hey I want this” Now what if you don’t have that type of business in your association?

Joe: I think we have it. 

Becky: Oh, really you have that many? Because I did not look at the website.

Joe: Yeah. You know, throw it up, throw it up, give me an example.

Becky: Facebook ads?

Joe: We got it.

Becky: Printing?

Joe: Got it.

Becky: Wow let me think.

Joe: We have insurance, we have…. you name it, we have it. And if we don’t, we have sources to find it.

Becky: Okay.

Joe: So, you know. We’re expanding cautiously. We take on only vetted service providers.

Becky: I was going to ask, since you don’t want to get just fly by nights. You know, you want them so that they have the credentials.

Joe: Our service providers, out of the 45, I’ve known 40 of them personally for over 20 years. In addition to that they have to be capable of servicing a nationwide audience at this juncture. And they have to have proven that they can give us better pricing, and they’re contracted to make sure that our customers get some kind of better pricing, or additional services, over and above what a normal price would give them. So, we’ve vetted them, we’ve contracted them, and they are committed to the long term of our association. The other side of the coin is, the ones I didn’t know, were referred to me, checked out, we’ve purchased from them, we made sure they had the goods.  We did our due diligence in other words.

Becky: Yes, for sure.

Joe: So you’re from Pittsburgh.  The next generation will be like this:  when we have a footprint in Pittsburgh of enough ambassadors and enough engagement, we’re going to look for high quality local providers. So, we’ll have landscapers, and painters, and roofers, and car detailing, and local housecleaning, and local type businesses to restaurants and hospitality. Local that will give our members an additional discount, but we’ll be able to get to the retail residential type consumers. And we’ll have them on our website.  The local products and services through the National Association of Local Businesses.

Becky: Well I have to say I am impressed. This is amazing.

Joe: Well, we’ve been working at it for a while and we continue to focus on the next generation. We continue to focus on what the opportunity can bring. And Becky, to be very frank with you, and I don’t talk pie in the sky for anybody… this is a 6-figure income for an Ambassador. An Ambassador who makes just 2 sales a week with averages that we already have proven out, can generate 80 to 100 thousand dollars in the first year. Now because of the residual, we’ll see well upwards of 150 to 200 thousand in the second year. So, we’ve proven this out.  It’s a real opportunity, and just so I can do a shameless promotion if I may, we are selling territories so that people can actually own the business in a county within our business. And those are the people who are going to get the 60 percent commission, the owners, and then they can hire full time sales people to work for them. Now follow the thinking here.  You hire somebody for 350, 400 bucks a week, to be out there talking to business owners, and pay them 10 percent of the commissions on what they generate.

Becky: Right.

Joe: So we pay 60 percent on those sales. You pay your salespeople what you agreed to pay them and there’s 50 percent left over for you to pay them. Now if that 30 something to 40 something person moves on to something else, that 60 percent of their business stays with you.

Becky: You know all you need is a really great sales person out there knocking on doors for you, when you can really as a whole have very passive income where you’re really not providing any other services other than your sale person out there.

Joe: But you’re thinking too small my friend.

Becky: Okay.

Joe: A territory is thirty thousand businesses, that’s 5 to 7 sales people in those territories. Think about Pittsburgh, and we both lived there. I was in the South Hills, you are in the North Hills.  If you’re from the South Hills you don’t go through the tunnel to work every day unless you’re going to an office downtown?

Becky: That is correct.

Joe: If you’re from the North Hills, you’re not going through the tunnel to the South Hills to work every day. So, there’s probably somebody on the East Side of the South Hills, somebody on the left side of the South Hills. You’ve got 2 or 3 people on the North Side. Maybe one in Squirrel Hill because that’s kind of a very tight community. So, does Shadyside. So, you’ve got people working in different parts of the neighborhood and you figure about four to five thousand businesses per sales person. So I worked in Westport, Connecticut for close to 20 years, working with business owners. There were 1200 businesses in Westport and I did not tap into all of them. So, you figure 5000 businesses is going to keep one person busy for a very, very long time. So, in doing so, the owner of the territory will build up their business to the point where it’s generating a couple a million dollars in revenue just to the business owner. And then that business owner, like I did with my franchise, can sell that to either another licensed territory owner, or somebody new, or let the employees who work for him buy it together, or they can give it to that kid that was in high school when they started and is now graduated from college. They give it to them and they pay them for the rest of their lives. So, this is truly the way to own something without having to build it, without having to warehouse it, without needing a huge complex, or staff people, or building websites, or credit card processing, or computer programs. This is a business in a box. 

Becky: That’s exactly what it is, it’s a business in a box.

Joe: It’s a 60,40 split where the lion’s share going to the marketing arm of the system.

Becky: And Joe we have to wrap up soon, but tell me one more thing. Do you have, you know, the collateral for this?  So, let’s just say I bought a territory and I wanted to have a sales person out there, do you have the collateral marketing information available so they can get started right away? Or would I have to create that?

Joe:  Everything is created in a back office. The training is all modularized training, so that if you have somebody to train, they would log on and they would know the elevator speech and the mindset of getting started in less than an hour. They could be out talking to business owners 2 hours later, and then come back with 15 or 20 leads. Watch module 2 which is 20 minutes, and know how to enter them into the system.  They’ll start getting e-mails which are all pre-written for the Ambassadors. The customer gets the e-mails, opens them, the Ambassador is notified of those e-mails and then there’s a script in section 3 on how to schedule an appointment with those people. We’re getting a 60 percent appointment acceptance rate from people that we talk to. I said sixty, that’s 6-0.   Six out of ten people accept an appointment, because it’s the National Association of Local Businesses calling.  Then we sit down with our client, have a conversation, you’ll go through our guided conversation to identify what their needs are, what can we help them with, and to point them to the best products and services available to them to help their needs. And then this is where the magic is… our Ambassadors don’t have to know 100 different products, they just have to know how to point people to the right people who can then do the selling.

Becky: Well it does sound incredible. So, tell me where people can find out more information about that.

Joe: Sure. It’s .  The National Association of Local Businesses dot com. And on there you can click on the opportunity tab, you can also click on the product tab and see all the products we have. But on the opportunity tab there’s all the information.  It’s totally transparent Becky. We don’t hide anything.  Our Ambassador benefits packages with all 3 entry points are there. All of the contracts are linked to that, so you can see the territory owner contracts.  You can see the Ambassador agreement by clicking ‘enroll now.’ There are videos with me talking and there’s an opportunity to find out more about the sales process and how we do everything. Everything’s transparent. If somebody wants to get started, they can click a button, and be started literally the next day.

Becky: That is amazing. I am so thrilled that I got you on this call. Because it really is unbelievable. Before we hang up, when did you start that? 

Joe: The business started back in 2011 with the inception of Max Exposure.  But it really evolved in 2018. It took over a year to pull together all the service providers. I refer to it as the Field of Dreams, so if I built it, they would come, and they are the Ambassadors to bring it to the communities. Let me also throw out one thing before we wrap up, when somebody enrolls,  if they could put the code word ‘Becky’ in as to who the Ambassador was, I’d just like to know where the person came from, so I can call Becky, and say thank you to her. So, if they could do that, I appreciate it. 

Becky: That is incredible and I so appreciate you sharing that with me and with our audience, and for having that foresight to think that all through, because what an opportunity it is for even just small business people like myself, or really anybody out there. If listeners want to have a secondary passive stream of income it sounds like this may be the perfect opportunity.

Joe: Well not only that, but people look at it as, let me kick the tires a little bit, but the real entrepreneurs are the ones who say “Holy crap, ground floor opportunity”? I mean if you have the opportunity to give Bill Gates five thousand dollars in 1997 when he was just getting started you might have thought twice about it, but now would you do it? And you know ground floor things are really very rare and real entrepreneurs see that. They see what the future is, they do their due diligence, and they look at it carefully.  But when you see how low the investment really is, and the upside potential for what can really be done, this is not a part time ‘kick the tires’ type of thing. This is something that will generate a significant income in 3 – 4 months. So, if somebody has the wherewithal to be able to keep the lights on for a couple of months, they can be very well set in under 6 months. And there’s very few businesses you can talk about that could be generating a sustainable income in as little as you know 6 months. 

Becky: That is so true, so true. Well this has been my pleasure to talk to you and get to know you a little better.

Joe: Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much, I’m so flattered and I do appreciate that. And Becky, if you ever want to have me come back, I’m happy to help your team if you ever want to do a live conversation where people can do Q and A.  I’ll be happy to come back and assist you any time. I believe in you and what you are doing, and how much you’re helping your mastermind groups, your clients and the people who follow you because you’re a winner and I got that from you the minute I met you the other day. So, thank you so much.

Becky:  That’s so nice of you to say, and thank you so much. For everyone listening, I would please say to reach out to Joe to find out more about he and his business. It sounds absolutely incredible, especially if you are a small business owner.

Becky Auer

Becky Auer is host of the Spotlight Success Series and contributor to Six Figure Coach Magazine, Small Business Trendsetters and Business Innovators Magazine covering and sharing success tips and strokes of genius from successful entrepreneurs, industry leaders, marketing experts who share their failures, successes, resources and strategies.