How Leela Cosgrove built a 7-figure business with just one sales person and one sales strategy

27 June, 2019
Meryl Johnston

Meryl Johnston

5 minutes
Leela Cosgrove podcast episode

Leela Cosgrove runs a media and consulting company based in Melbourne, and she knows a thing or two about growing a successful business through sales.

With a lean team of 7 staff, as CEO and founder Leela describes her role as “EVERYTHING. And then some!”

There are two main arms to the business – Strategic Anarchy and The 8 Percent.

Strategic Anarchy is a training and coaching business helping small businesses to understand their marketing and sales, so that they can take full control of their own business, rather than keeping their fingers crossed and hoping customers come through the door.

The 8 Percent is a media company helping entrepreneurs to become more artistic and artists to become more entrepreneurial – and helping both groups to take that creativity and apply it in a way that benefits the planet.

How Leela got into marketing and sales

Leela started doing some freelance writing work for her first mentor who was, as she refers to them, a “genius marketer”. She started off by working around her day job at the time, but it got to the point where she had so much work from her side gig that she decided to go full-time.

Leela recounts, “this became what I call my ‘apprenticeship’ period. I worked closely with that first mentor for about 3 and a half years, learning everything I could about marketing and sales by actually doing marketing and sales work.“

Ninja Tip: Learn by doing. Find someone who is great at what you want to do and work for them. Share on X

Leela’s leveraged and highly valuable business model

Many entrepreneurs struggle with finding the right business model – one that offers the income that they want, the challenge and fulfillment of serving great clients, and the flexibility in lifestyle they dream of.

Leela shared that her and her business (and life) partner Gulliver Giles have discovered the right business model for them – one that gives them the balance that they were after – but only after a lot of testing and measuring.

Leela uses a publishing and group-consulting model. They publish a number of online and offline products, and then the backend of that is ongoing consulting on sales and marketing in a group mastermind setting.

“We’ve chosen it because it’s the perfect mix of leveraged (the products and programs we have running now could run with 1,000 people in them – or more – if necessary) and highly valuable (our courses start at $5,000 and go up to $40,000).”

So what’s been Leela’s biggest challenge with scaling her business?

To put it simply… staff.

With a tonne of experience in sales and marketing but no prior experience in hiring and managing people when she started, Leela has learnt a valuable and expensive lesson.

Leela noted, “To say my learning curve has been steep would be an understatement!”

She hired someone a couple of years ago to take care of her finances and trusted that they were doing their job. Unfortunately they weren’t and the consequences were severe. Not to mention expensive.

“That left me with a hell of a mess that needed to be fixed. I really stuck my head in the sand – and I really paid for it.“

What did Leela learn from her painful experience?

“For me, finance has never really been something I’m overly interested in. I just want to be hyper-creative and MAKE THINGS! But I learned that I HAVE to care and pay a lot of attention – even when I’m outsourcing it to a staff member or off-site. Because who is ever going to care more about my money than me?!”

Ninja Tip: ensure that you work with people that you can trust and who can deliver on their word. This will save you time, money and headaches. Share on X

Helping clients get amazing results is what it’s all about

When asked to share her own client success story Leela’s mentioned how her sales coaching has helped her client Tom, a doctor, and his wife Mare achieve great results in their business.

“As a doctor, Tom knows a thing or two about how to get into medical school. When he and Mare came to us, they were doing pretty well with their online course, having worked hard to get their business to 6 figures. Over 2 years of working with us, they’ve raised their prices significantly, have learned to sell and put on a sales team, and have 10x the size of their business.”

The ONE (sales) strategy that rules them all…

When asked to share a specific sales strategy that’s worked really well for her and her clients, Leela said they only have one.

And there’s a great reason for this…

“It works so well that we don’t find it necessary to diverge from or mess with it.“

Here’s Leela and Gulliver’s ultimate sales strategy:

1. Run Facebook Ads (Leela pays, on average, $10 for an email, $100 for a phone number)
2. Call phone numbers
3. Sell the client what is most appropriate for them on that call (Leela’s team’s average phone close rate: 30%. Their average lifetime value of a client: $50,000).

Ninja Tip: If it's working great, don't mess with it. Share on X

So what’s next for Leela Cosgrove?

Leela explains, “our big focus right now is on The 8 Percent Festival which is happening in Melbourne in October. We’re looking at around 300 people in attendance, to discuss the idea that “Entrepreneurs, Not Governments, Change the World.” We’ve got a range of amazing speakers, from a rock star to a martial artists – and ex child soldier turned refugee lawyer.

This very much sums up where we’re headed – a heavy emphasis on social enterprise, a lot of exciting media work with major brands, on and offline publishing projects with some amazing creative people we adore. The world is really opening up to us right now!”

How has using Bean Ninjas’ outsourced bookkeeping service benefited Leela?

Leela remarked that staying on top of her finances has been a major win for her business:

“It really helps to have a phenomenal outsourced team between Bean Ninjas and my Accountant who I know are working with me to make sure that we’re really on top of the necessary details – I know my BAS is done every month. I think I’ve told you before – the first few times I got a note from my accountant letting me know the BAS had been lodged and just sending me the bill, I actually literally cried.

As a CEO, you need to know what’s going on financially and be across any discrepancies – but I don’t think you need to be as involved as doing the minutia of your book keeping and doing your own BAS!

I have been through SO MANY book keepers over the last few years and it is SUCH a relief to have found someone who delivers what they say they can.

Also, all of the green “reconciled” ticks in Xero make the Directorial, Box-Ticking side of me insanely happy. I’ve never been able to figure out how to get ALL of the accounts to do that!”

Leela also mentioned that all the time and money saved by working with Bean Ninjas meant that she could go on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure experience:

“Actually the difference in what I pay Bean Ninjas versus what I was paying the staff member who didn’t do their jobs, covered our trip to Necker to meet Richard Branson and George and Amal Clooney. So THANK YOU!”

Read more about Leela’s experience on Neckar Island with Richard Branson here.

Looking to increase your sales and level up your business? Contact Leela through her website.

To see how Bean Ninjas can save you time, money and headaches with your bookkeeping refer here.

Posted By

Meryl Johnston

Meryl Johnston

Meryl is a Chartered Accountant, entrepreneur, and surfer! The Bean Ninjas mission: Creating freedom for entrepreneurs through stress-free business finances.

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