Let’s face it, the market’s saturated, clients are cutting budgets or making slower decisions, and winning new business is hard. While we don’t want you to become an agency devil that destroys its competition with nasty tactics, we do want you to set yourself up for success and emerge ahead of your rivals. Here’s how.
1) You vs them
This is an overt “pick our agency” approach and it has a shameless air of confidence around it where you showcase why you’re better than others through any form of public-facing material such as emails, social media, your website, blog posts etc.
Essentially, you’re calling out the other options that exist in your prospect’s mind and explaining why you’re the number one choice. Remember, alternatives to your services aren’t always limited to other rival agencies. For example, if you own a social media agency, your prospect may see “hire a cheap freelancer”, “do-it-yourself” or “do nothing” as other viable options.
Your role here is to empathise with your prospects, call it all out and present your case as to why they should choose your agency above the rest. But before you can do that, you need to know your strengths and your competitors’ weaknesses.
It doesn’t have to be as fierce as a politician on a campaign trail explicitly calling out the opposition, and it needs more substance than simply calling your competitor rubbish. Think of it as convincing potential voters to choose you based on rival-beating quality, intrinsic value and genuine change.
Not sure how to go about it? We did this same exercise for Gray Matters where we listed the pros and cons of us vs the competition/ alternatives. This can be an internal exercise but we’ve been known to also send this out to prospects who were having doubts about using our services! Here’s a free download of it, including a clean template so you can fill it out for your agency!
2) Think about your low-hanging fruit
We encourage agency owners to think about what they’d do and who they’d go after if they were desperate for a win. Look at your client base and your case studies and think who is most likely to want to work with you? Who is the ideal client?
This could mean making a few simple changes to your website (such as stronger, bolder CTAs) or starting a referral scheme to encourage more leads via word of mouth.
Along with acquisition, low-hanging fruit may sit with reactivation. Past clients can be a good starting point as they may need your services again. According to research by Invesp, existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products compared to new customers and 31 percent more likely to spend more money.
As great as low-hanging fruit is, remember not to get stuck in this mindset focusing too much time on quick wins risks your agency missing out on the longer-term, more sustainable ways of lead generation.
3) Rub salt in their wounds
We’re talking about your prospects. Sounds brutal? It’s necessary to do but doesn’t need to be brutal in delivery.
Your prospect is your prime focus. There’s a lot at stake for your prospects if they don’t fix the issue that needs fixing. Your BD and salespeople need to remind them of that and what the consequences may look like if they let things fester.
This is a key component of Spin Selling by Neil Rackham (we recommend a read). The handy acronym SPIN can help you remember four key sales areas: Situation, Problem, Implication and Need-payoff.
Implication questions dig deeper into the real consequences of a client’s problems. The larger the scale of the sale, the more important it is for your salesperson to transform a small problem into a huge issue that demands immediate action on the part of the client.
You’ll be in a much better position than your competitors if you can identify what’s at stake and the results of doing nothing. You’ll also want to go a step further and talk about what life looks and feels like for your prospect once the problem is fixed (need-payoff).
Take some time to think about it and capture it in a client persona because this insight is worth its weight in gold when it comes to getting to your prospect’s personal pain points and getting them across the line.
4) Join forces and gain more power
We don’t mean to partner up with your direct competition (although they say “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”). We mean joining forces with another agency that complements your agency’s services well enough to provide consistent value.
This is a useful approach if you know you’re a small fish in a big pond. By partnering up with another agency, you’re combining your networks and your resources, and increasing your share of voice. And this doesn’t have to be a legal bind at all.
To give you a real-life example, one of our clients JKO specialises in media planning and buying. They often partner with a creative agency called Mellor&Smith which makes brands famous through bold campaigns (also another one of our clients that we help to gain new business for).
Both these agencies tend to target similar audiences which are challenger brands looking to gain market share. It’s a match made in heaven and provides more value for prospects who’ll feel that they’re getting the expertise of two agencies.
5) Trust & confidence
You’ve heard this one before but let’s hone in on confidence for a moment. We don’t just mean having confidence in yourself and delivering your sales pitch with conviction (though this is very important), we also mean the confidence that your prospect has in YOU.
As an agency that helps other agencies win new business, we’re used to analysing why deals fail and where our clients can improve. Most of the time, it comes down to the prospect not having confidence in the salesperson and not trusting the agency to deliver.
Even if your competitor doesn’t offer as much value as you, they’ll win every time if the prospect likes them and believes in them to do a good job. We’re going to be writing a blog post soon about how to instil trust and confidence among your prospects, so stay tuned for that!
Implement these 5 points and let us know how you get on. If you need any advice or new business help, get in touch.