Episode 133:

A frustration for many agencies today is that it’s tough to get clients to commit to ongoing retainers. Post recession, clients are drawn to project work as opposed to the longer-term, on-going work that agencies prefer. There are many factors that play into this and some agencies have cracked the code of earning a client’s confidence and being positioned as an on-going partner.

Barry O’Kane has cracked the code. He has over 18 years of experience as a digital agency owner and a web developer. He and his team work in partnership with social impact organizations and creative agencies to solve their toughest challenges. Barry runs a virtual dev shop called endzone.io, and he also teaches web agencies how create recurring revenue for their shop and recurring value for their clients. He really believes that there are internal processes and systems and that agencies need to consider so they get compensated differently and create a whole new value proposition for themselves and their clients.



What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Retainers/long-term relationships: why they are great for your agency as well as your clients
  • Retainers that allow your agency to provide services in an ongoing basis while keeping control
  • Some of the mistakes agencies make by not clearly defining what the service is and tying the value directly to the offering
  • Going through the process and making sure the decision to work on a retainer basis is thought out and not just tacked on at the end
  • Why the paid discovery process is the ideal way to enter into a retainer agreement (and why it’s not always possible)
  • The three categories a retainer should have to provide value to the client: optimization, insurance, and strategy
  • How to talk to prospects so they understand the value of an ongoing relationship
  • Three great ways to clearly define and price your services
  • Why your clients will test the boundaries of your agreement if you don’t clearly define them
  • The importance of saying “no” and the right and wrong ways to do it
  • Why consistent, clear communication with ongoing clients is a great way to upsell services
  • Building the systems and processes for great internal and external communication
  • Why you have to work on your processes in small increments or they will never get done

The Golden Nuggets:

“Recurring income is a really strong foundation on which to build a business, either exclusively or partially.” - Barry O'Kane Click To Tweet “Know what you’re trying to achieve with retainer services, clearly define what they are, and then clearly articulate that to the clients and everybody on your team.” - Barry O'Kane Click To Tweet “‘No’ is one of the most important words for agencies to learn to say, but never actually start that conversation with “no.” Start it with questions.” - Barry O'Kane Click To Tweet “Marketing is not a one and done thing. The only way that we can help our clients be successful is to think about it as a long-term journey together. ” - Barry O'Kane Click To Tweet


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