Solomon Thimothy is the Founder of Clickx, where he works with agencies and clients to develop predictable and scalable growth strategies.
When I started my agency, I had big dreams of running an award-winning firm that clients were fighting to work with. I was ready for the challenge, but there was one thing holding me back: clients.
How was I supposed to convince anyone to work with me when I didn’t have any experience running an agency?
I quickly realized that there was a solution to this problem. With a clearly defined sales process, converting clients wouldn’t be a problem — even without years of experience to show.
Why Is The Sales Process So Important For New Agencies?
The sales process is often the first interaction a potential client has with your brand. When you have an extensive track record of happy clients, convincing them to join your roster of clients can feel pretty straightforward. But when you don’t have any experience to show, it can seem like the sales process doesn’t quite fit.
Many agency owners let their sales process fall to the side. They hyperfocus on finding a client — any client — who will give them a chance. And while this is one way to get started, ignoring a formal sales process completely can leave you with clients who don’t quite fit, delivering products or services that aren’t really what you want to do.
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Implementing a well-defined sales process from the very beginning helps you weed through potential clients to find those that truly fit your vision for the agency. While you still might need to make some sacrifices to get the ball rolling, you’re able to prospect and qualify leads to find opportunities that more closely fit your end goal.
A sales process also prevents you from doing business with a client with unrealistic or unmanageable expectations. Without a formal sales process in place, you might be tempted to skip over the proposal or contract phase of the deal. If these aren’t clearly ironed out before you begin working together, you might find yourself completing work for too low of a rate or biting off more than you can chew.
Including a proposal and contract phase within your sales process gives you an opportunity to hash out all the details before you begin to work. You can upsell or cross-sell products to add to your contract, giving your clients a more complete look at what you can offer.
How To Create A Sales Process As A New Agency
When you’re just getting started, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you should do things differently because you’re new to the game. But when you do this, you’re selling yourself short. While you may need to adjust your initial sales strategy, you want to approach the process the same way you would if you had been running your agency for years.
Here are my best tips for creating a sales process for your agency:
• Consider your clients’ buying processes. Your sales process needs to mirror your clients’ assumed buying behaviors. Getting your sales process right means being in tune with the needs, questions and actions a client might take when deciding whether to work with your agency. Be proactive, not reactive. For example, having a descriptive e-book ready to send to a client after your first conversation can give them the deeper insight they might need. Taking the initiative to send this along before they request more information can keep the customer education process moving smoothly.
• Set clear qualification targets. Make sure you’re focusing on the right target audience members. Setting qualification targets, such as visiting a specific number of website pages in a predetermined amount of time or participating in a webinar to move prospects through the sales process, ensures you’re putting the right investment into the right people.
• Be flexible. While you want to control the sales process as much as you can, you also need to be willing to work with clients on their terms. Sometimes they’ll behave unexpectedly, or they’ll ask a question you didn’t prepare for. To be ready for any curveball that comes your way, stay flexible. You need to adapt your process as new challenges come to you.
A sales process will look different from agency to agency. It’s important to find a process that works for you and your business. With some fine-tuning and adjusting, as well as continuous assessments of how your process is working, you can create a sales strategy that helps you build the agency you’ve always dreamt of.
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Author: Solomon Thimothy, Forbes Councils Member