Yigal Adato: 00:00 Hey Pawn family. Welcome back to another episode of the Pawn Leaders Podcast. Just to let you know, this is going to be the last podcast of season 2, we’ll be coming back the first week of January. I just want to give you guys the time to enjoy with your family and enjoy the holidays and take a break, right? I’m sure you guys have been so busy in December that you guys need a little break just to kind of catch your breath. Also, it will give you time to go back and listen to the episodes that you haven’t listened to, which really the season two has been incredible. I want to thank all my guests for being on and you know who you are and the most important thing, I want to talk about with you on this episode really quick is goals and because I think goals are so important to be set now as opposed to waiting until January, I’ve created the Pawn Leaders Goal Guide and if you go to pawngoals.com that’s P-A-W-N-G-O-A-L-S pawngoals.com. Just download the free goal guide and it’s going to help you work through 3 areas. It’s reevaluating this last year and what you liked and what you didn’t like. Goal setting for next year for 2019 because I want to crush your goals and the strategy to implement your goals. I want you to crush the goals in that 2019 but you’ve got a plan. You can’t wait till January, February, you’ve got to do it now. The goal guide only takes about 30 minutes to do. It’s really, really quick. We even have somebody who downloaded it and made copies for 32 of their employees for the last meeting that they’re going to have this week. So with that said, one of the goals that we always talk about here are Google reviews. And my next guest is the main person who heads up the pawn industry when it comes to podium. And he’s been working for podium for two and a half years in sales and he specifically focused on the pawn and jewelry industry. So he knows the industry well and he’s been working with a lot of my clients in helping them increase their Google reviews and he’s also a father of four, just trying to keep the ship pointed in the right direction. So Ladies and gentlemen, this is my podcast with Tom Brough from podium.
Yigal Adato: 02:11 Hey everyone, my name is Yigal Adato and this is the Pawn Leaders Podcast, a podcast that help you make more money, stress less and live an epic life all while working at the pawn shop.
Yigal Adato: 02:33 Welcome to the show brother.
Tom Brough: 02:34 I am like super excited to be here. This is a great podcast.
Yigal Adato: 02:38 No, thank you. And first and foremost, I want to thank podium for sponsoring the Pawn Leaders Podcast. A lot of people don’t understand that there’s production, there’s post production, there’s editing, there’s marketing, there’s a lot of costs that go into producing something like this. And so you guys, being a sponsor helps me just do more of them and give more value to the pawnbrokers so thank you to podium.
Tom Brough: 02:59 Awsome, we are thrilled to do it.
Yigal Adato: 03:00 Cool, man. So Tom first of all, I want you to tell us who you are, how you got into podium, and then we’ll get into like what podium does and how they got into the pawn industry. So Tom, tell me a little about yourself and your history.
Tom Brough: 03:13 Cool. Yeah. Tom Brough with podium for two and a half years coming up on two and a half years where a four year old company. And you know, when I started at podium, they were roughly around 90 employees three months prior there were 30. And this last month we crossed 400. So podium’s been kind of, it’s a rocket ship and it’s been good to be here. I’ve been in sales for 20 years in about everything you can think of other than pawn, but been in sales a long time. And this is my first software sales career jump and it’s been, I’ll never go back if I don’t have to. Software is a fun place to be. I don’t know man, I’m a father of four. I’ve got 4 kids ranging from 12 to 2. I’m 40 years old, so I’m just writing them in the stride of life right now. So
Yigal Adato: 04:01 I’ve got two and I’m going crazy. I can’t imagine you guys have 4, kudos to you.
Tom Brough: 04:05 They get easier as they get older, kind of.
Yigal Adato: 04:08 Hopefully that’s what I’m hoping. Awesome. And so tell me a little bit about podium, like how it started, what needed the founders see that they said we want to start a service like this to help businesses get more reviews and connect with their clients.
Tom Brough: 04:22 And I think on ultimate pawn brokers really relate to the history of podium. We don’t do it too much. You know, talking about the history in the calls, cause it’s so cliche to start a sales call based on the history of your company or whatever. But the history is pretty compelling. So, our founder, Eric Ray, his father owned a tire shop up in Canada, a couple of tire shops and had a history of clients for 20, 30 years. And then review starts to become a thing. And he’s getting blasted with negative reviews, but he runs a fantastic business, has hundreds, thousands of happy customers. But he’s getting blasted by these folks who are a little bit more motivated to go out and talk online because they’ve had somewhat of a jaded, they’re jaded based off an experience. And Eric was talking about the [Incomprehensible] like there’s gotta be a better way to handle this and to get the happy customers to get engaged. And so that’s the genesis of podium. How do you get happy customers to engage and take the time to leave a review. And that’s what they figured out and they leverage the current mode of communication that people prefer and that’s text messaging.
Yigal Adato: 05:23 Cool. So let’s talk about really quickly, podium it offers not just the review service, right? There’s a couple of more services that you guys offer and I think are great. So let’s talk about that. So you guys help a pawnbroker give more reviews and I’ve seen it, you know, I’ve got clients that I coach, one just past the 300 mark. A new person who started using it past the 150 mark, a chain of nine stores signed up. So like people are signing up and seeing the benefit of reviews and blasting the competition. But what else is it that podium does?
Tom Brough: 05:54 So if you think of podium, the backbone of podium actually what we’re known for is reviews. But the backbone of podium is a two way text communication with your client without having to put your own personal cell number out there or some random 10 digit number that has nothing to do with the business. So the backbone of podium is two way text communication. We’ll utilize the store’s landline number to facilitate those conversations by text. And so the backbone is creating interactions over text and one of those interactions is reviews. The other one would be how easy and convenient are you to talk to from your website from Google, from Facebook, from Instagram. All the places these folks are at today, all the different fields they’re playing on. You have to be able to meet them and be the most convenient. And I have a story that I think really relates, look like for me really kind of helps explain podium. I don’t know if you want me to share that or not, but I’m happy to.
Yigal Adato: 06:48 Please.
Tom Brough: 06:49 So you know I got a smoker and people in Utah know what a smoker is, I don’t know if you know where you’re at, if you know what a smoker is, but
Yigal Adato: 06:56 I know what it is. I’ve never used one.
Tom Brough: 06:58 Okay. So I got a smoker for my 40th birthday from my wife and this particular brand requires that you use their chips. They’re wood chips in order to smoke. So I took up the hobby and started doing some research and I wanted to smoke some beef ribs for a family gathering. So the research said you’ve got to have pecan chips. That’s like the best wood cause I had [Incomprehensible] and I wanted to try this out. So I like to shop at this local store here in Salt Lake City, it’s kinda got a country feel too, it is a little cheap, but you go in there, the kids can look at baby chicks and rabbits while you’re doing your thing. It’s cool. It’s a fun experience. And so I’m loyal to the brands that are local. So, I got on their website at Friday night. I mean, I’m, like I said, my four year old, father of 4, I don’t have time to look for things until they’re all in bed. Everything’s calmed down. So pretty much just a general consumer, I get on their website looking to see if they have this particular wood chip and I want to know, do they have stock. But it’s nine o’clock at night. I can’t call them, I can’t come in. So I’m looking for an easy way to find that out. Their website was terrible for a mobile friendly version. It was terrible. I couldn’t get through. And I’m looking for these particular chips. I go to their contact desk, I got to fill out the form, put my email address in there, I never did get a response by the way. And then, so I was a little bit frustrated and I needed these. So I just went to Amazon and I had him there the next day. A little bit more expensive, but it was super convenient. So that really does illustrate from a personal example how podium, how your customers, how these pawnbrokers customers they do go to your website, they do go to Facebook if you’re not easy to connect to, they’re going to go elsewhere. I did, I spent a little more money but I had the wood chips I needed. So, I think a good illustration of the value of being able to be convenient because people will pay more for convenience.
Yigal Adato: 08:40 Yeah. And I love that story. I think a lot of times, you know, when I’m looking at clients or I’m talking with somebody, I’ll bring up their website and I see websites that are eight years old and five years old and don’t have the functionalities are they were built free on, on some platform. It doesn’t allow the client to access either the inventory or just ask a question or con, nothing. They’re just, it looks bad and I think it’s important for the pawnbrokers to know that your website is kind of like the first way people see you. And so if somebody looks at you and you’re dressed poorly, you’ve got mustard stains all over you, they’re like, maybe I don’t want to do business with this guy. It’s the same with your website, right? And then the second thing that you said is contact you. And if podium does, I had no idea that podium does a text messaging. So just to have clarity so you can kind of chat with people who text the number and if they say, hey man, I’m looking for a Bose system and you can say, yeah, no worries. I’ve got two in the store, come check it out or you might want to know how much interest owe. Yeah, what your loan number and we can kind of chat that way. Correct?
Tom Brough: 09:41 Yes. So first off you’ve got to get them to your website. They’re not going to click on your website if they don’t like what they see in your reviews. So in order to get them to the website to capture the business, you’ve got to have two bases covered. You got to have your reviews there and we’ll talk about that. But then if they’re on your website, podium has a thing we called web chat, which is essentially a pop up on the screen and says, Hey, I have a question text us here since 90% I don’t know if that’s the actual statistic, but it’s very high. People use their mobile device to do the searching instead of a laptop or anything else. That little popups pretty convenient. They can just put in their name, number, whatever question they have, that then falls into podium for the next morning when your staff comes in, there’s a message waiting there for them to address. What’s cool is the customer can be in a meeting at work and get that text message without having to check an email or get a phone call. They can see that text response come back from your staff and be able to engage and pick up that customer. So yeah, so texting from, like I said, that your website from Facebook, Instagram, Google all comes into one manageable inbox and then once they’ve come in and shopped with you, you use the same inbox to issue a text that asks for a review.
Yigal Adato: 10:44 Awesome.
Tom Brough: 10:44 That all occurs on the store’s landline number.
Yigal Adato: 10:47 That’s incredible. So I know that, I know I saw a video that Gary Vaynerchuk put out and he asked the crowd of like 2000 people and he said, who gets annoyed when they get a phone call? And like, you know, 95% of people raise their hand and he said, well, who would rather use a text message? And like 100% of people just raise their hands. So I see the value in text messaging clients for sure and having people chat with you on the website. It’s awesome and very cool. So, really quickly before we get into reviews, when did podium say, man, let’s help the pawnbrokers out? When did that kind of come to fruition?
Tom Brough: 11:23 Yeah, good question, we stood up our retail team here two years ago and we dove headlong into furniture and jewelry stores. And we’ve acquired probably 7,500 customers in jewelry, in furniture and pawn here and there. I was specifically focused on jewelry for the last 18 months and about three months ago I said, hey, I think there’s something there for pawn. You guys really need good reviews. I mean, they get blasted and it’s not deserved. And so I started kinda dive in there. We joined NPA, we shortly joined kappa after that we joined the Texas Association of Pawnbrokers and we’ve just started, you know, grassroots plowing through and just meeting people and going to shows and talking with them. And so I’d say the last three months we’ve had a major focus on pawn. We’ve picked up a couple of hundred pawnbrokers in that time. Some large ones, some moms and pops and everything in between, but one signed up with us they’re out of California. They’re, I think Sacramento area. They have a five stores. They’ve gained over 1500 reviews in four months across the five stores.
Yigal Adato: 12:28 I know, they’re my clients. So that’s how I know. That’s how I know that it really, really works. So, let’s talk about this reviews. I think it’s been a topic that pawnbrokers have been talking about for a little bit. It’s kind of fairly new since you guys went into the Kappa invention and the NPA conventions. It’s something I talked about on the first season of the podcast when I went to the chiropractor, I left, got a text message and he asked, you know, five star review, what would you like to leave? And I was like, holy crap, this is incredible. And so, tell us like the importance of the Google reviews and why you’ve seen that a location having more reviews and the other gets more business.
Tom Brough: 13:08 I mean you have to put yourself, I always try to take it back to me, right? I’m a consumer too. And if I’m looking for something and I open my phone up, I go to Google and I do a generic search. So in this instance, I would say pawnshop near me and Google’s algorithm, that big thing, that I don’t even think they know how it works anymore. It’s probably taken the name, I’d jumped there, but now they do obviously, but they, you know, Google produces three top results in a very large percentage of people just simply choose from the three results that are shown right there and they call it the Google map pack. So if you don’t have the best reputation, no matter your ranking in the one, two or three in those positions, if you don’t have the best reputation, your chances go down significantly getting selected, they land on their website and they’ll go to their stores supposed to yours. And so reviews have a lot to do with that algorithm, how you show up in that top three. Not everything obviously, but it’s a large portion and particularly focused in frequency and recency of reviews. So it’s not just about having a few reviews. Everyone can have a five star reputation with three reviews. You just get a couple of family members to do it. There’s a big difference when it’s a 4.9 and 400 reviews, that’s 400 people telling you you’re gonna have a pretty Dang good experience. That’s pretty compelling to someone who’s doing the research or doing the searching. So, they’ll at least land on that site first and your options, your choices go down. As far as being selected as a pawnbroker.
Yigal Adato: 14:27 I think it breaks every barrier, right? Like if you’re a pawn client and you need some cash, you’re kind of down on your luck and you search pawnshops near me and you see a pawnshop who has 400 5 star reviews or 4.9 star reviews. You’re like, what am I worried about? Like that’s it, I’m going there. And then the next guy has 47 two and a half star reviews. It’s just, it’s a no brainer, it’s like restaurants.
Tom Brough: 14:52 It’s so common in the pawn industry too that I’ve seen that, you know, they just cope with a 2.5 star reputation. And one of the largest problems that causes is a lot of people, you know, triple digit growth on Google last year where people searched not just pawnshop but best pawnshop or best tire store, best restaurant. They doesn’t want the general, they want the best. Right. And so though that term is huge. And what happens is when they search with the term best, Google applies a filter automatically that gets rid of any search results less than four stars. So if you have a 3.5 and someone says best pawnshop, you’re not going to pull up because it’s been [Inaudible] yeah. And so visibility is huge. And just based off the way consumer search, you have to be up there. And so the question is then how do I get up there? And that’s really what podium does 10 times better than any other solution out there.
Yigal Adato: 15:41 So let’s talk about how it works. I went to the dentist two or three days ago. I left the dentist and Lo and behold, I got a text message. It’s from podium asking me to review my dentist. How does it work exactly where the person will leave a review and it helps him leave a positive review or if there’s a negative review, what happens in that?
Tom Brough: 16:04 Yeah, good question. So they’ll get the text typically before they even leave the store, they’ll get the text that takes about two seconds to put their name and cell number in to podium hits in, they get the text where they’re still standing there or on the way out the door, they know what’s coming.
Yigal Adato: 16:17 So let me stop you. Sorry. So obviously the store owner or manager has to input name and phone number or I’m sure there’s a way to download from the softwares and uploaded to podium?
Tom Brough: 16:29 Yeah, I mean there’s obviously, you know, a couple of behemoths in the pawn software industry with your point sales and we’re in discussions with one of those to try to just see what we can do to help streamline some of that for podium, it’s about creating meaningful interactions and so we don’t want it to be spammy, we don’t want it to be come across the wrong lane. So, it literally takes five seconds. It’s web based, you just have it up on the internet or you have it on your phone through the mobile app and it’s just pushing. If you can send a text, you can use podium. Super fast. Name number send. That’s pretty much it. You at will teach the teams on how to ask the question, when to ask how does not sound pushy, that kind of thing got that covered. But once they get that text, it’s as simple as them pushing the link and then we’ll ask them one question and one question only. Do you want to leave that review on Google or somewhere else? If they say Google our relationship with Google, Google is actually a financial investor in podium, which we have that over anyone else. A lot of people will say their technology partners with Google, cool. Preferred, whatever with Google. Cool. But actually Google came out and invested in podium twice. Series A or Series B. So we have some very unique relationships and abilities to deliver people right where they need to be. So when they hit yes, leave that review on Google, We’re actually going to drop them on the five star page for your shop in a single click. So all they have to then do is just push the stars, type in their review and they’re done. So 45 seconds, they’ve got the texts, click the link and left the review. That’s how we’re able to get the results we have, which are 10 x of ending out there.
Yigal Adato: 17:56 Now what happens if somebody hits two star, three star? What happens at that point? Good question.
Tom Brough: 18:00 And it’s just a function of normal business, right? I mean you’re going to get some unhappy people, but the cool part is you ask who you want to ask. So what I asked someone that’s been yelling at me intent for 10 minutes. Nope. I just conveniently forget to ask them. Right. So you can ask who you want to ask. That’s one way of you know, kind of filtering out, but we don’t do any sort of filtering through our program that is something that Google and all the other platforms have said. It is not okay by them. And so, if they get the review invite, they have the ability to leave you a negative review if they want. But our philosophy with negative reviews is like, embrace it, learn from it, take the high road and just go get a bunch of positive ones. There’s such the minority in your customer base will just drown them out with a bunch of positive ones.
Yigal Adato: 18:42 Yeah, exactly. And I think that happens all the time where the pawnshop gets a couple of negative reviews, they freak out and instead of concentrating on getting the positive reviews, they’re just focused on the negative ones and they can’t budge from that and they’ll move them from the podium. I mean, if you get 300 positive reviews in two negative ones, you still have a great, you know, 4.9 stars, it’s going to happen. It happens to your favorite restaurant sometimes.
Tom Brough: 19:04 Yeah. Ultimately, if I saw a business with five stars and every review was five stars, I’d be a little skeptical. If I saw a 4.9 with a bunch of fives and maybe one or two here and there that are negative, that makes me actually feel more comfortable as a consumer.
Yigal Adato: 19:18 So let’s talk about price and value. And I know this because I’m a pawnbroker and pawnbroker it’s hard to have them take their money out of their pocket, right? It’s hard to, and they want to negotiate because you’re consistently negotiating.
Tom Brough: 19:31 Oh my gosh, I’ve never sold to a group of people who are better at putting the screws to you. I’ve actually learned a lot. I’m starting to fight fire with fire.
Yigal Adato: 19:44 Good. It’s training for you.
Tom Brough: 19:46 It was good.
Yigal Adato: 19:46 Yeah. Awesome. So
Tom Brough: 19:48 Obviously we get this question a lot, like you know, what’s the ROI with podium? From my experience over the last two and a half years, most of our client base, will see an ROI with podium in around 45 days, complete ROI with podium. We’re committed. We want people for a year. So you’re on board for a year for your first year. There’s a whole lot of reasons for that. One of them is we’re a software company. That’s the way we do business, but, and we’re the best of what we do. So we’re going to be a premium price product, you get what you pay for, you know, but when you buy a podium you’re paying for a Mclaren, right? And we will have the horsepower there every day that you need to make your reputation look really good and communicate well. We’re kind of a golden goose that way. We’ll continue to lay golden eggs for you whether you’re paying $200 a month or 1000 bucks a month, you’re going to get your benefit at podium but we’re moderately priced. We have some pricing for groups that kind of makes it more compelling but you’re going to generate on average between six to 12% ranging on your operation, increasing your revenue.
Yigal Adato: 20:46 Awesome. That’s incredible. And I know that we’ve spoken about podium before and you guys are giving a discount for the people who listened to the podcast and are part of the Pawn Leaders Podcast Community. And to do that, you go to podium.com/pawnleaders and you fill out the form and you get 10% off of your monthly subscription. So I want to thank you guys on time. You guys are awesome. What’s happening in 2019 with podium? What’s kind of the future of where you guys are going and are there anything new coming up?
Tom Brough: 21:16 So you know, we have over 400 people here in one office focused on making podium the best it can be for the 35,000 plus customers we have. Everything from medical to the lawn, your landscaper to whoever. And so we have to make moves in podiums products that not only focus generally, but how can we, you know, cause we’ve got to cover a whole lot of things and so our product team is awesome here. And like I said, our executives meet with Google on the regular so we know what’s coming down the pipe with reviews and Google’s platform. And so that we’re well positioned to keep our customers on the cutting edge as well. But there are some really cool things. I don’t want to tip my hat too much, just based off of, you know, I guess I’ll just say it, you know, there’s a lot of copycats out there, right? And we want to keep that strategic edge but there’s some really cool things that we’re adding on top of the messaging on top of the reviews that will allow for greater streamline usage of podium and just coordination within the teams between stores, if you have a bigger operation how can we make that more convenient system. Pretty cool stuff that I think people are going to really love. So [Crosstalk] innovators and I think we’re going to have some pretty cool stuff coming down the pipe here that you guys are gonna love.
Yigal Adato: 22:32 Cool. I would ask you what the biggest mistakes you think pawnbrokers are making, but I know that one is not having a software to do the work for you cause it’s super hard to be like, can you leave us a review? Can you leave us a review, can leave us a review. And not using a platform that’s like yours, like the Mclaren of the platforms. Because if you want, there’s also a sense of pride having 300 plus reviews or 500 plus reviews that you have as a store owner and a manager that you know, that you’re serving the community and you’re giving the best customer service. So if anything, you know, invest in podium for that to know that you’re doing a good job and to know that your staff is doing the right thing to grow your operation.
Tom Brough: 23:11 I was talking about the pawnbroker recently and one of the biggest objections that get with pawnbrokers is, oh my gosh, that’s expensive. I’m like, listen, I mean, you guys have, some of the brands have more money than the man who thought it up, right? And they do, but they run a tight ship. Right? I understand that it’s very lean. But with podium, I guarantee you will see a return quickly if you use the tool, I can give you the nicest tool in the world, but if you don’t use it, it’s not gonna work. And so there are a lot of cheap knockoff options that won’t have a year contract. That’ll be $10 a month or whatever. And we’ll end up talking again. So my perspective is, let me save you the time, right? And let’s just do it the right way the first time.
Yigal Adato: 23:53 And not just that, but I see this all the time that the pawn industry isn’t what it used to be. It used to be able to open the doors. Money would walk in, gold would come off the streets, you’d buy, you’d pawn it, you didn’t have to do much marketing. But it’s a different time. There’s competition, there’s, you know, offer up. You have more stores around you. If you want to be the best, you have to invest in your marketing. There’s three things I believe you need to invest in Tom leadership, creating an incredible culture, marketing, you know on stuff like podium and advertisement and then strategy, you’ve got to have the best strategy out there. And this basically comes into two of those pillars, which is great marketing and great strategy. So, pawn family, you know, stop waiting around. I’ve said this before, I don’t want to say I told you. So if your competitor signs up and then all of a sudden they have 200 reviews and you’ve got 50 so go to podium.com/pawn leaders, get 10% off your monthly fee, speak with Tom, speak with the team and they’ll walk you through the process in how to optimize in using podium and give the best value out there. Tom thank you so much for being on the show man. I really, really appreciate it.
Tom Brough: 25:01 I love being a part of it. Thank you. And hopefully we can come back another time and give updates down the line.
Yigal Adato: 25:07 Yeah. Thanks for sponsoring the show as well. And if you guys want to continue the conversation, have any questions, remember to join us in the Facebook group at Pawn Leaders Podcast Community on Facebook. Just go to Facebook, type in Pawn Leaders Podcast Community, hit add me to the group. We have over 350 pawnbrokers in there, all having conversations every single day about everything from leadership, marketing and strategy. And I’ll see you guys in the next podcast. Thank you.