Agency Valuation, Core Service Focus & Cold Calling: #AskSwenk Episode 28

By Jason Swenk on April 20, 2016

In this video, I’ll cover:

  • Figuring out the real value of your agency or one you want to invest in.
  • Ways to quiet the noise and focus on your core service offering.
  • How to cold call big name clients and get them to actually listen.

Agency Valuation (0:20)

Mike asked:  “How do you go about evaluating the worth of a digital agency – whether you’re looking to invest in one or if yours is being invested in?

This is a great question, and there’s two things that go hand-in-hand when determining agency valuation.

  1. Growth rate – Look at growth over a 2-3 year period. Is the agency on an increase, decrease or stagnant? Having a good picture of historical growth rate will give you a good indication of potential future growth.
  2. Profitability – A lot of people tend to evaluate agencies based on revenue without taking into consideration whether it’s profitable. However, profitability has everything to do with value.

In fact, here’s my agency valuation formula so you can plug in your numbers and calculate your agency’s true value.

Focusing on One Core Service (2:06)

Jocelyn asked: “How can you silence the noise and get focused on your main offering? Do you recommend focusing on just web design and let others offer SEO and social media?

The best way to silence the noise is to know your market better than they know themselves. Understand their needs and then be identified as the #1 resource in your client’s industry – whether that’s web design, SEO, social media, or anything else. Clients want to give you their business because you have established yourself as a trusted authority with a specific skill set that enhances their business growth. They want you for the results you’ll bring.

Once you specialize and prove you can help in a specific area, you will have a point of differentiation and you will stand out. Focus on your core service and build out with complementary services from there.

Cold Calling Big Clients (4:35)

Derek asked: “How do you approach cold calling a major lead or someone who has never heard of you? I know we can provide value but it’s so hard to get a real person on the phone.

Sounds like you’re already ahead of the game because you aren’t just relying on inbound leads. Bravo! For steady business you need to be working leads in 3 areas: inbound, outbound and strategic partnerships.

The best way to get your foot in the door at a big brand is by doing detailed research on the business you’re targeting and discovering how you can help them in a unique way.

I get asked about big brands a lot and actually interviewed the VP of Sales & Marketing at IHG (InterContinental Hotel Groups), who told me exactly what agencies should and shouldn’t do to grab the attention of a big brand.

  • DON’T ask for 20 minutes of their time to “see how you can help”… They aren’t necessarily unhappy and they don’t have 20 mins.
  • DO call with an offer to help in a specific way by recommending a new solution or tool they’re not already using.
  • DON’T talk about your agency, yourself, your team, your awards… or anything else YOU-related.
  • DO talk about results and metrics that your idea/solution will provide. They will listen if you’re talking about results.

When you offer to educate and help, you will have their ear. If have a unique business growth proposition you’ll discover these big brands have discretionary funds to spend. It’s a win-win.

In our 2016 Digital Agencies Outlook report we identified the #1 reason brand hire agencies… and it’s for their insights on emerging trends… So work that angle to get your foot in the door!

Want to Learn More Ways to Grow & Scale Your Digital Agency?

You’ll find MANY more strategies just like these in my Agency Playbook. Over the past 15 years, I’ve created and perfected the processes and strategies every agency needs in order to grow and scale. Learn more about the 12 Systems in the Agency Playbook by clicking here to watch a brief video with more info.

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