The Ask – Nik Tsoukales of Key Credit Repair

Nik Tsoukales, President and CEO of Key Credit Repair

Nik Tsoukales, President and CEO of Key Credit Repair, grew his company’s revenue from from $1.9m in 2014 to $4.6m in 2017, a 139% increase, and now they are on track to hit around $5.5m this year.  

Key Credit Repair helps consumers that are struggling to get credit by dramatically increasing their credit scores.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Nik shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Doing a great job delivering exactly what their customers want.  
  • Competently and proactively asking for referrals almost every time they speak with their customers.  
  • Monitoring the pulse of their business on a daily basis, and pushing to hit their daily targets.  
  • Developing strategic referral partners, one partner at a time, through one-on-one in person meetings.  

Key Credit Repair - (computer generated transcript) (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Key Credit Repair - (computer generated transcript)" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the high value sales show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Nik Tsoukales the President and CEO of Key Credit Repair, a company that helps consumers that are struggling to get credit by dramatically increasing their credit scores. Welcome to the call Nick.

Nik Tsoukales: Malcolm, thank you so much for having me on. This is a great honor. I love your show.

Malcolm Lui: Nick, you grew your company's revenue from $1.9 million in 2014 and $4.6 million 2017, a 139% increase. And now you're on track to hit around $5.5 million in 2018. Two questions for you. One can you give a quick overview as to how your company differs from all the other credit repair agencies and businesses out there? And the second question is what were the three biggest drivers of your success?

How they differ from the competition

Nik Tsoukales: And the big the big thing that we focus on here is key credit repair really is not paying attention to what you call quote unquote competitors. We do our own thing the way we structure and create our programs has nothing to do with you. Again the quote unquote marketplace. We focus on creating programs that are very specific to the client's needs. The client has a credit issue. They need to buy a house. They need to move out of their rental and we structuring Korean tailor the program for that. The client understands that when they call us they're not going to get the same experience they get anywhere because we just don't pay attention to anyone else from the way we do our pricing the way we do our consultations so the way we actually do the actual credit repair program which is far far different than anyone else. So I would say that that's the biggest difference between us and the others that we just don't pay attention to the others at all. We just really kind of stay in our lane

Malcolm Lui: All right. And. And then make sense as well. Because if you provide a totally unique service you really don't have any competition right.

Nik Tsoukales: Well look that's the biggest thing. You know if you started Google searching your other companies that are in the same space and you start looking at their website and everyone starts doing that what ends up happening you kind of commodities your business. You do yourself you start dropping a price to beat the other guy. Well your client might not even be comparison shopping you and the other guy they're just looking for a solution to their problem. That's what they're looking for. They're not looking to comparison shop especially a service they're looking for the service that solves their problems. So if you can hyper focus on that that makes a world of difference asking your clients you know what are the issues that you're having. Even the way you structure the wording of your website your landing pages your ad making sure that you hit that nerve you can strike that nerve doesn't it doesn't. Doesn't matter if you have a lower price than the next guy. People don't care about what they don't care about they care about what they care about which is their pain in getting that pain to go away and that's the that's the most important thing that we have to focus on. It has to be like that or else you know businesses end up cannibalizing themselves and you see it all the time. Look at online retailers that cannibalize themselves. You know you have all these websites that sold travel services they cannibalize themselves because it's just based on price but no one's actually asking the customer what they want. It's not just about price. They want something you need to be able to deliver that. And when you do that's when you can actually charge a premium for it versus what the next guy is going to charge because your customer's getting a higher value. It's cheaper to them in their eyes but you might be making a better margin than the next guy. And it's something to really really be focused in on

Malcolm Lui: So it sounds like one of the biggest drivers of your past success is simply delivering giving what your market wants

They confidently ask for business

Nik Tsoukales: On the. And then once you do that being able to confidently ask for more business. So you know we we spend our fair share in digital marketing. We run. When you Google ads and we want to know what we call intention base clients or leave you know where people are they're coming to our website because they're looking to solve a pain. We're not just cold calling people randomly. We're not we're not running banner ads any digital marketing we do intend to make that Google search. What they need their pain and we're there to solve it. When we match those needs. But that's only one piece of it. When you're doing a great job OK you should be able to turn around and consistently constantly ask for referrals if your business is not producing referrals. It's a bad business. Your client is or your client. They're your children OK. And they need to give birth to grandchildren. Otherwise what are you doing. OK you're your referrals turn into referrals turn into referrals. We could take you know we're not a network marketing company or multi-level marketing company at all. But we can take some you know we can learn a lot from that industry. One client turns into another turns into another.

Nik Tsoukales: A lot of businesses are hesitant to ask for referrals consistently obsessively constantly over and over and over because they don't really have the confidence in what they do in the service that they're offering. So what do they do. Good of asking for clients. They're offering discounts constantly. Right. Because they're not confident. If you're doing a heck of a job OK you can turn around and obsessively ask your clients for more business and they will provide that growth for you. So step one you have to do a heck of a job. Step two you got to be your partner. You've got to be really unique. OK. And you got to meet the needs of the client. And step three you have to have that and you have to do it obsessively and the business will grow much much quicker than scaling up you know a marketing campaign are quote a quote set of ads with Google. There's one way more business and than that we don't even have Google a couple decades ago. Businesses are still here. Grown quickly. Magazines were still growing quickly but those lists were growing quickly so we got to look past to look past the Google and the Facebook. There's more

Malcolm Lui: Right. So you're saying here that you your team actually proactively ask for referrals by many businesses are referral based. But are there more passive about it.

Nik Tsoukales: Yeah. Here's the thing. We've added all the mechanisms all the tools right. The email I got the text that go out the pop ups on the website the on the little mailers that go with the cards we have all this great automation and it's done on some daily hourly. There's so much stuff that's going out asking for the referrals but if we do not act if we have a campaign going OK where every phone call or asking for a referral it doesn't work. It's interesting. We've you know we've had streaks where we've noticed even from listening to phone calls where our guys have dropped the ball dropped the ball in terms of just asking for referrals. All the systems are still in place the emails all the fancy stuff or referral program still in place or points program is still in place but referrals dropped drastically as soon as we put together a mandatory program or every call it's mentioned. We see that business grow up dramatically and talk about cost requisition which is the biggest costs for most businesses. You have a chance you're in your marketing that cost per acquisition can drop to close to nothing. If you just ask. So you need a human being to connect to a human being. You've got to go beyond beyond the digital. It's got to be. Person to person which sounds a little old school for a business that we consider ourselves super high tech and very very fast at doing things and we use a ton of automation but that ask is is everything into gold platinum

Malcolm Lui: That's it. Let me table this for now. But I do have one question about how you go about asking for referrals. So I'm going back to my original question my earlier question but the three biggest driver. So the first one is you're giving your your market exactly what they want when it comes to repairing their their credit their credit score. Second one is that you're proactively incompetently asking for referrals. Is there a third driver of your success

Daily metrics a key driver

Nik Tsoukales: Yes. I would say the daily metrics. OK. So we run we run a system that I built those years ago called Pulse and I named it pulse because I wanted to have a clear pulse of our business where it is today where it's trending for the month a quarter and even the next year but it's got to be done daily. So essentially what happens with our company is every single day we have this program we punch in our previous days or month of details or turning 30 day sales advertising spend. This system will track our churn how many clients we're losing versus taking on our average ticket price in terms of billing and a whole bunch of other things. Even employee cost commission payouts. I mean this thing literally has our entire business on one page by the way. It's simple but it has a lot of detail. And what this thing will do is it will spit out and project for me the we'll get a projected month a day or two you will get a projected monthly revenue snapshot. Profit snapshot quarterly snapshot annual snapshot or snapshot snapshot an ongoing for the next twelve months and I'm able to see just from the previous day's production I'm able to see those numbers sometimes shift very drastically. OK. And as a result I can that same that same system has reverse. We reverse engineer that system where we can turn around and punch in and goal a profit goal in this system will actually reverse engineer and tell me how many people we need on staff what we need to be doing for daily sales what our retention needs to look like and we can actually project out that goal and build towards that goal. So the daily metrics is everything that especially the sales metric every single day every single hour. We push for that target. If our targets 50 clients today we are not watching the clock. We are watching the sales until we get to that number. We're not walking out of here

Malcolm Lui: For

Nik Tsoukales: Because we know what type of an effect they can have for the next twelve months. If we keep doing that you can add a little every day. It will. It will drastically grow the business.

Malcolm Lui: Right. So if your team hits your target within the first three hours you guys call it a day. Take the rest of the day off

Nik Tsoukales: No absolutely not where we're

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Nik Tsoukales: Gonna go for another 10 on our team. We have. You know we're big on grand Cardon 10x fans we're big fans of Tim Grover who is a personal trainer for Michael Jordan. He has contact you know you're a cleaner a cooler closer and here he credit. We only accept his top tier which is cleaner which is really just obsessive about success. It's actually a prerequisite in our company that you have to read that book before starting here. And the reason for that is so people when they start they understand how obsessed we are with our success because people that from the outside looking in might think we're a little nuts when they get here and they see how hard we work and they see that type of teamwork that we have. It's not your typical corporate America passive place and we're not one of these startups from Silicon Valley that's been around playing ping pong even those guys are mostly gone bust in the next year.

Malcolm Lui: All right.

Nik Tsoukales: This is a real business and we we hustle hard

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. What's the name of that book that you mentioned

Nik Tsoukales: One of the best books. It's called a relentless by Tim Grover.

Malcolm Lui: Came at the check that book out sounds like a good read

Nik Tsoukales: It is awesome awesome awesome awesome. It's fantastic. I'll send you a copy of doesn't in America help me one

Malcolm Lui: Ok.

Nik Tsoukales: Of these the more

Malcolm Lui: Appreciate that. You might get other people reaching out to you to get a copy as well. Maybe a couple a few questions to elaborate on these top three drivers. Now first one. Number one you deliver exactly what your market wants. They've become a bit more price insensitive because you are addressing their pain points. Can you share how you develop your offer your your your product to address those pain points how do you figure it out. How how did you come to that eureka moments and yet this is what we're going to do. This is what we're going to do.

Nik Tsoukales: Well first it's just affordability. I wouldn't ask people you don't want to start the business it was just me. It's just me trying to help people with their credit issues. I came from a banking background. I'm also a mortgage lender for a long time and after the great the great recession of 0 8 no one can get a for a darn thing and I went out to help them with their credit in order to give them a loan for my mortgage brokerage business and in over time I was helping more and more people and people would say Hey can I can I give you some money for this. Can I tell you how much you want to give me. What can you afford. So that was actually the first the first price test. That's how we developed the first program I actually did the work first. So it was successful and ask people what they can afford to pay. What was interesting is people were going to pay me a lot more than what I charge now. You got it kind of kind of a funny concept. So that's how I came up with it.

Nik Tsoukales: There wasn't a lot of sign to it at first. You know and we've we've probably gone up on price really the last 10 years just slightly and we've done that as our costs have gone up but anytime we've gone up in price and we've we've added four or five layers of service on top of that and benefits that we could offer the customer. So there wasn't much science to it. We kind of let the client dictate what they can afford. We've done a few price tests that were a little higher. And if you programs that were a lot more premium the market didn't like them. So we took them away and we've just found the balance you know we need to maintain a certain conversion of the lead volume that comes in as well. So checking and checking a new offering is fairly easy. You put the offer up. You run the test and if people like it you'll continue converting the business if they don't you know you'll you'll see the business drop the market will the market will will tell you

Malcolm Lui: Yes. And you have your daily metrics pulse dashboard to help you see that

Nik Tsoukales: Yeah absolutely.

Malcolm Lui: Make how much you charge your customers or your credit repair services

$150 per month fee for their services

Nik Tsoukales: Great question. So right now our clients are paying on average about one hundred and fifty dollars or about fifty dollars per credit agency each month to deal with their credit issues. A lot of the companies out there are charging you know one hundred and twenty bucks per month and one of the greater gimmicks out there is they'll work on one euro at a time each month. Kind of turn credit repair into what seems like a membership business will charge that fee for an unlimited number of accounts who work on everything they want to work on anything erroneous or questionable gets worked on unlimited credit coaching. We give clients full access to their file and one of the best best things that we do and something that makes us very unique is we we stop are charges after six months. So a lot of credit repair models have set up so the customer is almost anything like a gym membership or maybe they forgot they're paying 100 bucks per month and they'll pay us for the rest of the millennia. Right. Our services are capped at six months. They might only need us for two but if they do get the six month they're capped and then we work beyond that for free if they need anything else for up to a year. And our clients love that because they know they're not getting stuck in some sort of reoccurring membership where the company stops caring for us. We stop caring then we're working for free. So the quicker we work the better. And the fact that we keep our model very much about getting referrals on the service levels have to be very very high because we have to rely on those referrals. So that's how we approach it a little different but it served our clients very very well.

Malcolm Lui: Very cool. Now do the the you as you are providing the service and improving their credit is their team say you know what I think we're done here. I don't think you need to continue I think two months is enough or does the other person as a customer decide if they need to end prior to six months or up

Nik Tsoukales: Great question. So it really depends on the scenario all these credit reports are very different. Sometimes people will come to us with two very minor issues on their credit report to account but they need to get removed and they need challenge and we work on it very very clear that those items are then removed and so on and we tell the client you know services are over. Other times we get someone that has a specific score goal. So they're not necessarily they don't necessarily care about the number of negative marks they have on their credit report but they have a particular score they want to hit to get a car lease or a particular home loan or rate at a bank. So with those scenarios the client does need to keep us. The client needs to really call the shots on that. We might want the client to have the 750 credit score and we might think there's room together with the client. Hey I'm good at 680 I accomplish my goals. You know there's something else I need to work on on a credit report. I could care less. See you later guys switch. Which is fine too. So everyone is a little different but we work very closely with our clients. We're on the phone with them constantly. One on One. So that's an ongoing conversation that we have it's not a it's not just an e-mail alert. It's a conversation that we're having quite a bit with

Malcolm Lui: Right. And plastic. And how do people come back to you. Right. Six months. The credit scores improve they're able to get their mortgage and they're looking to get. And do you find that they come back to you or they you're pretty much in good credit score. Heaven after working with you

Why customers come to them for help

Nik Tsoukales: It's a really good question. So you know bad credit is usually I call it an event an event when someone incurs a late payment. OK. But it's also event an event when they need the service. So about a third of the United States has bad credit right now. It's just you're not getting approved for much these days. OK but a third of the United States 100 million people are not inquiring for credit repair. And the reason for that is they only need it when they need it applied for something they've been turned down. They're thinking of getting a loan. They're nervous about getting turned down. They're thinking of applying for a job but they're nervous about the background check. And then they start Google searching and so on. OK. So with that with that being said you know we don't see a lot of return business luckily. OK. Which sounds a little strange. We fix someone's credit. We've over educated them we've hyper educated them about everything credit and debt related. Past that point with multiple videos email instructions tutorials one on ones with our coaching team. So we hope they don't come back. But every so often there is an event. Something happens a job loss causes a credit issue a divorce credit issues always happens through divorce and business flops for a client. We have and their credit takes a bath is resolved. And those those life events will will send those people back to us and we hate that it happens. We wish it didn't we rather have them being you know our disciples out there just sending us clients and talking about us all day versus them coming back for us. But it does happen I would say that somewhere between five to 10 percent of our clients will end up coming back to us in the next five years. That's been the trending number so far since we started the company. But we're hoping it can. We're hoping it can drop even lower.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Can you share what the average credit score is before they engage your company services and what it is. After

Nik Tsoukales: Right now it's probably in the low low 500. We're trending somewhere in the 5 35 40 range and clients leaving us are usually somewhere in the high six hundreds. Usually we're not seeing a customer go from low fives to high six to seven with our company. The reason for this is a lot of what it takes to get over from the six eighty six ninety coming into the seven hundred is just time. So we'll get the credit where it needs to be to be what we call bankable so they can start getting improve things they go from really bad credit to bankable credit. And then after that you know they won't need the service anymore but what they'll need is time for maybe new accounts at age the length of history to get longer. Maybe they're just having a scenario where you know we've cleaned up their credit and all the junk that shouldn't be there but the credit card utilization rate is too high on their credit card balances and they just need time to simply pay down those steps and that will account for about 30 percent of the score. So well at that point let them know hey you know we've done our part. Now let's let let's let the money roll in to get paid on the cards and let's let a little time pass by. So the length of history on these trade lines gets a little older and you'll have great credit and it and it happens like clockwork as long as people follow the steps.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Right. Stop doing the things that got them into trouble to begin with outside of the life events. Now well the second key factor you competently and proactively ask for referrals. Can you give an example of how your team asks for each rose over the phone

Nik Tsoukales: Absolutely. It really is as simple as just asking. OK. So every sale for example we're doing a consultation with a client the client decides they want to know OK while we're on that same phone call we're simply asking that do you have a friend or family member you'd like to add to this credit repair program and we'll give them one hundred dollars off or we'll pass on the savings to you. We'll actually ask them at the point of sale and we'll give them an incentive to do it. And you'd be surprised how many of our clients we think we're about to get one client and all of a sudden someone walks through the room and they'll do the selling course. Hey you had bad credit. Great. Let's let that go on for this and then we'll get you signed up or from a customer service standpoint clients will call in basic customer service call their change in their credit card information and we have a protocol where on every single one of those phone calls our customer support people will simply tell the client at the end of the call by the way. Is there anything else I can help you with. Let's say the client says no there isn't. Also do you have maybe one or two people you could think of that you can that can use our service.

Asking for referrals more important than providing an incentive

Nik Tsoukales: Keep in mind anytime you refer somebody will make sure we give you 100 dollars off our program as well as the person that sent us. We'll get 100 hours off and we'll just do a quick reminder. Sometimes you get traction on the app instantly and people will literally grab someone in the crowd and get them on the phone with you which is really a lot of fun. A person with their credit. We were just talking about this. Other times we'll just get a phone call throughout the day from a random referral from a random person we spoke to a week ago. We planted the seed and we ask and people people like doing things for other people. I don't know the science behind this but when I ask someone for a favor could be the toughest guy in the world. You know the guy you think will never want to do anything for you. And and they'll go out of their way to do something nice for you. So asking and then giving them an incentive to show you show them that you care. That's like the added boost. But asking is even more important than giving them the incentive. I would say it's 80 percent of it. 20 percent of you give

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Nik Tsoukales: Them

Malcolm Lui: Because

Nik Tsoukales: A

Malcolm Lui: I'm

Nik Tsoukales: Referral

Malcolm Lui: Sure you've tested this way when you sent out your marketing campaigns for referrals and that incentive is there. The response rate isn't as good as simply imagine. You simply ask for the referral and didn't offer incentive. You still get a better response rate from asking. With no incentive versus a passive campaign with the incentive it's not right

Nik Tsoukales: Correct. The incentive the incentive was never anything that's significant. It was more of a thank you. When. When we started doing this this this asked system. This was a few years into our company. Well actually they asked us when we always did. But I think the incentive to it when we added incentive to it we didn't see that big of a significant difference in the percentage of referrals we were getting. For every hundred clients. Just kind of funny we thought it was going to go gangbusters but that didn't make the difference. It seemed like the difference was something we were already doing which was the ask.

Malcolm Lui: Right. The Ask. I think that might be the title of your part of the podcast here of my summary. The Ask. That's good. It's a fantastic. Thanks for sharing. That's really interesting. In regard to the daily metrics the pulse how you're measuring the pulse of your business. That sounds like something you created on your own or was this off the shelf software that you're able to buy and modify for your needs.

Nik Tsoukales: Yeah you know what. I was running a bunch of different reports just some good old fashioned Excel wages. Punch those in them my within my percentage budget calculators for quick books and all that garbage. And then it just all of these systems and all of these programs all of these CRM and they're never your business. Every business is so unique. So I just ended up creating it myself from scratch. It's simple. It's on one Excel spreadsheet. There are a few tabs to it. One of the tabs is the pulse. The second tab is the reverse engineering where it actually spits out what you need to do for the goal based on some of the pulse that's a cost per requisition. Closing percentages churn retention wages so it able it's able to project out where I'm going based on month of date business but unable to take that data and very very quickly within 10 seconds and reverse engineer any goal I have I can punch in a million dollars net profit or 100 million dollars net profit and this thing will literally tell me how many more people I desire how much more money he can spend in advertising how many more referrals I need what my retention needs to be it literally tells me in it. Without it I don't I don't think I could exist

Malcolm Lui: Right

Nik Tsoukales: But the four or five things to look at. Need to be simple enough where you could judge them down on a napkin and know where your business is it has to be that quick

Malcolm Lui: Right now it sounds like you have real time integration to up all the other systems you have running so you see call is going through a number of ask for referrals that amount of new customers sign up and so on it's all integrated and you see it everything live in real time.

Nik Tsoukales: No I don't you know everything I do is you know the data points that I have there probably six or seven data points and I punch him in every day I get reports from customer service from operations sales and my CFO on a daily basis before him within a week I take those six or seven data points I literally pop them in there it takes me 10 seconds and it'll spit everything out but I don't have it communicating to cookbooks I don't need it to communicate my CRM because the data points are so simple I'm sure I could build out a piece of software that would but I'm probably going to spend you know a hundred grand on building out a

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Nik Tsoukales: One page piece of software and I don't see Microsoft going out of business or or the use of Excel diminishing based on software I think is just as prevalent and busy for a reason because you can quickly create and adjust and customize so on an Excel junkie I LIVE ON THAT THING ALL DAY LONG

Malcolm Lui: I am too and yes I hear you right. It's really easy to build acquire tools and platforms to do stuff but sometimes all you need is a piece of paper and a pen and that's good enough.

Basic metrics are all you need.

Nik Tsoukales: Oh yeah. The basic metrics. You know if Microsoft had no more excel. Bill Gates held a press conference just as unknown destroying excel and I'm going to change them for some reason. You still should be able to take all those data points and you know on a Mac and be able to figure out the health of the business. And if you can't. You've got to wonder like what kind of business that we have. You know just to think that the Rockefeller Rockefeller or Rockefeller was running a business was a few hundred thousand employees the richest guy in the world and who's doing this all from his mansion in Newport. No email with no computer. With nothing.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Nik Tsoukales: And

Malcolm Lui: Well even.

Nik Tsoukales: Every day he knew where his business was based on one phone call. So we got all these systems and some people still don't know where their business is not. I think we're over complicating things unnecessarily simple cost per acquisition tool. What are you paying to acquire a client. A simple churn tool. How many clients are you losing versus gaining a simple tool that will project out your net profit and your gross sales and your spend on H.R.. No. There are only really four or five things you have to track on a daily basis in those things. That's it. And the data points for those things. You should be receiving those. So as a business owner you shouldn't be creating those data points. You should be getting them on a on a daily basis from your your captain's right. I wasn't saying those data points and then you put them altogether and then you share that pulse with your with your generals and you let them know hey this is where we are. Thanks for the data. This is what we're projecting. Let's make adjustments. Let's kick up sales. Let's offer something declined to stay onboard. Let's come up with our services suffering. Let's turn our churn is upwards. Let's get the service levels up. Let's pay attention to what's going on. Or sometimes you just find that the pulse looks so damn good. Celebrate. Take everyone for lunch. Good job. You know not that bad.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Nik Tsoukales: You know not everything needs improvement. Celebrate here celebrate and have a good time.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah it's important to celebrate the wins. Since we have I know you're not behind your computer but maybe if you can I remember what you punched in for the next set of questions I have for you. Let's talk a little bit about the future. Right. So for 2009 for this year 2018 you're looking to end the year at around five and a half million. What's your target for 2019 and what is your your post Spreadsheet tell you in regards to what you need to do to get there.

Looking for different types of referrals now.

Nik Tsoukales: Yet here's the challenge to you know the we've had. At least in terms of the number of sales we've had a 54 percent increase in the number of new clients year over year for a decade every year. Boom boom boom or just hitting these numbers and even this year we saw we saw a slight plateau. It was the first time that happened in a decade. And what we were doing is we were taking advantage of this particular marketing platform and we were just taking everything out of it based on the customer acquisition we want to have the percentages and I think we've done a damn good job of of kind of maximizing our efforts so the challenge this year. How do we double our business so ideally what we want to do is guarantee credit repair is double the number of overall sales which theoretically can double our profit even more profit economies of scale and drive up the size of our company too which is great because we love creating jobs here. We considered our our greatest blessing right. Being able to create a job for someone great. But the challenge is how do we get there. So you know the thing we're looking at right now aside from just the referrals is just a different type of referral.

Nik Tsoukales: We see interest rates going up. We see interest rates going up. You know the credit markets have been loosening up the last couple of years we're starting to see some funky loans out there and people that may be shooting getting a group of things they're starting to get approved for things we're seeing on car loans across the board. There at one hundred and twenty five percent loan to value. So cars are incredibly over leverage across the board. A third of them are subprime car loans 20 percent. So we feel like my my sense is the market's going to turn. And what we're gonna do is put a big initiative on seeking out partnerships referral partnerships with the lenders for example the loan officers of the world they've been they've been working with the best of the best clients for the last two or three years with interest rates that are low. Anyone with a credit issue they've kind of you they beat it or they haven't followed up on those applications. They haven't even been willing to refer that business because they're just too busy trying to track us slaughter this business that they have right.

Nik Tsoukales: With interest rates going up our expectation is the lending community is going to pay more attention to those with credit issues as their sales slow down because of higher interest rates. The lending community is going to need to service those people in that gray area a lot more. It doesn't mean they're going to have loans to offer them no. So services like ours will will be something that that's needed a lot more partnerships like ours will be needed a lot more. So we're putting a lot a lot of work right now in building up partnerships with residential mortgage lenders. That's our number one people that are trying to buy a house. We'll take credit improvement very very seriously. They'll do what we ask them to do so that's definitely our best client. In addition to that commercial lenders and business owners look at their look at their credit as an investment in the future. They understand how much the leverage of their credit score means in the business world and that without that leverage a lot of them can't do business. So that's going to be our big initiative. We want to double our sales by growing out referral partnerships strategic referral partnerships nationwide

Malcolm Lui: What's the plan on on reaching out to these strategic partners and in forming the partnerships

Nik Tsoukales: Great question. The plans got a bunch of pieces to it. The first is actually just good old fashioned saying hello to people you know having someone on the ground every single day with a specific number of walk ins. And I know this is going to sound a little old school for some of you guys that have established businesses but anytime you're starting to solicit a new you know a new potential pipeline of lead that's like starting a new business. So we're literally going to have someone including myself that are in the car every day and walking into places probably 10 places a day I'll probably be our initial target but we simply walk in and introduce ourselves and show people our face. Mortgage companies lenders banks and loan officers credit unions Hello how are you doing. This is what I do. Please let me take your card here in your mind. I can help. Feel free to reach out to me. It's as simple as that. OK we are going to run into people that are decline and they're going to need a resource and our card will be on their desk.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Nik Tsoukales: So that's the first way.

Malcolm Lui: You're not going to have an appointment in advance just going to walk the streets and walk and say hello. Leave a card brief intro and then go on to the next spot. Is that the plan or are you going to set up an appointment in advance and then meet them.

The problem with making appointments

Nik Tsoukales: No no no appointments. The problem with the problem with appointments are people don't pick appointments. People are busy but they're not. You know I might have more appointments a week but I'm in the office 50 60 hours. Right. So why don't I take all these appointments because I just don't feel like it because I'm lackadaisical about it. Because people just hate doing it. They don't like being solicited over the phone but face to face. Nobody's doing it anymore. So that's all we're going to do. Everyone's reaching out to you on LinkedIn. Great. Well we're not doing it because everyone else is doing it.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Nik Tsoukales: You tell them. You walk into millennials office introduce yourself and you simply drop off your card and let me know if I can help with anything. Don't be shocked. We've never experienced that. I mean it sounds so primitive but they will think it's futuristic and we've done a few tests with this in the last few months. It's unbelievable the response we got. And it's it's old school. So that's going to be the first thing. Once you we start establishing a base of referral partners in this fashion by the way we have a lot of referral partners in this fashion. But we're going to go on and get new ones. But once you start doing this you can fertilize those those seeds you've planted. OK. Once those seeds start growing which is you're getting referrals from those from those referral partners or those new referral partners you can ask them for other people in their on their team their coworkers that these lending institutions they will produce more referrals for you. You know I had one company I walked into this was years ago when I started the businesses in 0 9. I walked into an office introduced myself will randomly establish some quick rapport with a very very nice guy named Guy named Eric. He started sending me a few clients here and there when the business was just me. The relationship grew and I had asked him if he could introduce me to new people. This is again a decade ago and he ended up bringing me in to his company. Then he moved to a bigger company and brought me into that company where you know what I had like 300 people from that company referring this business back in 0 9. And it was just a huge huge moneymaker. So you start really preventively you plant the seed. Eventually some of those will grow and then you fertilize them by asking them for referrals and you'll very very quickly grow grow business. Our new pipeline of clients

Malcolm Lui: Right now your team I mean they spread out across the nation and you can be doing this throughout the nation or just going to be doing it you know where you are today

Nik Tsoukales: Now we're going to start with Massachusetts. Just because we have we have a good local presence here as well. So we'll start here. And once we see it's working here which I'm confident and well then from there we'll start to clone it in other areas whether it's having a business development person here go to the neighboring state spending some time there or whether it's hiring people and creating clones and all the different major metropolitan areas. If you go into New York City you know Providence going to newer you know hitting up all these different areas and just hitting the streets just it's primitive it's simple but it's very very effective

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I've had other conversations with other CEOs and they've expressed a thing similarly right. You want to do marketing that stands out and you don't want to go where everyone else is doing the same sort of marketing because now you get lost in the clutter right. But you know if you send something as basic as literally something in the mail. In today's era it would probably stand out because people get so little useful interesting mail in the mail now. Right.

Nik Tsoukales: Yes. Yes absolutely. Yes it's it's unbelievable the amount of time and energy we spend be able to get contact with someone get on the phone and establish rapport. Mounted 10 days and days and days sometimes to make a connection we can make it instantly by just showing up somewhere and just saying hello. And it's it's fast it's instant and there's traction with it versus you know maybe a cold email or something along those lines or running banner campaigns for people in this industry where you know Google calls a brand awareness or what do you do. Google you know. Thanks for the brand awareness. How about money awareness. I want cash. I want clients on how people want to go directly to the source. So again you know some old school stuff and then you know using visual remarketing as a tool to fertilize these relationships. It's wonderful using re marketing campaigns Facebook in New YouTube and having those email lists consistently see for your videos and your content and ignore just different different good content you put out there to nurture those relationships. That's where digitizing these relationships and using digital marketing tool can nurture them. That's where

Malcolm Lui: Sure

Nik Tsoukales: That's where you can put your business on or your referral marketing on super steroids. And that's when it really becomes very very special because you can you can touch all these referral sources. You can shop in our office once a year. Right. But you can open their inbox every single day after that. As long as he give some value added No they'll love it to you. You have to compliment the face to face with the digital. And as long as you're giving them valuable content. I mean it believable what it does for your business.

Malcolm Lui: So what you shared with me so far about your your plans to grow your business and in how you plan to go about it. It sounds more like an opportunity than a challenge. You is what's. Is there a challenge is there a difficulty is there an obstacle that you still need to figure out to to get the spend on

The psychological challenge of walking into someone's office cold.

Nik Tsoukales: Yeah. There's gonna be a challenge every single day every hour or so we'll think of a psychological challenge. Everything great as a really high barrier of entry even something like this not something new to us but a high barrier of entry you know because it's difficult to do psychologically speaking walking into someone's office and introducing us. It's hard to do. It's not someone comes to someone's comfort zone it's in their house. Hi I work from home from the couch on a laptop in my pajamas and someone pays me some money. That's the conference on getting up every day suiting up and walking the people walk and introducing yourself. That's not that's not most people's comfort zone but because it's not that's something to recognize for all business owners. If you can leave your comfort zone in your business daily what is behind it. Massive massive profits. If you are in your comfort zone right now in your business and you're not doing scary things to find clients then chances are your margins are probably very very slim right. You can monetize your much if you're offering but the way you find your clients and that's dangerous. If all you're doing is competing for a paper click then you're toast to a guarantee. Google is going to suck up your money and you're going to get wiped out.

Nik Tsoukales: You need those things and they're wonderful but they have to be complemented. They have to be complemented by putting yourselves out there being different. Leaving that comfort zone it's gonna be a challenge. Every time you walk as if someone thought psychologically I mean all the business owners that are listening to this right now guarantee the biggest challenges they're having having right now are in their own head. They're not having the financial issues they're having getting the client issues and getting clients requires you to leave your comfort zone living your comfort zone. It's a psychological problem psychological challenge they're not having money getting they're not having issues getting funding you need funding declines. Right. Until you do they give you money. Use that money to fund your operation. So your issue typically psychological You can't leave that you can't you can't you can't leave your comfort zone to get that next client by shaking some hands and walking into walking into an office and introducing yourself maybe get that referral partner asking current clients to pay you great money that loves you that told you they love you with their pocket you don't have the guts to ask them for a referral because it offends your pride or

Malcolm Lui: Right

Nik Tsoukales: Your ego or your country won't get over it. You want to make money. You got to leave your comfort zone. No one can do anything great. You got to leave it. And if you're not you better recognize that if you're going to get smoked soon

Malcolm Lui: Right now are you planning on spending five days a week doing this counting the payments going door to door saying Hello

Nik Tsoukales: Oh yeah. Every single year five days a week. If I can't six until the until we grow this thing out until we grow until we planted enough seeds that all we need to do at that point the water fertilize and have that thing grow on its own. And that is possible.

Malcolm Lui: Where do you project if you had to take how many months are you need to do this. How many months it would take before it starts taking off on its own.

Nik Tsoukales: Great question. So what we'd like to do is take on a thousand new referral partners in 2019. Okay so I project that taking six months to really accomplish. So January through the summer we're gonna be pounding the pavement. And it could happen a lot quicker. We could take on one referral partner. That's part of an organization that has 500 new referral partners. But we don't want to count on it to go one by one by one and a cute kid

Malcolm Lui: Right. So you don't necessarily need to meet a thousand people or in six months right. You might need some that have food who would then HTC to other people within their firm and that's we're gonna get the leverage

Nik Tsoukales: Correct. But you can't go out and automatically assume you're going to you're going you're going to find someone like that. You have to just one by one and then you're almost pleasantly surprised with who you meet and who you're connected to and you start going on this you know networking excursion

Malcolm Lui: Right. Well even if you just assume you're gonna meet a thousand people. I mean it's 10 per day 20 days a month that's two hundred per month for six months that's twelve hundred people right there. Yeah. Yes

Nik Tsoukales: Thing.

Malcolm Lui: And not often

Nik Tsoukales: It

Malcolm Lui: They do

Nik Tsoukales: Is

Malcolm Lui: Business with

Nik Tsoukales: It's

Malcolm Lui: You.

Nik Tsoukales: Not

Malcolm Lui: But then

Nik Tsoukales: Difficult

Malcolm Lui: You. Yeah. Yeah. Just put your mind

Nik Tsoukales: Yes

Malcolm Lui: To it.

Nik Tsoukales: Is. It's not it's not hard. And the beauty of it is it's free. And then you can use those marketing dollars again to the market that email or re marketing campaign the Facebook feeds and then it's just it's a beautiful model

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I can see that for sure. Two final questions for you Nick. Who are your ideal customers or perhaps who are your ideal referral partners and what's the best way for them to reach you.

Their ideal client

Nik Tsoukales: Our ideal client is someone that is going through a bad credit event. They've just been turned down or they're a to apply for something that their life needs to change. A home loan a school loan a car loan and they they don't think they will. Or they simply can't get approved. That's our ideal client. We can help them. We can absolutely help them and getting their credit score is increased very very quickly with some quick fixes. Some tips some coaching and then a long term plan. Our greatest referral partners are those that are early clients. They are they are the disciples credit and we love them and we value them and they are everything to us. What comes out of their mouth about us is the world. There's nothing more important than our business. Beyond that we're all partners banks lenders anybody that has to say no to a prospective client. They would be our ideal referral partners on the young client.

Malcolm Lui: And what's the best way for them to reach you and your team.

Nik Tsoukales: So we can be reached 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Well no here is 6 1 7 2 6 5 seventy nine hundred. We work in about 45 states. So pretty much nationwide with the exception of a few areas that we haven't pursued yet but we're we're we're ready willing and able to help anybody that has an issue

Malcolm Lui: Would you like to share your company Web site as well.

Nik Tsoukales: Absolutely. Our website is w w w dot key. Kate why he credibly repair dot com

Malcolm Lui: All right fantastic. Thanks for joining us today Nic and sharing how you accelerated your company's high value sales

Nik Tsoukales: Thank you so much Malcolm it's been a really good time with you.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Nik Tsoukales, the President and CEO of Key Credit Repair about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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