Episode 247

podcast photo thumbnail
1x
-15
+60

00:00

00:00

There are very few agency owners who love biz dev. It’s time consuming, sometimes it feels like you are trying to target shoot in the dark, and you often end up settling for prospects that aren’t quite the right fit. But at least it’s a win! Your spidey senses are tingling and you know there’s trouble ahead but you ignore that little voice and forge ahead, hoping for the best. What if you could eliminate those near misses?

I’m a firm believer that every agency should have a clear understanding of what their sweet spot client looks like and how to spot them in the crowd. Every client is right for some agency. But not every client is the right fit for yours.

How do you know who your ideal client is? How do you attract them to you so you don’t have to hunt them down and how do you encourage them to give you that first dance?

My guest will be a great beacon and help us gain clarity around all of those questions. I’ve known Matthew Kimberley for about 4-years and love his unique style and outlook on sales. He leads the business building system called Book Yourself Solid Worldwide, which is based on the bestselling book, Book Yourself Solid, written by Michael Port.

Matthew is waving that flag all over the world and helping salespeople understand there is a proven way to literally book yourself solid. The beauty of the Book Yourself Solid system is that when you do it well, you never have to settle for a not quite right fit client again.

Matthew is also the author of a great book entitled, “Get a F*cking Grip: How to Get Your Life Back on Track” and has an online course about writing delightful emails — which I thought was spectacular. He also hosts his own podcast entitled, “How to Get a Grip.”

Matthew and I talk through the concept of Book Yourself Solid and how it pertains to agency owners. We talk through the questions that I know you would ask around sales, prospecting, and how we as agency owners and leaders can better use our day to drive sales into our agencies.

Today (no matter when you’re listening to this) is the perfect time to get a better set of client filters in place so you protect and build your agency by filling your pipeline with those sweet spot clients.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to create a set of criteria so you and your team can quickly filter out the wrong fit clients and spot the right ones.
  • How to get more right-fit clients than your agency can handle even if selling isn’t your favorite thing to do.
  • How to apply the “rule of three.”
  • How to create new business opportunities around things you already enjoy doing.
  • Why agency owners tend to do well at the top end of the sales funnel but then struggle when it comes time to drive sales into the agency.
  • How to apply the three guiding principles within the Book Yourself Solid business development system.
  • Why blending in “non-negotiable” criteria in your client filtering process will help protect your agency.
  • Why you need a conscious process for developing trust at different points in time for different reasons with your clients and prospects.
  • How you can develop a “Something to Invite People to Offer” so your prospects have an opportunity to get to know you and your agency better.
  • How to apply the five things every agency owner should be doing every morning to fast-track biz dev.

The Golden Nuggets:

“We believe marketing doesn’t get you clients. Marketing creates awareness about who you are and what you do. And it's what you do with that awareness that determines whether your marketing gives you money.” @mjkimberley Share on X “Most agencies are great at the top of the funnel. But they struggle when they have to flip it and actually drive to sales. That's when their discomfort gets super bright.” @mjkimberley Share on X “People will make investments in you. That’s dependent upon two things. The first thing is the amount of trust that you've earned. And the second thing is their situation.” @mjkimberley Share on X “Every client wants to enter into a relationship with your agency when and where they want to enter…based on their need.” @mjkimberley Share on X “The feast and famine cycle — the curvy wave — only exists in companies that do not prioritize sales and marketing on a daily basis.” @mjkimberley Share on X

Ways to contact Matthew Kimberley:

Additional Resources:

Speaker 1:

It doesn’t matter what kind of an agency you run, traditional, digital, media buying, web dev, PR, whatever your focus, you still need to run a profitable business. The Build a Better Agency Podcast presented by White Label IQ will show you how to make more money and keep more of what you make. Let us help you build an agency that is sustainable, scalable and if you want down the road, sellable. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey, everybody. Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build a Better Agency. Welcome back if you are a regular listener and thanks for coming back. Always grateful for your time. And if this is your first go around with Build a Better Agency, welcome. We try and create a super collaborative and cooperative community around agency ownership. We do that in a lot of places here on the podcast, we have a Facebook group for this podcast, which you are invited to join or you’re welcome to ask us questions about the podcast episodes or anything you have related to sort of agency life and management. And we certainly try and do that in our live events, whether those are workshops or our Build a Better Agency conference. Whatever it may be, I am a firm believer that we can learn from each other, we can support each other. And we all, no matter how long we’ve been doing this, it’s nice to know that you’re not doing it alone.

So welcome. Today’s topic is one that I know is very top of mind for a lot of you now. This whole idea of how do you sell, but how do you sell in an environment that is a little unusual and as we come out of COVID and sort of try and redefine some things for ourselves and I think my guest is going to be a great beacon for that. So one of the things I know I want to talk to him about is this idea of every client is not a great client for us. And I think if you have run your agency for a day or a decade or multiple decades, you have experienced this more than once where you got super excited about a client, maybe about the project or the budget or whatever it may be, but you had that sort of nagging little inkling in your gut that perhaps this was not a right fit.

And as we all have done, we ignore that feeling. We bring the client on and then chaos in suits. And typically those clients end up costing us at the very least money and time, but often the peace and tranquility of the agency that can cost us staff. So I’m a firm believer in you selecting clients that are right for your agency. Every client is right for some agency. It does not mean they’re right for yours. And so we have put together a tool called the client’s sweet spot filter that really helps you by going through an exercise, a series of questions, helps you identify what you love about clients, the kind of clients that are the best fit for you, random flags that suggest to you that maybe they’re not a great client and you can grab that sweet spot client filter by just going to agencymanagementinstitute.com/client-filter.

So again, it’s /client-filter. And download it as a PDF. You and your leadership team can go through it. But I think that you are going to benefit from knowing who you should date and who you should not date. And that’s just one of the things that I want to talk to our guests about. So let me tell you a little bit about him. So I have known Matthew Kimberley for probably three or four years now. And I met him because he offered that a period of time sort of an accountability tool and partnership through email. And it had the words, single malt scotch in it and I was sold. So that’s how I first met him and we’ve collaborated on some things together. And he’s a sales guy, but not in the way that we think about sales guys. He’s a very thoughtful sales person and coach around sales.

And when I realized his background and that he had come out of the Book Yourself Solid world which many of you are familiar with that book by Michael Port, which if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend reading it. But anyway, when I found out that Matthew had sort of come… Had worked with Michael and help launch the coaching business tied to Book Yourself Solid, that made a lot of sense to me because that’s the kind of business sales person he is. He really is a collaborative business sales person. So I was not at all surprised to find out that Matthew has recently taken on the role of heading up Book Yourself Solid worldwide.

And now he is waving that flag all over the world trying to help people understand that there is a way to literally Book Yourself Solid so that you can say no to all those wrong fit clients because you have enough right fit clients at the door. He’s also the author of a great book called Get an Effing Grip. He has an online course about writing delightful emails, which I thought was spectacular and he hosts his own podcast called How to Get a Grip. So without further ado, I would love for you to meet Matthew and for me to start asking him the questions that I know you would ask around sales and prospecting and how we as agency owners and leaders can better use our day to drive sales into our agency. So let’s get to it. Matthew, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us.

Matthew Kimberley:

Thank you for having me, Drew. Great to be here.

Drew McLellan:

So we’re going to talk today about the concept behind the Book Yourself Solid. So give everybody just understanding of how you came to have this expertise, your role now in connection with the organization and the book and all of that. And then we’re going to dig into how this pertains to agency owners.

Matthew Kimberley:

Cool. So Book Yourself Solid for those who aren’t familiar with it is a business building system. It’s tagline is how to get more clients than you can handle, even if you hate marketing and selling. I came to… I was in a previous line for recruitment company owner and I used to do a lot of cold calling and face-to-face sales and training my guys and teaching them how to hit the phones and how to do account management. And I didn’t love it. There was vast swathes of the business that I really didn’t love. Also I had a relationship with my business partner that started strong and ended pretty catastrophically. So I was looking for an out and I realized that what I liked to do was train people and I liked to sell. And I thought, ooh, I could combine the two and become a sales trainer, help people sell more. Who doesn’t need that?

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Matthew Kimberley:

Really most small business owners would identify at pretty much any stage of their career that sales is a priority. It’s super important on day one because you need the revenue to have a day two. And then as your company or your agency grows, you need the revenue to support the scale that you’ve achieved and your overheads become bigger and your salary costs become greater. So sales is something that people have always wanted. Selling money at a discount, it’s basically what sales trainers do.

Drew McLellan:

It’s interesting. They just don’t want to do it, right?

Matthew Kimberley:

Who? Yeah. I mean, who does? It takes a weird person. And that’s kind of the hook with Book Yourself Solid. Even if you hate marketing and selling-

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely.

Matthew Kimberley:

… there is a way to do it. So I decided I was going to become a sales trainer/business coach having met some pretty poor business coaches in my career as a business owner. And I didn’t want to improvise, I didn’t want to make it up. So I looked for a franchise. I was looking to buy a coaching franchise and I looked at some of them, some of very good things like action coach or Sandler training, brilliant franchises. But more money than I wanted to spend and I didn’t really want to be tied. So if you’re on a franchise, you can’t sell somebody else’s products along. So you can’t sell big bags and bulk is under the same roof, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right.

Matthew Kimberley:

So I’d read the book, Book Yourself Solid, which first came out in 2006 as a business owner and I was on the mailing list. And I got an email from Michael Port, the creator, the founder that said, I’m looking to license some coaches to sell Book Yourself Solid to their own clients. And I said, huh. So I explored that avenue, became a Book Yourself Solid certified coach and sucked up to the teacher to the extent that I became an employee of Book Yourself Solid and eventually a business partner in Book Yourself Solid. So I spoke that language for six, seven years. A few years ago, I took some time off. We started a new company called Heroic Public Speaking, which is I think one of the best public speaking and growing performance training companies in the world.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, many of my listeners have been out to hang out with Michael and Amy in New Jersey taking their core course. So absolutely, it’s spectacular.

Matthew Kimberley:

Brilliant.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Matthew Kimberley:

It really is. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything quite like it-

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, I agree.

Matthew Kimberley:

… outside of drama school. It’s the beautiful combination of the business of speaking and the performance of speaking which isn’t easy to find combined elsewhere. And so around the time that we launched that I realized I wanted to do a lot of speaking on my own. I was less interested in teaching speaking. Amy was a fantastic and obvious partner for Michael from a business point of view. And then I took three years off and I did sales training. I taught people how to write emails. I did a lot of keynote speaking. I ran lots of mastermind coaching style things all with the focus on selling.

But Book Yourself Solid kept calling to me. It’s world class. It’s a world class system. It’s intellectual property that’s been appreciated by millions of business owners. And there was an opportunity for me to slot back in there, which I did at the beginning of this year. And so now I’m training the trainers and licensing certifying coaches so they can go out and multiply the sales exponentially of all of their clients. It’s a system that starts from the ground up. It might be an anathema or sacrilegious to many of your agency listeners, but we believe that marketing doesn’t get you clients. All that marketing does is create awareness about who you are and what you do. And it’s what you do with that awareness that determines whether your marketing gives you money.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, I actually think that’s one of the reasons why sales are challenging for a lot of agency owners is because they’re brilliant marketers. And so the top of their funnel, if you talk about the traditional sales funnel and I know you, in Book Yourself Solid, I know you have a different philosophy about a funnel. But if you talk about the traditional sales funnel, most agency owners kill it at the top of the funnel with the marketing part-

Matthew Kimberley:

Sure.

Drew McLellan:

… the awareness part, but they struggle when they have to flip it and actually drive to sales. That’s when their discomfort gets super bright. So I think they would probably agree with you that marketing is great, gets me on the radar screen, but I got have to do something with it to actually land a new client.

Matthew Kimberley:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Matthew Kimberley:

And then good, there are plenty of people who are doing this very, very well who maybe they did it, maybe they worked it out without reading the book. But I think Michael and Book Yourself Solid was the first time that it was really all of the individual components of having a book solid business where codified. They were put into a systematic structure because the very first thing that needs to happen when somebody responds to your marketing message is they need to, wherever you’re sending them, whatever they’re doing as a result of your marketing message, they need to immediately feel that it’s relevant and a home. So I was on Instagram the other day, something really cool. I can’t remember what it was. It was… I can’t… I’m just going to say it was a Wallaby. It was something and it was a Wallaby that looked really funky. It was a really cool… It would win branding prizes. It was a cool cartoon. If I’d Wallaby I thought I liked that Wallaby, I’m going to click through. And it was for a purse and I don’t carry a purse. But the message to market much-

Drew McLellan:

Was it a purse made out of Wallaby?

Matthew Kimberley:

… No, it was just a cool brand. It’s like-

Drew McLellan:

Got it.

Matthew Kimberley:

… Tony the Tiger on your first season-

Drew McLellan:

Got it. Got it.

Matthew Kimberley:

… It was like this is the logo, the representative. I was like, oh, they just wasted a dollar. Am I click? So there’s a question about message to market match, which everybody who’s listening to this will be familiar with. But they’re going to say, is this relevant to me? Am I in the target market? And does this person or this organization or this product deliver a result that is relevant to me? And then if they say yes to that, then they’ll say, well, what about the person who’s delivering it? Who is the firm? Who is the service provider? Do I like the cut of their jib?

Do I like the way they put themselves out in the world? Do I feel anything towards them at all? Haven’t we seen a really compelling message on a website that doesn’t entice us to find out more? Sure, because it doesn’t speak to us at that level. What happens then is the sales cycle or in Book Yourself Solid terms, the trust building exercise begins. So people will make investments. You mentioned that we don’t necessarily believe in the funnel. We believe in the concept of vulnerable. We believe that a funnel has to fit into a cycle, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right.

Matthew Kimberley:

People will make investments in you that are dependent upon two things. The first thing is the amount of trust that you’ve earned and the second thing is their situation. I might only buy a mortgage twice or three times in my lifetime, but it would be well advised for that mortgage broker to keep in touch with me and build trust with me over a couple of decades to make sure that they’re the obvious choice. I give keynote speeches sometimes. And normally at the end of those 45 minutes, somebody will come up and say, “You blew my mind. I want to hire you to be a private consultant or my coach.”

And I’ll say, “Well, it costs lots and lots of money.” They’re like, “It doesn’t matter.” And I took 45 minutes for them to make a five figure spending decision. It might take somebody else three years to make a $100 decision, but you won’t know unless you continue to nurture, build trust, shower them with love and scale those messages. How many agencies do you know have proper CRM discipline? How many agencies do you know regularly email their prospect database with delightful, relevant trust building emails?

Drew McLellan:

You mean instead of talking about themselves.

Matthew Kimberley:

For example or even just remembering to do it once a week, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right.

Matthew Kimberley:

How many agencies do you now don’t have media assets like information products courses books, white papers that speed out trust, demonstrate credibility, sell, speed up the sales cycle for sure on behalf of them while they’re off working on client work? There’s so many areas for improvement and that’s what we do. And then we talk about marketing as… We’ve got some very distinct marketing practices as well in Book Yourself Solid, but the core is marketing. Do I get your clients? Also you don’t have to work with anybody. If you’ve worked with everyone, who’s got a checkbook and a pulse, it’s the fastest way to an early hospital-

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right.

Matthew Kimberley:

… and all of this.

Drew McLellan:

And misery, right?

Matthew Kimberley:

Right. Yeah, once we do that.

Drew McLellan:

So one of the things I heard you say about Book Yourself Solid and I don’t know if it came out of the book or if it was of your own creation was the Book Yourself Solid is a love story disguised as a business system. So tell me what you mean by that.

Matthew Kimberley:

It’s directly out of the book. There are three philosophical principles, three guiding principles in Book Yourself Solid. Marketing doesn’t get you clients, practical one. There are some people you’re meant to serve and others not so much. That’s another one. And because Book Yourself Solid is a love story disguised as a business system and what we mean by that is that nobody goes into business on their own because they say this is going to be hard work. This is going to be a drudge. I’m going to get to work with some people that I wouldn’t sit down and have a drink with all day, every day. I’m going to be at the mercy of my clients. I’m not going to sleep enough.

But that’s frequently what happens and what we say is, well, what if that wasn’t true? What if we could implement right at the very beginning of our process a red velvet rope policy that only allows into your business the kind of clients, the kind of partners, the kind of employees, the kind of people who energize you and inspire you and motivate you to do your best work? Because that’s a virtuous cycle. You start to do that. And what if that was a decision that we made from day one? Now of course, when you’re getting started, your red velvet rope policy is going to be a bit looser because you need the cash because you learn the ropes because you don’t know how to spot the warning signs. But for me, there is nothing more beautiful or luxurious than being able to look for…

When I’m talking to a prospective client, look for reasons to say no. It doesn’t feel quite right. Didn’t get a great vibe of this person. And the only way you can have the confidence to say no is if you don’t need the money and you don’t need the money, not only because hopefully you’ve exercised decent cash flow management, but also because you’ve got a system for bringing in another lead who will have a sales conversation with you tomorrow. That’s the… You hear about basically the more successful people are, the more they get to do that. So if you’re a nightclub designer or an architect, you categorically get to pick and choose your clients and your prices. Well, why don’t we… You don’t have to be a celebrity status to execute that policy to some degree. And that’s what we encourage everyone to do because it’s a long game and 90% of business problems are personal problems in disguise. So what about if we could eliminate the personal problems as much as possible by saying only going to have cool people in there.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yeah, we’ve got a tool called the sweet spot client filter that as I was prepping for our conversation and reviewing the Book Yourself Solid for principals. They aligned perfectly because it’s not about… Some of it is, are they in the right industry? Are they the right size? Certainly, but a lot of it is things like, you know what? I don’t like working with clients who’ve never worked with an agency before or I want somebody who actually returns my call in a reasonable period of time. All of those intangible things that make us actually like our clients and be able to serve them, right?

Matthew Kimberley:

Right, I love that you’ve combined those two things because we see really frequently in marketing exercises or in teachings, people say we have to create the ideal client or the avatar. And that either looks like a very strict demographic profile. This person drives a Mercedes, they are a dentist, they earn $160,000 or more a year. And then we get into the avatar part, which is, they love fishing, they have a cabin in the woods, they value their family. But what we don’t really look at is their inherent qualities. And so I like to come up with this and what we recommend our clients do and our coaches teach their clients to do is come up with a list of non-negotiables like this person… Because we can say anything. Oh yes, I truly… I love kittens, but in the weekends you go kicking kittens. Is it your action?

Drew McLellan:</