NTR14: Executive Recruiter Turned Entrepreneur Bryan Crawford

Table of Contents

Have you ever been in a job where the hamster wheel of life seems to never end? That’s where Bryan Crawford was in his own family’s business – pounding the phones, doing the things every employee is supposed to do – but not really getting much farther down the road of success.  Finally Bryan thought, as Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank) says, “There must be a better way!”

This episode we dive into some great things around setting goals, getting started, ongoing automation, and better communication.  You’re going to love it.

You’ll Learn

  • Why resume writers suck
  • What does a parking lot have to do with your success?
  • How does tracing a logo for a Valentine’s Day box make you a better business owner?
  • How hearing a cell phone ring can make your customer communication better
  • How automation can streamline your business

BONUS Video Footage for Red Canoe Elite Members:

  • How to get other people to get things done
  • What services you can use to find those people
  • What are free days, focus days and buffer days?
  • Tips on building systems & processes
  • Find out about Red Canoe Elite

Links Mentioned in This Episode

About Bryan Crawford

Bryan-PortraitBryan Crawford is an award winning executive recruiter turned entrepreneur. Bryan shares his experience working with industries top producers, leaders and business minds with small business owners and entrepreneurs both on and off line. Success has a formula. From daily disciplines and mindset to marketing strategies and business practices; when you are able to learn from others who are successful you are able to shortcut your path to success.

Get on Bryan’s waiting list for more information on the 3 Pillars video series


Will:   Hey everyone Will Hanke here thank you very much for joining us here today on navigate the excited about today’s show we’re going to bring you something a little different than normal really excited about it so my guess today is Bryan Crawford. Bryan is an award winning executive recruiter turned entrepreneur he shares his experience in working with top producers and senior executives and small business owners and entrepreneur to help them short cut their path to success thanks for joining me today.

Bryan:    My pleasure.

Will:  Pretty excited to have you on the show here today, so tell me a little bit about your past and how you took the recruiting and moved it beyond something just like that.

Bryan:  My family has been in the career since 1968 and at one point my dad had 24 offices plus recruiter employees and as a recruiter I grew up in a mentality where you the phone it’s like a hamster wheel with light bulb, if you’re in the wheel calling the lights are on and as soon as you stop your income stops, everything stops and so from a business perspective it’s an extremely inefficient model it’s just not a very efficient model especially when you’re exposed to online marketing and the possibilities there and I have a disease that’s not going to kill me hopefully but I have the manage that I got five kids and I just wanted more freedom than being tied to a desk on the phone all the time and I look at online marketing as way to diverse my income so I could have more time off and not be so tied to a phone and so many other things wrong in place for one big jug of money to come in once a month every other month.

Will:  Yeah, so you were turned on by marketing what was the first kind of……

Bryan:  Frustration! I was turned on by my marketing because I got tired of seeing resumes come across my desk from a so called resume writer for somebody has been paid 150, 200, 300 bucks for it was terrible these people contact me for business and they looked at best buy two weeks ago and they are getting a resume for some company and they are being paid to put in information after asking you an hour and a half questions so I actually tracked—like we do in marketing now I didn’t notice back then I was tracking success and what was working and tracking phycology and studying and all those stuff and I put it into a video course like an online course itself to get some more income and my initial thought was we always have all those resources and there is not like many job search site and then I thought how boring is that I don’t even enjoy that I can imagine people coming back to me after the job is already so I kind of back off of that and changed a mile up so then as that was going on I got involved with digital marketer where you and I met and my mind was blown my world kind of exploded and I suddenly found a way to take all the marketing online and deploy them into the big recruiting space to where honestly I had clients paying me 25 to 30,000 dollars for a hire and I was spending 20 bucks on Facebook to get those candidates to writing copying in the right funnel so now I’m transitioning from a tied to my phone to calling for candidates to silver recruiting for clients but teaching them also how to  and set their own funnels to where they can reduce their overhead in the recruiting cost because they have a pipe line of warm people who are open to conversation if that makes sense.

Will:  Yeah, now that’s really cool so you have like 10 years of executive search?

Bryan:  Yeah.

Will:  Experience I guess is the word how does that help with entrepreneurs and small business owners?

Bryan:  Well when you play at the executive level I’m talking to people who some of them I do a lot of a lot of the people who I talk to work they own the companies, they are multimillionaires in some case they are actually billionaires and when you are talking to their lead executives and talking to top sales performers but when you’re making 100 calls a day and over 10 years you’re able to get some really good conversations and you’re able to track the parallels between success and failure and you’re able to understand very quickly what is separating everyone from the pack and—there’s a guy name Scott he’s a recruiter and trainer he says “that recruiting is a development course disguise as a job’ and I never asked him what that meant but I’m pretty sure I know what it means and that is your expose to top performers and getting to learn from them in their patterns every day and you can model that, 30 seconds somebody calls me I can tell you if they are worth talking to are not its sad but its true and so you can take those path to success and it is not just a big company these are individual traits of mind set and behaviour and you can scale that down to the individual themselves and put it right into your entrepreneur and your small business owner and teach other people what it working what is not and show them the big pattern that are going to lead to success of failure.

Will:  Right, right so how does this kind of translate to online business?

Bryan:  Well online business or offline business we are calling business if you’re not you’re not going to be in business very long right so take for instance the silver or cream firms who don’t do anything online who still make a lot of money because they’re calling but it’s a lot more work and so no matter what you do whether you’re cleaning carpets having an online presents and having the proper model in place whether its leap generation or whatever is going to make your life a lot easier, you can make a lot more money, you’re going to work a lot less and ultimately they will help you leverage in a lot faster.

Will:  Right, right. Who doesn’t want to work less and still make the same amount of money or more?

Bryan:  Yeah I mean seriously, who wants to work less? Call me last I’m going for it man.

Will:  Yeah if I had the choice to do this or go fishing you know call me fishing.

Bryan:  Yeah

Will:  Or better yet don’t call me right?

Bryan:  Don’t call me I’m fishing.

Will:  Yeah, yeah that’s awesome so what do you think is the biggest mistake that people at businesses make when they are trying to kind of expand and grow?

Bryan:   Well if we could go into the three points for today so I could rename this whole thing the parking lot tracing letters and the cell phone and the body bags, so these three principles are what come up over and over again and they are not just one particular thing it’s more of an understanding now this is—ties into somewhat but also with the understanding that people know you got to have a ritual in place for personal development every day you have to be reading taking care of yourself all the basic right but the 1st one is the parking lot and this one is one where it’s so many people including myself get hang up on in fact we have mention digital marketer this is Ryan Dicen  is awesome I never met the guy, Ryan  Dicen and are so awesome because one thing that is they take action, they take action fast and the parking lot analogy is this Will if I were to say “drive down here and lets go out to eat” you’re not going to say “I’m going to use this key, I’m going to put it in here, I’m going to turn my hand this much” you don’t think about everything all the time you focus on where you want to go and still when you get to the parking lot or my drive way you’re not thinking back at your house or when do I turn and how fast should I go or what about if a car comes but that’s what all of us do we all think about so much about all the little things that could or should happen verses just starting and taking action and Dane Sullivan says “the biggest part of success and taking action is that 80% is just starting” if you just start just get in the car and drive down 44 you will figure everything else out and just last week I can’t name companies that had some contract in place but companies that you would know, that we all know that they’re some big brands that suddenly like we are like “where are they?” I had meetings last week with directors of finance and head of large sales team over thousands of people and one of the things that came up is that leadership as the company grew got caught up on the phone and we’re not focusing on the things that were taking too long they weren’t moving forward and things just started to stall and big company or you don’t have a blog or what theme should I get? What best? What should I get? Should I call will? Should I call so and so? Of course you call will right? Let’s start and take action and that is the parking lot analogy is don’t focus on all the little things you got to do just start driving and focus on where you want to go.

Will:  Just get out of the parking lot huh?

Bryan:  Just get out of the parking lot or get to the parking lot in fact I heard this this morning I’m a big by the way but Dane Sullivan argues that it is easier for a person or business to grow than it is and it’s because when you focus on the you get that clarity intellectually and emotionally everything else becomes you’re able to know where you want to go and the small things don’t matter when you getting focusing on where you want to go. The parking lot just get to the parking lot and park don’t worry about when to turn when to change lane just go and I’m not perfect but when I started to apply this parking lot analogy and thinking into my own businesses everything start to take off extremely fast because I was no longer focusing on I was focusing on the

Will:  Yeah I know we weren’t planning on talking about goals and stuff today but I think that’s a big thing is one of the things when you’re setting goals let’s say for the year is to write it down and another thing is to put it out there and take action on it and make it something concrete and not just something in your head. I think the same kind of a thing applies do something to make that start to happen and you will be surprise that probably it will start to happen.

Bryan:   I have a–when I see one of the fun things about being a recruiter I’ll help companies go into new markets and build teams and what not and I have so many executives who are really, really god trainers who will hire these other guys that will who were so worry about what to do and how do I do this application of all process and go out there and make a frigging mess we will come in and clean it up just take action and the ones who do that they explode but the one who focus on who should I call for like what 2 o’clock or 4 o’clock don’t get anywhere and it’s so simple  but don’t get tuck on the diving broad just jump.

Will:  Yeah and that even applies to a business owner who has a website, one of the things when I build a website for somebody at and I hand it over to them and I say “ok here’s how you get in the back end here’s how you do this, here how you do that” well you know I don’t know if I should do anything I said “listen get in there and make a mess” like you said “and I got a backup we’ll put the backup after you’re done but you’re going to learn a lot in the process” and I think that’s a great analogy.

Bryan:  I go to quickly but there is a story he tells about who is a great leader when he selling the junior he was working under somebody superior there was a—some project about 5 years in length they were trying to make up this big studying big choice on what to do A or B and 10 minutes in the room he said “do A” and the bottom line is that he’s like “sir how can you make that call in 10 minutes and you’re going to do this for 5 years?” he goes “who cares? If it’s right we’re going know right away, if it’s not right we’re going to know right away and we’ll do the other one but just either why do something” that’s exactly what it is.

Will:  Yeah that’s fail faster.

Bryan:  Yeah fail faster.

Will:  Yeah so tell me about tracing letters.

Bryan:  Tracing letters this is actually a St. Louis carnival story yeah man.

Will:  excited about it so talk to me, you’re talking my language now.

Bryan:   My—I got 5 kids and so valentine’s boxes, you ever do the valentine box or did the valentine boxes?

Will:  Oh definitely yeah.

Bryan:  So I find out like 6 o’clock the night before my wife kind of FYI’s me.

Will:  That’s usually the way it goes yeah.

Bryan:   Yeah, so we’re like the kids need this valentines box done and I wrapped it all white paper and he wants a Carlos logo so I go to the computer and found the Carlos logo and I traced on there and it’s about this big and what you realise this is a great analogy is that my job was to trace the outside of the logo letters and he will colour it in and if you ever do something like that it’s a simple task but if you just trace the letters you get to a certain point where you realise you got to shift your perspective, it’s not that difficult but you got to move over your hand adjust your posture, change your view and trace your letters is  all about perspective and getting somebody else perspective and an example last week in this company everybody would know who they are but they had a huge sales and it came down to the head of new executive who no longer believed that it was important for the development team software development team o have interaction with the sales team. So things will take you longer, there won’t be a faster, they had to go back and treat things a lot more because they are getting input after the facts when if they had the sales team input the entire time they would know exactly what the in customer was wanting and didn’t like or needed and so perspective comes down to just shifting your perspective is don’t tunnel vision, don’t be scared of the input. Input is not nearly as scary as failing and going bankrupt so get the input said that one of the biggest he does to help companies grow is the in marketing survey where he survey’s and polls clients on the experience, what we could do better , where we suck at and you got to get that perspective to go forward right down to—back to the people don’t like to submit their page because of other criticism and it might be harsh but that’s what it takes to go forward and this is so harsh for me I’m a perfectionist, I’m a big guy but I am a—I wear my heart on my sleeve it’s hard to get that perspective but coming down to this personal development is reading, read books everyday get in the mind of somebody else and I could wrap up this point with this there’s an interview online was Steve Jobs and somewhere in their interview there is a developer big guy talking to Steve about how there’s a period of time where languages change so fast every 6 months there is some new coding language and he was kind of about this and Steve thought to himself “wait a minute we didn’t learn to code all those different ways teach you to think differently and make you a better coder now” and he said ‘that’s how I got where I am now is learning about all that and thinking differently” and that’s exactly what businesses  is don’t do and enough of and actually I lied I’m going to stop there, there’s one big thing that I would love to talk about is in banking if my clients ever heard this someone but there are a lot of family owned banks. Dad or grandpa started the banks there are some clients that I have that are a billion plus and one in particular the grandson took it over great guy but see in these banks where it’s self-made dad, grandpa all this growth, all these great things happen and then the wealthy son or grandson takes over and they just kind of level off for a while and one of these call me and say the best thing for this guy to do is go to a Walmart because he has never been to Walmart he’s entire life he didn’t have the perspective his dad or grandpa had of going through the cycle having phycology of all the different clients and prospects he’d be able to think that way so that’s just another example will of we change your perspective and give much perspective as possible. Growth is so much easier and you can make that end result so much faster.

Will:  Yeah that’s terrific so what are a couple favourite books that you like that really kind of screw with your head for like a better way to say it?

Bryan:  ‘The staples rich’ I’ve got one which is great one.

Will:  Oh yeah

Bryan:  If you’re a small business pick up Chris Tucker’s  ‘Virtual Freedom’ like do it yesterday whether you want to hire a full time BA or if you have database work and you want to hire someone to do it for 50 bucks overnight get his book on ‘Virtual freedom’ I’ve got so many books highlight it but just start reading get the perspective.

Will:   Cool I’ll put the links to all those in the show notes for sure for anybody who wants to grab those, so tell me about the cell phone in the body bag this sounds awesome.

Bryan:  So there’s always this big question with marketers especially small business that always get as much is how do you online all the competitors how do you cut through faster and how do you get the attention of somebody else much faster? I was reading last week and this came up and I—they talked about responder and I can my wife’s in medicine first responders doctors, nurses, police officers death to them is a very emotion you have to in that space it’s a said fact but when you on an accident scene you cannot do your job if you but there is one thing that consistently causes more nightmares more phycology issues and that is a cell phone and  they say “when a cell phone rings in a body bag it cuts through everything”  because that connection is made that this person is a human being not part of your job and one person said “I’ve seen thousands of dead bodies but the only one ever stands out is the one where the phone ring.” It could be in the purse, on the floor, in the body bag but that cell phone ringing is what makes that connection and cuts through all those years of conditioning that this is a part of your job, in marketing is it the very same way and I will tell you I’m not trying to brag but I got into a search where I was just like what I’m I going to do? It was and everything else and so I was thinking about the same concept and so email blasted them, I send out an email that was so uncool and so not fancy it was just you know it was right down to earth and I just talk like a person I has an astronomical response write probably the best response write in 10 years I got slammed and it was just the number of people it was the quality and I had high level executive saying “hey we don’t need anything but I really appreciate you treating me like a person”  so it comes down to if you want to get to somebody quickly and make that connection forget the business stuff I mean it’s  there for a reason but talk to them as a person  that is the reason why I get soon much repeat business and me as the individual these huge firms because they know me as Bryan I guarantee you half of my clients can’t even tell you my company name I don’t care because I’m their guy but that is what you got to leave with is treat them as a person not a client or a customer or a number and something not everyone knows but we had a lot of change in the country in the past year with the down turn and then all the banking regulations and one of the biggest trends right now all the regulations is making the small banks expenses so they are all getting bought out by big banks and clients are pushing back because the big banks treat you as a number not as a relationship as much so this comes back to show you that the connecting on a human level is one of the biggest most effective ways to move forward.

Will:  Yeah so it’s interesting a lot of the people that listen to the show and watch the podcast they are small business owner so you know a lot of those are probably paying somebody to do their newsletter and their newsletters are very and maybe there is a couple pieces of content and there is some sort of sale or something, can you imagine how much—how interruptive it would be to do something like you said and just write a newsletter that’s hey here’s who we are and here’s what we do can we help? It would be very interesting to see some of these business owners take that and run with it.

Bryan:  Yeah I will send you a copy of the email that I send out and I don’t have the matrix but the response rate just blew my mind I couldn’t keep up with the response it was crazy but I just took out all the typical stuff at the big companies and how to send out a current email and just I got specific and treated them as a person and t was the coolest thing it comes down to dynamic in like we talked about earlier where we have all these technologies for a reason is treating them as a human and get the a specific message let the talk to them and with technology now 9 dollar a month plan 9 bucks and it totally adjust your customer’s  needs and what they are looking for and it totally awesome. So there is no excuse not to be able to use online marketing to automate different conversation but to make your life so much easier you have the ability now as a small business to sever your customer and clients above and beyond these big companies there is so many conversations and so many layers of tape that had to be cut through to deploy what we are talking about right now and when you can do it as a small business owner in 24 hours awesome.

Will:  Yeah let’s say 5 years ago that was the kind of the case with SEO for a company to take advantage of SEO 5 or 6 years ago they could out rank these big budget companies with just a couple tweets and just do a couple things and they are kicking their butts at least these big companies just couldn’t keep up its interesting how that’s kind of maybe not a case so much any more specifically with SEO but there are many other ways through online marketing that you can still blow these big companies away.

Bryan:  I would tell you I have outrage many big recruiting firms like huge recruiting firms for local searches and it came down to engagement instead of a person—a company putting out something and the audience engaging into that company people were engaging with my post and so all of that came down to Bryans doing all of his activity who is the only guy under my recruiting firm and Dallas Texas shooting up like crazy all these markets over engagement  which again is automated as far as my campaigns now yeah man this is an awesome time for a small business it’s almost—you’re almost at a disadvantage in some ways to be a huge company because you don’t have the freedom to take action.

Will:  That’s right and you don’t have the freedom to like you said fail faster, come up with some idea hey lets put this campaign together and see what happens.

Bryan:  Yeah it’s—I was talking to a company last week and I asked this guy you’ve only been here for two moths why are you looking to leave? And he said that when it comes to sale campaigns all these layers of process, they hire all these people, all these things and the tech company moves very, very fast by the time you get a campaign in place and deploy it will be 6 months you can’t do that in that space, look at  man those post move fast and that’s why—yeah I’ll say it again being in a small business right now is a lot of fun you have all of the tools available to you of the big dogs and you could move a lot faster.

Will:  Yeah and it’s an advantage for those that take—that have that available what about businesses that are still kind of—small businesses but they are still stuck in the old school ways what are you predictions for them?

Bryan:   I think there is always going to be a—I see this right now there’s always going to be a desire for that relationship in fact to your point one of the things that makes a successful was actually a lot of firms are who are hopping on the online wagon are just sending like lengthen messages or email all day……..

Will:  Right.

Bryan:   Everyone is doing that so when I actually call somebody I have to have that personal connection there is a balance but I use the online space to or to make people aware of my brand and who I am and so when I do call them, they know who I am, they know I have some authority in the marketplace because I can track them online and it makes my life a lot easier if you’re not doing that is much, much hard to compete you’ll still have business but I think a lot of industries you sure to be very hard to keep the lights on it’s just going to be  hard to move forward. You’ll still be able to exist but it’s going to be a lot of work.

Will:  Totally agree yeah and the businesses are taking advantage some even just one of these—we are not saying go out and do all this different online marketing stuff but if you just took your newsletter or just one product and started do some automation type of stuff with it and building content around it what an idea answering questions before they ask the questions they are going to take over.

Bryan:  Well because you said it I got to let the cat out of the bag here because a very small business this will change their life I set up an automated campaign I hate to keep talking about the recruiting space but it just transplant this to your own business but a lot of firms their open jobs for the month if you’re happy in your career what’s that going to do for you? That gets annoying and so I talk to a lot of people and I got their feedbacks and they say “we’re busy it will be better to have like a summary of what we—help us stay inform” and so I did a summary newsletter in our campaign based of my based on my company blog through so it’s automatic it was every Friday and it’s dynamic they are awesome it shows top 5 awesome banking stories Dallas, Huston but when is goes back to my blog I’m using the idea of the in line content or its more of a native content where the job openings are more of news features and so you’ve engaging with passive clients, passive customer, passive job seekers but because you are given you editing value to say here what I have, here’s what I can offer you. They are more engaged and the authority it being built and so we again there is what 4 or 5 touches, 10 touches there is always different arguments how many touches but you can use that to make your life so much easier as a small business and you can set up your campaign even for 9 bucks a month and never touch it. I will never touch that newsletter for 6 months it goes by itself.

Will:  Right.

Bryan:  With that the important thing is as people click on different articles they are clicking on banks news and stuff  I don’t really care if they click on certain companies hiring or hiring trends or how to perp for this upcoming way in the industry that’s a buying sign and my system tracks that so I can send now a list of a to a thousand prospects in Austin and Dallas Texas and the banking industry and the 45 people that click on hiring trends I’m alerted I can contact immediately verses having to call or email a thousand people and figure out who is interested that is the leverage that we have available to us as a small businesses and a lot of these stuff Will I was the MRI the biggest company in the world for recruiting I couldn’t do any of this there was some many contracts and things in place that we weren’t even allowed to do this stuff as independent I could deploy this stuff and life got some much easier.

Will:  And you know we have mentioned active campaign a couple times it’s—that obviously played a big part everything that you’re doing so how do you think a small business can plug that in what’s an easy starting point for them?

Bryan:  I would say if you have any list of any signs at all for instance I’ll give you an example there is a here in town the other day I got an email from them and I got a open it up his logos will cause my entire screen this huge logo and then it’s like this one sentence text about “hey is almost over have you seen a “that’s the 1st email in 3 months that I got from the guy.

Will:  Right.

Bryan:  And he’s a one man shop no he’s a great doctor he’s great at what he does so what he could do is take that existing list and put it into a—I mean don’t say “hey come see me” give them some health benefit, give them some care or some benefits to come in to seeing him or automate that and the people who click on certain articles have campaign set the fire and now they are sequent and ever email and have these campaign in place to segment who is interested and who is not I mean it’s not that heard it’s really simple but that is what he could do he could take his list of a couple hundred people probably upload it and just have it all automated.

Will:  Yeah I also brings to the point about when you do send something out don’t just send out here’s the latest sale which is kind of what he did he, he come see me when it was me, me, me instead of giving it’s pretty cool. So how could people get more content like we’re talking about today?

Bryan:  Will there is two things happening in my world but CAB is a career blog as career at blog.com that is a site we still out but its got 3 areas 1 is for job seekers which if you’re watching this you’re probably not looking for a job the 2nd the other areas the 1ist is optimizing productivity in everyday and the 3rd is following your boss how do you go off independently and so we are priming the pump right now with videos for our YouTube channel and a podcast. I’m a batcher I’ll do everything and just schedule it out for a 30 day deploy you know I’ve got 5 kids again takes up a lot of time so careerblog.com if you want more information on the marketing and the recruiting side recruiting also many of our recruiting clients is market-recruit.com that just got launched 2 days ago we’re still on building that out but you can contact me through there as well and something that they need to look up is com is the fantastic school for a small business.

Will:  Is this something that’s yours?

Bryan:  It’s not mine but I had to put it in there to change my life you can schedule a and social media updates to all of them for a month in advance every single content and they have a plan that is already 10 bucks a month I would say as a small business are one of the things that will blog you down tremendously but I wanted to add that value Will go to .com and check it out its awesome.

Will:  Oh thanks well that’s cool that made it worth the free cost of admission well listen I really appreciate you come out to the podcast and spending some time with us.

Bryan:  Will pleasure to having me on there is some much I could talk about for 10 years but now it’s an exciting time right now for small businesses for sure.

Will:  Listen thanks everyone joining us if you are member  stick around we’re going to talk to Bryan a little bit more and get some in depth if you’re not go to  and jump in there you’ll see all of our podcast plus all the bounce podcast that people don’t see otherwise we got a lot of good things there Bryan I appreciate you being on the show.

Bryan: Thank you any time man.

  Will:  Thanks man.

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