Jonathan Pack is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and founder of the Partner Channel at Yext. Following his first job out of college selling knives door-to-door, Jon spent the next decade doing comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York while working on Comedy Central’s web development, video production, and comedy writing. In a moment of career malaise and creative fatigue, he decided to return to sales and joined Yext, which at the time was a tiny start-up where he sold over the phone to small businesses. Jon has spent the last 10 years at Yext, where he also founded the Partner Channel, Yext’s agency reseller program that helps agencies increase their clients’ visibility in online listings and searches. Since the launch of the Partner Channel, Yext has gone public and grown to thousands of employees globally.
Jon joins me today to share the principles and advice that advisors can implement in their own sales process. He defines what a “mutual plan” is and shares a powerful tool to effectively manage a sales conversation, from pitch to closing. He underscores the role that digital presence plays in an advisor’s business success, describes what Yext is, and how this platform can help advisors and other businesses increase their visibility online. He also discusses his process for prospecting and qualifying clients — and highlights the importance of bringing authenticity into sales conversations.
“Be authentic. Staying in harmony with yourself and ensuring that you’re putting out your true self is important in having great sales relationships.” – Jonathan Pack
This week on The Model FA Podcast:
● Jon’s background and how his career in comedy informs his sales process
● The role of authenticity in sales conversations and processes
● The window of prospecting and how Jon uses the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify good prospects
● The impact of customization and adding a personal touch to cold emails and prospecting
● The great mystery of overqualified and underqualified prospects
● How to make a great follow-up to sales pitches
● Dissecting the incredible intentionality in Jon’s follow-up email
● What a “mutual plan” is and why it’s an effective way to manage a sales conversation from pitch to closing
● The importance of digital presence and searchability for advisors
● Why businesses need to update their information on directories occasionally
● The reason businesses need to add rich content (like photos) on online listings and directories
● Book: Watership Down by Richard Adams
● Book: The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
Our Favorite Quotes:
● “Don’t sell by being “salesy” but by simply advancing relationships and making relational deposits along the way.” – David DeCelle
● “The demonstration of your due diligence is as important as your value proposition.” – Jonathan Pack
● “If you’re not listed in online directories, clients whom you’re meant to serve won’t find you.” – David DeCelle
Connect with Jonathan Pack:
● Email: [email protected]
About the Model FA Podcast
The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams.
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President of Model FA, David DeCelle
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Jonathan Pack 00:07
I will say this, this is a statistic is that 73% of high intent search “financial advisor near me” is going to flow through third party apps and directories before they land on your website. And the biggest issue is, the data on these sites is incorrect, or it's not compelling. It's not managed, it's not taken care of, and you lose the opportunity to capture that top of funnel high intent search for your services.
David DeCelle 00:41
Welcome Model FA's. I'm very excited for our guest that we have today, Jonathan Pack. Before I dive into his introduction and the meat of the show, so to speak, as a reminder, with our new format of the podcast, if this is the first one that you're tuning into, we do have really two main parts. So the first one is hearing about our guest’s backstory, as well as their area of expertise. And then as we close out the initial part of the show, we're going to be heading into the after-hours portion, which is all about, quite frankly, just loosening up a little bit, having some fun, and trying to do a good job humanizing ourselves and our guests. That way, you can get a sense of who we really are outside of just a normal format of the podcast. So without further ado, part of the reason why I'm excited to have Jonathan on the show, outside of the fact that the service that him and his company provide, that we're actually working on a partnership right now to be able to bring that into the fold with Model FA as well. But not only is the service that we're going to be talking about today, unbelievable, but I've said this to Jon multiple times throughout our relationship so far, which I think dates back to like June or July, or something along those lines. But Jon brought me through probably the best experience that, the best sales experience I should say, that I've ever been on the receiving end of. So we're gonna be unpacking that a little bit more, and hopefully, there's some principles that Jon has used that you can all implement in your business as well. So Jonathan Pack, his first sales experience was selling knives door to door, his first summer off from college. Is that Cutco, I'm guessing?
Cutco. Yep, yep.
So you definitely get to deal with rejection and all that stuff along the way, going door to door. He then spent the next 10 years doing comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York while working also in web development at Comedy Central. We’ll have all Jon's social links in the show notes, and we'll also give him an opportunity to share those towards the end of the show as well. But you got to connect with him on Instagram specifically; there's been a handful of videos that he's released recently that has me chuckling so hopefully you'll find some humor in those as well. In a moment of career malaise, as well as some creative fatigue, he decided to return to sales and joined, at the time, a tiny startup in the Chelsea Market called Yext, y-e-x-t, selling over the phone to small businesses. That turned into a 10-year career during which he founded the partner channel at Yext, which is what we Model FA are going through right now, and really, that's seeking agencies and companies like ours to bring their service to market and help their clients get found in search. The company has since gone public, so turned from a tiny company about a decade ago to going public and grown to thousands of employees across the globe. Jonathan, welcome to the show.
Jonathan Pack 03:50
Great to be here.
David DeCelle 03:51
Jonathan Pack 03:51
Thank you for having me.
David DeCelle 03:52
Of course, so tell us a little bit about your background. So I actually have a good friend of mine. I'll give him a plug right here, Justin Hoff, who I do some side consulting for as it relates to branding and marketing, and he's a comedian as well. So I always love coming across folks like you because it's not an overly buttoned up show and super stuffy or anything like that. I guess going through your comedy career specifically, what were some of the things that you learned along that journey that you feel as if you've been able to implement into your sales process?
Jonathan Pack 04:26
You know, this is something I've been thinking about a lot because, to your point, I've been putting out a lot more content again and I've gotten back into a creative flow. The biggest thing is, I think is authenticity, and staying in harmony with yourself; making sure that the person that you're putting out there and putting forward is your true self. That is a must in comedy, and I have found that it's been instrumental in building relationships and building rapport and having great sales relationships too.
David DeCelle 05:00
Awesome. Now, as it relates to sales process, building relationships, building rapport, I think all those things can be tied into one another. As I mentioned when I opened up the show, when you brought me through your sales process, it was phenomenal. I think it was a nice mixture of asking great questions as well as delivering value and proper follow up. So you were very professionally persistent as opposed to a nuisance. You never really followed up about the follow up about the follow up; there was always something included in your emails. And I was actually just reading through your emails this morning as a refresher from last summer through now, and everything that you laid out was fantastic. So I guess why don't we just use you and I as the example that we kind of talk through. So, you had reached out to me initially, I want to say, was it a cold email or was it LinkedIn? I'm drawing the blank there.
Jonathan Pack 05:50
I think it was a cold email.
David DeCelle 05:53
Okay. Cold email.
Jonathan Pack 05:54
It was the height of the pandemic. I think that's the moment when everybody was afraid to be prospecting and reaching out, because they were afraid it may be a bad time. And that's certainly true, but I remember catering this email, making it empathetic, and making sure that it was sort of a soft, friendly touch that was like, hey, I know things are crazy, but maybe we can have a conversation.
David DeCelle 06:18
Now, when you had reached out to me, I'm actually just going to pull up the email as we're chatting right now. But when you had initially reached out to me, how did you go about, I guess, finding me? So as I'm sitting here and I'm an advisor, say listening to this show, I need to know who's a good prospect to reach out to and how to identify if they would be qualified or not. So tell me a little bit about some of the pre-work that you did prior to touching base.
Jonathan Pack 06:46
Right, and I do remember this specific window of prospecting. What I typically use, the tools that in my toolkit, one of the essential tools is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. From there, I can hone in on prospective accounts in any vertical I want using keyword search. And one of the segments, and this is a wide call to action for any FA listeners to this podcast, one of the things that I had clued into through other partnerships in the financial advisor space is that it's a vertical that has been slower to adapt and slower to move into digital. I think the pandemic has changed that a lot, but I think there's a lot of opportunity there for financial advisors to step into the new digital world and get discovered and get found. So I had sort of targeted this specific vertical at that time. And of course, the first thing I do, I see what the setup is, what does Sales Navigator tell me about this company; but of course, the real facts and information on the website. And I remember perusing your website, and you and I had subsequent conversations where you sort of broke out these channels within Model FA. But there were several items in there where I was like, this could really make sense as a value add for your clients that you're consulting with.
David DeCelle 08:05
What I loved about your initial outreach as well is it wasn't just a, hey, David, this is Jon from Yext. We’d love to have a call and learn more about your business and see if we can be a resource for you. But what you had done was, based on a level of research you did in advance, you included that in the email itself. So I forget the exact wording, but it was something to the effect of, hey, David, Jonathan Pack from Yext. Hope you're doing well. As I was doing some research on your company over at Model FA, I noticed… And then you started listing all the different channels that we have with our FMO, and our TAMP, and our consulting and things along those lines. And you hit on those specifically and said, based on what I'm presuming the audience is that you're serving, and the services that you provide based on your website, I really think that Yext could be a great resource for you to help your clients become more visible, as well as increase your revenue as a company. Would you be open to chatting? I remember that, and obviously I’m summarizing and paraphrasing the actual outreach. But I remember that vividly because so often I get the spammy, sort of automated copy and pasted type of messages via email or via LinkedIn; it's just like, you can sniff that stuff out from a mile away, and I’d imagine that potentially some of your email was templated, from other outreaches that you do, potentially, but you added that personal aspect of that. So I guess, how important do you think that personal aspect is in your initial outreach? The reason why I ask is because it's a bandwidth thing, right? Advisors may say, oh, I'm too busy to do that. So how do you know when if that's appropriate so that you can be obviously efficient with your time?
Jonathan Pack 10:06
Yeah, you're talking about the great sales mystery of over qualifying versus under qualifying and making sure that you're straddling those two. The first introductory paragraph, I can pull that through as many emails as I need to, but it does not take that long to visit a website and understand where this fits in. There are strategic level partnerships that I work with where that may be more complex, but in general, bounce off to the website. And the demonstration of due diligence is as important as anything, as the value proposition. Because one of the things that I'm experimenting with now is video prospecting, and part of that is the same reason. If I can hold up a sign with your name on it, and get your attention, and make you realize that I spent however long putting together this video message for you, specifically for you; that customization is so meaningful, and I think that makes an impact right away.
David DeCelle 11:03
Yeah. And to your point, I don't think it takes a lot of time. You can go to our website quickly, ModelFA.com and look at Work With Us and see the four different channels that we engage with people, in under 30 seconds, and be able to deduce what some of those things are. And if you know your product well enough, which obviously you do, you've been there for a decade; so as long as you know your product well enough, you can figure out how to kind of put the pieces of the puzzle together, and quite frankly, start to plant a seed the in the casting of the vision for me in that outreach of, okay, how can we do this together? And the first conversation that we had, what I enjoyed about it is, it wasn't like a super stuffy sort of sales pitch or anything like that. I remember going through and you were doing a good job asking questions to get a better understanding around our business, which as I went through that, you perked up a little bit, cuz you're like, oh, I didn't realize they had this over here as well and it could obviously increase the opportunity in working together. But then it left me wondering more about your company, and because I think the Law of Reciprocity kicks in over time, where if you're doing a great job asking questions, I then want to ask those same questions. And then ask you, towards the end I think I said something like, so what are the next steps from here? What can we be focusing on? And then you follow up then with, well, what do you think would be helpful for next steps? I just want to read this email that you had sent me verbatim, because I think it's a great follow up for a couple different reasons. So I'm gonna read it, and then I want to start dissecting it with you, and I want to know where you learned this from, and how often you're actually doing this with folks. And on top of that, what’s some of the feedback that you've gotten, because I'd imagine you've received additional good feedback. So back on June 19, 2020, at 3:04pm, to be exact, Jon had shot me an email that says: Hi, David, thanks for the call on Wednesday. I wanted to get you a quick summary of what we spoke about, (so just make a mental note there) and get your thumbs up on an agenda for Monday. (Make a note there.) He then goes through the summary of our call, I'll save the time, and not go through that per se, but basically talks about the various things that we had hit on in that conversation. Then there was another paragraph that said: For our conversation on Monday, what do you think about spending the call going over how local search works, then dive into the product piece, listings, etc. From there, we can set up a second call with you and Patrick (Patrick Brewer) to learn more about your plans for a directory, provide examples of similar projects we've done, and see how we can help. Let me know what you think. And then PS, on a personal note, feel free to follow me on Instagram @JonPack. And just so you know, it's Jon, J-o-n, not J-o-h-n and Pack is P-a-c-k. So @JonPack. He mentioned, I used to do comedy in New York, and recently started putting up a fake tourism series called “Won't you come along?” I'd recommend starting with Boston, if you want to check it out. I think it's the second post down. So there's a lot of incredible intentionality in that email that I just really appreciated. So to start to dissect that, you sent me a quick follow up of our call. Obviously, in that conversation, we went through a lot and you knew that I wasn't going to be the final decision maker; there was going to have to be a team decision. So you then needed to empower me to be able to educate my team appropriately. Or if you're a financial advisor, and you're just meeting with the wife or you're just meeting with the husband, you need to make sure that you're empowering that spouse to go ahead and catch the other party up to speed. From there, Jon, what you did a great job at is setting the agenda for Monday, which ultimately sets my expectations. So in your email follow up, was this like a one-off thing? Is this something that you do every single time? And I guess, did you start off at the beginning of your career using a different strategy? And how did you get to this point of utilizing this?
Jonathan Pack 15:32
This is going to be a shout out to I think it's Barry Ryan, the sales trainer, who initially did a lot of work with Salesforce and Yext has a lot of Salesforce pull over. Our sales leadership spent a lot of time with Salesforce. So this is kind of a combination of this and instinctive response to our conversation, which we were kind of popping off; we were having a lot of different ideas about where this could fit in. And as soon as we get to those sort of excited, brainstorming conversations, things can get muddy. And my biggest fear always and what I'm always trying to manage through an email like this is keep that intention or direction as clear as possible; kind of rein in our wildest expectations and bring it down to this is where we couldn't see this happening. Here's everything in writing, this is what was referred to in that training as a mutual plan; which I think is a really effective way to manage ongoing sales conversations, especially as you go from pitch to close, is to say, a true mutual plan. Well, this sets up our next call, but a true mutual plan, which you and I may have after this podcast, is to say, here's how I see this going. This is what, if we set April 15 as a close date, is that good for you? Okay, we're in agreement on this. Here's what I need from you, here's what you need from me, and outlining the dates which those will be fulfilled. So this is sort of a simplified version of that. And also, again, to go back to the beginning, it's an opportunity to clarify our conversation and say, I know we had some exciting conversations; here's what it was and here's where I think this really fits in.
David DeCelle 17:07
I think, too, a lot of where advisors drop the ball, at least some of the ones that I have come across, and you did not do this, which is they'll have a great conversation with someone, and then they'll say something to the effect of: awesome, really appreciate your time today, great conversation, I'll go ahead and send you a follow up email, and then we'll look at the schedules from there and see what works best. So that client logs off the Zoom meeting or prospect logs off the Zoom meeting, or they walk out the door. And then you find yourself just being a scheduler and then you fall into the trap of people's lives getting busy, people being distracted with a bunch of noise that's out there on the Internet with all the various things that have gone on over the last year and a half or so. And then you find yourself in the trap of just following up about the follow up about the follow up. I think that what you had done a really good job with was whether it was a meeting or a follow up, we always agreed on like a time and day. So a time and day for the meeting, you had sent an invite, made sure that I accepted it; and then if it was at a point in which it was just a follow up that was needed, because we were going through an extensive merger at the time that was taking up a lot of bandwidth, it was Great. I'll follow up with you the last week of September, or whatever the timeframe is. And I think that what that does for you, from my perspective, is it shows me that you're going to follow through with what you said you got to do, which I think is incredibly important. Have you always spent time in your process making sure that the next meeting was scheduled? Or did that come as a result of not having as efficient of a process as you think you could have?
Jonathan Pack 18:56
It was definitely a learning early on in the SMB sales process. We were making 150 dials a day, this is my early x career, to recap, with selling directly to small businesses, that was our first go to market. And when you're talking to a small business owner, you've tried calling them ten times and you've finally got them and you can't close the deal on that one call, which is your objective but you can't, maybe this gets put off. If you do not have some sort of agreement on when you're talking again, oh, it's a long road. It’s a long road from there. And then strategic sales too. Your next step should always be clear at the end of that phone call and ideally should always have your next meeting scheduled.
David DeCelle 19:35
I enjoyed, too, how you set out the agenda for that next call, but then you also asked for my buy-in as well for that agenda. And then furthermore, because you knew I'd be talking to Pat about this, you double stepped ahead and said, once we get Pat on the phone, here's what we'll be covering there. So basically, I knew what my responsibility was as it relates to the information that I needed to share. You even hyperlinked a couple things in the summary section that I skipped over on this podcast, basically giving me some more resources to be able to share with the team above and beyond your typed out version, and you double stepped ahead to be able to set the agenda for Pat. That way I could make him aware of what we'd be covering once we ultimately made that connection. Then at the very end, you humanized yourself. You said, hey, follow me on Instagram. And you mentioned the fake tourism series called “Won’t you come along?” but then you're even more aware to say, hey, why don't you go check out the Boston one because you knew, although I'm in St. Petersburg, Florida, now and living here, at the time I was in Boston, so it was super relevant. You knew what was going on, and it just felt like you, quite frankly, actually gave a shit about me, as opposed to just another name and phone number and email address on your spreadsheet of the hundreds of people that you're reaching out to.
Jonathan Pack 20:59
I mean, I’d shower you with some accolades, though. That was very much a byproduct of my conversation with you and your interest in humanizing our conversation. I think you even said, follow me on Instagram, and that sort of cued me up to do that. And it's invited a much larger exploration that I think you went to; at following you on Instagram, I believe, that was a shift you yourself went through. People had asked you to share more about yourself; in doing so, I mean, I see your posts, your stories, I feel like I know you so much better, David. I feel like we built a relationship over the last almost year now. I had never — I had always separated my comedy. I always thought that my career and my comedy needed to live separately, because there is some slightly offensive stuff in my comedy.
David DeCelle 21:51
Well it’s comedy, that’s why it's funny.
Jonathan Pack 21:53
Yeah. So, you were part of pushing me towards not keeping these elements of myself separately, and that goes a long way towards that authenticity, conversation, and humanism that you talk about bringing into the sales process.
Well I appreciate that.
Patrick Brewer 22:09
Hey, Model FA's, I know you're enjoying this conversation. But I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the Model FA Accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of, we focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that will get people to sign on the dotted line and become clients of your firm; all while giving you the information to scale, and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www.modelfa.com/accelerator or www.modelfa.com. Hover over "Work With Us" and click on Accelerator. Hope to see you in the program.
David DeCelle 22:59
The other thing that you had done was through your due diligence on my Instagram and building a relationship and things like that, we're big at the Model FA and our consulting on not selling through being salesy or bringing people through like a sales process per se, like your typical one (I’ve got finger quotes up right now). But simply advancing relationships, and making relational deposits along the way. And I remember you had gotten my address, and you knew based on my Instagram of the type of car that I had, a BMW, and you went out of your way to get me BMW branded driving gloves so that I'd be warm when I was driving in Boston. Now granted, they're in my drawer right now, and I'm not using them currently here in Florida, but that doesn't matter. What matters is, again, it's the thought that counts. It was hyper personalized, it wasn't just like, hey, here's a Starbucks gift card or something silly like that. And I think I told you along the way, just based on my experience, hey, we're gonna do business with you; let me worry about getting our team on board, but I want to do business with you, regardless of your service. And we're going to get into that in a second. But regardless of the service, just because I had an opportunity to get to know, like, and trust you in advance. I feel like when you're an advisor, that's, I think, of the utmost importance, right? You need to make sure that the folks that you're in front, they are given an opportunity to get to know, like, and trust you; and then it doesn't matter so much, the fancy charts and projections and the planning and things like that that you're obviously going to provide. It’s more so, can they see themselves enjoying the conversations with you? And for that with you and I, Jon, has been fantastic.
Jonathan Pack 24:49
David DeCelle 24:51
So now that we're done complementing each other, so talk to me — so we're in the midst of formalizing a partnership to where everyone at Model FA will be able to explore if this is going to be a good fit for them. I want to start to highlight, I guess, the importance of digital presence and search ability in general. And then let's get into the actual technical side of how Yext actually works. So assume that everyone listening has never come across Yext and, assume that everyone listening hasn't come across Yext, and you're on initial phone call with them. What's the spiel that you tend to start with when you describe Yext to someone who's never heard of it before?
Jonathan Pack 25:33
Who's never heard of it before? I will always look to find that common understanding, which is, have you ever looked for a pizza place online? And a lot of times we wind up on Google Maps, we wind up on Yelp, or any one of these, what we'll call third party publishers, online directories, right? What's really incredible is that that's not just you, that's everybody's global experience, is that most of the time when we search for something locally, we are going to wind up on a local directory. And, in fact, I will say this, this is the statistic is that 73% of high intent search “financial advisor near me” is going to flow through third party apps and directories before they land on your website. And the biggest issue is, the data on these sites is incorrect, or it's not compelling. It's not managed, it's not taken care of, and you lose the opportunity to capture that top of funnel, high intent search for your services.
David DeCelle 26:38
So if I'm an advisor, and I come to you and say, oh, no, Jon, I already have Google My Business. What would you say to that?
Jonathan Pack 26:45
Well, what's really interesting is, when we think about how Google picks who gets to sit at the top of a financial advisor search, local financial advisor search, one of the things that they're looking at to make that determination is how much do I trust my data. And one of the ways that Google verifies and validates their own data set is they look at all these other directories across the Internet. They look at all these other places where your business information is. The more consistent that is, the more they trust their own data set, the more problems they see, the more inconsistencies or just lack of validated data, lack of additional data, the less they trust that information. So that's one of the keys to local search performance and discoverability, is making sure that you are everywhere and you are 100% consistent. And then, of course, rich content, photos, logos, things like that. That's icing on the cake.
David DeCelle 27:43
So another objection. Hey, Jon, I appreciate it, don't worry, my information on my website is accurate and up to date; and the information on Google My Business is accurate and up to date. Now, I know this, having gone through your process, but a lot of advisors may think that that's all you really need to have it on, but give some context to our listeners. How many other directories are there that they could be listed on? Because I want people to start to realize the opportunity that they're missing by not being listed everywhere. Because essentially what you're saying is, the more places you're listed, and the more accurate the information, the more likely you are to be a result on the top of someone's hyper localized search for a financial advisor. So how many other platforms are there and name a few — preferably name some that people may know of — and then name some that people may not know of. Because I want people to start to see the gaps in their digital strategy.
Jonathan Pack 28:39
Sure. We all think about Google My Business, we all think about Yelp. We also think about Bing; Bing still has 5 to10% search share.
David DeCelle 28:46
I think like ten people use that, right?
Jonathan Pack 28:49
Yeah. Sorry, five to ten person. No, but yp.com and yellowpages.com; one of the ones that you may not be thinking of that I think it's important to think about, that Yext has an exclusive relationship with currently, is Alexa, Amazon Alexa. Ask Alexa is this financial advisor open right now? Can you call this financial advisor? You want your data to be in there and accurate and getting it in there is something that you typically don't have control over. To add a layer to the storyline here, because I don't think I really explained how Yext plays into these directories, of which we're partnered to the top 80 publishers online.
David DeCelle 29:29
Okay, so there's 80. So if you're an advisor, and you're listening to this right now, if you are not listed on all 80 of these directories, there's some clients out there that aren't finding you that you should be serving.
Jonathan Pack 29:45
Yeah. So Yext has built private partnerships with these publishers. What happens when we partner with a publisher is we develop basically private connections for the technology blogs out there. We have private API with each of these publishers, and what that means is we give you a single platform, single dashboard, where you log in, put in all of your information, we're able to take over and fix and correct any listings that are out there, create listings where you don't have them, and then fill them out with any rich content you put in the Yext dashboard. And the last thing that I'll note that plays into what you were bringing up, David, in terms of handling that objection of well, my information is accurate on Google. Yext maintains a real time connection to these publishers. What that allows you to do is first, we all know the holiday hours thing if we're trying to contact a business. And the worst thing that drives me crazy, I don't know, David, this is me being — this is my own thing. But when I want to contact a business on holiday, and I get that message from Google that's like, these might be the hours — it’s a holiday, but I don't know. So what you're able to do with Yext is pre-schedule your holiday hours, pre-schedule any changes to your data, upload new photos whenever you want. Everything updates in real time, and so you have this real time connection to your forward faced, your customer facing brand, your customer facing part of you. And so that's an ongoing value. And, David, I think one of the things you're driving it to which is sort of longer, I'll make it as succinct as possible, is that even though you've claimed your Google My Business listing, and you've sent through all of your information, and it's been consistent for a while, it's important to understand that that is not permanent, that your manual business claim can be overwritten by other data sources. If you take out your phone right now and search for any business near you, shake your phone in Google Maps, and it will give you the option to edit or suggest a change. And those external suggested changes have a high trust value, especially if you're a local guy, they have a high trust value from Google. So Google could change your information without your permission.
David DeCelle 31:57
So it's almost like, I guess the company that comes to mind is like a Wikipedia; you can kind of edit other people's stuff is what you're saying?
Jonathan Pack 32:04
Yeah, and what will happen is that it will go into this queue with Google where they run it through a compilation or completion algorithm, they'll basically try to figure out, is this true or not? But I want to give you a really fun example from a few years ago. This was highly publicized in the search community, which was that there were suddenly all these businesses were getting very upset because their Google My Business was showing up as closed. So they had manually claimed their business online, and suddenly, it's like, well, why is it saying I'm closed? The reason is that there are certain data sets that Google is going to trust more than your two-year-old claim that you put on the listing. And to think about it from Google's perspective, how often does a business reach out to Google and say, we're closed. And so Google is going to get a dated, if Google gets any signal that says, this business is closed, they're going to treat that with pretty high authority; because it's like, well, the business owner isn’t going to reach out and tell me, so just something to think about. And hopefully I'm not getting too…
David DeCelle 33:07
Well, if I had an ice cream shop, and I was competing with an ice cream shop down the street, I'd probably just submit that they’re closed.
Jonathan Pack 33:14
Yeah, they're close. Don't get any ideas! Don’t make our job harder.
David DeCelle 33:21
So what you're saying though, is advisors, or really any other industry that you serve, they don't have to go in and change something 80 different times on 80 different platforms. It's a one portal, one update, click, and it disperses from there.
Jonathan Pack 33:37
Exactly, and thank you for distilling that, after my rant.
David DeCelle 33:40
So in summary…
Jonathan Pack 33:44
In summary, yes, one place where you manage all of your data across all these sites, and it's all in one place. So you just go there, fill it out, make changes, instead of going to 80 different directories.
David DeCelle 33:55
Now, what's the importance? You've mentioned this a few different times; I think the exact phrase that you use is rich content. So when I think of Google My Business, I think about address, phone number, maybe email, website link, hours of operation, and reviews. Those are the things that come to mind first, and what you're saying is that on all these listings, you can also include photos and things along those lines. So help me and the rest of our listeners understand why that is important.
Jonathan Pack 34:26
What a perfect vertical for personalization, right? You talked about showing your humanity, your humanness, and what I would recommend for financial advisors is to include a photo, a headshot of yourself, on your listings; maybe a photo of the outside of your office that helps people find it when they're pulling up. But what we found in some previous studies is that there are many fields in Yext and when people fill out more than just those basic fields, they get 2.5 times the views. Part of that is that the sites tend to prefer to showcase rich content; it means that it's a managed listing, and they feel more confident in the data. Again, there's that accuracy conversation. But the other thing is, just another vertical, if you're choosing a dentist, are you going to choose the one that's just name, address, and phone number? Or are you going to choose the one that looks like it has some sort of life behind it? So you get both a user experience and its local search thing.
David DeCelle 35:29
Awesome. So before we get into, I know you're excited to talk about your favorite book, but before we get into that, is there anything that I did not ask you that would be helpful for our audience to know, specifically as it relates to the importance of their listings, their online presence, and how you guys can help?
Jonathan Pack 35:51
Yeah, I think Yext is on the cusp of some really exciting change. And that change puts us squarely in the space of we are now officially a search company. And I want you to think about the listings as top of the funnel; like you're capturing this unbranded search, somebody looking for a financial advisor near you. This is something, David, I haven't been able to share with you yet. Because it's brand new to partner, one of the most expensive clicks is a click off of your own website. So you bring somebody from the top of the funnel through that Google search, you get them to your website, and then they ask a question on that site, or it’s clumsy navigation; they don't get the answer they're looking for, and they go back and they search Google. And when they search Google, they are going to be advertised to by all of your competitors, or other potential funnels that are trying to drag them in. And so what Yext is working on is we have that top of the funnel with listings, and now we're working on the bottom of the funnel through something called Yext answers; and it's all about Google-like experience on your website. So people could go to a financial advisor website and search for advice, search for simple things like what are your hours of operation, are you open now; and you can do it in natural language. And it will help ensure that rather than — we envision a world where we're not navigating through site nav anymore; you literally search in natural language on a site, and you get the answer you need. So that's just to share our where our vision is going is that is we're here to help you bring in more customers; and then we're also here to help you convert more customers and ensure that once you bring them to your site, you give them a meaningful call to action, and get them to book an appointment or a phone call.
David DeCelle 37:40
Awesome. So for those of you who are listening, I know there's a number of folks I work with where they get a decent amount of leads off of their website that come from various sources. So this is a way in which you can amplify that. And for those of you who may not be getting a ton of phone calls or contacts, submission forms submitted through your website, maybe this is your answer. So as I mentioned throughout the show, we're shooting this episode right now on March 5 of 2021. So by the time that this is released, I’d imagine that the partnership will be finalized between us. So assuming that that's the case, we'll be able to help you with this through Model FA. And in the event that it's not finalized as a way to not delay your ability to integrate this, Jon, what's the best way to reach out to you?
Jonathan Pack 38:30
I mean, I can share my email.
David DeCelle 38:35
Yeah, your email will be in the show notes too. But just in case someone's listening and taking notes.
Jonathan Pack 38:39
[email protected] and what I'll do is I'll bring you to our small business team that will be able to set you up with an account directly.
David DeCelle 38:49
Awesome. Awesome. So like I said, if we don't have that in place —
Jonathan Pack 38:54
We’ll have the partnership in place by then.
David DeCelle 38:56
We will, but in the event that you know it's a couple weeks out or something like that.
Jonathan Pack 39:02
Dear listeners I say that tongue in cheek with a smile on my face. For sure.
David DeCelle 39:06
So before we head into the after-hours portion, Jon, tell me about your favorite book. I have not to have the chance to read this one yet, but it is called Watership Down. Tell me more about that.
Jonathan Pack 39:19
Watership Down I read when I was probably 24. I think a lot of people know it from the animated Disney movie. There was one in the ‘70s I think that was made, and then there was one recently made. I haven't seen them; these are animated films. Everybody says they're really dark. And granted, the book is kind of dark, but it has a ton of heart to it. When you do read it, we need to have a conversation about it. It is a book about rabbits. It's a book about rabbits. It's a fictitious book, it’s fiction. It's about a warren of rabbits, and one in particular has a vision of their warren, their home, bathed in blood and nobody believes him. He convinces a cohort of rabbits that they need to get out and find a new home. And it's about their journey to find a new warren. And along the way, it's intercut with — no joke, I'm telling you this is so well done — it's intercut with stories about the rabbits’ faith, their religion, the black rabbit, El-ahrairah, I think is how it's pronounced, is sort of their spiritual, their god, and along the way they encounter other rabbit communities. And each is sort of a representation of different governments or different approaches to civil society; and of course, each time they discover the darkness that lies behind that. I will give no spoilers, but it was the best ending I've ever read where the rabbits’ faith, the story of these characters that we love along the course of this novel, find what they're looking for. And they tie it all together. And boy, is it a meditation on perseverance and life and oh, it's a good one.
David DeCelle 41:01
Well I never thought that I'd be on the cusp of learning from rabbits. But as you were going through that description, I just went on Audible and bought that so it is now in the queue. So in the coming weeks, I'll touch base and we can riff on that for a bit.
Jonathan Pack 41:19
Great. I mean, my hope is that they don't the narrator doesn't treat it with too much whimsy because it's an adult book. It's not a children's book, which is the irony of Disney making it into an animated movie. It's like, this isn't for kids, this is heavy stuff. Yeah, highly recommended if you enjoy fiction, it's just a beautiful book.
David DeCelle 41:37
Awesome. Appreciate that. So Jon, before we get into the after-hours portion, you already shared your email [email protected] Y-E-X-T. And your Instagram I believe is @JonPack. Again, Jon is with a j-o-n, drop the H. One of my best friends, Jonathan Sheehan, is a j-o-n as well. So I always come to your guys’ defense with spelling. So any other ways that would be helpful to reach out or are those the two main mediums would you say?
Jonathan Pack 42:06
Those are definitely the two main mediums.
David DeCelle 42:09
Awesome. So for those of you who have stuck around and listened, we appreciate it. We're going to be heading into the after-hours portion here in a second. As we always do in these episodes, we do have two asks from you. One is if you happen to find this episode to be valuable, please share it; share it to a colleague, share it to your Instagram, your LinkedIn, whatever platform that you're using. Obviously, if you found value, I'm sure there's someone in your world that would also find value. The second ask is in order to increase our listenership and visibility to the advisor community, reviews on iTunes would be a big help. So if you go ahead and leave us a review, and then simply screenshot that, and shoot me a text to 978-228-2338. Again, that's 978-228-2338, what will happen is you send that screenshot to me, you'll get an automatic reply that has you fill out your information, just your first name, last name, things like that, it will automatically get added to my phone. And then beyond that automated message, we can text one on one. So we can build a relationship from afar. Anytime you have any questions, feel free to touch base. But when you send that screenshot of the review, just make a note of Jon Pack in that text. That way I know which episode it is. Because for those of you who submit a review, you will be put into a drawing to get a free coaching session from me where we spend some time, take a deep dive into your business, and make sure that you have some actionable ideas to be able to move forward and go and implement. So with that, I should say, Jonathan, thank you for joining the show.
My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Awesome. Take care.
That was great. I appreciate it. I know you're on the partnership channel right now with Yext, but do you do any sales training yourself for others in the organization, because I feel like a lot of the stuff that you've sent me via email could be picked apart and you can share the psychology behind it. And other people in your organization, I think would find it helpful. The other part too is maybe there's an opportunity to start to document those things and modularize those things as a giveaway to some of the people that use your service because again, it just was an awesome flow all throughout.
Jonathan Pack 44:38
I appreciate it. You know there is a collaborative element in the partner channel at Yext I feel. Yext is a great organization, I should have actually sung its praises.
Well you can do it now. Do it now.
Yext is a fantastic organization. The partner channel is — I feel like we're pretty tight knit and we're actually, some of us, are the most like legacy employees. I've been there 10 years, but I think all of us have been there at least five. We all have a long history at Yext so we've known each other a long time and we sort of share. So when COVID hit, there was definitely a lot of communication too about, especially outreach, I'm sure that one of my colleagues, Julie Rielle, had put together this wonderful opener, and I'm sure that's what I applied to the email I sent to you. That was sort of, I know things are really crazy right now. But no, I appreciate it. I'll be sharing this with my leadership.
David DeCelle 45:36
Well, it's a great way to have someone else edify you, as opposed to, like, hey, guys, I want to just let you know how awesome I am.
Jonathan Pack 45:47
Oh, I know. It's great. No, it's great. I really appreciate it. And of course, I mean all the praise I heaped on you. It is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, even on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is such a funny social platform where I feel like nobody is themself.
David DeCelle 45:59
Well, that's why you see like the memes, where it's like me on LinkedIn, me on Facebook, me on Tinder or whatever, you know?
Jonathan Pack 46:09
Yeah. And so I've been thinking about that a lot. Do I start sharing this aspect of myself? Because we were lucky enough for our annual sales kickoff — do you know of Mel Robbins, the five second rule?
David DeCelle 46:20
Oh, yeah, I've read a couple of her books.
Jonathan Pack 46:22
She did a Q&A with us. It was really cool, and somebody asked about work life balance. And she said, this isn't about balance. It's about harmony; work, life harmony. And while she may have meant that in terms of the harmony between these two aspects of your life, I have been thinking about the harmony between your authentic self and all the things you do. That’s how you find harmony, it seems to me.
David DeCelle 46:48
Yeah, I think the more I know for me, I'll post things and you see my stories. I'll post things ranging from the books I read to the workouts that I do to the food I cook all the way to the guns I shoot, and everything in between. And what's interesting is that it gives certain people the opportunity to connect with me on certain things. So there may be people who don't like guns, as an example; and living in Florida now, I'm like, hey, I'm gonna play. But then there's other people who are really into cooking. And I think it allows them to choose what they want to like about you, as opposed to deciding that they don't like you for one particular thing.
Jonathan Pack 47:39
It's kind of like, throw a bunch of things on the board, and you pick what you like.
David DeCelle 47:43
And people come out of the woodworks too, so even like you and your comedy, it's like, hey, that's cool. But under normal circumstances, pre COVID and hopefully soon here, post COVID, if I'm not mistaken, you love to travel as well. So making those experiences more public gives people the opportunity to connect on those.
Jonathan Pack 48:04
Yeah, yeah, that's true. The other question I have is how far do I navigate… My followership has come to expect comedic posts, and now it's like, well I do a lot of cooking too. Is that going to interrupt their expectations of what they follow me for?
Well, I think you can say some funny shit while you're cooking. So maybe you combine it.
Yeah, that's true. It's definitely true. Yeah, I've seen you’ve stepped up your COVID cooking game, too.
David DeCelle 48:31
So comedy is one of your creative outlets; I'm probably the least creative person that there is, and I've had to learn to borrow other creative ideas and repurpose them for myself. But cooking is my creative outlet, and I love the presentation at the end as well. So even those of you who are still listening, if you follow me on Instagram, just @David_DeCelle, D-E-C-E-L-L-E, one of the highlights that I have on my page is all the things that I've cooked and I'm super type A so the presentation, I think anyways, is on point. But I'm open to feedback, of course.
Jonathan Pack 49:03
I love it. I was not much of a cook, and then when COVID hit and we moved out to Joshua Tree, it was like ,there's five restaurants out here, and they're all mediocre, except for our friends’ bar in Pioneer Town. Shout out to the Red Dog in Pioneer town. We started doing a CSA box, and I had no idea how to properly cook vegetables or anything like that. So CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, so I get a box of produce every week and I don't know what it's going to be and I need to just figure out what to do with it. And man, I'm so grateful to have learned how to cook. It's such an important skill, and it's a fun one too. I never understood the creative aspect, David, until I started diving in.
David DeCelle 49:48
Well, that's a good segue to some of our “Would you rather” questions so I’ll toss a few at you before we close out. So would you rather have your own personal chef every day or instantly become a gourmet chef yourself?
Jonathan Pack 50:02
Oh, instantly become a gourmet chef myself.
David DeCelle 50:05
It’s good skill set, great skill set. Would you rather be allergic to sunlight or allergic to your own sweat? This is a tough one.
Jonathan Pack 50:18
Yeah. Because, I mean, there are a lot of implications to both. Do I want to be a shut in? Or do I want to waste away and never assert myself? What are my allergic responses? How bad are we talking about?
David DeCelle 50:30
Well, listen, when I looked at the question, they didn't give that information. So it would be hives that just made you look like a walking like chickenpox person.
Jonathan Pack 50:45
Okay, I'm gonna take sunshine, because I can still go out in the world and just have to bring up parasol everywhere I go.
David DeCelle 50:53
Ooh, this kind of a good one. Would you rather have an assistant reply to all of your emails? Or an assistant to do all of your grocery shopping and other shopping?
And then finally, would you rather own five dogs or ten cats?
I'm a dog guy too; you passed the test.
Jonathan Pack 51:20
I like both. But I grew up with cats, and now that I have this little dog, he will come over. He's a little Chihuahua, man. I get it now. I get it, they're made to understand us and we understand them in a way that cats are just like, oh.
David DeCelle 51:40
Cats would be fine if they had food and never saw you again, I feel like.
Jonathan Pack 51:40
I think so. There was some sort of, I don't know how official this was, but they made it sound like an official study that was like, if you die, your cat’s gonna eat you in about three days. In three days, they will start to see you as food; and then dogs will just lay by your side and mourn you.
David DeCelle 52:00
I wonder how many people had to get eaten during that study,
Jonathan Pack 52:04
I know, it was a dangerous study to be a part of. I hope they were paid well, or their families were paid.
David DeCelle 52:11
The families were paid well, awesome. Well, for those of you who stuck around for the after-hours portion, we appreciate your time. Hopefully you got some laughs; if you want more laughs go ahead and follow Jon on Instagram @JonPack, j-o-n-p-a-c-k. And if you'd like to connect with me on any of the platforms, just simply google David DeCelle, and you'll have all the links to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn on there. If you want to learn more about Model FA and how we may be of service to you and/or your organization, go to ModelFA.com or just feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] Jon, thanks for joining, really appreciate your time. Looking forward to see how our relationship continues to develop and the business that we do together.
Jonathan Pack 52:57
Awesome, take care.