Bobbie is an entrepreneur, marketer and lover of all things flowers, with a passion for raising awareness around gambling addiction. Marketer to Floral industry with passion to raise awareness around gambling addiction
In this episode
Outsourcing your sales and marketing to an intermediary seems attractive when your skills and passion focus on what you do and not on customer acquisition. But, as Bobbie Malatesta of Bobbie The Awesome Enterprise points out, this can be effective at both getting your clients and taking all your profit from their fee structure. Intermediary platforms, like 1-800-FLOWERS, FTD, Uber Eats, Doordash, Upwork, and so forth, solve a pain point but often at a cost that doesn't work for the business. Bobbie points to needing to consider a wide range of alternatives at a much lower cost rather than just blindly using a large intermediary platform that promises to do it all for you. Listen to the end for a nice gift Bobbie is offering our listeners.
A glimpse of what you'll hear
01:25 It rarely makes send to outsource your sales and marketing for the sake of getting new clients.
03:46 Intermediaries often capture all your profit and then some.
04:42 Many intermediaries hide what's really going on financially in the accounting reports they prepare for their clients.
05:56 Alternatives to using intermediary platforms to get clients.
07:12 The benefits from freeing your business from depending on a large platform to get your clients.
10:38 What you need to do to end your dependence on expensive intermediary platforms.
12:04 How to protect yourself from a loss of clients when leaving an intermediary platform.
15:42 Learn about Bobbie. Email Bobbie at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)
Centricity Introduction 0:04
Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.
Jay Kingley 0:43
I'm Jay Kingley, co founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to another episode of our Best Kept Secret show where I am happy to welcome Bobbie Malatesta Principle of the Bobbie The Awesome enterprise, Bobbie helps florists grow and raise their profits and grow their cash flow using modern technology and marketing. Bobbie is based in Naugatuck, Connecticut, welcome to the show, Bobbie.
Bobbie Malatesta 1:12
Thank you, Jay. It's an honor to be here.
Jay Kingley 1:15
Bobbie, I work with so many small businesses, lower- mid market businesses, I get to talk to business owners across a wide variety of industries. And the one thing that I see time and time again, is this incredible passion for what they do for their customers, but at the same time, often dread about getting those customers, most of the business owners that I know would much rather be working with customers than doing their sales and marketing. So not surprisingly, because whenever there's a need in the marketplace, you know that others will jump in to fill it. There are all these intermediary companies that have come in and say to the business owners, I've got magic dust, you pay me a big chunk of your revenues. And I will take care of getting you new clients. And we certainly see this in the food industry with things like UberEATS and DoorDash. We see this in marketing and a lot of like, for example, graphics design using Fiverr on gig economy work using a platform like Upwork. And I could go on and on and on. And of course, in your area of specialization, which is florist, we have some long standing services, which I believe go under the term wire services, things like one 800 Flowers FTD Teleflora, what is wrong with a florist or any other business, for example, in effect, outsourcing their lead generation and even their sales to one of these platforms, and you know, it's worth the money. What's wrong with that kind of thinking, Bobbie?
Bobbie Malatesta 3:16
Well, I appreciate you calling them wire services j because they were built on the model years ago before the internet. So they had a value back then. And as the world evolves, they needed to evolve. So they offer marketing and website creation and all the things that businesses may or may not need, in the marketing space to acquire those, those customers that you're speaking about. The problem is, they're so big and so standardized, it becomes a cookie cutter model, and florists are creative, beautiful people. And they can't really showcase what they can offer as an independent business. Because they're promoting basically these wire services.
Jay Kingley 3:59
But Bobbie, what's wrong with cookie cutter? If it gets customers to place the order?
Bobbie Malatesta 4:05
Well Jay I think we're going to talk numbers later. And what the research has shown me is this cookie cutter in these orders, actually, in most cases forced the florist or the consumer using them to lose money instead of making money. And they're investing their time and resources into this losing proposition.
Jay Kingley 4:26
So is what you're telling us that the real big issue the proverbial elephant in the room, is that these intermediaries, these platforms or wire services, in the case of the floral industry, are too greedy. They are taking too large of a share of the pie relative to the true value they're adding?
Bobbie Malatesta 4:51
Absolutely. That's a great question. And what the scariest part is, is it's so convoluted If you were a regular business owner doing your QuickBooks at the end of the month, and you want to see checks and balances, you see what comes in or what goes out? Well, these guys use their own statement and their own accounting principles, which makes it very difficult to even see your profitability. So they are taking advantage of that florist that wants to design the funeral arrangement take care of their client, and not sit down and go through statements. That's not what they got in the florist business to do.
Jay Kingley 5:28
So if these wire services or intermediaries in truth, are taking too large of a share of the pie for the value they they truly add. And by the way, I would remind our audience, it is not just in the floral industry, I think a lot of the industries, including some of the examples I gave, in my preamble, it is the same story, right? The economics aren't working for the small business that's using the services or even the professional that's contracting their work through the services. So if the economics are wrong, I don't think these platforms these intermediaries are going to change on their own. So if you are the business owner, if you are the florist, Bobbie, what is it that you should be doing, instead of using these wire services?
Bobbie Malatesta 6:23
In my opinion, they should be doing the homework and researching different options. There's a lot of little guys popping up to help marketing, they see that the florists need the help. I personally am a fan of funnels with Click Funnels and the technology, it's a way to capture the revenue on the front side, collect the pre order, so they know how to plan production. And oh, by the way, all the profits are theirs, aside from paying for the small fee for to keep the technology on. But they have a way to go to market and showcase what they want to showcase, not what the big guys say they have to produce for the holidays, which may or may not be available that containers may or may not be stuck off of Washington, you know, in a boat. So there's a lot of hurdles when working with the big boys.
Jay Kingley 7:14
Makes a lot of sense to me, Bobbie, I think what you're saying as the alternative is interesting, even intriguing. But I'm sure there are people in my audience that are saying or saying I still need some convincing. So let's talk a little bit about the business case. And let me start by saying if you are the florist and you throw off the yoke of these wire services go down the path that you use suggests, how does that make them feel?
Bobbie Malatesta 7:44
I lived this example. And the main, I think motivation for why they won't get out of their comfort zone is fear. So in the case that I analyzed, company was doing $3 million a year, top line revenue. And the suggestion was made while the company was was at risk for going out of bank going bankrupt. So the mission was to find alternatives. So once we got into the financials to shop around for alternatives, what we learned was, we were losing $300,000 on that 3 million, but the company wouldn't make the decision, because they were afraid of losing that 3 million top line sales. So that's the fear, even with rational behavior, improving the numbers, the fear overcame the bottom line and what was actually going to the bank. That's what's scary.
Jay Kingley 8:40
So it's that old adage that I lose money on every transaction, but I make it up in volume. And of course, there have been some epic bankruptcies, even a multi billion dollar companies, because it's not your top line that you got to worry about it your bottom line that you got to worry about. And so in that example, just to maybe spin it the other way, had they gone away from being dependent on the wire services for the 3 million in revenue, there was potentially $300,000 of profit to be captured, you know, less than any cost for paying for these alternative marketing channels, which, you know, from what you're telling me would have been a fraction of the $300,000 that they could have added to their bottom line. Did I understand that correctly?
Bobbie Malatesta 9:35
You absolutely did. So if they did nothing. If they made no changes other than cancelling the service, they would be $300,000 better for it. Now the big guys will tell you that by filling these orders and getting them in people's homes. It's marketing, which is an intangible which you can't really capture. Now if they they didn't have a wire service weren't running around trying to chase the computer and fill the and get the delivery guys and buy the product, to lose that 300,000, they can take better care of the customers who are walking into their store or hitting their website independent of these wire services.
Jay Kingley 10:13
Well, that you know, it's such a classic argument by would all call the rip off artists, when they tell you, you know you're going to pay me is $300,000. But don't worry, it's marketing that has no return, it's good and will. Meanwhile, we're making a ton of money off of your back and at your expense. And it just strikes me as utter nonsense and take that 300 grand, that is his money you're paying down, put a big chunk of it into your pocket, and put the rest into paying for some of these alternative programs. Bobbie, that you're talking about much higher value from a much higher return on you what really is your marketing investment. So Bobbie, let me ask you this, it's pretty compelling what you're talking about. I think if I'm a florist or really any other business that's dependent on these intermediary type platforms for the majority of my clients, what do I need to do to implement what it is that you're advocating?
Bobbie Malatesta 11:25
Cancel the wire services as soon as possible. So you start having the revenue in your pocket to pay for another solution, and it'll happen practically instantly. And and the solutions are out there, whether it's as simple as a web design, or something a little bit more robust, like an outbound marketing system, such as the funnel, but there's many solutions out there. And it's gonna vary on the business, the neighborhood, like if you're a florist in a mall, you're gonna have foot traffic, maybe, versus one that's off the beaten path. So there's different options for different florists. It's not exactly the same solution for everyone. But the solution is get the right technology for your store.
Jay Kingley 12:06
So Bobbie one of the things which I'm sure if you're a flourish, you'd be really nervous about is this dependence that the wire services have built, where they're going to say, you turn me off, you're going to turn off all your revenues? So question one is, how true is that? Question two is, what does that tell you about the sequence? And you know, how far in advance should I begin to put in place these other marketing systems so that when I cut off the wire service, these things are ready to go talk about that? The timing of that in the context of if you turned off a wire service how much of my revenue is going to disappear overnight?
Bobbie Malatesta 12:55
So there's a business answer to that? And then there's an emotional answer to that question. So the business answer would be immediately, because if you're losing money on every order, and you're losing the time that you could be using in this other, even if it was as simple as posting on social media a little differently for yourself or for your shop, you have the time and energy to put into the that new vehicle Once the wire service is done, because the wire services just soak up their time. So it's instant, it's pretty instant. And because it's the bottom line and not the top line, the business actually becomes more sustainable, they're not writing checks to these guys every month, the model works in a way where the wire services tell you by writing me a check every month, that means you're making money, they want you to write them a check. That means you're sending more orders outbound and that you owe them or the florists that actually fill it. So it's very deceptive to so just food for thought.
Jay Kingley 14:02
So what I'm hearing you say is we're just to wrap up, if indeed, you are losing money at the margin on these orders, then clearly, cutting it off, will immediately stop the losses. So that itself has a financial benefit. And the other thing, which I think maybe isn't well appreciated, and certainly not something that I understood, which is time, that how much time they are sucking up from the business owner because of the need to manage your systems that they give you the need to try to understand what's really going on with the accounting and how convoluted they make that so even just springing up your time and using that to do some very basic marketing, you know, whether it's on social media, whether it's community outreach, and then getting a more systematic structured approach for your lead generation clearly sounds compelling to me, and I appreciate you bringing that to our attention. So what we're going to do now we're gonna take a short break. And when we come back, we're gonna learn a bit more about Bobbie.
Centricity Introduction 15:23
Wondering how much longer you have to grind and chase after every lead conversation and client, would you like clients to knock on your door so you no longer have to pitch follow up and spam decision makers. Well Centricity's The Tipping Point program uses a proven five step process that will help you get in front of the decision makers you need by spending less time on doing all of the things you hate. It's not cold, calling cold email, cold outreach on LinkedIn or any other social media platform, or spending money on ads. But it has a 35 times higher ROI than any of those things, leveraging your expertise and insights that your prospects and network value. The best part even though you'll see results in 90 days, you get to work with the Centricity team for an entire year to make sure you have all the pieces in place and working. So you can start having freedom of time and a life outside of your business. So email time@Centricityb2b.com to schedule an 18 minute call to learn more.
Jay Kingley 16:22
Welcome back, we're talking to Bobbie Malatesta of Bobbie The Awesome Enterprise. Bobbie, I'd like to find out a little bit more about you in your business. And I want to start by asking, in terms of what you do for florists, what are the pain points that you're solving? And why do they need you to get rid of that pain?
Bobbie Malatesta 16:45
The pain points are education, right not knowing what is happening. So at least educating them to help them make a decision. If they decide the wire services the right way, then that's their choice. But financially, I know that their bank account will be fuller. And that's a pain point, I think every every business has. And then lastly, the stress as creative people, and I can say this because I used to work in floral, we had stressed we're emotional, we want to do right by our customers. And our customers are usually in our shops, for emotional occasions, weddings, funerals. So there's always that heightened stress level, because you don't want to disappoint a client. So it relieves some of that pressure as well.
Jay Kingley 17:36
Bobbie one of the things that is almost a truism in business, when you're a customer, I'm looking to hire someone like you, it's not so much what you do, is the justification for hiring you. It's the fact that you're really good at doing it. We all want to work with the best that we can find, given our budget. So Bobbie, let me ask you, what makes you great at what you do.
Bobbie Malatesta 18:03
The number one thing would be curiosity. And the number two would be experience. So I've worked on all facets of the business. I've been in mass market, I've been in private shops. And I've also worked for a wire service. And I knew how dirty I felt at the end of the day. And I didn't want to put people out of business. So it's a combination of the experience and time invested with the curiosity to ask the questions to wonder why to do things like the case study. That's, that's what I bring to the table is that combination.
Jay Kingley 18:39
I encourage all of our listeners to go to whom you're LinkedIn profile, and look at the things that you've done, which you sort of have alluded to, but you'll get a lot more details there. But I have a slightly different question for you. I want to know what's happened in your life, either personal or professional, that would most explain why you do what you do.
Bobbie Malatesta 19:04
I'm on a very big mission. I want to educate the world around gambling addiction. And what I've realized the last few years, explore doing my personal development exploring myself is and I'm in recovery for gambling, I should say. What I realized is I have to be doing things that light me up that I'm passionate about, so that I can achieve the mission that I have. And I have 30 years of floral I've played in that sandbox. I know it it makes me happy I can't walk by a florist without going to snoop and see and, and I believe that flowers make people smile. So it's twofold. It's helping both of the communities that are important to me, my florist and my gambling addicts or anybody in addiction really. So I get to do both things, people that are important to me, and it aligns with my values and experience
Jay Kingley 19:59
It is a wonderful reason to do what you are doing. And I wish you continued success and prosperity on both dimensions. So Bobbie, I am guessing that we've got people in our audience that want to reach out to you that would like to continue the conversation with you. What's the best way for them to do that?
Bobbie Malatesta 20:26
Well, if they want to email me directly, they can reach me at Bobbie@321Nokidding.com. And thank you for putting that in the show notes. Or my website is three to one no kid and.com. Those are the easiest email for sure. any social media platform.
Jay Kingley 20:43
As Bobbie said, we'll put her LinkedIn address, her email and her website, in the show notes make it easy for you guys to reach out and continue the conversation. Bobbie, I think you've put a spotlight on something that those of us whether we're in business, or even as the customers of a business who are using these 3rd party platforms, just don't think about don't really look at in the insightful way that you have. And I can assure you that any show out there would be looking at you and they would be on the ground. Thanking you thanking you thanking you for really enlightening the audience. But that's not me. No, no, no, no, no. I'm saying that was good. But I think you've got a little more in you just this lift a little bit. So I'm going to put you on the spot. I want you to raise the ante. I want you in addition to all your insight to throw on top, a little bit of a gift for our listeners, Bobbie, what can you do for them?
Bobbie Malatesta 21:56
Well, since I have two wheel houses, I think I have an idea. If anybody wants to email me, let me know that it was because you and I spoke Jay and that I was on this podcast on the Best Kept Secret podcast. If they want to email me and they're not in the floral business and they just want to get a little better healthy. I'll be happy to send them something about self care. If you're a florist or a floral business owner out there and you want more information. I'll be happy to take a 30 minute call with them. How does that sound?
Jay Kingley 22:26
That is terrific. On behalf of my audience. Now we're going to really thank you for being such a terrific guest on The Best Kept Secret show. To my audience let's continue to crush it out there. Until next time.