8 Ways To Improve Your Agency’s Sales Performance

Kresimir Simicic

March 7, 2019

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FREE BEER! NO HANGOVERS! (and false advertising)

Admit it, the advert had you at free beer. And if your agency signed clients like this hypothetical bar sells brewskis (and fake promises), working out how to close more sales would be near the bottom of your To-Do List.

However, when attracting new clients to your agency, selling creatively isn’t just about grabbing people’s attention with a hyperbolic A-board – you have to follow up with a solid, professional proposal and nurture the client relationship while presenting an impressive and reliable service. But how do you stand out in a crowded marketplace, especially without the help of free beer?!

It might be tempting to rely on client referrals for new business; but although referrals are a great way of opening doors to new clients, it’s not a system that puts you in control, which makes scaling up much harder.

Let’s take back some of that power with eight innovative sales techniques to help secure new clients to your agency. Because forecasting is ridiculously important, and there isn’t going to be much to forecast if your agency doesn’t have a strong sales game going on.

Go Where Your Competitors Are Not

Job sites are awesome, right? You can see exactly which clients want certain services and when they want them. Sweet! Except that you and a gazillion other agencies will be competing for the same gig, making it the very definition of a seller’s market. By all means apply for those advertised jobs but your hit ratio is going to be undoubtedly lower than if you are competing with…nobody.

How to do this? Simple. Find a space that your peers have either ignored or overlooked and establish yourself as an industry leader. This will be easy because they’ll be no one else to challenge you for your title. It might mean going outside your comfort zone but that’s where you’re likely to be the only game in town.

For example, if you’re a copy agency then it makes sense to push your beautiful prose out on text-focused platforms like Twitter and Facebook, right? Yeah, just like eeeevery other copy agency. How about heading to Instagram where the medium is image-focused? Promote your wordsmith talents while everyone is else is hawking their snapping skills.

Let’s flip the coin and say you’re a photography agency; instead of being another one of a million pretty Insta feeds, focus on posting a kick-ass blog that will attract readers to your site, increase your SEO and create a situation in which clients are finding you on Google rather than the other way round.

SEO company? Take some of the budget that you’re putting into ranking on a Page 1 of Google put it into calling potential clients directly. And this leads us to…

If only closing new sales for your agency was this easy…

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Phone

Remember when you were a kid and your mum started letting you answer the house phone and it was so damned exciting that it was the highlight of your day? Was that just us? Either way, while everyone else is deliberating over which font to use on their sales emails, you’ve got to harness that enthusiasm and start dialling the numbers of future clients. The reason being that it’s easy for a client to ignore or forget an email but receiving a fun and engaging phone call can really lift one’s mood and that’s the sort of association you want them to connect with your agency.

This advice may not be of great use to natural salespeople who will probably be blessed with the gift of the gab, but for freelancers and account managers who are looking to secure new sales, not being afraid of making a phone call will put you ahead of 90% of your competitors who’ll be left in their keyboard-tapping safe places.
You can also level-up and do a virtual face-to-face meeting with Skype or Google Hangouts. Just make sure you take the signed Phil Collins poster down from the wall behind you if you’re making the video call from home. OK, that one is definitely just us.

* Bonus Tip: Be aware that although you have mastered your phone fear, others might still be timid so don’t push phone calls on people who would clearly rather communicate via email, you big show-off, you.

The Personal Touch

OK, so you’re the king of the phone call and the master of a face-to-face, but there are going to be times that you simply have to use a cold calling technique like email. Automated follow-ups are great for going out en masse but if you want to give yourself a better chance at closing one client after another, the personal touch goes along way.

This doesn’t mean just adding an {INSERT FIRST NAME} tag to your html code; actually tailor your email to each individual client. Show that you’ve not only read their website but understood their brand and explain how your services can help solve their problems. Sure, mention that you saw that they’ve posted X & Y on their blog, but then explain how your agency’s service can turn X & Y into $$$ 🙂

We know from experience – take the Phil poster down before the call.

Add It Up

Remember the bar with the clever advertising that drew you in for a quick pint? Now that you’re comfortably sitting at their table, you’re more inclined to buy one of their half-price Tequilas and a rack of ribs – they don’t even need a funny A-board to get your attention.

The point being, while it might be tempting to put all of your efforts into attracting new clients, remember that you have an entire roster of hot leads in your existing and previous clients – you just need to offer more services. Adding a new auxiliary service to your existing packages can be a great excuse to reconnect with old customers and increase the value of existing clients.

Because who doesn’t love Tequila?

Always Overdeliver

Offering a trial period for free will go a huge way in tipping an ambivalent client off the fence and onto your books and if you’re clever about what you offer, you’re really not risking anything but a bit of time.

This doesn’t just apply to the trial period; giving a little bit extra when you can will increase the likelihood of your clients renewing with your agency year after year, meaning you’re less reliant on securing new business.

Don’t Offer A Package, Offer Packages (Plural!)

When you’re discussing your services, don’t just say, “Here’s Package A and here’s the price.” Say, “Let’s start with Package A but here’s what you can do with Package B, Package C and Package Z%!*!.” *

This way you’re laying the groundwork for securing future business all in the same deal.

* Disclaimer: No client has ever been ready for Package Z%!*! – it’s your job to make them ready.

Keepin’ Track

With all of these new sales, writing prospective new clients on the back of your hand will only work twice at best, so you really need a system manager like Productive that can track all of your new leads.

Use Productive’s customizable Sales Pipeline to keep on top of new opportunities, convert them into Projects once they sign up and then count your cash in the Profitability section.

Outsource To A Sales Team?

We’d always recommend doing your sales in-house – even if that means bringing on a new team member. However, if all of the above sounds a little too challenging/time-consuming/scary (nooo, the phone!), you can always go down the outsourcing route as a last resort.

If you are considering outsourcing to a sales team, there are few points you should be aware of to avoid being stung:

You are entrusting them with your business’s identity. Your new sales guy might be an absolute beast at closing deals but if he’s hollering down the phone and practically scaring people into clicking ‘Buy’, this might not be a good long-term choice, especially if you have an ethically focused brand.

More clients doesn’t necessarily mean more money, especially when you factor in the financial hit of your sales team’s commission. You might get lots more work but less profit so in a sense you’re working harder for less.

Be wary of sales managers who rely solely on online ads (Google, Facebook and LinkedIn). This strategy certainly can work but it can also create a cash-swallowing black hole, so set a fixed monthly budget that you can personally pause at any time.

Test them. Don’t be afraid to contact your salesperson directly and impersonate a client to see how they’re representing your brand.

Did we miss anything in our round-up of innovative sales techniques? Send us a message on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and if you have any questions about our Productive product – how it can help track your sales process from start to finish as well as manage the accounts once the clients are signed up – just drop us a line at contact@productive.io.

Thirsty work, right? Sounds like someone could use a beer…

Kresimir Simicic

VP of Business Development

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