What’s the Secret to Happier Agency Clients That Grow Your Business?

By Jason Swenk on December 25, 2022

Happy clients grow your business. So what is the secret to happier clients? Is your agency making a good first impression? Building a rapport with them on a human level? How are your setting your agency apart from the competition?  We talked to one agency owner who always prefers to go for a true connection by building the relationship first. When it comes to employees and clients, he prefers creating genuine bonds that lead to a better agency and an overall better work environment.

Tom Jauncey is the owner of UK-based agency Nautilus Marketing, a full-service digital agency specializing in WordPress and Wix. His agency works with clients on SEO and social media strategies to deliver a wide range of digital solutions on a worldwide scale. In the journey to growing his agency, Tom has relied on the value of human connection for his team, clients, and partners. Today he’ll share how he makes a good impression on the first call with a client and what he has learned about hiring for culture.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • Why the first call is about the client.
  • Building a rapport with clients to gain trust.
  • How to make a good first impression.
  • Forming a team and building a sense of culture.

Sponsors and Resources

Wix: Today’s episode is sponsored by the Wix Partner Program. Being a Wix Partner is ideal for freelancers and digital agencies that design and develop websites for their clients. Check out Wix.com/Partners to learn more and become a member of the community for free.


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Why the First Call Should Be All About the Client

As another accidental agency owner, starting an agency was never part of Tom’s plan. He went to drama school and had been on TV shows and movies. He started working in content creation as a freelancer while going on casting calls. He did social media for a couple of small and medium businesses. With time, clients kept asking if he could also do graphic design and other agency work. He found freelancers to help him with those new tasks and over time built an agency with a team of 17.

Tom doesn’t see himself fitting in with the typical agency model. He loves to surround himself with “fellow nerds” and prefers to get to know clients well. In fact, prospective clients typically say they are different than other agencies in the UK. He describes himself as a people person and hates agencies that see their clients as cash cows.

Client onboarding a client at his agency starts by asking them about their problems. What are they worried about? What do they think they need? Most agencies follow a set process for each client on the first call. However, at his agency, the first call is more about building a rapport with the client. According to Tom, if you have a good strategy ready but don’t work on having a good rapport with your client, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

The first call with your client is all about them. One good way to ensure you’ll have a meaningful conversation is to send a video clearing up the most common questions before the call. This way, you’re getting that out of the way and can focus on getting to know them.

Making a Good First Impression and Starting Off a Positive Relationship

For Tom, focusing on the human connection is the key to standing out among so competitor agencies that treat all clients the same. Another important differentiator is the follow-up. After every call, he likes to set aside a few minutes to prepare the proposal. This way, not even twenty minutes after the call the client gets an email linking to the proposal. Clients appreciate having this level of dedication and it’s a good way to kick off things.

Bad first impressions. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a bad first impression is trying to sell something without first building a rapport. Maybe you’ve received the kind of LinkedIn message where someone goes straight into sales mode claiming you’re in the same industry. It’s not a good look and an awful way to make a first impression. This type of tactic tends to be a massive turn-off. It has made many move off LinkedIn because they feel constantly bombarded with sales pitches. By starting a conversation and building a relationship where you’re not immediately asking someone to buy something you’re much more likely to get them on your side.

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Going Beyond Skill When Hiring Your Agency Team

In the five years since he started the agency, Tom has really learned to value his team. He believes in hiring people smarter than him because it has been key to his agency’s success. Having the right people in the right seats means less micromanaging. He trusts after he makes the sale, his team will deliver exactly what the client expects. It also means someone has his back when the client is asking for something outside of his expertise. Having a reliable team has been the most important piece in scaling his agency to where it is now.

How he finds the right people. At first, he just started hiring people who had the skills needed. There was no real criteria beyond ability at that point. However, as the team began forming the people who didn’t fit in stuck out, whether not agreeing with their ethos or not getting along with other team members.

As they started to need additional team members, he refined the hiring process. While years ago it might have been just about doing the work, now he likes finding out more about the person. What did they enjoy? Did they like to learn? This has helped him get a better sense of whether a candidate or a potential client will work well with his agency.

Knowing and defining your culture helps you stop being a yes-man. It prevents red flags when bringing in new hires and new clients.

Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate the Value of Strategic Partners

In order to maintain a pipeline, you need three different lead generation channels: inbound, outbound, and partnerships.

Don’t underestimate the value of having strategic partners. Building relationships is a great way to scale, especially when you’re starting out. Tom has a few referral partners he calls whenever his agency is not able to take on a client.

His agency is also a Google partner and Wix partner, who also provide leads as part of their agreement. Tom’s message for agency owners who are just starting out or looking to grow is to go for those connections that can prove to be very valuable.

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