It’s the lifeblood of your PPC agency… client acquisition and new business.
Most agencies underestimate the importance of this part of their business. Instead, they operate in disconnected “spurts” of client acquisition, attempting to gain more clients when they need them rather than continuously.
You lose a client, or a new account manager comes on board, and it creates a scramble. Trying every trick in the book to win more clients but it’s stressful and riddled with panic. It’s also not sustainable.
This approach to your client acquisition strategy is inconsistent, and if you choose this path, the growth of your agency will be inconsistent too.
To grow your agency you need a well-oiled approach to prospecting, persuading, persisting, closing and onboarding new clients. This process needs to be repeatable, tested and refined over time so that it delivers solid leads and new clients on a predictable cadence.
But, unfortunately, acquiring new clients is not a simple equation in PPC management like it is in some other industries. You’re not selling a product and unless you’ve got an endless budget and a big brand name, running ads is quite simply going to cost you too much.
So what do you do? How do you develop a client acquisition process that ticks all the boxes and puts your agency in a position of strength?
We’ve written this guide to help you do precisely that. For ease of consumption, we have split these client acquisition tips into eight key areas. They are:
- Prospecting Principles
- Acquisition Types
- Prospecting Methods
- Sales Messaging
- Lead Qualification
- Sales Presentations and Conversations
- Contracting and Onboarding
Let’s get started.
Prospecting is a big part of your client acquisition strategy.
But it’s no walk in the park… In fact, 42% of salespeople quote prospecting as the hardest part of the sales process.
One thing we’ve learned as a white label PPC provider working with hundreds of growing agencies is that there is a right and a wrong way to approach prospecting.
The PPC agencies that are most successful at prospecting share three universal principles.
Principle #1 – Setting Realistic Goals
Effective prospecting all starts by understanding what you are trying to achieve. If you don’t have an end goal in sight, then prospecting can become tedious and demotivating pretty quickly.
There are a number of factors that will determine what an appropriate goal is for you. It depends on the size of your agency if you’ve got a sales team, and how many account managers you require to get to full capacity, etc. Whatever your unique situation is, set some realistic prospecting goals so that you can benchmark against them.
Let’s take a look at a realistic example. Say you want to increase your monthly revenue by $10k. To determine your goals, ask yourself how much an average new client is worth. What do you charge them every month? If each new client is worth an extra $1k in revenue then the math is simple, you will be looking to add 10 clients a month to hit your goal.
Once you know your primary client acquisition goal, you can work backward to determine the activity metrics that will add up to reach that goal. How many sales conversations do you usually have to close one client? How many prospects do you require to get one sales conversation? What prospecting activity results in one new lead?
As you answer these questions, your prospecting rhythm becomes much clearer. Working down the ladder from your goal of 10 new clients you can figure out how many [insert prospecting activity] you need to do every day/week/month to reach that goal.
Agencies that set realistic prospecting goals find a way to hit their targets. Those that don’t, experience erratic and stunted growth.
Principle #2 – Creating Consistency
The second principle is to create prospecting consistency. There is no point in setting a realistic goal and rhythm for prospecting if you don’t stick to it.
Whatever your prospecting method of choice, be it cold calling, outreach emails, LinkedIn InMails, or something else, the only way you will reach your goal of “X” new clients is by turning up every day and putting in the hard yards.
The question you should ask yourself is, how can you intertwine this cadence into your daily routine? How can you ensure that it will get done and not pushed onto the “I’ll do it tomorrow” list?
You’ve got other priorities. Meeting with clients, delivering client work, sales meetings, admin tasks, and whatever else pops up. We get it; everyone is busy. But consistency is the key to reaching your prospecting goals.
Set a goal, figure out the input required to reach that goal, and build it into your daily routine.
Principle #3 – Scheduling It In
If you know the input you need to put in and appreciate the importance of being consistent, then schedule it into your calendar. Put an hour into your day for sending emails or making calls.
If you have a slot in your calendar every day that is dedicated to prospecting activity, you start to take things seriously. Before long it becomes a habit, something you can’t miss.
Scheduling it into your calendar forces you to think about it, rather than saying; “Well, I’m not going to do it today because I’ve got other more important things to do.” Make it hard for yourself to skip out on doing the actions required to reach your goals. Because if you want to achieve growth – consistency in prospecting is the only way.
Your client acquisition strategy isn’t always about brand new fresh-out-of-the-box clients. In fact, they are the hardest kind of new business to approach because they don’t know, like, or trust you yet.
So what are the acquisition types a PPC agency should be looking at?
There are four different types.
#1 – Existing Customers
Your existing client base is the easiest people to sell new products or services to and subsequently, increase your monthly revenue.
So what does this look like?
Perhaps you have a few clients that are using your agency for SEO services or social media management. Something like PPC management could be an up-sell, cross-sell, or add-on to your existing service.
Be careful though; it’s not always appropriate to talk with current customers about additional services. There are a few opportunities for up-selling your present clients, but the most appropriate one is when they are already seeing results. For example, if your SEO service has increased their rankings and traffic, they’re happy with the monthly reports you send them, and the numbers are generally positive, it’s a great time to discuss another service.
Another opportunity for discussing add-on services with your clients is if other tactics, such as SEO, are super-competitive. Ranking number one in organic search may be near-on impossible in the short-to-medium term, which makes PPC attractive because you can skip to the top of the list. Just be privy to the expense that may come with this approach for your clients, if an industry has a lot of competition for search rankings then the chances are the cost-per-click will be high too.
All-in-all, you have already built a strong relationship with these clients, which makes this approach the easiest way to add-on monthly recurring revenue without too much effort from the sales team.
#2 – Referrals
If you’re exceeding expectations with your existing customers, as we mentioned above, then they will start to refer new business to you. Typically these referrals will be for companies that are similar to the ones you already work with because your clients operate in an industry-based network. This is encouraging because you know you can deliver value to this kind of client.
The close rate on referrals tends to be higher than cold leads because they are coming to you from an existing customer. The clout you have developed with that customer is passed along. This is reinforced by Influitive research that found nine out of 10 B2B buying decisions were influenced by recommendations from peers.
Unfortunately, not all clients are forthcoming with referrals. Most of the time it’s because they aren’t proactively thinking about it. So if you’re not getting many referrals, ask for them. If you have excellent client relationships and are delivering genuine value, then there is nothing wrong with asking them for a referral for new business as long as you do it in the right way.
You could just drop it into a catch-up meeting; “Do you know anybody else that might benefit from our services as you have?”
Or, you could be more deliberate about it. Check out their LinkedIn contacts and see if there is anyone else that fits your ideal client profile. “Hey, I see that you are connected with John on LinkedIn. Do you think he would benefit from a service like ours in a similar way that you have?”
Don’t be shy about asking for a referral if you’ve developed a healthy relationship with your clients. Consider offering an incentive to your clients for sending you referrals. For example, Dropbox gives away free storage space to every person that refers a new signup.
From an agency perspective, you could offer a five or 10% discount on your monthly fees for every new client someone refers. If you end up having a super-referrer, then could get your services for free! That’s a nice incentive.
#3 – Past Prospects
The third way to win new business is with your past prospects. These are people who have reached out to you with some intention to work with your agency. Perhaps they filled in a form on your website, or you had an initial meeting with them. Either way, they’ve entered your sales funnel at some point but for whatever reason haven’t become a customer yet.
Gather together a list of prospects you haven’t contacted for say three or for months and start to get in touch with them to see if you can reignite the fire. They already know who you are so it’s a warmer connection than a cold outreach message.
Even if these past prospects don’t result in new business right there and then, staying top of mind will give you the opportunity to follow-up again in another three months. Don’t be pushy, foster the relationship and be ready when the time is right.
#4 – Cold Prospects
We’ve put cold prospects as the fourth and final form of client acquisition because it’s the hardest and most expensive to execute. Cold prospects are coming from some sort of marketing that your agency is doing. It may be Facebook ads, perhaps you’re using content marketing to attract prospective clients, or maybe your sales team are running a cold outreach campaign to prospects on LinkedIn. Whatever approach you are taking, this is a primary way agencies attract new business, especially in the early days before you have a mature sales pipeline.
Cold prospects will give you the lowest conversion rate out of all the acquisition types because they don’t know who you are yet. Your goal with cold prospecting is to build trust as quickly as possible. You can do so by showing your authority with respected industry content, research, case studies, testimonials, or market analyses. Use this collateral when you have a phone conversation with them to build rapport.
Whatever your approach, they are going to take a little longer to close than a warm lead, but are an essential component of filling your pipeline and growing your agency.
Once you have your prospecting principles in place and are familiar with the type of new business you can go after, it’s time to think about how you will do your prospecting.
Here are 7 methods of prospecting for PPC agencies:
#1 – Email
We all know, love, and probably hate email! But prospecting via email is still a popular strategy in the digital marketing space. If you do it well, it can be very successful.
However, gone are the days of blanket copy and paste outreach emails to anybody and everybody with an email address. The best way to cut through with email outreach is with niche targeting and next level personalization. It’s still a numbers game (just like any form of prospecting), but unlike the old way of email marketing that was “spray and pray,” email outreach in 2018 is more laser-focused. It’s about picking a niche, researching your prospects individually, and customizing the experience for every single one of them. Your outreach numbers will be less than they once were but more meaningful.
This works particularly well if you are focused on a narrow industry vertical. Say for example you offer PPC services to dental practices. You can get specific about the messaging you use in your outreach message by focusing on the unique problems of this niche, providing value that is relevant to those problems, and then supporting your message with proven results in the same industry.
The goal of your outreach is to open up a conversation. Start building that relationship and see where it takes you. You’re not going in for the close in a cold email.
#2 – Phone
It’s frightening, but picking up the phone to speak with someone in this day and age makes you stand out from the crowd. Most people like talk with an agency so they can get a feel for who you are. Why not cut out the back and forth and make that happen sooner rather than later?
Much like a cold email, there is no point getting out the Yellow Pages (old school) and calling every man and his dog. Your calling strategy has to be targeted and personalized. Your goal should be to book appointments. Don’t try and sell right there and then on the call.
Check out this article if you are looking for examples of cold calling scripts that are proven to work.
#3 – Social Media
Social media can be a whirlpool of time wasting, but it is also a powerful tool for prospecting if you use it smartly, especially when you consider that 65% of reps who use social media fill their pipeline more effectively than those that don’t.
The key is to focus on the social networks that your ideal clients are most active on and understand the messaging they typically respond to on those networks. For example, if you lead target legal firms or consultants, then LinkedIn probably makes the most sense. Whereas if you are targeting eCommerce businesses, then Facebook or Instagram may be a better fit.
It’s all about being in the right place at the right time and creating a conversation with your potential clients. Follow groups, hashtags, pages, and accounts that your clients engage with. Be a part of the discussion, share helpful information, build your profile on that network, and then be ready when an opportunity presents itself.
#4 – Networking
We’re taking this one old school… forget the online social networks for a moment, and think about the opportunities that present themselves in the offline world. Those face-to-face moments where you can make an immediate impact on your prospects and build rapport with the shake of a hand.
Get to a local industry-specific networking event and pre-plan the prospects you want to connect with. Any in-person interaction is going to put you on a better track than a faceless email or ad. They’ve seen you, and they get a feel for what you are about. A certain level of trust is established.
#5 – Paid Ads
When it comes to paid ads, your best options are Facebook and Google AdWords. I won’t go into too much detail about using ads to generate leads, because that’s what you do! But you’ll likely use them in two ways;
- To drive traffic to content or a free resource download. Facebook is effective for this one. Or,
- To promote a specific offer, such as a free audit or consultation. AdWords works for this one.
Paid ads are a proven way to get a direct response from people who are looking for your services, or (in the example of content) start building a reputation with cold prospects, but they can be expensive in the agency space.
#6 – Webinars
We use webinars quite a lot here at InvisiblePPC and find that they convert exceptionally well. Instead of doing a hard sell we use the webinars to have an industry conversation. We’ll reach out to other business owners in our network and partner with them to discuss a relevant issue in their industry.
You’ll find that people tune into an interview-style value-packed webinar that is about a topic of interest, rather than one that focuses too much on the sale. You can pitch for a little bit at the end and make an offer. But don’t make it the whole point. Use it to get your name out there and have a voice in the market. Much like the face-to-face networking approach to prospecting, webinars spark a personal connection with people. They’ve seen you, interacted with you, and immediately have more respect for you.
#7 – Online Training or Mini-Courses
The last prospecting method is to create and give away a free online training or mini-course as a “lead magnet” of sorts. If you have content that you can package up which you believe will provide a lot of value to your prospects, offer it in exchange for people’s contact details on your website or via paid ads.
You can even use the mini-course to educate your prospects. For example, it may be an entry-level course about social media or SEO that your clients need to know prior to working with you. By providing value, you build credibility and by educating you qualify. It’s a win-win.
Of course, there are more prospecting methods than the seven we’ve mentioned here, but these are the most successful ones we have seen used by PPC agencies. It all depends on your business and the type of clients you want to work with.
Choosing a way to prospect is one thing, but what do you say when you’re communicating with potential clients? They are dealing with a lot of noise in their inbox, on their phone, or on their social media feed, so how do you stand out?
It’s all about providing value up front and starting a conversation. That’s the number one goal of your sales messaging.
Here are three approaches to sales messaging that are proven to work for PPC agencies:
#1 – Free Audits or Proposals
If your prospects aren’t currently running AdWords, you can create a customized PPC proposal that identifies the opportunities in their industry. Alternatively, if they are already using AdWords you can offer a free audit of their account to show them where they could be getting better results, making more money, or decreasing their ad spend.
It doesn’t cost you anything, except time, but it can be super compelling. Especially if you spot some opportunities or improvements that the prospect didn’t know about.
Yes, they could take the proposal and have it implemented by someone else. But they could also get your agency to do the work. Either way, you’re leading with value and starting a conversation that is aligned with the things your prospect cares about.
#2 – The Quick Problem Solve
The second idea for sales messaging is what we call the quick problem solve, and it’s all about leading with value once again.
We can illustrate this concept with an example. Say your ideal clients are Chiropractic practices in Miami. If you search for “Chiropractor in Miami” you’ll see a list of ads in your search.
Analyze the ads of the businesses that are advertising for this keyword phrase, and any number of other phrases that are similar. Maybe they’re not using call extensions very well, maybe their headlines suck, or maybe their copy doesn’t align with the search term.
Make a note of any improvements you think could impact their return on investment. Then, pick up the phone and call them. After you introduce yourself, say “So I was looking for a Chiropractor in Miami, and I saw your ad. I work in digital marketing and noticed a couple of things you could do to improve your messaging. Who is the best person to speak to about that?”
Don’t hold back. Tell them what’s wrong with the ad and how they could improve it. There is no point in trying to lock them into a call without providing that initial value. Lead with value and be comfortable with the process.
#3 – Competitor Analysis
This is an intriguing approach if you are targeting a specific niche and want to position yourself as an industry expert. The concept is to pull together a competitor analysis of the AdWords activity of the main players in an industry vertical. If you’re familiar with a number of the key search terms in the space, conduct a search and document your expert findings of the ad activity. Take screenshots of the ads and annotate the good, bad, or the ugly of each of them.
Even if this is a two to three-page report about the state of AdWords in the industry of choice, then you have something to reach out to prospects with. It demonstrates your expertise in the industry and as an AdWords specialist.
When you have your report ready, reach out to prospects in the chosen industry and say something like; “So we did an analysis of the AdWords activity in the [Insert Vertical] space in [Insert Target Geography]. Some excellent things are happening, but we also spotted some opportunities that you may be able to take advantage of. Would you like me to send the report over?”
Don’t send the report aimlessly out to everyone, encourage them to respond back to you first and show their interest. Not only does this start a conversation but it confirms that you are speaking with the right person at the company.
Yes, this takes a bit of upfront work. But then you can reach out to 10 or 20 prospects with a highly-relevant sales message that is likely to start a conversation.
There are other ways to approach your messaging, but these are three ideas that we’ve seen work time and time again. Remember, always lead with value with the sole purpose of starting a conversation.
The average person deletes 48% of the emails they receive every day, prior to reading them.
This stat highlights how influential following up is during client acquisition. It may also be alarming if you and your sales team aren’t following up enough.
You can approach the sales follow-up in several ways, some are effective, and some will simply irritate your prospects. So be diligent with your follow-up but also get your messaging and process right.
When you first start out you may not have a CRM or automation system for following up. So whether you use a spreadsheet cobbled together with Google Calendar and a free project management solution like Trello, find a way to keep track of everything. This process can be made easier with Hubspot’s free CRM that has email templates and sequence workflows.
However you choose to track your activity, it’s vital to set reminders to follow-up with a prospect after you have had an initial conversation. Your follow-up process will differ depending on the conversation you have.
The downside of a manual follow-up process is that it relies on you to organize and prioritize the follow-up tasks. If you’ve ever worked in sales then you can appreciate that those follow-up tasks at times drop to the bottom of your to-do list. Or even worst, you forget to schedule them in and a prospect goes cold. So if you’re going to handle follow-up manually then you need to be super-diligent about it.
This is the most reliable method of follow-up because it doesn’t require you to physically take any action once you have set up the automation sequence. Once you’ve had a conversation with a prospect you can move them to a particular stage in your CRM which will trigger an automated sequence of follow-up messages. This sequence will give your prospects the information they seek after your initial meeting, and prompt the next steps in the sales journey.
Some tools you can use for this include HubSpot, Reply.io, Quickmail or Mailshake, which will link up with your email account and send automated follow-ups as if they were coming straight from your inbox. The positive thing about using technology to follow-up, apart from the time-saving component, is that you can track whether or not a prospect has opened, clicked, or responded to your message.
Creating automated workflows is an efficient way to ensure you always go through the habit of following up and that it doesn’t fall to the bottom of your to-do list. The only downfall is that these follow-up messages are less likely to be super-personalized, which can lose their impact. Even though the tools mentioned have smart templates and auto-fill personalization features, nothing beats a well thought out follow-up email that refers back to a conversation with a prospect.
Tracking follow-up metrics is crucial if you want to improve your sales process and close more deals.
You should track metrics such as;
- How many emails, calls, and interactions it takes to close a new client, and;
- Which headlines, messages, and calls-to-action are creating the most (or least) engagement with prospects.
If you’re using a CRM or automated email service then tracking all of this data should be built into the platform.
The reason you want to keep track of your activity and engagement metrics is two-fold:
- It helps you understand, on average, how many follow-ups it takes to win new business. This becomes your lead time and will help with sales forecasting.
- It ensures you aren’t following up too much. There may be a point in your follow-up sequence that triggers an unusual amount of negative responses, for example. Despite following up being important, there is a point of diminishing returns you should understand.
When is enough?
Your metrics will tell you the optimum amount of follow-ups over time, but a rule of thumb is to taper off at about the six or seven interaction mark. After you have emailed or called a prospect six or seven times without closing the business, it’s probably best to leave them alone for a while.
An effective way to round out a follow-up sequence is to initiate a “soft close”. This is when you create a bit of urgency by letting the prospect know that you won’t follow-up with them again in the near future, but remind them of the offer on the table one last time.
This message may look like; “Hey, we’ve reached out to you a few times now after our conversation but not heard anything back. I’m going to assume that this isn’t right for you at this time. But if it is something for you in the future, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.”
Something simple like a soft close gives the prospect a prompt to make a decision. Before that email, they may have been ignoring you because they were busy, but the language used in this message triggers a need to make a decision.
If they don’t close at that point, which is a likely scenario, no problem. Keep them in your database and go back to them in a few months time. You’ve already had a conversation with them so it won’t be a completely cold initiation the second time around.
So far in this guide, we’ve spoken a lot about finding, connecting with, and closing leads. But all of this is a waste of time and resources if those leads aren’t qualified. Not all leads are created equal. Low-quality leads can drain resources, are unlikely to convert, and even if they do will probably become problem-child clients. All things you’d prefer to avoid.
Here are four things you can do to qualify your leads:
#1 – Create lead qualification criteria
If you are generating a lot of leads then you want to be able to filter those leads to certain criteria. That way you can focus on the leads that will be the higher value to you and your business, close bigger deals, foster better relationships, and grow your agency without all of the headaches that come with low-quality clients.
To come up with lead qualification criteria start by looking at your existing customers. Analyze your list of active clients and highlight the top 10%. Your very best customers. The ones you love working with. Hint: They probably spend the most without nitpicking everything you do!
Figure out the criteria for those clients that make them similar. What values or attributes make those clients attractive to you? Maybe they have a certain number of employees, or they all work in a similar industry. Whatever those characteristics are, refine them into a list of three or four criteria. You will use these points to match with your lead generation.
#2 – Get the information you need
Ok, great, so you have a set of lead qualification criteria… but how do you obtain that information when assessing your leads?
The easiest way would be to include these questions in your lead generation forms, whether they are on your website or in adverts.
The problem with this approach is that the more fields you include on a lead gen form, the lower your conversion rate will be. People don’t like filling out long forms, especially when it’s one of the first interactions with a new business.
One thing you can do to overcome this problem is to split the form into two parts. Part one collects the vital information, such as their name, email address, and maybe a phone number. Once they submit that information you have that on file and can follow-up if they choose not to fill in the second part of the form. The second part of the form will ask your lead qualification criteria questions.
#3 – Prioritize conversations
Collecting lead qualification information means you can then prioritize the communications you have with prospects. Obviously, you will choose the prospects that most closely align with your favorite clients to contact first.
As well as how soon you contact prospects, this criteria may also determine the approach you take to reach out to leads. For example, you might have the sales team call the top 10% of prospects, and use email follow-ups for the lower quality leads.
If you’re not getting a lot of leads then you may have the time to reach out to all of them at the same level. However, you may still choose to de-prioritize low-quality leads so that you avoid relationships that don’t help your business prosper.
#4 – Follow-up in the right way
As we mentioned, the follow-up is an essential part of the agency sales process. If you qualify your leads it helps you follow-up in the right way.
Put all of your resources and effort into following up with the high-priority leads. Personalize the experience for them. For the low-quality leads, automate the process so it doesn’t drain your resources.
Sales Presentations & Conversations
If a prospect agrees to meet with you then they are interested in what you have to offer. But you can’t take that for granted. Prepare extensively for every sales conversation, especially if it is with your top 10% of prospects.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits or forget some of the sales basics when you’ve been doing this over and over again, so let’s take a look at some tips for making the most of these conversations.
#1 – Involve the decision-maker
This is sales 101, but you’d be surprised how often people forget to qualify the decision-making capabilities of the prospects they meet with. Whether your meeting is face-to-face or via online video, or even if it’s just a call, you are putting a lot of work into the preparation and research for that meeting. Get the people there who can approve a contract!
If you don’t talk with at least one decision-maker (there may be several depending on the account size) then you are going to end up having multiple meetings with the same content. Not to mention that your message will get diluted or altered as it is passed along the chain.
It’s not possible to get every decision maker in a room 100% of the time, especially with bigger businesses. But as long as you are actively engaging with your contact about who the decision-maker is, and attempting to understand their needs, then that is an adequate starting point.
The best way to handle this situation is to ask up front. Don’t be scared about it. Say something like; “Is there anyone else that we should invite to this meeting who will contribute to this decision?”
#2 – Get to know the prospect
It’s not all about your services. Yes, that will be a focal point at some stage. But you also need to take the time to humanize the conversation and get to know your prospect. Keep it professional, but there is no harm in asking your prospects more about their life outside of work. Do they have a family? What are their hobbies? Look for some common ground that you can leverage at a later point to spark a conversation.
Perhaps not everyone’s taste, but it works. If you can build a better personal connection with a prospect than your competitors then more often than not it will seal the deal.
Take this up a notch by doing a bit of pre-meeting research on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to understand your prospect and the company they work for.
#3 – Uncover their pains and goals
Now it’s time to move on from the niceties and get into the real sales conversation. The first thing you want to hone in on is their pains and goals, specifically as they relate to your service. They’re obviously having this conversation for a reason, so don’t shy away from asking them why they are in the meeting with you in the first place.
For PPC services, the most common pains relate to stunted business growth, human resources, time, or a lack of expertise.
As well as the pains or problems that they are facing, you also want to dive deeper into their long-term business goals. Not just the short-term “we want more leads” conversation, but the end-of-year revenue or growth goals, the big stuff. If you can understand their true motivations, rather than the service level goals that they tell everyone, then you can better position your services when the time is right to align with that vision.
#4 – Why now?
Salespeople and agencies take this part for granted. The prospect has likely had a conversation with an agency in the past, but why are they willing to have it with you now? What has triggered it?
Getting to the bottom of this question will also unveil other pieces of information that are critical to the sales conversation. For example, why hasn’t it worked out with other agencies in the past? Are there any deal clinchers that you should know about from their experience?
#5 – Present your offer
By getting to know the prospect, uncovering their goals or pains, and establishing a reason for the timing of this conversation, you have the information you need to present an offer. It’s super-important to discuss the benefits of your service at this point, not the feature list. We know that is probably something you hear all the time, but it’s crucial.
Sure, you’ll talk about the features of your service, but make it as brief as possible. They’ve heard it all before. The part of the sales conversation that will help you close bigger deals is how well you tie the unique benefits of working with your agency back to their articulated pains and problems. Don’t reel off a standardized list of benefits that they can read on your website. Relate them back to the things they have discussed, use the language that they use, ask them to repeat back that they agree. At every moment try to reinforce the need and create a commitment from the person across the table.
Finish your presentation with a timeline. Yes, they may not be ready to press the green light there and then. But if you can show them what the path may look like when they are ready to get going it helps them visualize a real scenario where you are working together. It also helps them visualize a path that progresses towards their goals.
#6 – Incentivize a decision
The final tip for the sales conversation is to offer the prospect an incentive to sign up for your service. Closing incentives are great if you want to keep your sales cycle as tight as possible.
Your closing incentive will differ depending on your situation, it may be 10% off the first month, it may be a bundle deal for 6 months, it’s all relative. You can use this final step to accelerate a decision from your prospect, but don’t go too far so the offer devalues your service.
Contracting and Onboarding Prep
When a prospect says they are ready to get started working with your agency, be in the best possible position to onboard them and provide a positive experience. You also want to protect yourself from a legal standpoint, which is where the contract comes into the equation. Here are some tips so that the final part of the client acquisition process runs smoothly.
#1 – Always have a contract
For established agencies, this may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s tempting to brush the contract aside in an attempt to remove a roadblock for starting the engagement. Don’t ever do that.
You are agreeing to provide a service to this client, the deal is done, they’re happy with the proposal, make sure you turn that intention into an official commitment by issuing a contract. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but have a lawyer draw up a template that you can use with all of your clients. Have a representative from both businesses sign the agreement, and confirm everyone is fully aware of the terms and their commitment.
#2 – Set clear goals and a timeline
A mistake we see is when an agency brings us a client to work with but haven’t obtained the goal of their campaign. They don’t know how to be successful in the relationship.
When you are closing a deal and drawing up a contract, you need to have the client articulate a clear end goal for the campaign. Make it a goal that you are confident you can deliver on in a reasonable amount of time. By knowing the goal, you can work backward and draw up a timeline for the client.
There is nothing worse than getting three months into a relationship when the expectations weren’t set from day one and everyone is on a different playing field. That’s a bad position to be in, and you will end up with a high client churn rate.
#3 – Assign responsibility
Like you set expectations for the campaign by establishing a goal, set expectations in terms of who is responsible for execution. You are providing a service so, for the most part, your agency will burden most of the responsibility. But what’s out of scope? What parts of the campaign is the client going to be responsible for?
For example, the client may provide copywriting for the landing page of a PPC campaign, or they might tell you what the offer is going to be. Or, maybe you are providing these services. Your scope of work needs to be clearly outlined so that everyone is on the same page about who is accountable for each significant task. This will prevent assumptions from either party about what the other party is responsible for. Assumptions result in unmet expectations, and unmet expectations turn into unhappy clients.
#4 – Establish a clear communication plan
Once you have decided who is responsible for what, the next step is to agree to a clear-cut communication plan with your client.
What mediums of communication are appropriate for this relationship? How often will you be contacting them? What will the purpose of your contact be over the onboarding period?
Lay all of this out in a plan or set of guidelines so that the client knows what to expect. The first 90 days of your client relationship is the danger zone, so document a clear communication plan for what is going to happen.
It’s all about setting expectations with your clients, just like the goal-setting and accountability parts of this section. Radio silence doesn’t work in the agency world, no matter how busy you get. Your clients are paying you money and there is a certain expectation that comes from that. They want to know what is going on.
There you have it, an extensive look at client acquisition for PPC agencies.
Winning new clients and increasing your recurring revenue is fundamental to growing your business. But, as you can see, there is nothing black and white about this topic. Every agency approaches client acquisition differently and there is no “one perfect formula”.
One thing you can be certain of is this – if you want to grow, prosper, and succeed in one of the most competitive industries in the world, you will need a repeatable system for finding, persuading, and closing new business