Guaranteeing Leads, Growing Your Team & Firing a Client: #AskSwenk Episode 27

By Jason Swenk on April 6, 2016

In this video, I’ll cover:

  • What to do when a prospect wants you to guarantee leads.
  • My #1 struggle in growing my agency team and 3 ways we overcame it.
  • How to fire a terrible client so you can quit wasting time.

Guaranteeing Leads in a Proposal (0:23)

Lawrence asks:  “A prospect is asking for us to guarantee the number of sales leads our digital marketing will create — which is impossible and could change over time. How would you go about putting this into the proposal?”

Don’t shy away from guaranteeing performance! Take pride and back your work.

I have NO issue with guaranteeing leads… DO IT! But, you cannot guarantee sales. Lead generation in your control, converting leads and the sales process is not.

3 steps to guaranteeing leads:

  1. Determine a very specific criteria for qualified leads. Be very definitive on what a quality lead looks like.
  2. Look at similar, past clients as a benchmark for your past performance.
  3. Establish compensation at both a fixed level and performance level. For example, you get paid “X” rate for deliver “X” fixed amount of leads, and an additional “Y” rate for every lead thereafter.

Here’s an interview with an agency owner who runs his business totally on a performance-based pricing model. He has over a 50% margin and a 95% close rate. Talk about qualifying leads!

#1 Struggle of Growing My Team (2:22)

Christina asked:  “What were your biggest pain points in growing your agency from a just few people to more and how did you overcome them?”

The biggest struggle I had with growing my team was worrying about being able to afford them. Cash flow and making payroll was my #1 concern.

3 things that helped us overcome cash flow worries:

  1. Project receivables. We looked for holes to forecast where cash flow would be an issue and then we could be proactive instead of reactive. We use these “holes” as deadlines to motivate the sales and leadership teams.
  1. Change payment terms. We made recurring revenue (retainers) due upfront with incentives for prepayment for the entire contract period. Project payment terms changed to: 50% upfront, 25% due on a specific date or at a specific point in the project (whichever comes first), and 25% due upon completion or at a specific point in the project (whichever comes first).
  1. Increase pricing. We increased our prices for both our existing and new clients. Once you make the decision on what agency you want to be, make the moves to act and charge like it.

Firing a Terrible Client (5:18)

Glenn says:  “We need to get rid of a terrible client. They’re not taking the hint, so I need to formally drop them. A lot of thought went into this decision and they must go.  How would you go about it?”

Congratulations! I’m so proud that you’ve realized it time to get rid of this client.

I have a motto: There’s no such thing as a BAD agency client – just a bad prospect or bad process. It’s OK that your process let a bad prospect sneak it and it’s awesome that you’re ready to get rid of them. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Check the language in your contract to see how much lead to time you need in order to end the relationship. Abide by the contract at all costs.
  2. Make a phone call, not an email and definitely not a text message, to talk to them. In the call explain that it’s not working out and that your need to sever the relationship.
  3. End on good terms by giving them all their files and even a refund if you think it’s necessary.
  4. Draw up a letter that details everything that was discussed on your call and all the assets you’ll be releasing to them. Send this letter to them USPS Certified so that you can prove it’s been received. And, keep a copy for yourself.
  5. Consider setting up an introduction between your newly fired client and your biggest competition 🙂 

After it’s all said and done, forget it. Good riddance! You’ll notice a huge difference in your team and your culture when you eliminate this baggage.

In fact, take a look at the rest of your client roster. Are there other clients that are causing distractions or making it harder to become the agency you want to be? Quit wasting time on the wrong prospects and concentrate on the right ones.

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