How to Be the Agency that Makes Your Client Shine - Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

How to Be the Agency that Makes Your Client Shine

By Jason Swenk on January 3, 2018

Are you “that” agency? Do you tend to talk a lot about how smart you are? The awards you have won? It’s easy to fall into this trap of trying to sell your agency as the best, but sometimes it’s to the detriment of the client /agency relationship. Not anymore. Learn how to scale your agency by collaborating with your client to make their lives easier. Be the agency that keeps things simple and lets the client shine.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • The best way to scale your agency.
  • Which clients you should be paying attention to.
  • How to make your client shine.
  • How to prove your agency’s worth.

Today I chatted with Melinda Byerly, founder of her digital consultancy Time Share CMO. She’s got over fifteen years experience in Silicon Valley working in tech with start-ups and becoming an expert in digital marketing and analytic attribution. She’s also learned a thing or two about clients needs when it comes to data and analytics, as well as how to manage those expectations. Melinda is sharing all this and more with us so you can learn how to set your client up for success and ultimately, setting yourself up for success as well.

The Best Way to Scale Your Agency

There is a danger to scaling too fast. If you’re a service business, it’s so important to find the right people that will help you move towards your goals. Instead of proposing marriage first, maybe it’s time to try “going on a date” instead?

When you’re looking for the right person, it can take time to see if you will work well together, so that’s when you “go on a date.” Don’t do a contract, do a project – just one, minimal-commitment-type project together first. If that goes well, do another project together. This will allow you to get a feel for that person, how you work together and how they fit into the agency.

Build your agency one person at a time and take it slow, so that it’s the right fit.

“Dating” is a great concept with clients as well. Find out what keeps them up at night, do they wish they had somebody doing X?” Then focus on X first. Take it one problem at a time to make sure it is going to be a true client/agency partnership.

Taking on a bad client can be like a cancer. I like to say: there are no bad clients, only bad prospects or a bad process. If you don’t qualify your prospects, you could be letting in the wrong ones. And, if they aren’t following your process in the beginning, they are not going to follow your process under contract. Pay attention to those red flags!

Either bad clients never should have been let in, or you created them.

Clients You Should be Paying Attention To

Think about your prospects… Are they responsive? Pleasant and respectful? Do they listen and take your feedback into consideration? These are the clients you want.

An agency/client relationship is a collaboration. You need to be respectful of your clients requests, but it’s a collaborative effort and they should respect your experience and expertise as well.

Agencies tend to talk a lot, touting their awards and boasting their accomplishments. In a desire to impress, agencies are constantly selling themselves. Stop. It’s better to listen and ask questions, make the client the focal point. Focus on the needs of the decision maker in order to achieve their goals and ease their pain points.

Is Your Direct Client the Hero?

They should be.

You need to make your day-to-day client contact look good. Don’t make the mistake of always trying to make yourself look good and in the process throw your sponsor under the bus.

Before doing a presentation to a larger group, meet with your direct client contact. You are presenting on their behalf, so position things the way they would like them positioned and be sure to create moments for them to step in and be the expert. Establish moments to help them shine; allow them to be the hero.

People are loyal to people. There is a high turnover in this industry and if your client-sponsor leaves their, make them want to take you with them.

Are You Effectively Proving Your Worth?

Have you ever had a project where you’re totally killing it? But… you’re getting great results and all of a sudden your client wants to change directions?! You weren’t effectively communicating those great results.

First, you need to be sure you are setting expectations with the client. Don’t set yourself up to fail by setting unachievable expectations. Let them know what results can and cannot be tracked or quantified. Not everything will be trackable so be honest with them about this and most importantly, help them understand so that your agency is held to reasonable expectations.

At the same time you want to make sure you are being authentic and have high integrity about this. Don’t just regurgitate analytics reports — make sure you are providing useful analytics that can help navigate the course of your client’s digital marketing.

Tell them what those analytics mean and provide them with a recommendation – that is your value add. By doing this, you’re preparing to justify yourself. You’re educating your client and managing their expectations so they can manage their manager’s expectations… which circles back to making them the hero.

Remember:  there is a difference between what you do and what you provide.

How to Know What Your Clients Want

Do you know what your clients really want? Your client hired you to do work for them and make their job easier. Don’t put more work on them. The more options someone has, the harder they have to work to make a decision. The harder, their brain has to work and the more you risk them shutting down or walking away. Remove that friction from your client’s decision making.

Keep it simple, such as saying:

  • “Here is option A and B. The data suggest option A” …OR…
  • “The data is silent so it’s a judgement call… Here is our opinion on the judgement call.”

This is what they want! Their biggest decision is hiring you and then after that, answering “which of these things are you going to do?” Keep it simply “yes” or “no.”

Are Your Agency’s Presentations Powerful?

Are you doing the work ahead of time but saving the presentation for the night before? Don’t.

Give data presentations they can’t ignore – make it easy for them.

For as much as you do the work ahead of time, you should be dedicating the same amount of time to preparing your client presentations. Be prepared with the material, so that you don’t need your slides. This gives you the ability to look the decision makers in the eyes, really listen to their questions and thoughtfully answer them.

When you put time into your presentation, you will present with more confidence. More confidence makes you more believable. When you’re believable things are less likely to sit on the shelf and clients are more likely to take action.

The action is what you’re looking for! When a client takes action, they’re happy. When they’re happy, they are more likely to re-engage you! And that makes you happy, right? 🙂

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