How My Agency New Business Increased Profits by 40%

By Jason Swenk on March 5, 2014

If you are looking for a strategy that yields big results for agency new business (and aren’t we all?) let me tell you what worked for me. This tip sounds simple, but packs a huge punch.

When a client calls telling you the services they need, like a website, do you jump right in?

Do you start telling them about your process, people and portfolio?

Be honest. About 80% of the agencies  I surveyed did just that. They don’t ask the one question that can increase their profit.

Here it is….

“When you work with us, in twelve months, what would you treat as a success?”

It sounds simple, and it really is, but by asking this one simple question you are accomplishing several things.

First you are making the client visualize working with you long-term. Second, you are making them think of the end result. Third, you are learning exactly what they are looking for in the pitch process.

Most of the time I would chat with a client, they were just wanting that one deliverable and not even thinking of the end result or how they would measure its success or a failure.

Additionally, you need to ask them where they are now in regards to reaching this 12 month goal.  The difference between their goal and current situation is called the GAP.

The GAP is where you need to focus in your pitch.

I remember the day when Lotus Cars called my agency asking for a website design. I asked that one simple question and found out that Lotus was launching a brand new car called the Evora. At first, Lotus did not have a twelve month goal. I questioned them further in order to have enough data for a twelve month metric. Turns out that they wanted to measure the success by the number of people visiting their dealerships.

How to sell more

In order to create profitable engagement, the messaging must engage the user. I needed to know what made them different from their competitors like Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini (turns out it was handling). Marketing 101 tells us not to market the service or strength your competition already has a reputation for owning. I recommended a social media research project first to find out how much social conversation was associated with their brand and the competition. This did a couple of things:

  1.  Converted the user from a prospect to a paying customer making them 20X more likely to do business with Lotus (according to the Harvard Business Review).  What did the customers pay for?
  2.  Differentiated our agency by focusing on their end result and not just a pretty website.

The results came back totally different than Lotus expected, showing that they had a marketing persona similar to their biggest competition, Porsche. The results also pointed out an opportunity to own the “Driving Experience” category. A category of which neither they nor their competition was already associated.

Heatmap of Social Media research

All of our agency competitors were just pitching a website, focusing on their people, process and portfolio. This one 12-month results question, changed the conversation which in turn, differentiated my agency.  At the time, we were a small agency with no portfolio in the automotive industry. The competition had extensive experience being some of the biggest agencies in the world.

By changing the conversation and focusing on the end results, we landed a test project of $10,000 (social media research). The research resulted in us developing the website, email marketing, and social media management which resulted in 40% more profit.

The next time a potential client calls asking for a quote or proposal, try this 12 month results question and see what happens. I have a feeling it will work in your favor.

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