How does your PPC agency win new business?
Without a doubt, the most common desire of the PPC agencies we work with is getting new clients. There is an underlying obsession with attracting new business and growing their agency.
The problem is that inexperienced agency owners don’t have a proven formula for systematically winning new business. They’ve grown from 0 to 10 with referrals, and a mixed bag of other tactics, but they don’t know how to take that next leap of growth from 10 to 100 and beyond.
Today we are going to address the pink elephant in the room – cold calling.
The words cold calling strike fear into the hearts and minds of agency owners and, subsequently, it gets avoided as a growth tactic. In reality, it’s a tried and true pathway for acquiring new clients.
Why cold calling gets a bad rap
The sheer thought of cold calling is terrifying for most people. It’s the epitome of facing rejection head-on.
To get results you have to pound the pavement day after day. Call, hang up. Call, hang up. Call, hang up.
It takes on average 8 call attempts to reach possible new clients, and the best sales reps make 46 calls a day. Then, even when you do get in touch with that potential customer, the average cold calling campaign only converts at 1 or 2%. That is a LOT of hustle to start seeing results.
At the end of the day, you’re a marketer and business owner, you’re not a sales rep.
So what are the chances of you actually making the number of daily calls you need to hit your growth targets?
Thinking differently about cold calling
Did you know that 78% of decision makers say they have taken appointments that came from a cold call?
With that in mind, we’d like to urge you to think differently about cold calling. Instead of throwing it on the scrap heap.
Cold calling isn’t what it used to be. That awful visual you have in your head of banging out hundreds of calls a day is not constructive anymore. It’s not about smile, dial, hang up, and do over.
The modern way of cold calling is about precision. It’s about targeting your ideal prospects with a valuable message, and the phone just happens to be the medium with which you are communicating that message to them. You’re using a sniper rifle, not a machine gun.
Instead of freaking out about the process, worrying about rejection, and building sweat beads of anxiety about making 50 calls a day… flip it on its head: “I’m not a salesman; I’m a marketer who knows I have a valuable service to offer these individuals.”
It’s a subtle shift, but as soon as you come from a contribution mindset and put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other end of the phone, the process will seem less daunting, and your results will improve.
Do you think your competitors are hungry enough for success to get on the phone? If they are, then they are stealing your business. If they aren’t, then you are missing a massive opportunity to create a competitive advantage for your agency.
Ok, so that all sounds good in practice, but what is the best way to approach cold calling?
Here are three cold calling scripts for PPC agencies that you can swipe and use straight away. They aren’t for salespeople. In fact, it’s better if you are not a “salesperson.” These cold calling tips are designed to be used by anyone. They lead with value and position you as a strategic partner, not a dodgy used car salesman.
Cold Calling Script #1 – There’s a problem with your ad
With this cold calling tip, the purpose is to communicate an immediate element of value to the business owner, without appearing like a salesperson. Coming from a place of contribution is a fantastic way to get past the gatekeeper.
To find leads for this type of cold call, start with a Google search on the market that has your ideal clientele. Let’s say it is “dentists in Tampa, Florida.”
From this search, document any potential problems you notice with the search ads.
For example, is there a click-to-call option in the mobile search? Are they advertising outside the city area where their prospective clients are? Are they using the ad extensions available? Are their ads relevant to the search? How about their landing page?
You can see where we are going with this. Use your expertise to diagnose potential problems with the ads they are running, so you can use this as valuable collateral once you are on the phone.
To keep track of your findings, build out a spreadsheet that has their website, a screenshot of the ads in question, a contact number, and any other relevant information you can find about the business and its leadership team.
When you call each of the businesses in your spreadsheet, start with a line like this: “Hi, I’m not sure if you can help me. While I was looking for a dentist in Tampa last night, I saw your ad online. I noticed that it wasn’t working quite right and thought you’d want to know. Who do you think is the best person for me to explain the problem too?”
As you can see, you have gone in with an opening that’s non-threatening. You’re being helpful by bringing a potential problem to their attention.
Chances are, they’ll ask who you are and where you are from. So tell them: “I work for a marketing agency. We specialize in this kind of stuff which is why I noticed the problem and thought I’d bring it to your attention.”
Ideally, you will get put straight through to the decision maker, but not always. Sometimes you will get a name to call back later, and other times the gatekeeper will try and shut the door on you, and you’ll have to weave your magic to break through. Either way, offering them a free review of their ad account is usually a nice carrot to dangle. “How would you like a free review of your ad account? Based on what I saw in your ads I believe there could be other issues that need your attention. It is completely free of charge. You can use the report to implement yourself, give it to your marketing agency, or consider working with us in the future. But there is no obligation, of course.”
That’s it. Leave it there and most importantly, be diligent with your follow up.
Preparing for Cold Calling Script #2 and #3
The second and third cold calling scripts are both variations of the same thing. One is for non-advertisers, and one is for existing PPC advertisers.
Before we talk about these cold calling tips, there is a bit of upfront work required. You are going to create an industry-specific research report that you can leverage to open up communication with potential clients. The report itself will be about 3 to 5 pages long. It’s not difficult to create, but it will take you a couple of hours of effort.
The idea behind creating a research report is so that you have something you can give away to leads for free and generate interest in your services. By providing obligation-free value for your prospects, you build trust and open up the opportunity for a conversation.
To produce the report, start collating screenshots of as many ads as you can by searching for relevant keywords in your target PPC niche.
As you are collecting these ads, consider what you will include in your report to support your examples:
- Who are the main players in the market?
- Which companies are making the highest bids?
- What are the most common promotions and benefits?
- Are advertisers driving traffic to landing pages or their website?
- Are businesses advertising on mobile?
- Which ad extensions are being used?
- Where are the gaps or opportunities in this market?
That last question is the most important because it is where the real value is for the business owner. It’s an opportunity to show off your expertise.
Once you have put together the report, turn it into a PDF document. If you’re feeling fancy, have a designer make it look pretty! Then, make a list of all the businesses you observed in the search results during your research. Make a note of whether they were advertising or not and get their contact information.
Cold Calling Script #2 – Existing advertisers
Now that you have your report, a list of businesses to contact, and their details, it’s time to start calling.
Again, don’t overcomplicate the process. Pick up the phone, dial the first number on your list, and open with something like this: “Hi there. I’m Griff from ABC Marketing. We’ve just produced a report about online marketing in the dentist industry in Tampa, Florida. As somebody who’s already advertising in that market, I think you’ll find it extremely valuable. It may help you improve your results. I would like to send you a free copy of the report. Who should I send it to?”
The key information you need to attain is an email address and the name of the person you are sending the report to. Follow up with: “Great. I’ll send that report out today and follow up in person with [Name] in a few days to answer any questions they may have about the findings.”
This way you have given yourself permission to call back. Now you have a reason to give them a call. “Hey, I sent you a report the other day. Did you find it helpful? What questions do you have?”
From there, you can pitch a free account review to them and dive deeper into their PPC activity. The crucial thing is you’ve made that first contact, provided value, and now the next call is warm. This approach will stand out from everyone else out there who is calling up with a direct sales message.
Cold Calling Script #3 – Non-advertisers
Seeing you put a few hours into creating that report, let’s use it again. This time target non-advertisers in the same industry.
The good news is that the script is similar because you are giving away the same report: “Hi there. I’m Griff from ABC Marketing. We’ve just produced a report about online marketing in the dentist industry in Tampa, Florida. As a business that isn’t currently advertising online, I think you’ll find it extremely valuable to see how your competitors are using it to win new business. I would like to send you a free copy of the report. Who should I send it to?”
The only thing you need to change is your justification for sending the report. The rest of the script is much the same, except on your follow up call you will need to provide something other than an account review. You could offer a free market analysis report or to walk them through a case study, whichever fits your business better.
The same report, two completely different uses. They have a lot of overlap, so it isn’t difficult for you or your team to get started once the report is ready to go.
There you have it, three new cold calling methods with scripts that you can apply to your own agency right now.
Take these scripts, adjust them, so they fit your selling proposition, target market, and personality. Then you’re ready to go.
You don’t have to use all three. One isn’t necessarily better than the others. They’re different, but each effective in their own way. So, pick the one that you are most comfortable with and don’t forget to measure results, test and improve.
If you are going to use cold calling to grow your agency, the most important thing to remember is consistency. Set yourself a target for how many people you are going to reach each day, and make sure you do everything possible to stick to it. It’s a numbers game. If you make enough targeted calls, you’ll win enough new clients.
So, what’s holding you back from picking up the phone now?