How to Establish Authority, Speed Up Sales Cycle & Get the Contract Signed

By Jason Swenk on March 15, 2017

Today’s episode is packed with tips and advice on solving some of the most common obstacles in agency new business sales. My guest, Tim Sanders, covers everything from getting in front of the right prospects to establishing authority, speeding up your sales cycle and getting the contract signed.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • How to improve agency sales.
  • How to increase your close rate by 300%.
  • The 4 stages to every agency new business sale.

With over two decades in the marketing arena today’s guest, Tim Sanders, is here to share of TON of information about agency new business sales. Tim is considered a technology-pioneer, as well as a speaker, author and the founder of Deeper Media. Tim draws on his extensive experience – working with Mark Cuban in internet TV, working as a top Yahoo executive, and as an agency owner himself – to bring some great insight on agency new business sales.

How to Improve Agency Sales

Tim says Sales is a lot like Creative Design. That’s why agencies are (or should be) absolutely crushing it with their new business sales.

He describes Design as “the constant act of problem-solving.” In Design, you keep trying until you get it right. The same is true for Sales. When you’re selling to a prospect, you are problem-solving for them. And, you keep at it until you get it right. (Remember, the goal of sales is NOT getting them to buy what you sell. Instead, sell them the SOLUTION needed for their existing problem.)

In the agency space, the greatest competitive advantage is rapid problem-solving. So, when you rethink your approach to sales using Tim’s definition, your agency wins.

How to Get a Contract Signed & Increase Your Close Rate by 300%

In Tim’s fifth and most recent book, Dealstorming, he covers the importance of collaboration across the various agency disciplines. It’s no longer just the salesperson that closes a deal. You can increase your new business close rate by 300% when you involve different types of people with different areas of experience and expertise.

Tim says it’s “the myth of the expert” that kills a sale. The old mentality of “leave it to me – you don’t know what you’re talking about” does not promote rapid problem solving.

We must champion the thought that great ideas can come from anywhere.” ~ Tim Sanders

The problem with going solo at sales is that problem solving is limited to just that person’s experience. Tim says everyone has their own series of constraints (things that won’t work) and their set of greatest hits (things that always work). When you bring 3 different perspectives together, problems are solved 3X quicker. So when creative, sales and finance collaborate, the result is rapid problem solving and a speedier close rate.

The other benefit — no one goes down alone! No lone wolves. When your team collaborates, everyone owns the successes and the failures.

3 Sales Personas to Overcome Obstacles

Generally speaking, every sale goes through the same four stages. Each stage comes with it’s own problems and issues. The key is understanding how to work through the issues and come out on top by getting a contract signed. The best way to handle those issues is by wearing the hat or playing the right role.

Tim has identified 3 personas that every sales team needs:

  • The Hacker – someone who uses unique tricks or clever solution (aka “a hack”) in order to get the desired result.
  • The Chef – someone who acquires the right ingredients and knows how to use them to create a successful finish.
  • The Artist – someone who displays or demonstrates a solution to accomplish a specific outcome.

The 4 Stages to Every Sale

1- Make contact with the right people.

It’s important to know who you’re targeting and I can’t emphasize it enough – specialization is KEY! No more spray and pray method. No more buying call lists. Be specific in what you do and who you help. Then use that knowledge to create a list of the top 100 companies you want to pursue. This is when you use the Hacker persona and use a hack to get noticed. Bring something innovative to the table by calling their attention to a new technology they’re not using.

2- Gather information and conceive the deal.

This is where a lot of agencies get stuck. You need to define what the ideal relationship will look like with a specific client. Do you want to be the agency of record? Want to handle a specific piece of their marketing? Execute one idea, roll out one product, etc.?

A lot of agencies just want to sell off the shelf, making them nearsighted. They have one thing they’re trying to sell and work hard on trying to get the client to buy into it. Usually this is because they don’t have enough strategic insight on what the client is trying to achieve. With the end in mind, use the Chef persona to discover the ingredients for success.

It’s twice as easy to make an unprofitable service profitable than it is to wedge your existing service into the client.” ~ Tim Sanders

3- Convince the client to make a change and to work with you.

According to Tim, your biggest competitor is status quo. What this means is that most clients are either solving their problem on their own or working with another agency. When they don’t choose you, it’s because they’re satisfied with status quo. The best way to get beyond this obstacle is by using the Artist persona and developing creative device that paints the picture. Tim says people can argue facts and figures, but they’re drawn into stories.

If you arm your salesperson with a device – some sort of analogy, metaphor, illustration – it goes so much farther than simply spouting off facts and figures. Finding a simple way to showcase your services is much more impactful.

4- Get the contract signed.

There can be a variety of obstacles when it comes time to ink the deal when getting a contract signed. It comes down to fundamentals… it’s the difference between how you do business versus how they do business. The best way to overcome these type of contract-related obstacles is to figure out where you’re getting stuck and then come up with a work-around for it. Use the Hacker, Chef or Artist mentality to come up with a creative solution for getting any contract signed.

If you love all this information from Tim Sanders, you can get a FREE chapter of his book. Check out to download the chapter titled “Sales Genius is a Team Sport.”

Need to up your staffing game?

Agency workflow is constantly in flux, making it a real gamble to bring on full-time staff. And, freelancers can often be difficult to manage. That’s why Agency Boon has simplified the process and cost of building a great creative team.

Check out Agency Boon as an amazing alternative to full-time or freelance staff. The Agency Boon team will integrate as members of your team and you’ll love their commitment to making you look good in your clients’ eyes.

Would You Like To Get Access To A Proven Agency Framework For Growing Your Agency?