Hiring a remote sales team

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I can’t believe that the solution today’s guest came up with didn’t already exist. You can hire a remote developer; you can hire a remote EA; so why couldn’t you hire a remote sales person?

Lavie Popack is the founder of Overpass, which allows you to hire and manage a remote sales team.

I invited him here to find out how he built it.

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Lavie Popack

Lavie Popack

Overpass

Lavie Popack is the founder of Overpass, which allows you to hire and manage a remote sales team.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Um, joining me as someone whose business I really liked. And, um, we talked about it offline and then he told me he’d rather not tell me too much about it.

Online. Lavie Popack Created a company called overpass that I can’t dude. Don’t you feel like somebody else should have created this business before? Can you believe that it was just sitting there as an idea?

Lavie: Yeah, I, I, uh, I’m not really sure why nobody actually thought of this before we started this, uh, five and a half years ago. Uh, and out of a need that stem from the energy renewable energy company I was running at the time. Uh, She did a, a bit of research at the time. And, uh, there wasn’t a solution that was geared to exactly what we’re doing.

And I was totally surprised because we needed it

Andrew: Yeah, because you know what,

Lavie: laundry.

Andrew: If I want to get a temp or full-time virtual assistant, there are tons of companies that do it. I’ve interviewed tons of them. Right?

Lavie: Exactly.

Andrew: a developer, so it’s not like to say if you want to hire remote people, it’s only the administrative staff. You can get the best of the best developers, the platforms that make them available.

But when it comes to sales, There isn’t a platform where you can go and say, I just want to hire a moat salesperson. Who’s going to talk to my customers and help close sales or talking to my prospects and help close sales. I don’t know why. No. One’s thought about it. You did, you created this marketplace where we can go and find remote salespeople, hire them.

And then also you create a software that helps us manage them. I freaking love this idea, especially since so many of us online who sell myself included. We think of the sales page as the part that sells the sales person seems like it’s, I don’t know it’s out of our world. Anyway, you came up with it. The company’s called overpass.

People can go and check it out. But as we were talking. And as I was talking to people on your team, I found out about a previous company that you co created, empower energy, sells renewable energy. And I thought, how do you, how do you even get into that? And there’s this whole process that you went through too.

To do that. I thought, how about if we talk about empower, I want to figure it out, how you got into renewable energy and how to get into selling it. And by the way, maybe we can talk a little bit about overpass this company that you’re, you’re not quite at the stage where you’re ready for me to open you up and basically do your whole accounting.

The way that I like to do for my guests. Fair.

Lavie: yeah. Fair enough, Andrew. And, uh, thank you for that.

Andrew: Thanks for being on here. I should say this interview is sponsored by a company called send in blue. If you’re doing email marketing and you want to not pay through the nose, that’s not their motto Lavi, but that’s what I’m gonna say. Great price, great service, email, and so much more. I’ll talk later about why people should be going to send in blue living.

I’m gonna ask you a question that you already told me you don’t. You’re not gonna tell me the answer to, but what’s the revenue from power.

Lavie: Yeah. So at empower, we, uh, we’re in eight states right now. Uh, we have 12 offices. We have over a hundred thousand customers. We’re growing steadily, we’ll focus 100% on renewable energy. Uh, and, um, you know, our model is, is take everything in the house. Right. Once you start finding things out, you just lose total control over everything.

So we’ve been doing that from day one. It’s been tough. It’s been a long road. Uh, but you know, w because we’re doing that, we’re able to get to a point where we can now scale rapidly. So upfront, it’s going to be a lot more effort and they go another route, but now we can scale it

Andrew: smiling because you just dodged that question. So expertly, and I’ve been told that you’re not comfortable doing interviews, so you’ve already nailed the first one. All right. You’re not going to give me the revenue you’ve told me offline. It’s fricking funny. But here’s what I, what I don’t understand.

What does it mean to, to sell renewable energy?

Lavie: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I, your listeners probably don’t want me to get into the complexities of all of it, but essentially, uh, they’re the generators of renewable energy such as solar or, or hydro or wind. Uh,

Andrew: are people who already have the, the solar panels up. They’ve got all the hydro, what is it called? Uh, the turbines.

Lavie: you got the turbines. You’ve got the wind. You’ve got

Andrew: They got it all up there already. Okay.

Lavie: exactly. So that’s happening out there in the world today, whether you see it or not, it’s not on a home per se, but there are these farms of renewable energy and uh, that’s the other side of the business, right?

That’s on the generation

Andrew: Okay. So they’re generating it. You found a way to take it from them and go to local stools schools, the grocery store, et cetera. Right.

Lavie: Yes. Exactly. So, so yeah.

Andrew: you do that? Yeah.

Lavie: yeah. So the idea, that’s the generation side of the business, and then there’s the intermediary area of the transmission. So you’re getting into the molecules from a to B. So that’s a whole nother side of the business, right? So it’s the transmission and distribution, which of course utility oversees the distribution and then there’s the retail component of it.

So contracting with the generation. Using the lines, essentially the utility lines and transmission lines, and then giving it off and selling it off to, to the end customer.

Andrew: all right. How do you, how do you bridge that gap? What do you, I could understand going to China and buying stuff that a factory makes and then selling it on Amazon, on our Shopify store. But. The process of going to someone who has energy and reselling it and getting it through the cables over to a local store.

I don’t get, um, and we’ve talked about it. So I get a little bit more, um, then I get a little bit more than I did when we first started talking, but can you walk me through this?

Lavie: Yeah, sure. So, so essentially there’s, you know, energy is purchased on an hourly basis because it’s constantly moving. Uh, and, uh, as you build up your customer base, you understand how much energy you need on an hourly basis. So off of that, you go to your counterparty and purchase. Set energy, uh, to fulfill that obligation now in terms of how it’s actually transmitted admitted and you know, the, all the different components and how that actually is orchestrated.

Um, we’re going to have to sit in a probably for, I dunno, three, four or

Andrew: But is it the type of thing that you have to care about? Because obviously what happens is it goes into the system. Energy is just,

Lavie: It’s a great question.

Andrew: we’re not tagging it. Do you, as the person who is reselling it, is it just about you having go and pay for someone’s energy pay for the energy that’s created and then when you get a sale, somehow book it again.

Lavie: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Sorry for cutting you off there, but it’s a lot of contracts that you put in place. So you could be putting contracts in with your counterparties on the generation side. You’re putting your contracts in with the transmission providers and distribution providers to get the, the, you know, again, the molecules from a to B then of course you’ve put into contracts in place with your, your end user and your, your consumer.

Um, so again, when I first got into this, I was just like, what does that next thing I have to do in order to get my business running? So, and then when I got further into it, I’m like, well, how does this actually all work? And I’m like trying to think about a holistically. So I have a better understanding of it now than I did, like when I first got into it.

But, uh, to explain it, it is a bit complex to be honest,

Andrew: but it’s not about buying it from one place, physically watching as the electricity goes through the cables. Right. it’s just different agreements. Got it.

Lavie: Yeah. It’s fungible. So you’re not watching anything. It’s more, um, metered. So, so, uh, you know, again, you, you know how much volume you, you got to bring it to the end point, uh, ends metered and, uh, your, your contracts, the state, the rate and time and so on and so forth.

Andrew: I’m with you on this. And the reason that I’m surprised and I’m being open about my like lack of understanding is because you started out that way too. You’re a guy where’d you grow up in New York.

Lavie: Yeah. Yeah. I grew up in New York. Yeah.

Andrew: Right. Grew up in New York. Your family was, or your, I guess your dad was in real estate.

You went to work for it. My dad was in a manufactured women’s clothing and sold them in local stores. You, you said I’m going to go work for my dad, which I thankfully did. Not for, for how many years.

Lavie: Yeah. So, uh, I worked for them for six and a half years in real estate management out of Brooklyn. Um, and at the same time I was in college and, uh, Uh, about three years before I left, uh, working for him, uh, I started my master’s degree in real estate, uh, in NYU. Um, and, uh, towards the end of that is when kind of everything matriculate and moved over to this, this new world that I entered into, which is empower and getting married and so on and so forth.

Andrew: how did you figure, how did you, so how do you go from real estate to, to energy? How did you, what was that idea that got you started there?

Lavie: Yeah. Great question. So I did not expect to get into energy, uh, expected to go into real estate. Uh, maybe not necessarily, uh, in real estate, uh, residential real estate management, but in real estate. Uh, that’s why I went to NYU for my master’s, uh, specifically in the real estate realm. Um, but my last year in NYU, the same year, I got married to my wife, wonderful woman, which I love and charge very much.

Uh, the mother of my seven children. Um, I, uh, actually was in the building, one of the buildings that I was managing at the time, and I encountered a gentleman that, um, was. Trying to pitch me energy. I’m like, what are you talking about? So far to me, I thought maybe he would try to sell me something else. Um, but he tried to pitch me energy.

So I was just like intrigued asking some more questions. Uh, and essentially he introduced to me this concept of energy deregulation, which opened up the monopoly that utility had back in 1998.

Andrew: okay. And so he’s pitching you on it and you’re saying, well, it doesn’t con ed, I guess it’s kind of had that. Does electricity there, it doesn’t con ed have all of it. He explains the whole business to you. And then how do you. You decided I’m going to get into this too.

Lavie: Yeah, exactly. So, so con ed was the monopoly kind of national grid. They still, uh, get the, you know, they deal with the distribution still. So, but they opened up the supply side. So you could actually supply, you know, end users. Um, and I’m like, th this sounds intriguing at that time. I was also thinking about getting into something else and moving on from working in real estate management.

And then I’m like, how do I get into this? And happened to be, he was working for a company called ambit energy, which is a multi-level marketing company. Um, and, uh, essentially there’s like six levels or seven levels, uh, within, you know, within the admin, in terms of like independent consultants and a, if you sign up a customer that each level makes a different amount of money,

Andrew: Yeah, it’s one of these situations where usually it’s used to pitch things, right. Like, I don’t know if Tupperware does it, but Mary Kay cosmetics. Right. I sell it. Actually. I was a Mary Kay lady. I signed up because I want to understand how they get these women to sell. It was phenomenal. Actually. I think every sales person should go to one of these multi-level marketing places, especially something like Mary Kay.

Cause they’re so dialed in. But the way it works is I sell, I sold the cosmetics and then if I brought somebody else underneath me and they sold cosmetics, I got a percentage of their sales and they think that’s somebody else. I got a percentage of both of their sales, boom, boom. That’s how it worked for ’em for ambit.

Were you thinking, you know what, maybe I will sell energy through ambit and be one of these multi-level layers.

Lavie: Yeah. Yeah. That’s exactly what I was thinking, but I wasn’t willing to. Yeah. I wasn’t willing to do the, the no bottom wrong at 5 cents per customer. Uh, and they were doing like different amounts for each level. So I was like, Hey, what if I become all levels? And I signed up the customer and I started doing the math and it came out to a decent amount of money per customer.

So I was like, okay, I’ll drop into this. Um, that that’s pretty much

Andrew: But as part of the multilevel marketing thing

Lavie: But as part of the multilevel marketing thing

Andrew: did your dad say, what are you doing? Lavi? You’re getting involved in multi-level marketing.

Lavie: Okay. So he was actually totally open. As long as I was working really, really hard, then he was happy. He didn’t really care about what I was doing. Cause he, you know, his mind, I’m just gaining experience. Um,

Andrew: opposite. If I’m loving it, he’s suspicious of it. It can’t be real. What is this internet thing is still a driving them nuts. Okay.

Lavie: Outside of that. There’s one caveat to that. It can’t be spending too much money.

Andrew: Uh, yeah, my dad has that same caveat. All right. So did you actually get into this multi, you went to the top of the chain and you said I’m going to, I’m going to be the person who does this directly.

I don’t want to give, I don’t want to kick up a percentage of student stream. I don’t want to kick up a percentage down or collect a percentage from the downstream. That’s what you said.

Lavie: I was working in the buildings at the time. And I’m thinking that could be perfect. I could go knock on doors and pitch added energy to all these, right. You know, the residents within these residents of the apartment buildings I was managing. Exactly, exactly. That was the plan there and that, and I’ve done other things, uh, prior to that.

Uh, so like, you know, like, um, the issues on the roofs and like DirecTV.

Andrew: ah, oh wait, wait, let me see if I. Let me see if I understand this since you’re managing the building. Anyway, you get to go and pitch DirecTV to the residents in there. If you sell DirecTV to them, they get a satellite on the, on the roof. You get a commission. Got it. Tell me what else you were able to do that way.

Lavie: yeah. Uh, laundry rooms as well. So, you know, I was in these buildings. I was like, you know, let’s, let’s capitalize in every area possible. So, uh, earlier on it was about four years earlier, we started building out laundry was in the basements of the buildings. So I got involved with a number of different things around the buildings that the salt, this energy and that energy and selling energy within the buildings as another opportunity, uh, to potentially, you know, grow within and then, you know, on a stream of revenue.

Um, and, and yeah, that’s basically what

Andrew: I know this is kind of a pedestrian question where we’re getting off this big business, which, um, I’m still a little frustrated that you’re not going to tell me how not telling the audience how big it is. It’s phenomenal. Okay. But still, when you get into laundry rooms, are you renting space in the buildings that you’re managing, buying the, the laundry machines, putting them in there. hiring someone to go collect the quarters, fix it when they’re broken.

That’s the thing.

Lavie: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Except I wasn’t hiring anyone cause I couldn’t afford to hire anyone. So I was collecting the quarters myself every Friday. I would have massive bags of quarters that would go to the TD bank. You know, the PD banks actually change your quarters for you for free. Even if you don’t have an account, I don’t know if they still do that, but they were doing it

Andrew: And they’re beautiful. Or they were back when I was in New York.

Lavie: Yeah. Yeah. So, and then at a certain point they just, uh, kicked me out. It was too many quarters and they had to change over the machine too many times.

Andrew: Was it a profitable business for you?

Lavie: Um, so for, for awhile it was, uh, w w it was going well. And then what happened was, I was just, um, there was a lot of vandalism because, uh, you know, if you lost the, if they lost a quarter, um, and then I would have a phone number on the wall and they would call that phone number and it would be like 11 o’clock at night.

If I wouldn’t get there within like 10 minutes, At times they would just bust up the machine and there’ll be like thousands of dollars in damage. Um, and then you would have to clean out the lens and, uh, yeah, it was, it was definitely an amazing learning experience. I’ll tell

Andrew: Meanwhile, you’re, you’re an MBA student and you’re cleaning out the lint. Um, but what’s the learning experience in that. then.

Lavie: No, it’s tremendous. I mean, I learned how to lift huge washing machines and dryers and fit them with the basements. Uh, I learned how to, uh, uh, the construction around it. Right. So there’s a lot of interesting construction components around it. So it’s like, you have to vent it out. You have to like build a proper base cause they shake a lot.

So you want to like, you know, you actually have like bolts from the bottom with concrete base. And then you have to like bolt it down. So it was pretty, it was pretty fascinating for me, at least at the time. And then of course fixing the machines. Right. So I’ve learned how to do some, like, basically pairs in the machines as well.

Um, and, and I liked that I liked the hands-on approach when I was doing it. I just didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t like really making money.

Andrew: Yeah, but you know, the big takeaway I’m getting from this is that it’s, it’s like. it feels like what you’re doing is you’re finding a good customer base or a customer base, let’s say, and you’re thinking, what are the ancillary services we could provide for them? And it’s the type of thing that you think about when you’re in content, the way that I am.

Right. We think about it. Maybe if you’re in SAS, the way HubSpot now is thinking, what else can we sell? What else can we pile on to our offering? But you don’t think about it in real estate. And it’s kind of interesting to start thinking that way to say, where are these pockets of customers that we don’t think about as being customers that need more services and.

And there’s more revenue in it. Okay. Was there another thing that you did? So dish, TV, you

Lavie: Yeah, so, so, you know, I, I had contracts with time Warner and with cable vision and dish networks. So, you know, the, the major cable cable providers and, uh, did the laundry and stuff. And then, and then it got into energy and then, uh, Uh, at that point, I, uh, exited work, working for my dad and real estate management.

Andrew: So multilevel marketing actually worked for you.

Lavie: No, it actually didn’t.

Andrew: Okay.

Lavie: Uh, no. So, so, uh, I knocked on probably about two to 3000 doors. Um, signed up a lot of customers, enrolled them into the program. Uh, and then over in a following like three, four months or so, I kind of realized that it was just a lot of loopholes, uh, where, uh, you know, I wasn’t getting paid what I thought I would be getting paid based on the customers that I signed up.

Um, and, and then, you know, at that point, um, I realized it wasn’t really much of a future. Uh, so I had to like figure out something new. So it didn’t, it wasn’t that long. It was, it was probably in total, maybe four to six months when it, when I kind of got introduced to that to energy world and then got an admin and then kind of moved on from there.

Andrew: When you sold, were you knocking on doors literally and telling people about how they could buy electricity and doing the wholesale site, the whole sales process you were,

Lavie: yeah, I was doing that myself, but again, I couldn’t really afford to hire anyone at the time.

Andrew: people look at you? Like, you’re like, you’re crazy when you said, can I sell you energy? Um,

Lavie: At first, some of them did. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. You have to explain a, well, I have to have to understand exactly what it is that they’re getting old.

Andrew: How do you explain this top? this tough concept?

I mean, you and I’ve talked now a couple of times I looked it up and it’s still like baffling to me that you could sell electricity. How did you explain it to them? What was your sales pitch

Lavie: Yeah. So essentially, you know, you buying energy right now from con Edison. Uh, and, and th the, the energy is not renewable, right. It’s not a hundred percent renewable energy. Um, and then you talk about the benefits of renewable energy and why they

Andrew: to the environment?

Lavie: to the environment exactly. And why they should

Andrew: expensive electricity.

Lavie: It could be in a, cannot be, it really depends on the territory. Right. Um, so, uh, so essentially it’s, it’s renewable energy talk about the benefits, uh, and it’s open-minded to the benefits. Uh, you kinda, uh, then go through the belt with them, explain to them exactly what it means to them in terms of like a bill that they pay.

Cause that’s tangible. That’s something that they understand that they understand that they’re working with. You know, it could be con ed or national grid. They understand that cause of delivery component and then there’s a supply component and then. This is specifically to do with the supply component.

There’ll be essentially purchasing the renewable energy at a potentially fixed contract. Right? So, so the utility doesn’t do fixed contracts. They do month to month. So one month it could be a low rate one month. It could be a higher rate. The idea is that, especially if you’re, you’re in a climate where rates are really increasing, uh, then you’re locking them in potentially for a year or two years or even three years.

Andrew: Okay. How many of these sales did you make before you said, I think I need a different way to do

Lavie: so I did, I, I did about a thousand

Andrew: thousand sales door to door. You personally.

Lavie: Yeah. Close, close to a thousand. So I was like knock on about 3000 doors and I did about a thousand meters. So the way it works is each customer going to have an electric meter and a gas meter. So in total, the total amount of meters that I signed up person who was a close to a thousand.

Andrew: What is it about your sales technique that allows you to sell so much in four months

Lavie: Yeah, it, it, um, I just, uh, I really enjoyed it. I enjoy talking to people and I enjoy working art. So

Andrew: and you’re knocking door to door

Lavie: I’m actually not a salesperson.

Andrew: No. When we talked before, I feel like you’re coming to life on camera. Now, last time we talked, I felt like, oh no, this guy has got such an interesting story, but he doesn’t even seem to, I don’t know. It doesn’t, doesn’t have like a camera presence. This could be terrible.

Now I’m talking to you. It’s like, you’ve come to life. So what is it about your, is it just the love of sales? Is it the love of people? What is it?

Lavie: Um, I think it’s it’s work ethic. I think it’s love of working hard and seeing.

Andrew: So, what was your work ethic? Were you the type of person who said I got to start off every day at seven o’clock because that’s when my people are getting ready. I’ve got to end my day at nine o’clock because that’s, when they’re getting ready to go to sleep.

Lavie: It’s not even about times for me, it’s more about like, if I’m not going, they don’t stop.

Andrew: Give me, give me an example of a typical Workday where you sold this many meters.

Lavie: Well, if you’re asking my schedule, I mean, my typical schedule, I’m waking up at

Andrew: but back then

Lavie: Yeah back. Yeah. Back then, I’m waking up at six 30 in the morning. Um, you know, I’m, I’m at work by seven 30, uh, and then I’m finishing the day is somewhere around seven o’clock. But you know, at that time I was involved with a few different things.

So I’m, I’m an NYU. Right. Um, oh, well actually I have to seven o’clock I’m actually going to NYU. I’m going through the city. Right? Cause that was my, that was my last year of school. So I finished that at 11 o’clock at night, but, but essentially what I’m going to work though. I I’m about with three different things.

So I’m managing the buildings, I’m managing the laundry rooms and then I’m selling door to door.

Andrew: where’s this work ethic come fromĀ  I’m going to keep on knocking on as many doors as I can do all these different businesses. And as a side, you don’t look to me like somebody who comes from a family that was in need. You, you seem right. I’m thinking about it, frankly, with my kids. I’m about to pay more for their fricking kindergarten. Then, then I paid for my NYU education for any single year. What is this right for each individual kid. I’m wondering then what kind of work ethic is it that maybe they would drive me poor and then they say, I need to build up again. Cause I feel bad for my dad because what, where did it come from? You all

Lavie: Yeah, I think it’s exactly what you’re saying. Like, um, it’s, it’s matter of foresight knowing that eventually I wanted to get married and I wanted to have a family and I wanted to have a large family and a lot of kids, and I know that’s really expensive. Um, and that was like my, my number one goal.

Andrew: well, you’re saying you worked hard before you got married in the early part of your marriage. So not so you can ha live up a great life. Not so that the people like me could be impressed by you don’t seem to give a rat’s ass. That I’m impressed, but so that you could have a family and kids. And pay for their school.

That’s the thing that motivated you. You’re going to sleep, waking up, knocking on doors. Wait till I have my seven child. This is going to be great. I can’t wait to close the sale so I can have an eighth of it. That’s what it is.

Lavie: Absolutely. Yes. Yes. I actually went through a lot as a teenager, so that, that wasn’t appealing to

Andrew: What do you mean by we went through a lot.

Lavie: I just went through a lot, like, uh, like some of the stuff that people go through in the twenties and thirties. And, uh, I went through when I was, when I was younger and

Andrew: problems

Lavie: no, no, uh, it just, just in terms of like, um, I guess you’d call it rebelling a bit, right?

Andrew: Uh, what’s your, what’s your big rebelling?

Lavie: what’s my big rebellion.

Andrew: Like what kind of rebelling did you do?

Lavie: Yeah. Uh, so either way. Um,

Andrew: I’m going to tell me that rebelling you’re sidestepping it. Oh, I

Lavie: yeah, so, so, so further, further down the line. When I hit my early twenties, I came to realization that all of that is not real. It’s not authentic. It’s, it’s not something that like actually brings real joy. And what I really wanted was just a healthy life and healthy family and grow my family. And I knew that was going to be expensive.

Like I know tuitions are expensive. I know putting food on the table and a roof over the head and over your head, it’s going to be costly. And one thing I also knew, and my father kind of drove this in my head over time was you got to start early, you got to start young, like, yeah, because what happens is that you have more responsibility.

When you’re married with kids and your options are more limited. So if you want to build something for yourself, you have to do it when you’re young.

Andrew: I’ve seen people who do it later, but I absolutely agree. It’s it’s easier younger. Imagine when you have kids, you’re suddenly cleaning out lint from, from

Lavie: Well, I wouldn’t do it.

Andrew: that people break, right?

Lavie: Yeah. I wouldn’t do it. It would be too much. I’d be getting phone calls off the hook that I have to come home with to pick up the kids because. I don’t know that they’ll go to a dental appointment or something. And like, you know, it would be very difficult. And, and not to say that I’m not there a hundred percent of the time and I’m working hard right now, but it’s different.

It’s different when you’re grinding it out or early on. And then we try to do that. When, when you have all this other responsibility, it’s a lot more difficult. And I came to that realization earlier on. So I just wanted to put in the work. I knew it was necessary.

Andrew: all right. Let me talk about my sponsor salesman to salesman you. Tell me how I do this and here’s, here’s what I’d love to hear from you. Tell me not just Andrew proud of you. Great. Right. Tell me the type of stuff that my dad would tell me like where I could improve. Okay. We’re going to be open about it.

All right. So my sponsor is a company called sendin blue. What they do is email marketing, and here’s why this matters. I didn’t realize the significance of it. My friend, Paul. Manages email marketing campaigns for multiple clients. The guy is complaining to me about how much it costs to send out email.

And I go, how much could it cost? Look at MailChimp. It’s insignificant compared to all these, you know, every single person it’s more important. It’s more expensive. You said, Andrew, just take a look recently. I said no, because once you hit a hundred thousand subscribers, The price gets astronomical in these services.

And they’re not giving you a big collection of features because they want to keep it simple, to be able to appeal to lots of customers. So they cut back on the features for his clients and they start charging a lot. As the clients get big, I said, why don’t you switch away? He said, do you ever try to switch away?

I said, no, it’s really tough. So I started looking around and I said, you know what? Email marketing companies do this all the time. They charge very little, they lock you in and then boom, it Springs up. And it’s not just per email that you could email to per person. You can email, even if someone unsubscribes or they’ve not done anything and you decide I’m not going to email them.

If the contact is in your address, book on their service, they charge you for it. Right. Well, how insulting is that? And you’re not going to delete them because you want to know if they ever come back 10 years from now, what happened? So send them blue says we’re going to be up front. We’re going to start charging reasonable prices, and we’re going to continue the reasonable prices through the end.

And you could see their prices are incredibly reasonable throughout, and they’re going to add. Marketing automation. So if somebody takes an action like purchases, or it takes an interest by clicking on a certain type of email, you could follow up with them based on their purchase or based on their interest with further emails that are just targeted towards that.

And it’s not hard to do. And if you want to do SMS, they do that. You want to do live chat on their site. They have that too. So you can reach people in multiple, multiple ways. And they decided that they’re going to offer it. And they said, we want more people to know about it. They came to me. And So I’m going to actually give people an even better deal than they have on their site, which is go use it for free.

Go to send in blue.com/mixergy. And you could use your email marketing software for free. And if you don’t know who they are, these guys raised over $197 million. Incredibly successful company companies like BlackRock are behind them. Here it is send in blue.com/mixergy. You will be one of the first people to use them.

And then you’re going to be the evangelist. That’s why they’re hiring me so that I can convert people who then won’t shut up about how great they are and everyone else was going to be happy. Paul signs up, everyone else here was going to sign up to lobby. Go ahead, lady. What do you think? Okay.

Lavie: So it’s interesting that you’re mentioning this because just yesterday I blast out an email for a webinar that we just ran earlier today, uh, to all our entire client base, you know, it was a great webinar. I thought it would be really valuable and I actually subscribed to HubSpot. Um, what was it?

Two months ago? Pay them a lot of money, a lot of money after it was a late last night. I’m checking my emails and I see an email that it automatically increased my subscription for a whole year for $22,000.

Andrew: Oh, wait, wait. Whoa.

Lavie: So, so it wasn’t, it wasn’t, you know, zero to 22,000, but they automatically increase Chris me from 18,000 to 22,000.

Now I love HubSpot. I think it’s great to a certain extent on the sales side, but yeah.

Andrew: Yup. And we know that it doesn’t cost that much to store an email address. It doesn’t cost that much to send out email or the entrepreneurs on here to talk about the pricing from, from Amazon services And, others. It’s not expensive.

Lavie: and and you know, what, if they, if they reached out and asked me if I want to increase my subscription, I’ll be totally fine with that. You know, maybe, maybe not, but in either case, I would appreciate the fact that they reached out, but the RMF, you get an increased email because at one time we sent out an email blast larger than we generally would send out.

They automatically increase our subscription for a full year.

Andrew: for me, I’ve been with email marketing for 12 years now through Mixergy, the email list got big. They finally persuaded me. All right. Just delete the contacts and I in a fit of frustration, I said, okay, just delete the old context, but I feel bad about it. Now. We exported them into a Google drive. I encrypted it.

It’s just a big, alright, cool. I’m glad actually, that, uh, that, that resonated.

Lavie: Yeah, totally.

Andrew: You know what I did,

Lavie: I understand the concern there in terms of like shifting over from what you currently utilize into a new platform.

Andrew: Yes. I have to admit that if somebody with a different platform.

they have to be really frustrated to switch. It’s easier than it seems, but I get it. If someone’s starting out, it’s a no brainer to say, let me think a little bit ahead. And. The only, the only hesitation I could see with this is they might say, I didn’t hear them advertise on NPR.

I heard this other company on NPR, so who knows. That’s why I wanted to say they raised well over a hundred million dollars from a big company is $197.7 million from BlackRock and others. Okay. All right. So you’re now doing this and there are two big changes. In your energy approach, that happened, number one, you said I’m not going to do it as this as part of, um, the multi-level marketing company.

And number two, you decided you were going to go come,

Lavie: Well, no, actually what happened there was that I was working for another company at the time. And, and uh, I mean it, the energy, what was, it was another company,

Andrew: Oh, right? You were reselling you. Weren’t an employee

Lavie: energy. I was really, yeah. I was essentially an independent contractor,

Andrew: right?

Lavie: um, and which I subscribed and realized that, that wasn’t working out for me.

So at that point, um, I, I kind of had to figure something out. What’s my next step there. Um, so it was either getting back into the real estate management or. Figuring out something else. Um, so, uh, I decided that I wanted to create my own energy company. I love the idea. I love the concept. That one needs energy.

It’s great in a, in a great, good economy, bad economy. It works well. Um, no, it, it, it’s something that I think is the future and it is the future. Um, and so, so I was like, how do I get into this myself? That’s kinda what, what I was holding at that point. Um, sitting down, I was actually sitting in long island, my brother’s house.

Uh, and I was, uh, just went on Google, uh, tapped in how do I create an energy supply company literally. And, uh, there was two lawyers in the entire New York state that actually forms, uh, energy companies and, uh, works with all the licensing aspects of it. And it happened to be that one of those lawyers was literally one block away from where I was sitting at the time.

Andrew: Oh, wow. And so you, you set up an appointment to talk to this lawyer and you, but this is one of the things that I love about you and this story, frankly, it’s that. You’re not coming at this from a background in energy. You’re just a guy who found a startup opportunity. You went down the wrong path with it at first, when that didn’t work out and you just adjust it and you figured it out, it feels like energy is so out of reach.

If that makes sense to you.

Lavie: Yeah, totally. Yeah. Yep. It does. And, uh, you know, I was coming from a real estate management background and laundry room back on everything was super physical and super heavy. And, and I also saw energy as an opportunity to, you know, Carry less heavy things. Uh, so, um, I, it just something that really appealed to me for, uh, for many reasons, and I knew nothing about energy or the industry as a whole, but, uh, I was excited about it and I want to jump in.

Andrew: so. They set up the energy company for you. And then you, I guess, do you figure out how to source energy yourself before you even formed the company? I assume you do so you know what the prices are going to be or not.

Lavie: no, no, it doesn’t really work like that. I mean, essentially there’s a, there’s a, uh, it’s called an ISO independent system operators, a marketplace, full energy transactions in the state. Uh, unless you do a bilateral agreement. So you’d almost see purchasing energy directly from like a director or shell. Uh, but essentially I wasn’t even thinking about any of that stuff.

I was just thinking like, let’s, let’s get to the point of being able to sell something to someone that, that that’s where that’s where my mindset was. And, and I sat with the attorney. I’m like, what? Like, what are the things that I have to do? And he kind of laid it out for me. Um, it was like a, it was a year, a year and a half.

It was a year and a quarter process. Um, obviously you gotta some money to get everything set up, but that’s just to get licensed and set up to be able to actually sell energy in the state

Andrew: when we talk about the range of tens of thousands, hundreds, of thousands to do it, hundreds. of thousands to set this up. So what’s the opportunity that you saw that was that you were willing to go through that a over a year of sitting on your hands and not selling.

Lavie: I saw it as a big thing, honestly, like, like, I mean, you probably see it as a big thing too. Right? It’s like selling energy. Like it’s a pretty big deal. It’s bigger than let’s say, I don’t know, having a candy store. Right. You know, um, it was a big concept. It was a big effort. And I, and at that point in my life, I was, I wanted to take on something big and I wanted to take on something that was exciting to me.

And I didn’t really care what. What’s going to happen, like down the line or like what that process was. I was willing to go through it.

Andrew: Okay.

All right. I’m with you on this. And frankly, the logic of it’s a recurring revenue business model, right? Where everyone needs it. You feel good because it’s renewable energy. It feels like it’s the future. Got it. Um, and the fact that it’s difficult means. Every kid who’s getting into. Y Combinator is going to come at you with a nicer looking designed website and compete with you.

It takes a lot more effort than that. All right. You get into it for over a year.

Lavie: Yeah. So, so for a year and change, I did not sell, uh, and again, I was still busy with a lot of other things. Um, and then eventually got to the point of being able to actually sell energy and, and, and still thinking about, okay, now, who am I going to sell this energy to? Right. Uh, so I, I finally got to that point and the go-to was personal context and myself and my family and contacts within the real estate industry.

Uh, so, so that’s what I did. So I literally knocked on their doors and he asked for a, you know, a time to sit down on an appointment and sat with them. And, uh, that’s how I got my start.

Andrew: And so you’re, you’re selling door to door again to, is it still residential or at some point you switched to commercial.

Lavie: Right. So at this point as commercial, uh, as primarily landlords, it’s a common space. You’re looking at hallways, elevators, boiler rooms, you know, basements, um, and, and power and gas, right? So it’s natural gas and electricity as well.

Andrew: Okay.

Lavie: Um, and so what I, what I started doing is reaching out to the landlords and then from there, some of the schools within a neighborhood and other neighborhoods as well, uh, and then from there, some of the grocery stores and laundromats, and, uh, obviously I didn’t really have many connections within the grocery store, the laundry mats, or even the schools, some schools I did, but most of them I did.

And then at that point I was just knocking, knocking on the doors and asking for a car set down.

Andrew: is your dad’s name? Moshay

Lavie: No, actually when I brought my brother, his name was Moshe. Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, wow. And your brother also is like a pretty charismatic looking guy. And I guess when he buys a place in a, I don’t know if this is too personal, you’re going to hate that I’m bringing this up his house. When he buys and sells, it is like big news. And there’s like a big smiling photo of him in front of this place.

Is there a competition between the two of you? Like who’s who’s to, there is.

Lavie: great question. No, there actually isn’t um, essentially we were probably closest to him from all our brothers, cause we’re closest in age. Uh, and he’s awesome. I love him very much. He’s a great brother. And honestly like when, when I go through a hard time, so I reach out to him and ask for his advice and uh, once in a while, we’ll do the same, not as often.

Um, and we have a great relationship.

Andrew: Also, you know what it is. I actually didn’t think it was the right one because in every, in every photo it looks like he’s just found, it looks like he’s a televangelist. He’s got the televangelists smile in the sense that he just fell off his horse and discovered religion. You know what? I look at this that, tell me if this is him,

Lavie: See this

Andrew: look at this.

Is that him? Right? Doesn’t it look like? He just discovered the meaning of life. you don’t think that I. Very happy. All right. All right. So how do you continue at some point you realize I need salespeople. That’s what led to overpass, right?

Lavie: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So I did it myself for a while. And then at a certain point, you actually have to scale this thing out. Um, so, uh, when it came to scaling, I realized that I’m not going to be doing it myself. Um, and then, uh, in addition to that, I came to the realization that, uh, commercial or B2B is not the way to scale, at least initially primarily because it was, it was.

Pretty difficult. Getting to the decision maker is pretty difficult game

Andrew: in commercial real

Lavie: in commercial, in real estate or in the green you, the grocery chains or, you know, the schools, it was pretty difficult. And I, I went through a personally and I realized that, um, it’s probably not the best, best path to take if you want to scale this out.

And I thought, uh, you know, Residences would love the opportunity to, to go out renewable, not everyone, of course, but the people that realize the benefit of renewable energy and have a long-term fix contracts. Um, so, uh, what I set out to do was build a well-oiled machine, uh, to, to, uh, grow awareness and sell around WDC space.

Andrew: What’s the sales process that you created.

Lavie: Okay. Uh, so it, it was very tedious and difficult. Uh, initially it’s, it’s harder than selling the businesses because there, there are so many new ones factors when, uh, when it comes to selling and scale, uh, and you have to get all of them right. In order to be really effective. So that’s something that we kind of learned as, as we grew the team and as we grew the effort, uh, but I will say this, that from the beginning, uh, we made a decision to do a fully in-house.

Uh, because to us, it was super, super important to control the messaging and the messaging around awareness and around, we know all the energy have had to be fully authentic. Uh, and, and of course, you know, the process as well. So the be 100% compliance, right.

Andrew: What’s the sales process. Is it their salespeople who knock on doors and say, can I see your bill? I want to show you how we could reduce your, your, your bill. Is that it? Or what is it?

Lavie: Yeah, so, so it’s, it’s people knocking on doors, right? So you’re not on a phone. You’re, you’re, you’re actually going out into the field. Uh, at times you’re going to be making appointments at times. You’re not going to have appointments and you’re going to, and you’re going to knock on a person’s door and you’re gonna introduce yourself and you’re gonna talk about.

The value of going renewable and the value of price protection. Uh, and at that point, and you go through the presentation, uh, the customer wants to sign up, you go through a third party verification that they sign up, they get all their, uh, terms and conditions on the spot. And, uh, and then we stay in touch with the customer over the period of their contract.

Andrew: how do you manage what somebody says when they’re going to the door? If they’re doing it over the phone, their systems, now record the call. You can try, you can have it. Autumn, um, artificial intelligence analyze it and all that. But when there’s someone just knocking on the door, they could say anything.

They could say, Hey, I come from your energy company and I wanted to look at your bill so we can lock in a new COVID rate or whatever it is. Right. And they closed sales and they make the commission. How, how can you watch that? How can you improve it? Yeah.

Lavie: Exactly why we wanted to keep it in-house and not farm it out to a third party. Direct marketing company is because it was so important that we built technology or subscribed to technology around ensuring that they’re saying the right things and doing the right things at the door. Um, and initially we were working on paper.

Uh, and it was a mess, um, excuse me. And then over time, uh, we actually adopt that iPad and then we subscribed to the right technology to be able to know that I have full control over all the compliance requirements that we have in place and ensure that the message was done properly.

Andrew: My friend, Sam Parr is a jeans nerd. He says he comes over to the house. He looks at the jeans I’m wearing and he could identify it and talk about it. I’m more of like a systems nerd. Is there some part of the system that you’re especially proud of? That a systems nerd like me would go, oh yeah, I gotta, I gotta learn from that.

From your sales

Lavie: I would say it’s probably the promotional structure,

Andrew: what do you mean.

Lavie: um, in order to build a direct marketing company, first of all, um, you want to invest into them the same way they’re investing into you. So every single one of our salespeople, um, our, our, our, our artists are, is essentially. Tapped into the culture in a way that they know they’re going to grow through the ranks and through a promotional structure that they could eventually earn six figures and they can run their own office.

Um, so, so, so the idea is that, um, they’re, they’re making, you know, not just, you know, on the sale, but, but they’re making a few, uh, they’re, they’re building up a future for themselves as well.

Andrew: okay. So it’s not so much the, what happens now, but it’s, if you do well.

where’s the leveling up period. That’s, that’s a key element. That’s not obvious when I’m looking at the system.

Lavie: Yeah, it’s important cells. You know, it’s important to, to, to know that you’re going to get every turn on an instant. We turn on the action I’m taking at this particular moment, but also I’m building something up for the future as well.

Andrew: and so you have to keep thinking, what is it that we’re building for them and it’s how do they get to manage their own office, their own

Lavie: Yeah, in this instance is how am I going to get the management and office in another instances? How do I build up my profile? Right. So, so the next person that might want to hire me can, can see my track record and see my experience and seemed to see, uh, all my accomplishments. And that’s what we do at overpass.

That’s part of the, the bar place. The building of the marketplace is that if a contract, it takes a job with the client, they don’t just focus. It’s not just about that one job. It’s about building up their profile within the sales realm. So that way clients in the future, uh, can see what they’ve actually accomplished and not just what other clients state that they accomplish.

And to me, that’s, that’s huge.

Andrew: All right. So you still own empower, right? Um, it’s still listed on your LinkedIn profile as a current, uh, position that you’re the founder and CEO, you decide I’m getting into software and marketplace with overpass. It still doesn’t seem like an obvious transition to say, you know what? I can’t find people offline.

I’m going to go create this online thing.

Lavie: Yeah. Um, so, so we’ve done a, a lot of different, um, efforts in terms of sales, right? So that was door to door sales. We’ve also, uh, banged our heads against the wall, trying to figure out our inside sales approach. Uh, and you know, it’s sales, it’s it’s retention. It’s. No, it wasn’t just about sales with them and power.

There’s a lot of different customer engagement types of campaigns, but you know, we’ve tried hiring in house. We’ve tried, you know, going with the nearshore option with the offshore option. Uh, when the, when it came to like farming it out to, you know, it was just, it was tons of fraud within that space and it was not working.

And when it came to.

Andrew: farming out your sales back at

Lavie: Finding it out or near shore off shore call centers. It was just tons of tons of fraud was riddled with fraud. And not just that, it was expensive, it was very hard to control and track. And then of course, you know, building out internally, it was, we were limited we’re limited in terms of talent and the types of talent that we could potentially hire and develop over time.

Andrew: Okay, so you decide, then I have this problem. I think we could solve it. I’m taking a look at the very first version of your site overpass. So, so now empowers continuing, we’re going to, we’re going to move on from there to over, uh, to overpass, to talk about how you did that. I’m looking at the first version of overpass that I can find on internet archive.

It says our vision is to enhance customer engagement by streamlining dated business functions for organizations we’re in stealth mode though. Keep us bookmarked. What does that, that seems different from what you’re doing now. What was the original?

Lavie: So the original vision was everything. Customer engagement.

Andrew: Yeah. Ah, so customer support person. I shouldn’t have to go and look for someone. You’ll just do that for me. Got it.

Lavie: Correct. Correct. It’s everything customer engagement. So it’s retention, it’s billing, it’s collections. Is there a party verifications, political polling, fundraising sales, uh, and, uh, that’s what we originally set out to do. And, you know, as I got further into it, I came to realize that, you know, you really have to focus on one thing and do it extremely, extremely well.

And then you can grow into others.

Andrew: Okay. And so the thing that you picked was sales.

Lavie: Yeah, so sales was the obvious choice because it was the most difficult option of every type of customer engagement. So generally you want to go down to the toughest path. Um, and, and it’s because sales has the highest turnover. Sales is the hardest, uh, form of customer engagement to find really great niche, specialized talent.

Uh, in, in customer service, you know, it’s tough, but you know, you could do it, you could get it done. And also sales is the type of thing that if it’s working and you have two people, and then you want three, if you have three, hang on five, you want five, you, one 10, uh, customer service. It’s not so much the case.

Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. This is in so many ways. This is such a great idea. It makes so much freaking sense. So here’s, here’s what, tell me if I’m understanding the opportunity for someone like me every once in a while, I’ll sell something new to my audience that will cost something like a thousand, 2000, right.

At that price. I feel like people should get to talk to a human being. And often I end up being that person. Sometimes it’s someone else on my team. Who’s not designed to do sales, who gets on a call. All we think about is how do we add more content to the site, another video, another this, another, that I’ve interviewed entrepreneurs who have sales teams.

But it’s still baffling to me having done these interviews to figure out how to create a sales team that can, that can close sales, represent the product. Well, not be big pains, you know, and, and sometimes people will tell me, well, I had a friend who has this whole sales, like the whole sales infrastructure, and I just tapped into that.

And that makes sense. It feels to me like, Someone like me would go to overpass, say, I need to hire someone. Here’s our product. Here are the 50 questions that our customers might have. Gimme any extra ones that you might get that I don’t know. And we’ll stop and give them a commission. If they could close a sale right there on the call.

Right.

Lavie: yeah, the only difference of that is that it’s a direct relationship, right. So you’re not outsourcing it to overpass and overpass has

Andrew: right. No, no, I, I, you just finding me a person who can do sales, do it remotely, but unlike me, going into Craigslist and searching and going into one of the generic marketplaces and searching it, do I understand right? That there’s some kind of vetting process. There’s some right. I could tell that

Lavie: So, so it’s not, it’s not just about vetting cause we, we, of course we only, only, uh, bring contractors onto the platform that have sales experience. Um, and there’s other aspects of the running processes as well, but because it’s only sales. All of the, um, the intricacies of, of diving in and targeting and that, to this specific sales person that you want and you want to hire, um, and it is geared towards sales, right?

If you, if you’re looking for, let’s say, you know, a developer or a copywriter, and think about all the different filters, the drop-downs of the types of things you’d be looking for around a developer or a copywriter that would be different than if you were looking for a sales person, you get what I’m saying?

Andrew: Yeah. So then what are they for you? And by the way, when you say, of course we’ve vet a lot of the other platforms that do, um, freelancers, then I’m betting there, there are people in any way, it’s just everyone lists and there’s some kind of feedback mechanism afterwards and right.

What is the thing? What do you do in the, to do to, well, you know, before we get into where you are today, walk me through how you got to this. The first version of the business was it we’re going to be a marketplace or we’re going to do software

Lavie: No, the press version of the business was marketplace. That was always the idea

Andrew: marketplace. We’re going to hire, we’re going to find the right salespeople. We’re going to have them on here. And when they’re going to go to businesses and need to hire sales people. Okay.

Lavie: Yeah.

And th th the key difference and the original from the original vision, from what the, you know, the existing marketplaces out there is, if you look at, let’s say a freelance or Upwork, um, you know, their, their primary focus is put developers and designers and copywriters. And if you think about it, the type of work that they’re doing is, is clicks and mass movements on the screen.

You know, and, and, and what Upwork did was it was, you know, we’re, we’re going to provide accountability and transparency by monitoring and recording the, these, these screen movements, right. Or clicks. And, and, uh, what I CA what was a Tiffany for me was that doesn’t help me when it comes to communication workers.

Right? Most of the work is not done in that way. It’s not, it’s done through engagement. So, so the, so accountability and transparency is so important when you’re hiring a remote person. But what our goal is, is to provide that who monitoring the actual communication and the sales active.

Andrew: So you said we’re going to create a marketplace, just like they do. And just like they are monitoring clicks. We need to have some similar accountability. It’s not going to be clicks because that doesn’t make sense for a sales call. But whatever it is, is going to need us to create our own software. And by the way, I don’t think it was Upwork that did it.

I think it was Upwork was a merger of oDesk and Elance Elan’s I think was not doing any kind of screen tracking. It could be wrong. oDesk was known for doing the screen tracking and you then said we should be doing something similar so that, Okay.

So now that requires you to create your own software.

And that’s why even the first landing page it said were installed, said, if you’re a developer, you described the type you’re looking for, contact us. You wanted her to build it from scratch. Okay.

Lavie: Yeah, exactly. So we’re building the marketplace, but the marketplace alone will just get you the remote salespeople. Uh, so it’s a matter of bringing all the tools to actually, uh, for, for the sales person to do the work and through that, create that level of accountability and transparency that clients need in order to hire them.

Andrew: All right. So how do you get the salespeople? How did you in the beginning get the salespeople on your marketplace?

Lavie: Um, there’s a number of different, uh, campaigns and marketing efforts that we have out to bring on the right salespeople. Uh, but we can, when we came to realize over the last couple of years, it’s, you know, lots of people are looking for we’re all over the world as a matter of tapping into the right sources to get the right people on board so that we also internally we’re not spending tons of time vetting the wrong types of people.

Andrew: let’s be more specific. What, what worked or what didn’t work for finding the salespeople on the platform.

Lavie: sure. Um, so, so it’s a matter, it’s not necessarily a channel that works and doesn’t work because I feel like ad-words works very well. Um, and, and Facebook, maybe not as well to get the quality that you want, but it’s a matter of all the different pieces that you put in place along their path from, from clicking into getting into the product.

Right. Um, and then ensuring that th they’re they’re vet bendable, right. That you can actually vet this person it’s worthwhile vetting this person.

Andrew: Uh, because you’re getting So many applications, the thing that you want to do is not waste time on the wrong ones and filter the right ones out. Ah,

Lavie: essentially it’s, it’s qualifying them out, but, but doing so in a way that also doesn’t turn them off because you want to keep a good reputation as a, as a company.

Andrew: Okay. And so then what are some of the filters that helped you do that?

Lavie: Right. So, so essentially it’s, it’s a number of processes that we put in place in order to filter them out.

Andrew: Can you say what one of them are or is this a

Lavie: I mean, honestly, the, the big primary one is if you have sales experience, No. I mean, I w because it’s purely a sales platform, when a one contract has come on to the platform that does not sell it, another one is the type of experience that they’ve had in the past.

Now, obviously that doesn’t always, uh, filter out properly in terms of like the, the answers that are input, uh, as, as they go through the flow that we’ve created. But, um, and, and of course, we’re trying to improve on this in terms of like, improving our sources and. Create more awareness around the right types of contractors that we want, but what’s really amazing.

And what we realized, and we actually just launched this feature, which is ex-pats right. So you have these amazing, talented contractors in other countries that grew up here in the us that the native speakers, uh, that their cost of living is way down and then there’ll be, and they want to work for a rate that you would never be able to get here in the U S.

Andrew: I’m looking at your site. And I see on the homepage, there’s someone here real estate experience for one year, $13 an hour, another person, health and wellness for 14 years. Um, I think that it’s as a person in South Africa, $10 an hour, it’s that plus commission that they tend to pay. Right.

Lavie: Yeah. And it sounds you always want to pay a component of commission.

Andrew: Okay. And so I’m getting now idea of how this works. Can you tell me something about how you ended up getting customers to hire them?

Lavie: Yeah. Clients. Sure. Um, so, so essentially a very similar type of efforts we started out around. Uh, th th the virus, you know, ad-words and, and, uh, uh, Facebook, uh, type platforms. Um, and, and we kind of grew, uh, we’re still working with those, uh, different types of marketing platforms out there, but, uh, we’re, we’re growing more into other types of things right now, uh, create more awareness around the brand.

Uh, and it’s really actually working much better for us, uh, just because we’re able to tap into the right type of client, because if we bring on. Uh, clients that are in their own right, are not going to be successful. It’s not going to be helping them or helping us. So it’s a matter of tapping into clients that actually care about their success and are set up for success.

They may, they maybe they have a sales manager in place. Maybe they’re working with warm leads that they want to actually still utilize the sales person to close. Those leads those, and they have a decent budget. They’re looking to build something long-term, I’m willing to optimize as well. So, so those are the types of clientele that we want and that, that type of client, client doesn’t.

It’s not so convertible on the conventional methods.

Andrew: I’m about to talk to another. Uh, entrepreneur who thought he said one of the big epiphany that he had was to use CIT, to bring sales people on because he found that people were customers were using a software, trialing it, and then not touching it afterwards. And they just said, ah, we screwed up or it’s not the right customer for us.

And once he hired salespeople in to call up people who are, I guess, that’s more customer success to call up people who signed up for his software and help them use it. Well, And respond to them. Then he got an understanding of where people, uh, where’s clients struggled, what he could do to improve software.

And he closed more sales. Is that the type of thing that I would use overpass

Lavie: Absolutely. I wouldn’t say that’s even customer success because even our salespeople, there are consultants. They help our clients with their business. And that’s another huge differentiator for overpass our account executives. And by the way, all overpass kind of executives that we hired from our own marketplace.

And, and, and they work with our clients too, to help them create strategy and build their business, build a sales arm for their business. And I have one guy, Dennis, he tells me that he gets calls really like 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night, uh, from some of his clients, uh, asking for some, some issue or asking to help them out with some issue that they’re facing within their business.

And he helps them. He’s there for them.

Andrew: that is what a good salesperson does sticks around afterwards. I get how this works. So I freaking love over. I can’t believe that nobody else did this. You know who I think would you should done it? I can’t think of his name right now. The founder of freelancer. He’s telling me he’s buying all these different, these different marketplaces.

He’s got one where you can buy and sell horses. I can’t believe you that he didn’t even jump on this one.

Lavie: Yeah. I mean, honestly,

Andrew: sense.

Lavie: we’re not looking to raise capital right now. I get hit up probably about three or four times a week, uh, from VCs wanting to give us money. Uh, but that’s not what we’re looking for at this point right now we’re looking to just provide tremendous value from our clients to our clients.

Andrew: I would invest it. So many people who come to do interviews here are doing it because they’re basically getting ready to, to raise money. And it’s, it makes sense. I was hoping you were in that situation, but you’re kind of reluctant to be here. I appreciate you being on here. I feel like I’m. Uh, this has been even better conversation than we had offline.

I could see from this why you’d be a good salesperson.

Lavie: well, I definitely appreciate it, Andrew. Thank you for having me.

Andrew: Alright, thanks for being on here. Uh, the website is overpass.com that costs you over a hundred thousand dollars to get that domain.

Lavie: probably, it was pricey. It wasn’t that I thought

Andrew: Oh, isn’t that high, right? It’s great. Domain overpass.com. I want to Thank the sponsors who made this interview happen. If you, need email marketing that does everything like all the, all the things.

Go check out, send in blue.com/mixergy, and you can do all the things for free. And I mean like things like SMS, like marketing automation and, and you won’t get hit with these random jumps in the price. Really send in blue.com/mixergy. Do your homework include them when you’re considering another software email provider.

Alright, thank you so much for doing this interview.

Lavie: Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks,

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