How Strategy Wins and Retains More Agency Clients

By Jason Swenk on August 5, 2020

How Strategy Wins and Retains More Agency Clients

Do you struggle to get clients to view you as an authority? Do you have a difficult time communicating value to your prospects and clients? Are you concerned about losing work to machine learning or AI? When you position your agency in the context of strategy, you bring value to clients and outlast computer intelligence.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • How to grow your agency team the right way.
  • 3 ways to set your agency apart from AI.
  • Do your clients view your agency as a trusted advisor?

Today I sat down for an interesting talk with Dan Golden, co-founder and president of BFO, a digital marketing agency with over 60 employees globally. Over the past 10 years, Dan and his partner have grown their agency across the globe and learned what it takes to be successful in today’s changing market. He’s here to talk about what he’s learned about growing a team and evolving his agency with changing technology over the past decade.

How to Grow Your Agency Team the Right Way

When you’re first starting an agency, it’s easy to focus on rapid growth. What can I do to get more clients, make more money, and grow my team? It’s a natural instinct. We all want to find success and we can be impatient waiting for it to come organically. But if you’re not careful, you may find the growth of your team no longer supports the work you bring in.

So how do you avoid this and make sure you don’t have to make some painful cuts?

  • Focus on “right-sizing”: As you’re building your teams, don’t simply be reactive to the work that comes in. Be intentional with the type and size of team you create.
  • Resist the urge to overbuild management: It may seem like a natural progression to promote your early employees to managers as the agency begins to grow. But just because someone has been there the longest, doesn’t mean they should be a manager. Put the right people in the right places and don’t create a position you don’t need.

3 Ways to Set Your Agency Apart from AI

If you’re not paying attention to AI, you should. AI is changing the industry and forcing many agencies to take a hard look at the way they do things. And the hard truth is, there are many agencies vulnerable to losing business to AI. The trick is to position yourself so you work with AI, not against it. This means:

  • Refocus on where you add value: A machine can compile spreadsheets and discover trends, but what about strategy? You may need to shift how you do business. However, if you restructure some of the engagement to strategy instead of execution, you will still end up with a valuable partnership.
  • Embrace the change: AI isn’t all bad. Automation can make your life easier and add value to your clients. Focus on how you can use this technology and act as a shepherd to guide clients through this new world.
  • Up your skills: AI can have a steep learning curve. Be the best in class in understanding how to manipulate machine learning algorithms and do something not many other people can.

Do Your Clients View Your Agency as a Trusted Advisor?

“Most agencies give away their secret sauce and then charge for cooking.” As agencies, we tell our clients exactly what we do and why we do it. The problem is, eventually, you’ll have clients who think they can do it on their own. But you can prevent this.

  • Know the value of your services: One of the main reasons clients don’t understand the value of strategy is because you don’t understand the value of strategy. If you’re not charging strategy as a separate line item, do it now.
  • Be flexible: Things are changing. There are more resources available on the client’s side than ever before. Some clients may not need you for everything. And that’s okay.
  • Ask the right questions: The client may think they have a better strategy, but what are they risking? Lay it out to them — How many leads are they getting? What is a lead worth? What type of traffic are they getting from these leads? When faced with hard facts, many clients will see the benefit of working with an expert.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to highlight what you bring to the table. When you position yourself as a trusted advisor instead of an executioner, your clients are going to have a harder time walking away.

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