How to Build Relationships That Grow Your Agency

By Jason Swenk on August 19, 2020

Are you a small agency worried your size might be holding you back? Afraid you might not have what it takes to compete with the big agencies? The more you put yourself out there, the sooner you’ll realize it’s not the size of your agency that makes a difference, but rather, what you bring to the table and the relationships you create.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • #1 reason you should hire people smarter than you.
  • How to turn your agency’s weakness into its strength.
  • Why agencies need to build authentic relationships.

Today I sat down with Valerie Moizel, executive creative director and co-founder at The Woo, a digital marketing agency. Valerie started her agency almost 23 years ago with a little bit of naivety and a whole lot of drive. Today she’s here to discuss key connections she made to make her agency successful and the number one thing her agency has done to see continued growth.

#1 Reason You Should Hire People Smarter Than You

There’s a certain level of confidence required to start an agency. A lot of us get into the agency business because we can do something not everyone can. So it can feel kind of counterintuitive to actively seek out people who are smarter than you. But it’s one of the best things you can do, especially when you are first starting out.

It’s important to recognize there are some things you are good at, and some things you are not. When Valerie first started out, she had a lot of drive and passion, but not a lot of experience. So her first hire was someone very established within the industry. She says it was the combination of her naiveness and fearlessness and her partner’s experience that really propelled the agency forward. Surround yourself with people who are the best at what they do.

How to Turn Your Agency’s Weakness Into Its Strength

As agency owners, we somehow got it in our heads that the bigger the team, the more successful the agency. So it’s easy to feel a disadvantage as a smaller agency. But that’s not always the case.

Valerie says time after time, she is able to use her agency’s size to their advantage. In fact, her partner would even make the pitch, “Sure, you can hear from all these big agencies, but don’t you want to see what a boutique agency can do?” Even if a client didn’t choose them as the agency of record, often they would still get the call to work on special projects because clients loved their passion. In most cases, smaller agencies can pivot quicker and be more flexible than the big guys. That’s an advantage every client needs!

Whether you’re big, small, niche, or full-service, embrace what makes you special. Often what you view as your weakness, your prospects will see as a strength.

Why Agencies Need to Build Authentic Relationships

Curious about how Valerie named her agency? Valerie says she scoured the dictionary looking for the perfect name for her agency. When she got to the end of the book, she came across the word “woo.” Woo means “to seek favor and affection.” And at the end of the day, Valerie says that’s what our job as marketers is.

Look at the advertisements you see on TV. Think about the ones you connect with. Today, people don’t want to do business with brands that say “look at me.” They want relationships brands with shared passions and values . When you look at your campaign through the lens of the customer and not through the client, that’s when you’re more likely to build connections.

If your goal is to create an agency, the only person who can limit you is you. When you surround yourself with the right people, embrace your strengths, and build meaningful relationships, everything else will come easier.

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What’s Next for Your Agency?

Building relationships with clients and other contributors is the first step to improving your agency. As you grow, you will without a doubt come across other challenges — this is where I can step in.

I have advice for agency obstacles such as recognising common agency mistakes, how to keep great agency employees in your team as well as fostering the connections made with clients. If it’s challenging growing your business, I have agency growth hacks, the best ways to improve management of your business as well as why building a remote team can be beneficial in the long run.

Learn more about my career as well as tips, tricks, and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

You can learn more from my experience from my Ask Swenk series and my videos on my Youtube channel. Check out advice and learn even more from other successful agency experts featured on Smart Agency podcast twice every week.

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