Andrew Schiestel is a technology and marketing entrepreneur.
He’s the president at tbk Creative, a web design and digital marketing agency based in London, Ontario, Canada that employs 20 staff. In 2016, tbk Creative was named “Small Business of the Year” at the London Chamber of Commerce’s Business Achievement Awards.
To date, tbk Creative has been awarded 12 international digital marketing awards for their work with clients.
His articles on digital marketing and the the digital economy have appeared in Canada’s most respected and largest news publications. Some include the Financial Post, The Globe and Mail, and The London Free Press.
One of the ways Schiestel gives back to his community is through serving on the London Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors where he currently holds the position of President (Chair).
Schiestel is one of the world’s authorities on how professionals in professional services organizations (e.g., accountants, lawyers, financial planners, realtors, etc.) can use the social web to grow their income to six (or seven) figures. He’s created and documented a process for how to earn six figures and eliminate a reliance on cold calling that is detailed in his forthcoming book, Kill The Cold Call™.
If you wish for Andrew to train your company or speak at your next event on how your professionals in professional sales industries can eliminate their reliance on cold calls and earn six figures, click here.
The Longer Story
Hi, my name is Andrew Schiestel.
I’m the President at tbk Creative, a web design and digital marketing company. I’ve done a lot of two things over the last 19 years – selling and digital marketing.
Back in 1997, when I was 15 years old, we had a family dog named Tanya who passed away early due to cancer. My Dad set out to uncover why this happened. What he learned through substantial research is many types of dog food contain ingredients that can allegedly cause health ailments in dogs. The pet food industry lacks the regulation our government creates for human food so in some cases ingredients that may be banned in human food is allowed in dog food (there’s some economic reasons for this such as the use of preservatives to lengthen the shelf life of the food, cheaper to produce, etc.). As a result, and out of my Dad’s desire to help dogs live longer, he started a part-time pet food retail business where he would only sell holistic pet food that he rigorously vetted first. He would do this business part-time while maintaining his full-time job as an industrial engineer at a local automotive parts manufacturer.
One day when I was 15 years old, he came home from work and said, “Andrew, do you want to build a website for my dog food business?”
When it came to computers, I was only good at video games, not building websites. I responded, “I don’t know how to build a website Dad.”
He said, “Want to learn how? I’ll buy you a book on it.”
With a lot of time to kill one summer, I said, “Sure.”
So, that weekend we drove into Chapters (the Canadian version of a Barnes & Noble) and my Dad bought me a 600-700 page book on HTML. We went home and that afternoon I cracked the book open, started reading, and fell in love with what could be built online. A month later, my Dad’s website (although not impressive to today’s standards) was born!
This was my first foray into the web (aside from playing video games, message boards, and chatting on ICQ).
Seven years later, I had just completed a Police Foundations diploma program at Fanshawe College (London, Ontario) and was accepted into Carleton University’s (Ottawa) highly acclaimed Criminology program. I wanted a degree so I could move up to a management level within a police services organization or become a lawyer. Two weeks before leaving for school (my residency rent down payment was already deposited), I had an opportunity to perform direct selling over the summer.
I was inspired. I joined the company, made about $6,000 in a month or so (a lot of money to me back then), cancelled my university (a bit impulsively), and did the sales job full-time.
This was my foray into selling.
I would go on to do many different sales and entrepreneurship ventures both online and offline for the next 6-7 years.
In 2010, I started tbk Creative, a web design and digital marketing company with three business partners (two we bought out so who’s remaining is Melissa McInerney and I). Melissa is the Chief Creative Officer and I led sales and digital marketing consulting (hired a vice president, digital, to replace my digital consulting role in 2016) for our client portfolio.
Initially, we offered web design and social media marketing services (Facebook app development, social marketing campaigns, social media consulting, etc.). In our first year in business, we picked up a small handful of medium sized clients fast because all the larger website development and traditional marketing and communications services firms (all but one) in our city weren’t offering social media marketing yet as a service.
In 2011, about 60% of our revenue came through Facebook app development / social media campaigns, 30% came through web design, and the balance came through other misc. creative services such as logo design, print creative, etc.
Our First Big Win
Our first big win was in 2010 when a law firm that was medium in size (about 200 employees) hired us to create a Facebook marketing for them (thanks to my friend Allison Graham for the referral!). The law firm was suing a multi-national pharmaceutical company for allegedly higher than normal defects with one of its oral contraceptive products. We used Facebook to help the law firm generate national awareness and more class members for the legal proceeding. A University of Windsor law professor back in a 2010 London Free Press article was quoted saying about the campaign, “Ingenious… It is the first example of social media for class actions that I’m aware of in Canada.”
The campaign ended up winning “Best Social Media Campaign in Law” at the Web Marketing Association’s 2012 Internet Advertising Competition.
I continued to provide social media and digital marketing consulting and lead many workshops from 2011 to 2014.
In this period of time, news media started to recognize tbk Creative and some of my digital marketing work. Business London Magazine (Post Media) for instance interviewed me and called me ‘Mr. Social’, which I found a bit funny but most of all flattering.
I also was big into doing enjoyable, social media analytical research projects too. I loved data analysis and loved the process of taking a large data sets, combing through it (whether manually or algorithmically), and discovering trends or insights.
In 2011, I released “Canada’s Happiest Cities on Twitter”. It was featured in CBC, Yahoo! News, Huffington Post, etc.
A week later I was thinking about its success as a public relations piece and thought, ‘Okay, if I run that same report again, media won’t find it news worthy now since it’s already been done. Why don’t I do the direct opposite?” Remembering that old saying in marketing, ‘when one zigs, you zag?’ So, I created a second social media analytical report titled: “Canada’s Most Vulgar Cities on Twitter”. This one took off and reached heavy national media exposure cost to coast.
Groups like CBC, CTV, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Metroland newspapers, The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, etc. all covered it.
The day I released the report, I was busy on the phone most the day doing interviews with journalists across the country. What a fun day that was. It even apparently made it into MacLean’s (Canada’s #1 news magazine) end of year print magazine called The MacLean’s Book of Lists, Vol. 2.
From 2010 to 2014, I was writing a lot about digital marketing (our local newspaper, The London Free Press, asked me to become a columnist which I’m grateful for), consulting, and speaking on the topic, etc.
I was also practicing social media and doing sales daily for tbk Creative. With social media I actually made a $100,000 dollar website sale on Facebook, and I used Google Analytics reverse IP lookup once to generate a $67,080 web design and creative sale.
tbk Creative went on to become a successful web design and digital marketing agency, today, employing around 20 people. In 2016 and 2017, tbk Creative was named “Top Web Design Provider” in London, Ontario by Consumer Choice Award. In 2016, tbk Creative was named “Small Business of the Year” at the London Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Achievement Awards.
The Birth of Kill The Cold Call™
There’s an old argument between two factions of sales professionals: some say cold calling is dead and others defend it vehemently.
At the surface level I take an indifferent view to the argument, but as I expand my thoughts, a counter-argument starts to form that’s contrarian to both viewpoints above. My response to the old, “Is cold calling dead?” question usually begins with, “It depends.”
It depends because it depends what type of professional is contemplating cold calls. For instance, if you’re running a sales department for a software as a service company (SAAS) or a home renovation retail company, you may be able to successfully argue the ROI gain of adding cold calling to your sales team’s repertoire. In a lot of cases, I wouldn’t argue with you – I own a SAAS company (AODA Online) on the side and have watched at least one tbk Creative client (in the home renovation retail space) successfully conduct a cold calling program for years.
When discussing growing leads for professional services professionals, that’s a whole other matter and where the “Cold calling isn’t dead” argument breaks down. Professional services are professions like:
- Financial planners
- Mortgage Brokers
- Marketing agencies
- Insurance brokers
- Business consulting
If you think of the top accountants, lawyers, financial planners, etc. that you know, almost every one, if not 100%, no longer do cold calls (and some never did). There’s two reasons for this: If you’re in professional services and are still doing cold calls you probably don’t have enough inbound leads. Second, these types of professions historically take more of an advisory approach to their sales process. They perform sales but they do so in a consultative, some times highly regulated way. By doing a cold call, it’s very easy for the professional to come across more as a “salesperson than a trusted advisor.” If they lose this “trusted advisor” persona with their client, it could hinder their ability to properly recommend solutions. This is a prominent reason why you’re not regularly cold called by lawyers asking you if you’d like to hire them.
Kill The Cold Call™ was a concept that popped into my head in 2014 and has lingered there ever since. Its part and parcel because of my experience growing tbk Creative. Over the last three years I’ve spent countless hours practicing and pondering this question:
What’s the fastest way for a professional to earn six figures and end their reliance on cold calling?
If you’re in professional services, you want to get to a point where you have an abundance of inbound leads and have no further reliance on cold calling to earn six or seven figures annually.
At Killthecoldcall.com, I’ve started a podcast (a version two – first episode to come out June 2017) that will interview other professionals who have achieved that statement above. I’ve also created and documented a process that can help you work towards achieving that statement above too. This process will be published in my forthcoming book, Kill The Cold Call™ (2018 release).
In the mean time, feel free to peruse the website or listen to the podcast. You may also find value in subscribing to Kill The Cold Call™’s email newsletter (subscription form below) and receive updates from me personally.
If you want to hire me to train your company or speak at your next event, I may be able to help with that too. Reach out any time to discuss.
Thanks for reading.